added 1/9/2014 by Bob Hulsey
Somewhere along the near-impossible comebacks of 2004 and 2005 to make the playoffs as a wild card, Craig Biggio spoke with the exasperation many Houston fans share. "We don't do anything easy," he remarked. "We're the Astros."
Even the seemingly automatic task of a getting the 3,000-plus hitter inducted into the Hall of Fame isn't easy. Of course not, he's an Astro.
Probably the only second baseman who could be Biggio's equal during his era as a second baseman, Roberto Alomar, reached the Hall on his second try with over 90% of the BBWAA vote. That despite Alomar not reaching 3,000 hits and having once spat in the face of an umpire. Biggio merely hit more doubles than any right-handed batter in the history of the sport and was the epitome of class and hustle on the field but he's still on the outside looking in. The baseball writers should be ashamed of themselves.
Unlike most Astros fans, I'm actually somewhat pleased to see Biggio fall two votes short of the 75% threshold for induction Wednesday. I was not eager to watch the first genuine Astro in the Hall of Fame* get treated as an afterthought in front of tomahawk-waving Brave fans who'll come next July to watch three of their own go in. Let 2014 be about them and Astros fans can show up later.
Houston fans have waited 52 years to get a plaque in Cooperstown with a star on it. What's one more year?
Biggio's snub should be used as part of an ever-increasing drumbeat to strip baseball writers from having such control over who gets into Cooperstown. Their participation makes as much sense as baseball players voting on who should win the Pulitzer Prize. Increasingly, the baseball writers (as determined by the BBWAA) are proving they are not qualified for the role.
The Baseball Hall of Fame is currently missing the all-time home run champion, the all-time hits leader, a seven-time Cy Young Award winner and more than half of the 600-HR club. This is like having a Hall of Breasts but keeping out Dolly Parton and Jayne Mansfield.
Speaking of boobs, these baseball writers are as arrogant as any group you'll find outside of Washington, DC. Who else puts their ignorance on display for all to see while thumbing their noses at many of the game's greats, the ones whom each has written column inch after column inch of praise for over the decades only to then act like catty housewives when it comes to who they'll disinvite to the party?
Which voter would you rather have in charge of your Hall of Fame vote - egotistical jerk Richard Justice or sweet media blogger Alyson Footer? The BBWAA is full of Justices and that's what's wrong with them. Jerks do not age particularly well. They just become more insufferable jerks.
If you had told me 20 years ago that a player with over 3,000 hits and 500 home runs would drop off the Hall of Fame ballot on his fourth try, failing to get the necessary 5% of the vote to stay eligible, I'd have said you were nuts. But that's what happened to Rafael Palmeiro. Meanwhile, thousands of hand-wringing column inches were used to speak in favor of Jack Morris. Is there a problem here?
Next year's Hall ballot is expected to be just as crowded as this one and the same rumor mongering and whisper campaigning will go on. Be prepared for the Killer B's to get another dose of disrespect while others get their moment of glory.
I'd rather see Biggio share a Cooperstown stage with Randy Johnson and (with waning hope) Jeff Bagwell than to be put at the end of the line after Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine and Bobby Cox have yammered to their Atlanta faithful and Tony LaRussa has one last chance to either demonstrate his genius or his drunkeness. Personally, I think Leo Mazzone and Dave Duncan ought to be inducted as well - those two pitching coaches made the rest of them Hall of Famers.
Biggio will make it eventually and maybe we can cheer for other former Astros like Bagwell, Roger Clemens and Jeff Kent too someday. But, just like those Astros teams of 2004 and 2005, they're going to make you sweat it first. The Astros never do anything the easy way. Even when it ought to be.
(* - Joe Morgan and Nolan Ryan spent significant parts of their careers with Houston but Morgan chose to be inducted as a Cincinnati Red and Ryan chose to be inducted as a Texas Ranger. There is still no player in the Hall of Fame sporting an Astros cap.)