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Biggio talks HOF chances at Minute Maid Park

HOUSTON -- Craig Biggio is always on the go. He has three kids active in sports, which means his time is split between the volleyball courts and baseball fields of Houston and watching his oldest son play baseball at Notre Dame. Not to mention his duties as head baseball coach at St. Thomas High School.

With so much on his plate, Biggio insists he hasn't had much time to consider whether he's going to wind up in the National Baseball Hall of Fame next year. If it happens, he said he'll be honored to be the first player to wear an Astros cap in Cooperstown, N.Y. If not, his busy life will keep chugging away.

Biggio, whose 20-year Astros career ended in 2007 with 3,060 hits, slowed down long enough Monday afternoon to talk Hall of Fame with the Houston media for about 15 minutes at Minute Maid Park.

"I know that the busier I can stay, it will probably ease a lot of that [anticipation] rather than waiting around and thinking, 'Maybe or maybe not,'" he said. "But as my life has been over the last five years, every day is busy. I'm not a big advocate of sitting around and waiting for a phone call that may not happen."

That call from the Hall could come Jan. 9, when the results of balloting are released. Biggio is part of a star-studded group of first-timers on the ballot, including former teammates Roger Clemens and Curt Schilling, as well as sluggers Sammy Sosa, Barry Bonds and Mike Piazza.

A candidate must receive 75 percent of the vote from Baseball Writers' Association of America members to gain election to the National Baseball Hall of Fame. Jeff Bagwell, Biggio's longtime teammate with the Astros, returns to the ballot for a third time.

Bagwell received 56 percent of the vote last year after garnering 41.7 percent his first time on the ballot two years ago. As far as Biggio is concerned, it's only a matter of time before Bagwell gets the call himself.

"Baggy was a great player," Biggio said. "There's no doubt about that."

Biggio's hectic life -- he's also become a trusted front-office advisor for general manager Jeff Luhnow -- will be even more frenzied in the days leading up to the balloting announcement. Biggio's family is making plans to attend the BCS national championship game on Jan. 7 in Miami to watch the Notre Dame football team. His oldest son, Conor, plays baseball for the Irish, and his youngest son, Cavan, will attend Notre Dame and play baseball following his senior year at St. Thomas.

As he watches his sons and his 13-year-old daughter, Quinn, grow in the years since he last wore an Astros uniform in 2007, Biggio went from being a recently retired player to eligible for the Hall of Fame in a flash.

"I can't really believe it's been five years, to be honest with you," he said. "I have a kid that's a sophomore in college, another one that's going next year and a 13-year-old. What it means is it's an incredible feeling.

"It's hard to play the game. I would have played it for free if that's what I had to do. I just enjoyed the game for what is was -- the opportunity to go out there and compete day in and day out, go out there and compete against some of the best players in the world. It never was trying to do anything to get yourself in the Hall of Fame."

But he certainly has the credentials to place among the game's greats.

An All-Star at catcher and later at second base, Biggio ranks 21st all time in hits and has more doubles (668) than any right-handed hitter in Major League history. He's 15th all time in runs scored (1,844), 10th in plate appearances (12,504) and first in hit-by-pitches (285) in the modern era. He also hit 291 home runs with 1,175 RBIs and a .281 career average in 2,850 games played.

"I did everything the club asked me to do," Biggio said. "You want me to hit leadoff? I hit leadoff. You want me to hit second? I hit second. I hit third, I hit seventh, I hit eighth, I hit everything. I played a position that I started off as a catcher and made the All-Star team, and then after that, they told me to go play a different position. That could have been a life-changer for you. All I know is, for this organization, I did everything they ever asked me to do and I'm proud of it. Hopefully, the writers feel strongly, that they liked what they saw and they feel good about what happened."

Now comes the hard part for Biggio: waiting for something that's out of his control. He's always been someone who's worked hard to put himself in the right situation on and off the field, worked to make sure he's in the right spot to succeed.

He's done all he can and now must wait, though he's not about to sit down and start looking at the calendar and counting the days. Life is too busy.

"It would be nice to get in the first time," he said. "The first time would be really, really cool, and when you think about it, Baggy's [voting totals] have risen significantly in the last year, and how cool would that be if you have an opportunity to get two of your Houston guys in at the same time? We don't know what's going to happen on Jan. 9, but if you're able to get in the first time, that would be great -- to get in any time would be great."

Houston Astros, Craig Biggio