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Extra bases made a difference to Hall of Famer Craig Biggio

Craig Biggio watches the flight of a hit

Craig Biggio watches the flight of a hit in a game with the Houston Astros. Credit: AP

Craig Biggio has the hits - 3,060 of them, which is good enough for No. 20 on MLB's all-time list.

But those 1,014 extra base hits carry a little more weight, he said in a Hall of Fame conference call last Thursday.

"Well, I think it kind of goes hand in hand," said Biggio, who starred at Kings Park High School before playing 20 seasons with the Houston Astros. "I mean, the 3,000 hits ... the only way you're going to get it in the National League is you've got to go out there and play offense and defense.

"But you want to throw in the 1,000 extra base hits for middle infielders. The list of guys that have 1,000 extra base hits is pretty small. And I kind of weigh them out together where, I think it's Cal Ripken and myself are the only two middle infielders to have 3,000 hits and 1,000 extra base hits."

Biggio hit 668 doubles, 55 triples and 291 home runs.

Biggio, 49, will be the first player to enter Cooperstown as an Astro when he gets inducted Sunday.

At 5-11, 185 pounds, Biggio batted .281 and had 1,175 RBIs during his career. He played catcher, second base and outfield.

Biggio hit up and down the lineup, but found success at leadoff. He said he didn't become a true leadoff hitter until playing for manager Larry Dierker, who favored him in the No. 1 spot.

"To have an offensive guy that can hit in the leadoff spot is big in the National League," Biggio said. "In the beginning I guess I really loved hitting second, but then after playing it and doing it, you understood what the importance was about having a leadoff guy that could start off a game and you're up 1-0."

Said Biggio when compared with leadoff hitter Rickey Henderson: "Rickey is the best leadoff man of all time. But to be in the same breath as Rickey is pretty cool."

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