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Sun, Nov 23, 2014

HALE: Biggio gets raw deal for 2nd straight year

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MURFREESBORO, Tenn. -- Some people in this profession continue to amaze me, particularly those who are fortunate to vote on the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Problem is, many of those “chosen” ones don’t even fill out a ballot. They should be stripped of their voting privilege.

And then you have certain cases where a player is left out. He’s not considered a “first-time Hall of Famer.” What is that? You either merit being in the Hall of Fame, or you don’t.

It happened to former Houston Astro Craig Biggio last year when he was omitted. I didn’t like it then because he deserves his rightful place in the Hall, but when he was left out again this year by a mere two votes, it flat made my blood boil.

Let’s look at what Biggio accomplished during his 20-year career in the bigs.

Biggio played in 2,850 games, scored 1,844 runs, collected 3,060 hits (which once was a barometer for being in the Hall), had 668 doubles, 291 home runs and 1,175 RBIs. He also was a .281 lifetime hitter and swiped 414 stolen bases.

Also keep in mind that Biggio came up as a catcher where he was an All-Star. He also earned the same status as a center fielder and second baseman.

Biggio was a seven-time All-Star in all, won four gold gloves and five Silver Slugger awards. He also did it off the field, winning the 1997 ML Branch Rickey Award, the 2005 ML Hutch Award and the 2007 Roberto Clemente Award.

Those are outstanding numbers and accolades, which certainly merit him being in the Hall of Fame. Yet, for the second straight year he didn’t get the call from Cooperstown. It’s absurd.

As for the 2014 class, it’s outstanding. Former Cubs/Braves pitcher Greg Maddux, former pitcher Braves/Mets pitcher Tom Glavine and former White Sox first baseman Frank Thomas were no-brainers. It sure wouldn’t have hurt to have added Biggio to that list.

To be elected, a player must get 75 percent of votes among the panel. Maddux received 97.2 percent, the seventh highest in history. Glavine received 91.9 percent, and Thomas appeared on 83.7 percent of the ballots.

Biggio (74.8 percent), Mike Piazza (62.2) and Jack Morris (61.5) were the next three on the list.

Many believe Morris should be in the Hall as he was the most dominant pitcher in the game during his era, particularly from 1979-1992. He won 254 games and had 175 complete games. There weren’t that many complete games in the Major Leagues last season.

The Hall of Fame is for the greats of the game. It’s not for good, solid big leaguers.

That being noted, the writers once again missed the boat when it came to Biggio.

Then again, there were actually some voters back in the day who didn’t think Willie Mayes or Hank Aaron belonged.

Hmm, some sports writers make all of us in this profession look like fools.

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