Darren Richardson

Jan. 8, 2013

Baseball fans still have several weeks to wait before pitchers and catchers report for spring training, but there’s plenty of baseball-related activity on tap for Wednesday.

Major League Baseball will announce the results of the annual Baseball Writers’ Association of America Hall of Fame balloting at 2 p.m. EST Wednesday. The announcement will be broadcast live on the MLB Network and simulcast live on MLB.com and baseballhall.org.

About 600 baseball writers voted on 37 players this year, with some names that would have been considered first-ballot “sure things” for the Hall during their careers now considered the longest of first-ballot longshots.

Those tainted longshots include Barry Bonds, Sammy Sosa and Roger Clemens, all names now associated with the legacy of illegal performance-enhancing drugs and the "Steroid Era." Rafael Palmeiro and Mark McGwire are in their third and seventh years of eligibility respectively, and their chances aren’t much better than those of Bonds and company.

However deserving these players may or may not be when all is said and done, don’t expect them to be among the 2013 inductees.

One player who absolutely deserves to be enshrined into the Hall of Fame this year, though, is longtime Houston Astros second baseman Craig Biggio.

As a Cardinal fan, I remember hoping that Biggio would not get a chance to hit in clutch situations against the Redbirds. The thought of Biggio at the plate with the game on the line was not a pretty one. Statistics show Cardinal fans had good reason to be nervous with Biggio batting: In his 20 years with the Astros, Biggio racked up 280 hits and 131 RBIs against the Cardinals, his best totals against any team in those categories.

The numbers don’t tell the whole story of this remarkably consistent and hard-working infielder. Biggio, more than any of his talented Houston teammates over the 20 years he played, was the consummate “tough out,” and that held true from his first game in 1988 to his last game in 2007.

His numbers, however, do tell a powerful story. He had 3,060 career base hits, one of only 28 players to have achieved that coveted milestone. He swatted 291 home runs and 668 doubles (fifth on the all-time list), with 55 triples and 414 stolen bases for good measure. Biggio, who passed up a chance at high-dollar free agency to remain with the Astros after the 1995 season, played all of his 2,850 games with Houston.

Regardless of who else makes the Hall of Fame this year, Biggio ought to be standing tall when the induction ceremony rolls around this summer in Cooperstown.

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