Friday, June 29, 2007

Craig Biggio Gets 3,000th Career Hit

Major league baseball milestones continue to fall. Last night, Craig Biggio of the Houston Astros got his 3,000th career hit, becoming the 27th player in major league history to achieve the milestone. excerpt:

HOUSTON (AP) -- Craig Biggio collected his 3,000th hit and Carlos Lee made sure he could celebrate it in style.

Biggio had five hits for just the second time in his career and Lee hit a grand slam in the 11th inning to give the Houston Astros an 8-5 win over the Colorado Rockies on Thursday night.

"I think it was the way it was supposed to be done," Biggio said as he choked back tears. "To have it happen here -- that was a special atmosphere that was out there today."

Lee's shot to left field off Brian Fuentes (0-3) came on the first pitch. Biggio singled in the 11th, and Hunter Pence followed with a double before Lance Berkman was hit by a pitch to load the bases.

Biggio became the 27th player to reach the mark with a single to center field in the seventh inning. The Astros second baseman was thrown out trying to stretch the play into a double on his third hit of the night, which tied the game at 1.

That says it all about Biggio. He could have settled for the single and let the cheers rain down on him, but he sensed a chance to take the extra base in a close game and went for it. Sure, he was out, but the point is that the guy never stops hustling.

He added his fourth hit on a single to right field in the ninth for hit No. 3001 and his first four-hit game of the season.
Biggio is the first player to reach 3,000 hits since Rafael Palmeiro
on July 15, 2005, with Baltimore.

The 41-year-old, who entered the season needing 70 hits to reach the milestone, has played his entire 20-year career with the Astros, making him the longest tenured player in franchise history.

He dragged Jeff Bagwell, a teammate of his for 15 seasons, onto the field after reaching the mark. After all the two went through together, he wanted to share the moment with him.

"I wanted him on that field, between the lines one more time with me to really let the fans say goodbye, say hello, say thank you for so many things," Biggio said. "To me that was what it was about. He deserved it and I deserved it in a way. I just wanted him to enjoy it and be happy one more time with me."

Bagwell was moved by the gesture. "I'm just so proud of him," Bagwell said. "I just want everyone to appreciate that that's the kind of person he is off the field as well the kind he is on it. I'll never forget this moment."

A classy move by Biggio. A few years ago, the Red Sox hosted the Astros as part of interleague play, and Bags hit a long homer over the Monster. Of course, that homer was just one of the 449 he slugged that should have come in a Sox uniform, if not for the idiotic trade that sent him to Houston for middle reliever Larry Andersen at the 1990 trade deadline. But now is not the time for bitterness. Congratulations to Craig Biggio, the newest Mr. 3000. Next up for Biggio is the all-time career record for times having been hit by a pitch. At 283, he is four behind leader dead-ball era Hall of Famer Hughie Jennings' 287.

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