Saturday, November 22, 2014

Biggio just misses Cooperstown

NEW YORK—Craig Biggio barely came up short so he’ll be back next year.
But Jack Morris’ outing is over—and he went the distance again.

Mike Piazza, Jeff Bagwell, Barry Bonds, and Roger Clemens also were kept out of Cooperstown when Hall-of-Fame election results were announced yesterday.
And while first-time eligibles Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, and Frank Thomas sailed right in, the big stars still waiting remained a significant part of the story.
“Obviously I’m disappointed to come that close,” Biggio said in a statement.
“I feel for my family, the organization, and the fans,” he added.
“Hopefully next year.”
The seven-time all-star, who spent his entire 20-year career with the Houston Astros, was selected on 74.8 percent of ballots with a total of 427 votes—two shy of the 75 percent required for enshrinement.
That tied Nellie Fox in 1985 and Pie Traynor in 1947 for the nearest miss.
Traynor made it the following year while Fox was inducted by the old Veterans Committee in 1997.
“I was, like, shocked,” Thomas said. “To hear that he didn’t get in by two votes, man, I don’t want to use the word ‘tragic,’ but it’s got to be a tragic moment for him right now.
“He was one heck of a player.
“It looks like he’s going to get into the Hall of Fame in the future, but yeah, it’s got to be a devastating day for him,” Thomas added.
Biggio topped voting at 68 percent last year in his first appearance, when members of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America failed to elect anyone for only the second time in four decades.
He finished his career with 3,060 hits, 1,844 runs, 668 doubles, and 414 steals. He also set a big-league record by getting hit with pitches 285 times.
Biggio broke into the big leagues as a catcher but won four-straight Gold Gloves at second base. He also patrolled centrefield and left.
Biggio has plenty of chances left but Morris does not.
Best-known as a big-game pitcher who won World Series rings with three different teams, the right-hander received 351 votes (61.5 percent) and fell 78 short in his 15th and final appearance on the writers’ ballot.
He dipped from 67.7 percent in 2013 and displaces Gil Hodges (63 percent in 1983) as the player with the highest-percentage of the vote not in the Hall.
“Just the ultimate gamer. Sad he didn’t get in today,” Thomas said. “The last few years I spent a lot of time with him . . . so I know how much it meant to him.
“We’re not going to lose hope now because he didn’t make it this year,” Thomas stressed.
“Hopefully the veterans committee can get him in.”
Morris went 254-186 with a 3.90 ERA—higher than any pitcher in the Hall.
He threw 175 complete games and 28 shutouts.
His greatest moment came in Game 7 of the 1991 World Series, when he pitched 10 shutout innings to lead Minnesota to a 1-0 victory over Atlanta.
His next chance at Cooperstown could come at the expansion era committee meeting in December, 2016.

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