Biggio becomes 27th player to reach 3,000 hits Print
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Thursday, 28 June 2007 19:04
MLB Headline News

 HOUSTON (AP) -Craig Biggio kissed his wife, hugged everyone in sight and dragged former teammate Jeff Bagwell out onto the field to soak in the celebration.
It was the perfect place for the Astros second baseman to get his 3,000th career hit.
``I couldn't have scripted it any better,'' Biggio said. ``There are a lot of things that have happened over the past 20 years but tonight is the best.''
Biggio reached the milestone number on Thursday night with a single to center field in the seventh inning and then passed Roberto Clemente for 26th on the career list with the fourth of his season-high five hits.
He was thrown out trying to stretch the 3,000th hit into a double against the Rockies. He singled to right in the ninth and singled again in the 11th in Houston's 8-5 win.
Biggio is the first player to reach 3,000 hits since Rafael Palmeiro on July 15, 2005, with Baltimore.
The 41-year-old, who entered the season needing 70 hits to reach the milestone, has played his entire 20-year career with Houston, making him the longest tenured player in franchise history.
``I'm relieved,'' he said. ``Seventy is a big number. I can downplay it as much as I want but 70 hits is a lot of hits, especially at my age.''
The sellout crowd stood and chanted 'Bi-ggi-o' at each bat and cameras twinkled with each pitch. Fans held signs that read 'Mr. 3,000' and 'Biggio's Hit Parade.' One woman wore an orange shirt that featured block letters that read 'Biggio' and '3,000.'
His 3,000th hit came one day shy of the 19th anniversary of his first career hit, a single off Orel Hershiser on June 29, 1988.
Fireworks went off, the counter in left-center field with red illuminated numbers ticked to 3,000 and a giant banner with his picture and 3,000 that spanned from the train track to the roof of the stadium was unveiled after the hit.
Everyone on the team, including those in the bullpen, stormed the field to congratulate Biggio. His wife Patty, sons Conor and Cavan, and daughter Quinn also joined in the celebration. His sons were in the dugout acting as bat boys.
He kissed his wife and held his 7-year-old daughter in the air.
``Houston has always been very special to him,'' Patty Biggio said. ``He's always wanted to stay here, this was where he wanted to be and to have this happen here couldn't have been more perfect.''
He went to the dugout and hugged everyone while the crowd continued to go wild. Biggio then pulled Bagwell out of the dugout and returned with him to the field, where they stood arm and arm. Biggio and Bagwell played together for 15 seasons before Bagwell retired in December.
Biggio's first hit of the night came on a single to center field in the third inning.
The second hit, also a single, came on a grounder to third base in the fifth. Garrett Atkins badly overthrew first base on the play, leaving the official scorer to pause for several tense seconds before calling it a single and ruling an error allowed Biggio to advance to second.
Biggio is the only player in major league history to have at least 600 doubles (658), 250 home runs (286), 3,000 hits and 400 stolen bases (413).
He reflected on his career and the importance of reaching the milestone before Thursday's game.
``I've been very grateful and blessed to be in the situation where I'm at now and to play one of the greatest games in the world for 20 years,'' he said. ``This is very, very special.''
Astros general manager Tim Purpura said the team plans to honor Biggio in August for reaching the mark. Barry Bonds is the next closest player to 3,000 hits. The San Francisco Giants slugger is 104 hits away and needs seven home runs to pass Hank Aaron on the career list.
``He's a great player,'' Bonds said of Biggio. ``He's always been good, ever since I've watched him play. He's phenomenal. I would love the opportunity to play with him. Leadoff hitters don't come around that often.''
During his two decades with the Astros, Biggio has become known in the city as much for his charitable work as he has for his play. He has been the national spokesman for the Sunshine Kids Foundation, which helps children with cancer, for more than a decade.
He hosts an annual party for the patients at Minute Maid Park and puts on a golf tournament each year to raise money for the foundation. Sunshine Kids officials estimate that the tournament has raised more than $1 million for the cause.
 

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