Ensberg on Biggio: 'I think it's completely ridiculous'
On Wednesday afternoon, lifelong Astro Craig Biggio – along with every other player on this year’s Baseball Hall of Fame ballot - was left out of Cooperstown. Within hours, many of Biggio’s former teammates voiced their displeasure with the writers responsible for keeping the Houston legend from cementing his legacy.
Their words were heated, but we’ll use them here to at least try explaining how a man with 3,000 hits wasn’t fit for immortality. Yet.
Reason 1 – The Steroid Era
Some players on the ballot have admitted using performance enhancers, while others were simply buried under mountains of anecdotal evidence. Craig Biggio fits neither of these categories, but he still didn’t get in. Call it guilt by association or being a victim of his era, but it’s probably the main reason Biggio didn’t get in.
“[With] 3,000 hits you can write your own ticket into the Hall of Fame,” Geoff Blum said Wednesday, speaking on his former teammates’ snub. “It seemed to be a first ballot issue in the past with most guys, but apparently something changed over the last couple years with 3,000 hits. I think it’s definitely a type of reprimand for guys who played in the ‘steroid era.’”
Reason 2 – The Process
Writers had a tough time figuring things out this year. A few turned in blank ballots, and some abstained from voting entirely. But, according to Morgan Ensberg, the problem isn’t necessarily who is voting – but who isn’t.
“You can’t tell me right now that Milo Hamilton shouldn’t have a vote,” Ensberg said, explaining his desire to see more diversity amongst Hall of Fame voters. “You have to take a look at some of these broadcasters, guys who have been covering the game for a long time. Why don’t we ask general managers? Why don’t we ask people who have been presidents of clubs to have a vote? Overall, what you’re seeing right now is people who are misinformed.”
Reason 3 - Market size
Houston is a top 10 television market, but Biggio’s HoF candidacy might have been enhanced – in some eyes – had he played on either coast. Is Biggio the Yankee or Dodger a first-ballot Hall of Famer?
“[If Biggio] played as well as he did but played in LA or Chicago or New York and won a World Series to add to his resume I’m sure he’d be in the Hall of Fame,” Blum noted. “There is no question about it.”