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Ryan to Biggio will start off Opening Day

Legends to form battery for Houston's pregame festivities at Minute Maid Park

HOUSTON -- If there was one thing that always stood out in Craig Biggio's memory about his rookie season, it was his ability to keep his eyes wide open and his trap shut.

During his career, especially in his later years, Biggio often reminisced about what life was like as a newcomer breaking into the Major Leagues in 1988. The rules back then were simple: don't talk, and don't talk.

Given the list of veterans on the team that year -- Bill Doran, Buddy Bell, Nolan Ryan, Mike Scott, Larry Andersen, just to name a few -- it's easy to understand why Biggio chose to listen, and learn.

"That being his rookie year, he remembers things that the rest of us don't remember," Ryan chuckled, asked if he recalled ever telling Biggio to shut it. "I know that was kind of his mindset, trying to take in everything, trying to learn his way."

Biggio, who started his Major League career as a catcher, caught Ryan's 100th career win as an Astro in 1988. On Tuesday, the two will be on the field together again, as battery mates for the ceremonial first pitch during the Opening Day pregame ceremony.

"The fact that I threw to him and I saw pretty much his entire career ... I know what he means to the organization," Ryan said. "It makes it special."

Biggio started his career as a catcher, but he spent the majority of his 20 years in an Astros uniform at second base. He also had a brief stint in the outfield a decade ago.

Ryan moved on to the Rangers in 1989 but kept tabs on Biggio's career, one that many feel will eventually merit induction into the Hall of Fame.

"I remember him coming up as a rookie and being as enthusiastic then as he was his entire career," Ryan said. "You knew he was a talented kid. Just seeing how he made that transition, which obviously he didn't have any trouble ... it never crossed my mind that he'd end up playing second base the majority of his career. When I looked at him I thought he was a catcher with a lot of athletic ability."

Opening Day on-field pregame festivities will begin at approximately 5:30 p.m. CT, before the Astros and Yankees begin the 2014 season at 6:10 p.m. Radio stations 790 KBME AM and KLAT 1010 AM also will have pregame coverage.

Alyson Footer is a national correspondent for Follow her on Twitter @alysonfooter.

Houston Astros