Friday, October 21, 2005

Biggio, Bagwell and Banks: Two Out Of Three Ain't Bad

Bagwell (left) and Biggio: FINALLY they made it

The Houston Astros entered Major League Baseball in 1961, as the Colt .45's. No World Series appearances in their first 43 years of existence meant that the franchise hasn't really had a face.

Ahh, but they do, actually.

Craig Biggio has played over 2,500 games as an Astro; Jeff Bagwell has logged 2,100+ games in Houston. That's nearly 4,700 games, or over 42,000 innings of baseball, with no World Series appearances. Until now.

What the Astros' being in this year's World Series means is that Ernie Banks is still the poster child for lengthy baseball careers without a sniff of postseason ball. At least Bagwell and Biggio have been to the playoffs prior to this season. But Banks, the great Chicago Cub, never played in anything other than spring training or regular season contests. He came close in 1969, but the Cubs blew the divisional title to the Mets.

Ernie never made the playoffs after nearly 2,600 games

It seemed for a time that our own Steve Yzerman was going to have that collar on him, but 14 years after joining the NHL, the Red Wings won the Stanley Cup. Back to baseball, Al Kaline played 14 seasons as a Tiger before the World Series of 1968.

Bagwell and Biggio have toiled largely in anonymity, but when you look at their numbers, you're looking at two potential Hall of Famers. But playing in Houston hasn't exactly been Valhalla for their career reputations.

I hope that the two of them get their just desserts in this series, mainly from the TV types, who like to make a story out of everything. But the fact that Jeff Bagwell and Craig Biggio are FINALLY in a World Series after 4,700 games between them is not a story that has to be contrived or exaggerated.

Welcome to the Series, gentlemen.

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