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All hail the King of Plunk

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Craig Biggio, the undisputed modern day king of the hit by pitch.

Craig Biggio’s arm guard is headed to the Hall of Fame.

The way Houston Astros manager Phil Garner sees it, the player won’t be far behind.

Biggio set the modern record for being hit by pitches and added a solo homer, helping Roy Oswalt win his fourth straight start in Houston’s 7-1 victory over the Colorado Rockies on Wednesday.

“When you look at where he stands [with] offensive numbers, he’s pretty impressive,” Garner said. “The guys that are ahead of him are baseball icons that live forever. The guys that he’s passed and he continues to pass are baseball icons too. So he’s in high cotton he deserves to be there.”

Biggio was hit on the left elbow in the fourth inning by Byung-Hyun Kim, breaking Don Baylor’s post-1900 record of 267 times hit by pitches. Biggio calmly turned and trotted to first as he had so many other times, but this time he pointed to the ball and asked the ball boy to send it back to the Astros’ dugout as a keepsake for his years of pain.

“Anybody that’s been hit that many times, you have no understanding about how many times that is and how painful it is over the years,” said Biggio, who had two hits to move into 52nd place with 2,718.

Many of the fans at Coors Field gave Biggio a standing ovation, and Cooperstown asked for his arm guard. As for the ball, it’s headed home to his kids.

“My kids collect a bunch of stuff, it’s amazing,” Biggio said. “We have a rotation going on, I don’t know if it’s my daughter’s or my oldest boy’s — somebody is going to get it. They treat everything with respect, they respect the game.”

Baylor, now a Seattle Mariners coach, complimented Biggio.

“It was an honor to watch him play,” Baylor said before the Mariners played Oakland. “I’ve always liked his style. When he became a free agent, I tried to lure him to Colorado.”

He didn’t mind Biggio breaking the record wearing protective gear.

“It’s all right. I had a lot of close calls,” Baylor said. “Body parts are not going to Cooperstown. I got hit in the elbow, the back, the head, the shins. You play and prepare for the next at-bat. I never missed a game or an at-bat because of it, but I charged the mound a few times.”

Naturally, Plunk Biggio is there to celebrate. He also commemorates Biggio’s record-tying plunk from Tuesday, which represented the first time Bidge got dinged in Colorado.

Congratulations to Craig Biggio for your most endearing record-setting feat. Now go apply some Absorbine and get a good night’s sleep.

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  1. cacafuego says:

    2718 hits and counting; 587 doubles and counting; .286 career BA and career leader in HBP, those are pretty darn good numbers. Combine that with a classy demeanor, a reputation as a tough and resilient competitor and widespread respect around the league and the case gets better and better for the Hall.

  2. Patrick says:

    Throw in 4 gold gloves at 2B, over 400 SB and playing for one team for his entire career during an era of free agency and his resume gets even better.