Ratto on Biggio: 'I voted for him'
It’s not like the signs weren’t there but the reality of Craig Biggio not getting voted into the Hall of Fame Wednesday is still shocking.
A member of the 3,000 hit club, Biggio’s supporters were hoping that the enormity of his statistical argument along with the unusual career path he took would be enough to get him elected. In the end 68.2 percent of the voters included Biggio on the ballot, leaving the seven time all star 39 votes shy of induction in 2013.
“What the voters seem to be ignoring is that Biggio is a unique player in the history of the game,” Astros television broadcaster Bill Brown wrote in response to questions this week. “He is the only player in history to record 1,000 at-bats as a catcher, second baseman and a center fielder. He should not be compared to (Roberto) Alomar, Joe Morgan, Rogers Hornsby and other second baseman because he played other positions - the catching position being the most physically demanding on the field.”
When it comes to judging Biggio’s career, Brown should know. He broadcasted Astros games throughout Biggio’s career and has probably seen more of his games than anyone.
“Biggio and (Jeff) Bagwell both are clearly Hall of Famers by standards set over the years by Hall of Fame voters,” Brown wrote. “They compare with the upper echelon of playewrs currently in the Hall of Fame very favorably. There is no doubt in my mind that they belong in the Hall of Fame.”
Motivations of Hall of Fame voters aren’t the easiest to decipher in the best of times and this year was murkier than most. The addition of proven steroid users on the ballot turned the writers into the moral compass of the Hall of Fame and there was no consensus which way they should vote. Lacking that direction, the totals for every player were predictably low.
Jeff Bagwell, whose percentage of votes climbed 14.3 percent to 56 from 2010 to 2011, saw his total climb to just 59.6 percent this year.
The players directly linked to steroid use on the ballot for the first time also had a predictably difficult time. Roger Clemens landed just 37.6 percent, but he still finished ahead of Barry Bonds (36.2) and Sammy Sosa (12.5).
With no players getting elected, a logjam of sorts has been created among players who will be part of the Hall of Fame discussion for as long as they’re on the ballot. That surplus of names figures to get longer in the coming years as several more big names appear for the first time.
Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine and Frank Thomas will be first timers on the 2014 ballot; Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez, John Smoltz and Gary Sheffield will be on the 2015 ballot. Those names coming through in the next few years could mean this year’s decision to induct nobody could take years to unravel.
Despite the disappointment for Biggio, there seems to be a high degree of confidence that he will be elected in 2014. That won’t make Astros fans feel any better. Up until this week they all had a high degree of confidence in his election Wednesday.