Sunday, September 29, 2013

My Top 50 Players On Cardboard-#40 Craig Biggio

My Top 50 Players On Cardboard
Craig Biggio

1988 Score Rookie/Trade Craig Biggio RC

Hobby Impact-
This is one of the most underrated players within the baseball card hobby during my 30 years of collecting.  I will get into the on-field stuff in a couple of minutes, but I am not sure why he's not a little bit more popular and respected around the industry.  I've always thought two things worked against Biggio around the hobby.

1. All of his rookie cards are from late 80s releases which were the junkiest of junk wax.  His 1989 Upper Deck rookie is a pretty nice card, but the rest are easily found for less than $5.  Nice graded versions do not even cost that much in comparison to other rookie cards of Hall of Fame players

2. Biggio played for the Astros.  The team had a great run and were highly competitive throughout much of Biggio's career.  He played with other great talent.  Why do people ignore the Astros?  Show me a good player whose been on the Astros (minus Nolan Ryan) and I will show you someone that baseball card collectors completely undervalue.  Bagwell, Berkman, etc, etc, etc.

Biggio also has not been a bigger certified autograph guy over the course of his career.  He has some autographs floating around, but they are always numbered and always fairly limited.  The Biggio autographs have always held their value well and are usually in pretty high demand around the hobby if you have one you are willing to part with.  In fact, one of my favorite autographs I have ever pulled was a.....

2001 Donruss Signature Craig Biggio Autograph

I am not sure I had ever seen a Biggio autograph before I pulled this from out of a Donruss Signature pack, but I was really happy to see this card.  I am not thrilled its a sticker autograph, but many of the early 2000s Biggio autographs are stickers for Donruss products.  More recently Biggio has started signing for Topps and has signed several on-cards autographs.

On The Field Impact-
Biggio was an All-Star catcher, second baseman, and outfielder.  During his time with the Astros the team went to the postseason five times including the team's only World Series appearance in 2005.  Biggio also reached 3,000 hits, had over 600 career doubles, stole more than 400 bases, and had more than 250 home runs.  Pretty unique skill set.

Biggio seems like a slam dunk Hall of Famer to me with a quick check of Baseball Reference you will find that Biggio's 10 most similar batters include eight Hall of Famers plus Lou Whiatker and Johnnny Damon.  Not bad company.  While the JAWS system ranks him as the fourteenth best second baseman, he spent several years playing other positions which took away from his overall position ranking.

Favorite Card-
I did not have a Biggio card that stuck out in my mind before I did my countdown list and came up with my cards to put into my posts, but after flipping through my stack of Biggio cards I found one that seemed a little bit than the rest.  One thing I always remember about Biggio was his leg kick.  Always had it through his whole career, but for whatever reason MLB does not post videos of Biggio.  Kind of whack.  So, here's my coolest Biggio card-

1997 Upper Deck Craig Biggio

Biggio leg kick and shin guard.  Grass stain.  The bat is a little bit low on pine tar for Biggio and the batting helmet is a little on the clean side, but overall this is a really good picture of Biggio batting.  If you are looking for another cool Biggio card I'd look at a 1989 Donruss or a 1992 Upper Deck card.  Hard to beat Biggio as a catcher.

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