In case you didn't hear, Craig Biggio missed being elected to the Hall of Fame today by .2% of the vote (75% of the vote is needed). In a game where a legion of numbers become arbitrary, too many members of the BBWAA do their best to go tit for tat. And yet, a group so set on numbers, consistently end up being so inconsistent.
Craig Biggio had a fantastic, hall of fame caliber career, but will be waiting another year for induction. The reason for this? Because too many voters see him as a compiler of stats. Plenty are the same voters who in past decades have set ridiculous benchmarks, such as 500 homeruns and 3,000 hits, to be the standard for Hall of Fame glory. Of course, Biggio recorded over 3,000 hits, but whether he came up a few hits short or not, shouldn't change his Hall of Fame case.
Year in and year out, certain voters
choose to ignore one group of players for their specific drawbacks,
and yet, don't bother to follow through on the other end of the
spectrum. Edgar Martinez isn't in the Hall because he was a designated hitter for the majority of his career (not too unlike Hall of Famer Paul Molitor). And although being unable to field a position should be held against a player, Edgar was simply too great of a hitter for it to matter. Don Mattingly had a hall worthy peak early in his career, but was slowed down because of injury, and although he still performed at a respectable level, didn't stick around long enough to tally up all the "necessary" counting stats. I understand why Mattingly hasn't been voted in, and in fact, it's pretty logical. He was unable to establish himself as one of the greats, although health was a big reason for that. But injury is also a part of the game. Longevity isn't the end all be all, especially for pitchers (another conversation for another day), but Donnie didn't do enough in his career to get in. I get it. But why then the disdain for Biggio?
If you are going to vote based on some arbitrary numbers or faulty logic, at least be consistent about it. Craig Biggio's career gives to voters what Martinez and Mattingly did not. He gave us longevity and consistency, while
performing great with the bat and on the bases at a position (second
base) that is historically seen as weak offensively. In fact, he delivers what too many voters demand, big totals and a long career, primarily as a second baseman no less. Biggio even has those string of great seasons the voters often want to see. He achieved a 65.3 career fWAR and his peak went on for seven straight years, which saw him accumulate at least 4.4 fWAR each season, topping out at 9.3. Even the 4.4 fWAR should have been higher, as it was limited due to the strike shortened season in 1994.
As for being a compiler, Biggio's durability should be seen as a strength, not a flaw. He played 20 seasons in the big leagues and landed on the disabled list one time. Just once. As for longevity, from 2001 to 2006 (age 36 to 41) , he produced a total of 11.2 fWAR. So it isn't as if he was just hanging around. Father Time did finally catch up to Biggio in 2007, however, and he decided to hang em' up.
This wasn't intended to shine a new light Craig Biggio. There are no compelling numbers to spit out. No jaw dropping graphs to be presented. There are no revelations here. All of that has been said and done. Biggio's case has been made and his election to the Hall is long overdue. Sadly, he isn't the only one waiting. Alan Trammell, Tim Raines, Mike Piazza, Jeff Bagwell, and Lou Whitaker all stand by, and that's just to name a few.
When Roy Halladay doesn't make the Hall of Fame on his fourth attempt, I'll try my hardest to be unsurprised.
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