Q&A: Biggio talks Hall of Fame, Bagwell

January 14th, 2017

Craig Biggio was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2015, his third year on the ballot. Nothing about his career changed over those three years, but his vote total went up each year.
And when Biggio was elected, he celebrated. Two years of disappointment were wiped away with one phone call from the Hall.
This year, Biggio is watching as his longtime Houston teammate Jeff Bagwell (who is in his seventh year on the ballot) appears to be in line to join Biggio in Cooperstown. The results of the 73rd Baseball Writers' Association of America Hall of Fame election will be revealed Wednesday at 6 p.m. ET live on MLB Network, and simulcast live on MLB.com beginning at 5 p.m.
Complete Hall of Fame coverage
Biggio recently talked with MLB.com about the anxiety of waiting to get into Cooperstown, and some of the players he feels have been overlooked by the BBWAA voters in this week's Q&A:
MLB.com: You had to wait three years before you got into the Hall of Fame.
Biggio: Yeah, but it's like anything in our sport. It's like Yogi [Berra] used to say, "It ain't over till it's over." Your first year you do well, and the next year you come two votes shy. Then, you go in your third year, and everybody says that you're in -- but until you get that phone call, you're not expecting anything. That's why it was emotional for me. I cried when I got the call. You're hoping that it happens, and then when it does … You put your whole life into a game that you truly love, and you owe everything to the game, and then when you do get that phone call, especially after coming so close the year before, it was an amazing moment.

MLB.com: Going into that third year, I'm sure everybody was assuring you that you were a lock. Were you confident?
Biggio: You're like, "Who knows?" You can't go back and play any more games. I guess my second year, from what I understand, is some guys took me off the ballot to save some other guys from being dropped, thinking I didn't need the vote to get in. That's why until you get that phone call, you're not expecting [to get in].
MLB.com: Where were you when you got the phone call?
Biggio: At home. My agent, Barry Axelrod, was in town, and my family was in town. Obviously my immediate family, my kids and my wife. You put the phone down in a spot where it has good reception, and they tell you if you are elected, you will get a call in a one-hour window. You're just hoping that the phone rings. When it doesn't ring the first year, you're like, "Damn. Nobody got in." Then it didn't ring again and it's like, "OK." Then the third year, it rang. Obviously, you're elated.
MLB.com: Have you talked to Bagwell at all, keeping his spirts up?
Biggio: I think Bags has done a really good job about it. We've been down this road. Baggy's been on [the ballot for] seven years now. This'll be his seventh year, and I was on it for three. Barry [Axelrod] understands it, and he's explained it to Jeff, so he gets it. The only advice that I can have is I stayed as busy as you can. What I ended up doing is that I went to my ranch, I hunted, I kept busy, kept my mind off it. Then, I got back home a day or two before the actual day. Then you have those two days to keep yourself as busy as you can. Hopefully you do get a phone call.
MLB.com: Things would seem positive for Bagwell considering his jump to 71.6 percent of the votes last year, don't you think?
Biggio: Yes. What happens when you know that you're on that cusp, and you're knocking on the door, the anxiety and excitement level goes to a different level. That's the craziest thing in the world. You don't control it. You submit your resume, and then hopefully people like your resume.
MLB.com: As a player, if you're in a game, if you strike out and swing at a bad pitch, that was your fault. Now you are just waiting for other people to decide.
Biggio: You're like, "Here's my resume. Here's where I played." That's why it's so hard -- 75 percent is a big number when you think about it.
MLB.com: Have you talked to Bagwell at all in anticipation of this year?
Biggio: I've talked to him once. Texted him a little bit just to ask how he is doing. He said he's good. I've heard some interviews with him, and he's doing good.
MLB.com: The guy that puzzles me is Larry Walker's lack of support. I guess Coors Field is a factor.
Biggio: Yeah, they penalize him and ignore what he did everywhere else. With me, a lot of people assume I played my career in Minute Maid Park. I played 12 years in the Astrodome, only eight in Minute Maid. Walker was a five-tool player. Barry Bonds was a five-tool player with a below-average arm. Walker had the five tools and an arm that was strong and accurate. That guy was crazy good.
MLB.com: Who are some guys that you think seem to have been overlooked in the voting?
Biggio: Fred McGriff. Alan Trammell. Jack Morris. Lou Whitaker [not even getting five percent his first year] was nuts.