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After close call, Biggio eyes second shot at Hall

Astros icon finished 39 votes short on first ballot; ranks 21st all-time in hits

Craig Biggio is a candidate on the National Baseball Hall of Fame ballot for a second time. The Class of 2014 results will be announced exclusively on MLB Network and simulcast on live on Wednesday at 1 p.m. CT as part of a three-hour live show beginning at 11 a.m. On Thursday, and MLB Network will air the news conferences featuring the electees live from New York at 10 a.m. CT.

HOUSTON -- After coming oh-so-close to reaching Cooperstown a year ago, Astros legend Craig Biggio is hoping he won't have to wait any longer.

Biggio, appearing on the National Baseball Hall of Fame ballot for a first time last year, came up short of being elected, garnering 68.2 percent of the vote of the Baseball Writers' Association of America. Biggio finished 39 votes shy of becoming the first player elected to the Hall of Fame to have played all of his career in Houston.

Several players who have spent parts of their careers in Houston have reached Cooperstown, but Biggio or teammate Jeff Bagwell, who's on the ballot for the fourth time, would represent the first Hall of Famers who spent their entire careers with the Astros.

"It would mean everything, not for myself, but for the organization, the fans and for my family," Biggio said. "That's really the way that I looked at it. It would be an exciting thing if in early January we receive a good phone call. We'll see what happens. You cross your fingers and hope for the best."

An All-Star at catcher and later at second base, Biggio ranks 21st all-time in hits, and he 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 pitch (285) in the modern era.

Biggio also hit 291 home runs with 1,175 RBIs and had a .281 career average in 2,850 games played.

A candidate must receive 75 percent of the vote from eligible Baseball Writers' Association of America members to gain election to the National Baseball Hall of Fame. No player received enough votes to get elected last year, with Biggio's 68.2 percent leading the way. Jack Morris had 67.7 percent of the vote, and Bagwell -- Biggio's longtime teammate -- had 59.6 percent.

"With the excitement we had last year and the possibilities of maybe, maybe not, you listen to the shows a little bit more and you might peek at the internet a little bit more," Biggio said. "I think I was 39 votes short last year, and hopefully 39 people decide to vote for you this year, because your first time on the ballot people don't like to vote that way. I'm hoping to get that phone call."

Hall of Fame outfielder Andre Dawson recently said that Biggio should be in the Hall.

"He had 3,000 hits, and that is what they call one of the automatic numbers," Dawson said. "There was a time where you had 3,000 hits, you were a shoo-in for the Hall of Fame. I had to wait nine years before I was put in the Hall of Fame. He has the 3,000 hits, so why does he have to wait?"

A first-round selection by Houston in the 1987 First-Year Player Draft out of Seton Hall, Biggio became the first Astros player to reach the 3,000-hit plateau with a seventh-inning single against Colorado's Aaron Cook on June 28, 2007. Biggio's No. 7 was retired by the Astros in 2008.

His 20 seasons with Houston are a franchise record, and he also made a club-best 19 consecutive Opening Day starts. Biggio is also the only player in Major League history to reach all of the following milestones: 600 doubles, 250 home runs, 2,700 hits and 400 stolen bases (414). Biggio and Cal Ripken Jr. are the only middle infielders (only 13 players all-time) to collect 3,000 hits and 1,000 extra-base hits.

Biggio was named to a franchise-record seven National League All-Star teams, received five Silver Slugger Awards, four Rawlings Gold Glove Awards and was a member of six Astros playoff teams. Biggio holds NL records for leadoff home runs with 53 (ranks second all-time) and for hits in Interleague Play with 201. He also led all players during the 2005 postseason with 18 hits.

Additionally, Biggio was the 2007 recipient of the Roberto Clemente Award, a prestigious honor bestowed upon one player each season by Major League Baseball and the Clemente family recognizing community service. Biggio has been actively involved with the Sunshine Kids throughout his career, a support organization for children with cancer and their families.

He's served as a special assistant to the general manager since his retirement, while serving as head baseball coach at St. Thomas High School in Houston for four years, leading the Eagles to a pair of TAPPS Class 5A state titles in 2010-11. Biggio's sons, Conor and Cavan, play for Notre Dame. Biggio and his wife, Patty, have a 14-year-old daughter, Quinn.

Brian McTaggart is a reporter for and writes an MLBlog, Tag's Lines. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter.
Read More: Houston Astros, Craig Biggio