It was a moment nearly 20 years in the making. All the times Craig Biggio put in extra work in the batting cage or busted his tail down the line, no matter the score on the setting, allowed him to cross a threshold few other players had ever experienced.
Biggio, who played his entire career with the Astros, had more memorable moments than any other player in club history, but on a personal level nothing topped the night he went 5-for-6 at Minute Maid Park and recorded his 3,000th hit against the Rockies on June 28, 2007.
"It was an amazing night," Biggio said. "We won the game and there was a lot of build-up in the stadium. It's just pretty magical to be able to share with the fans at the end, too."
Game to Remember
|Craig Biggio Facts and Figures|
|1. Full name: Craig Alan Biggio.|
|2. Game to Remember: June 28, 2007.|
|3. Nickname: Bidge.|
|4. Jersey number: 7.|
|5. Primary Position: 2B.|
|6. Bats/Throws: Right/Right.|
|7. Born: Dec. 14, 1965.|
|8. Birthplace: Smithtown, N.Y.|
|9. Major League debut: June 26, 1988.|
|10. Years in Major Leagues: 20.|
|11. Years with Houston: 20 (1988-2007).|
|12. Other teams: None.|
|13. Key stats with Houston: .281 batting average, .363 on-base percentage, 3,060 hits, 668 doubles, 291 homers, 414 steals, 1,175 RBIs, 1,160 walks, 1,844 runs, 2,850 games.|
|14. Claim to fame: Biggio is the Astros' all-time leader in games, at-bats, runs, hits, doubles, extra-base hits and total bases.|
|15. Did you know? Biggio has more doubles than any other right-handed hitter in history.|
|16. What's he doing now? Biggio is the head baseball coach at St. Thomas High School in Houston and is a special assistant to Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow.|
He singled to center field in the third inning and to third base in the fifth, putting him one hit shy of the benchmark. When he came to bat in the seventh against Rockies pitcher Aaron Cook, the sellout crowd of 42,537 at Minute Maid Park could sense history was close.
"I remember it vividly," Biggio said. "It was a 2-0 pitch and I was able to hit it into the right-center-field gap."
As the ball hit the ground and scooted into the outfield, Biggio rounded first and tried for a double before being thrown out by former teammate Willy Taveras at second base. It did little to ruin the moment, however.
"Everybody thinks I wanted to get a double," Biggio said. "I wasn't trying for the double. There were two outs and we were losing, 1-0, in the seventh inning, and I was trying to make sure that Brad [Ausmus] scored and also make sure I got myself in scoring position. Then, hopefully, I could score on another single. Obviously, Willy wanted nothing of that and threw me out by 10 feet."
Biggio's wife, Patty and daughter, Quinn, ran onto the field and his batboy sons, Conor and Cavan, ran in from the dugout as well. More than 40 family members and friends of the Biggios, from both Houston and New Jersey, celebrated from various areas of the ballpark.
Biggio and his wife cried as Craig lifted his daughter into the air, and the crowd was whipped into even more of a frenzy when Biggio's longtime teammate and close friend Jeff Bagwell was reluctantly pulled from the dugout to take part in the celebration.
"I wanted it to happen at home," Biggio said. "For the integrity of the game, you let the chips fall where they may. But the right thing happened and we were able to get it done, and anybody who had a ticket that night got to enjoy it, and the people at home got to enjoy it. Like I said, 20 years playing here and to be able to give that back to the fans is a pretty cool thing."
Biggio didn't stop at 3,000. He singled to right field in the ninth inning for his fourth hit of the game, and he singled again in the 11th. And to cap the night off? Carlos Lee hit a walk-off grand slam, scoring Biggio, to win the game. The grand slam proved to be only a sidebar to a night that belonged to No. 7.
"You're happy for so many different reasons and you're happy for your teammates because they don't have to talk about it anymore," Biggio said. "In order to get there, you have to go play every day. That's easier said than done, but I'm glad I was able to just share it with the fans."