Biggio ties hit-by-pitch record

Biggio ties hit-by-pitch record

DENVER -- Craig Biggio's teammates weren't quite sure what to say to the 17-year veteran after he was hit by a Jason Jennings pitch in the fifth inning of Tuesday's game.

"I think they said, 'Should we congratulate you now?'" Biggio recalled. "I said, 'I don't know. I guess so, and I guess not." The plunking was the 267th of Biggio's career, which tied Don Baylor's all-time hit-by-pitch record. Although Hugie Jennings was hit 287 times during his Major League career from 1891-1918, Baylor's record was considered the "modern day" mark, and the one Major League Baseball recognized as official.

Roger Clemens, in the midst of his brilliant seven-inning outing against the Rockies, decided the milestone was indeed worthy of at least a pat on the back.

"He came down the tunnel down there when I was changing shirts and I said, 'I guess, congratulations,'" Clemens said. "He goes, 'Well, I [only] tied it.' I said, 'I know you tied it. When you break it, I think I'm going to have to give you a hug.'"

The Astros were in no mood for celebrations after their 6-5 loss to the Rockies, but Biggio acknowledged that tying the record at Coors Field, where Baylor managed the Rockies for six years from 1993-98, was special. Biggio was surprised to hear his record-tying plunking happened on Baylor's 56th birthday, and that Biggio's teammates called for the milestone baseball as he took his base.

"To have your name associated with Don is something I take a lot of pride in," Biggio said. "To have it happen here in Colorado with Don being manager here for a long time, it's kind of nice."

The plunking was part of a four-run inning during which Biggio scored on Morgan Ensberg's third career grand slam. Biggio has scored 95 runs after being hit by a pitch, a 35 percent "success" rate.

Jennings also hit Biggio twice last week during the Rockies' series with the Astros at Minute Maid Park.

"It's the way he pitches," Biggio said. "He's a two-seam guy, he runs balls in. He's got to run them in. And that was a changeup that he wanted to go in with and it ran in too far. All the times he's hit me, I know it hadn't been on purpose."

Biggio's unintentional pursuit of this record has generated quite a bit of national media attention in the last month. Biggio insists he is not trying to get hit, but rather, he is trying to get a hit.

A few weeks ago, he called being hit by a pitch "the Purple Heart of baseball," and said plunkings are just another part of the game, albeit a dangerous one.

"The reaction time you have -- when a ball's coming at you 95 miles an hour -- you have about 2 1/2 tenths of a second to react to the ball," Biggio said. "Maybe it's from my catching days or playing football growing up as a kid, but pain is part of the deal, part of the game, part of the sport. You deal with it and move on."

Or, as Clemens suggested, find ways to turn it into a business deal.

"It's about time for him to get his own Band-Aid company," Clemens joked. "He's getting real close to it. They should put his name on it. It would be a nice endorsement for him."

Alyson Footer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.