By Father Gabe Costa
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The Baseball Writers’ Association of America (BBWAA) will soon announce their selections, if any, for the class of 2014 inductees to the Baseball Hall of Fame. Greg Maddux, a winner of more than 350 games, seems to be the only odds-on favorite to be enshrined this year.
Other possibly strong candidates include hurlers Tom Glavine, Mike Mussina and Curt Schilling and position players Jeff Bagwell, Mike Piazza and Frank Thomas.
On the other hand, the consensus seems to be that Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa, and others, have little chance of being admitted this year.
I personally hope Craig Biggio gets into Cooperstown this time around — his second year of eligibility.
Biggio, who played for 20 years with the Houston Astros, is a product of Seton Hall University. For some reason, Seton Hall has produced major league ballplayers year after year. Catcher Rick Cerone, pitcher Jason Grilli, and infielders John Valentin and Mo Vaughn are but four Seton Hall Pirate standouts who have starred in the big leagues. When one considers the fact that this New Jersey university is geographically situated in a region which does not enjoy the “weather advantages” of, say, Arizona State University, one marvels at the success of Seton Hall’s baseball program.
And Biggio is but another product of Seton Hall and was, like the aforementioned quartet, also coached by the legendary Mike Sheppard, who retired a number of years ago.
Biggio came up with the Astros as a catcher in 1988. After a few years, he switched to the keystone sack, which he guarded for approximately 15 seasons. He played in four All-Star games and had six postseason appearances.
Biggio compiled the following statistics in 10,876 career at-bats:
• He has 3,060 hits
• He slugged nearly 300 home runs
• He scored 1,844 runs
• He had 1,175 RBI
• He had 414 stolen bases
• His on-base-plus-slugging percentage (OPS) was .796
Again, I hope Biggio is elected this year.
If not, I believe he will eventually enter the Valhalla known as Cooperstown. He will not be deterred.
“Hazard Zet Forward,” which loosely translated means “at whatever risk, yet forward,” is the motto of the very institution where Biggio learned the game.
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