Seven-time NL All-Star, 4-time NL Gold Glove Winner, 5-time NL Silver Slugger Award Winner, 3,060 career hits (20th all-time) and 285 hit-by-pitches, the most of any player in recorder Major League Baseball history.
A utility player for the ages, and one of the all-time Greats at second base. Craig Biggio, or as he is known at St. Thomas, Coach Biggio, took his on-field skills and applied them to the most integral part of the sport: coaching.
In his five year coaching tenure, Biggio lead the Eagles to back-to-back TAPPS 5A state titles, the 21st and 22nd state titles in school history. Mitch Harris (‘13) played three years of varsity ball under Biggio said that he made baseball more than just a game.
“As a coach, Biggio created an atmosphere that made it easy for a player to get accustomed to; it was easy for people to adjust to change,” Harris said.
“You need patience to really appreciate the sport. Biggio taught that if you watch the game closely, it all makes sense, and it helps you understand the game at a deeper level. Being mentally tuned into the game helps put you one step ahead of your opponent.”
Twenty-five St. Thomas student athletes have signed letters of intent to play college baseball during Biggio’s five year coaching tenure at powerhouses like Notre Dame, Virginia Tech, Houston and Rice. Additionally, two others (Patrick Leonard (‘11) & Austin Fairchild (‘12) were drafted into the big leagues and signed directly out of the program.
In an earlier interview conducted with Keith Calkins, head Athletic Director Mike Netzel said that Biggio took his role of a coach and brought it to a more important level: He became a role model for the players.
“He really always stressed that the program was about more than baseball; it was about being men of character and representing your family name well,” Netzel said.
“He lived the Goodness, Discipline and Knowledge that the school is all about. His legacy here is continued service to the community and continued excellence. He is truly Hall of Fame caliber to the core.”
Harris also says that Biggio brought his talents to St. Thomas from an off field perspective as well.
“He brought publicity to the school. The school is a small school and before Biggio, the name St. Thomas High School was not known by as many Houstonians as it is today,” Harris said.
“He helped broaden St. Thomas’ image to others in the Houston area. I guarantee that there are students at this school that had no idea about St. Thomas until they heard that Craig Biggio coached here. If they looked into the school after hearing that, they’d find that it is an excellent place to get an education.”
Although this might not have been the year for the world to celebrate his professional accomplishments on the baseball diamond, his impact both on and off the field here at St. Thomas endure and that is something truly worth celebrating.