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After just missing Hall of Fame last year, Craig Biggio could make it this time around

Houston Astros' Craig Biggio is seen during a

Houston Astros' Craig Biggio is seen during a press conference in 2008. Credit: AP

In the course of baseball history, 16 players have missed election to the Hall of Fame by a single-digit margin, and last year, Craig Biggio became one of only three candidates to fall short of the required 75 percent by only two votes.

Heartbreaking? Sure.

But the good news for Biggio is that the previous 15 subsequently were elected to Cooperstown, so the former Kings Park High School star -- and seven-time All-Star with the Astros -- has reason to expect a phone call Tuesday when the Hall of Fame announces this year's group of inductees.

"I didn't play the game to get into the Hall of Fame," Biggio said at Minute Maid Park this past summer. "But we're pretty darn close."

Back then, Biggio was most disappointed for his family, the fans and the Astros organization, which doesn't have a player wearing its cap in Cooperstown.

A year ago, Biggio received 427 votes from the 571 ballots cast by the Baseball Writers Association of America. When Pie Traynor missed by two in 1947, he earned 119 votes out of 161 ballots. Nellie Fox, who fell two short in 1985, received 295 votes out of 395 ballots.

There's little doubt that Biggio has the credentials. He's one of only 11 players with at least 3,000 career hits and 1,800 runs scored. Eight of them already are in the Hall of Fame. The other two? The newly retired Derek Jeter, who won't be eligible until 2020, and the banned-for-life Pete Rose.

If Biggio makes the Hall of Fame, he'll be part of an even more exclusive club after playing every one of his 2,850 games with the Astros. Only 48 of the 211 major-league players in the Hall spent their entire career with one team. One of them is Carl Yastrzemski, the Bridgehampton High School grad who played 23 years for the Red Sox.

That loyalty means as much to Biggio as any statistic, with Cooperstown scheduled to be only the third stop of a storied baseball career that began on Long Island and flourished in Houston.

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