The Houston Astros are coming to "Los Angeles of Anaheim" this week, and they'll be doing so with a giant conundrum on their hands. It's a future Hall of Famer. It's Craig Biggio.
Unfortunately for all involved, Biggio's march towards 3,000 hits has been painfully long. The team had developed Chris Burke as his heir at second base, but he's been waiting around for two years now. The Astros tried Biggio in center field for a while, but that experiment ended with him back at second. In the ultimate test of loyalty, the Astros and Biggio have stuck together through thick and thin. They even survived the Astrodome. But these days it's more thin than thick.
Biggio is only 11 hits from becoming the ninth player to amass all of his hits with one team, joining Cal Ripken, George Brett, Tony Gwynn, Robin Yount, Al Kaline, Stan Musial, Carl Yastrzemski and Roberto Clemente.But Biggio is limping towards 3,000. He's hitting .237 for the season with a .280 on-base percentage. Biggio is projected to get his historic hit by the end of the month, and you have to wonder if Burke will be getting his chance at second not long after that.
"It's a balancing act," Astros GM Tim Purpura said, "with what he's done for this team and this city and what is best for the future of this team."Purpura and the Astros have been put in a tough situation both with Biggio and Jeff Bagwell the last few seasons. But for the most part they've seemed to balance the need to win as well as the loyalty that usually is just a memory from days past. You wouldn't want to see Biggio reach hit 3,000 in a Devil Rays uniform, would you? The Astros have done more than their part, earning the notion that they are an organization that treats their players right. Now its time to start thinking about themselves, and their 8 game deficit in the NL Central.