As Astros veteran Craig Biggio, 41, continues on his Hall of Fame trajectory -- now having crossed the 3,000-hit plataeu -- it seems hard to believe that it was 19 years ago when he arrived in Houston as a rookie catcher -- with his top priority to have his picture taken in uniform with staff ace Nolan Ryan.
Biggio, then 21, wanted irrefutable photographic evidence to prove to everyone he had actually been a major leaguer once he was sent back to Tucson -- in all probability never to return.
That said, it's no secret now that Biggio -- whose late season meltdown last year saw his season batting average fall to a near career low of .246 -- will morph more and more into a part-time reserve and pinch hitter. Chris Burke, 26, stands to pick up a lot of the slack if only he can get on base.
Meanwhile, Biggio is playing cagey as to when he will retire. The sooner he does, the more likely he will go to Cooperstown at the same time as career-long teammate Jeff Bagwell, 39.