Craig Biggio has had a storybook career with the Houston Astros. Its crowning moment on the field came on June 28 when he collected his 3,000th career hit. Sunday, however, may be another day Biggio will never forget, as he was honored by the team on the field before the game against Milwaukee.
08/13/2007 9:39 AM ET
Astros pay tribute to Biggio
Brad Horn, director of communications for the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y., was in attendance and accepted the bat, jersey, batting gloves and cap used by Biggio on that night on the organization's behalf, according to MLB.com.
The ceremony lasted nearly 45 minutes, with a multitude of former players and team executives taking part. But the moment that really got to Biggio was listening to a tribute from his 14-year-old son, Conor.
"My father is simply amazing," Conor Biggio said. "He may not have been there at every Little League game or every birthday, but we always knew in his heart he was there. He taught us respect, hard work, integrity, loyalty and courage. He taught us about charity and kindness to the Sunshine Kids (Biggio's charity).
"Most of all, he taught us all about love. It's in how he loves the city of Houston and how he loves the game of baseball. We see it in his eyes, and we feel it in our hearts. I love you, and you're my best friend. Dad, I am so proud of you."
Conor and his father embraced for several moments following his emotional speech.
"I know all the kids in Little League fields across the world have big dreams," Biggio said in addressing the crowd. "You should go for it. I am a person that can vouch for that. I wasn't the biggest kid, and I wasn't the strongest kid. But if you've got a big heart and a big dream, you've got to go for it. Don't let anyone crush your dreams at all. If you want to be a big-league baseball player, go for it."
Program blossoms thanks to Crawford: Carl Crawford has not forgotten where he came from. On Saturday night in Arlington, he hosted nearly 30 kids from the two teams of 9- and 10-year-olds he sponsors in Houston, the city where he grew up.
Crawford funds a program called Lightning Baseball, which is run by Kerry Hardy, a former youth league coach of Crawford's. Plans call for the program to grow to four or five teams with a possible complex being built near Crawford's home.
"I called him up during Spring Training and told him I wanted to put some teams together, and he said, 'Go ahead and do what you have to do and just let me know how much it cost,'" Hardy told the St. Petersburg Times. "He bought the kids uniforms, team bags, bats, gloves, everything. He's just a great guy.
"I told him I appreciate the fact of where he came from and he didn't forget and he came right back and is putting right back into the community. I wish a lot more ballplayers would do that."
Gabbard, Saltalamacchia reunite in Rangers' battery: Seven years ago, Kason Gabbard was a standout pitcher for Royal Palm Beach (Fla.) High School. Behind the plate catching Gabbard was a freshman catcher named Jarrod Saltalamacchia.
Thanks to a couple of trades, the duo is now playing for the Texas Rangers. They were battery mates Sunday night as the Rangers took on the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. However, Gabbard won't be throwing the same type of fastball Saltalamacchia caught in high school.
"Honestly, four [arm] surgeries didn't help," Gabbard told the Dallas Morning News. "I had an overpowering fastball back then. I didn't throw a changeup."
Saltalamacchia remembers how dominant Gabbard was in high school.
"Every game he pitched was lights out," he said. "I was nervous the first time out there, but I found him easy to catch."
Sosa shines in Mets' pen: Since moving to the bullpen, Jorge Sosa of the New York Mets has been nearly perfect.
With two shutout innings of relief Friday night, Sosa has thrown 9 1/3 innings since moving to the pen and has given up only one earned run for a 0.96 ERA. Right-handed hitters are batting only .194 against him.
"He's done a nice job for us," manager Willie Randolph told Newsday. "He's going to continue to be in the mix."
Sosa has been used as a reliever in the past with Tampa Bay, Atlanta and St. Louis. He began this season as a starter, but has taken the move to the bullpen well.
"Whatever the team needs me to do to win, I'll do," Sosa said
Webb throws another shutout: Another night on the mound, another night of throwing shutout baseball. Such is the life of Arizona pitcher Brandon Webb, who threw his second consecutive shutout Saturday night to improve to 12-8 with a 2.77 ERA.
Webb has now thrown 33 consecutive scoreless innings, breaking the club record of 30 he set last year en route to winning the Cy Young award. So, is he thinking of Orel Hershiser and the record 59 consecutive shutout innings he threw in 1988?
"I'm barely halfway," Webb told the Arizona Republic. "That's probably around Cal Ripken territory, probably one of the more difficult ones to reach."
With his current run of shutout innings, Webb has thrust himself into the discussion of winning the Cy Young award once again. He has now won four consecutive starts and his ERA ranks fourth in the National League.
The key for Webb during this run has been his ability to throw his sinker for strikes on both sides of the plate, something he was struggling to do earlier this season.
"I feel pretty comfortable doing that right now," he said.
Opposing hitters just know that it is not fun facing Webb right now.
"You saw what happened," Nationals outfielder Austin Kearns said. "He mixes in more curveballs and change-ups now. He's got a few things going for him. ... He's pretty locked in out there on the mound right now."
Jenks extends streak of consecutive outs: With a perfect ninth inning on Sunday, Chicago White Sox closer Bobby Jenks has tied a Major League record (Jim Barr) by retiring 41 consecutive hitters.
"It's different situations [each time he pitches], and to do what he does, it's amazing," White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen told the Chicago Tribune. "None of those guys can get a hit, and you don't know how you're going to feel that particular time.
"One thing about Bobby: He throws strikes, challenges people, makes them hit it."
Jenks, meanwhile, has seemed unaffected by his run of outs.
"I don't think Bobby thinks about that," said Guillen. "When he's on the mound, he just wants to save the game."
Jenks has a ERA of 2.92 this season.
Gorzelanny posts first shutout: Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher Tom Gorzelanny was masterful on Sunday, tossing his first career shutout in the Pirates' 5-0 victory over the San Francisco Giants.
In picking up his 11th win of the year, Gorzelanny allowed just five hits and walked only one -- an intentional pass to Barry Bonds in the third inning -- struck out four, and set down the last 17 batters he faced.
Catcher Ronny Paulino knew early on that Gorzelanny had his good stuff.
"He was consistently throwing strikes and keeping the ball down early," Paulino told MLB.com. "When he's doing that from the start, I always feel like he'll have a good game."
Gorzelanny, meanwhile, deflected some credit back toward his catcher.
"He's a big part of this," Gorzelanny said of Paulino. "I trust everything he calls. I didn't shake him off once. I feel comfortable with what he calls."
Manager Jim Tracy said after the game that what he saw out of his pitcher was about as good as it gets.
"What I saw today was probably the best game he's pitched," said Tracy. "There was no point today where he wavered at all. He pounded the strike zone with all his pitches."
Gorzelanny was basking in the success after the game. "It feels good," he said. "It's a long time coming. I just knew I had to go out there and make pitches."
Gorzelanny (11-6) has won five of his last seven decisions.
Weavers root for each other, even in a pennant race: Even though the Angels and Mariners are locked in a race for the AL West title, Jered Weaver still roots for the Mariners once every five days.
That's when his brother Jeff takes the mound. Sunday, both Weaver boys started for their respective clubs and both came away with wins. Jered went 7 1/3 innings and gave up two runs versus the Twins while Jeff shut out the White Sox.
"We've matched up a couple of times, but I think it was the first time the same day we both got a win out of it," Jered Weaver told the Los Angeles Times.
"It was a good day for the Weavers today."
The win upped Jered Weaver's mark on the season to 8-5.
"It's a long season and there's going to be some bad-luck times and some good times," he said. "I got on a really good roll last year, and this year it's been a battle."
How will the brothers handle the battle if they are ever matched up against one another in the same game?
"We were looking forward to matching up, but at the same time, hopefully we don't," Jered Weaver said.
"It would be kind of weird. I would have to be in the situation to see how I'd feel. Right now, I'd rather pass on that."
-- Red Line Editorial