HOFer Biggio on hand for son's MLB debut

Cavan, 24, ranked as Blue Jays' No. 9 prospect

May 24th, 2019

HOUSTON -- Craig Biggio’s children were always a visible part of his baseball life, especially his sons, Conor and Cavan. The duo would serve as bat boys from time to time when they were old enough, including in the days leading up to Craig’s run at 3,000 hits in 2007.

Biggio always referred to his accomplishments as “we,” knowing that there was a supportive family behind the man who would become the most iconic player in Astros history. Conor, Cavan, their sister Quinn, and Craig’s wife, Patty, weren’t just fans, they were woven into the storyline of Craig’s unforgettable 20-year ride to the Hall of Fame.

Imagine what Biggio is feeling today, with the tables turned less than 12 years after he took off an Astros uniform for the last time. His youngest son, Cavan, is set to make his Major League debut Friday night for the Blue Jays against the Padres in Toronto at 24 years old. He was called up from Triple-A Buffalo.

“Obviously, it’s hard to put into words,” Biggio told MLB.com Friday. “I can’t tell you how exciting it is for our family and for him. He put the time and the effort and the work into it, and now to be able to be a big leaguer, it’s incredible. We’re excited about this evening.”

The entire Biggio family, including Patty, Quinn, Conor and one of Cavan’s grandmothers, collected their passports and made the trip Friday to Toronto, which isn’t the easiest place to travel to from Houston.

“Champagne problems,” Craig joked. “It’s all good.”

High school buddies and other close friends also scurried to make their way to Canada.

“He had a tight network of kids in high school and they said, ‘If you ever make it to the big leagues, wherever you are, we’re going to be there,’” Craig said.

Craig was scheduled to fly to the family’s home in New Jersey and make the drive to Allentown, Pa., to watch the Blue Jays’ Triple-A club play at Lehigh Valley beginning Friday, when Cavan called him Thursday night with the exciting news.

“He’s like, ‘Hey, you know, you’re coming to see me tomorrow?’ I was like, ‘Yeah, I’m planning on it,’” Craig said. “He goes, ‘Well, you might want to change your plans and go to Toronto.’ It was pretty cool. It was pretty neat.”

Biggio was eager to see his son before he was in a big league lineup for the first time after arriving in Toronto on Friday and wasn’t surprised to find out Cavan had arrived at the ballpark early.

“Sounds like his father,” he said.

Craig was 22 years old when he made his Major League debut on June 26, 1988, for the Astros, who drafted him in the first round out of Seton Hall University the year before. He started at catcher that day and caught lefty Jim Deshaies in the Astros’ 6-0 win over the Giants.

A Hall of Fame career followed, one which included 3,060 hits, 291 homers, 1,175 RBIs and 414 stolen bases, but his Major League debut still resonates clearly in his mind more than 30 years later.

“I got on a red eye and came [to Houston] from Tucson,” he said. “Hal Lanier was my manager. I think I got to the clubhouse at like 8 in the morning and got two hours of sleep in a room in the back in the Astrodome.

 “I met with the manager and he asked, ‘Can you play?’ I said, ‘Heck, yeah! I’m 22 years old and in the big leagues, I don’t need any sleep for this.’ It was against the Giants. I think we won. Bob Knepper or Jim Deshaies pitched. Some guy stole. I remember I threw him out. Probably the only guy I threw out.”

Indeed, Biggio threw out Jose Uribe trying to steal in the second inning. He eventually became an All-Star as a catcher, blossomed into a superstar at second base in the 1990s and an Astros legend after retiring in 2007 following 20 seasons in an Astros uniform.

His family was there every step of the way, and now it’s time for Craig to be the one cheering from the stands. Cavan is a big leaguer.

“I can’t tell you how many people in Houston ask about him, and ask about my kids in general,” Craig Biggio said. “They grew up with them. They grew up with them as little kids running around the Astrodome, and running around Minute Maid [Park], and 20 years is a long time to play with one team. It’s been exciting to watch him do his thing and continue to work hard and grind. Finally, you get a phone call and the next thing you know, you’re here.

“As a father that’s played, I can’t tell you how excited I am for him and the accomplishments he’s been able to achieve and the hard work that he’s put into the game.”