Astros to retire Biggio's jersey Aug. 17

Astros to retire Biggio's jersey

HOUSTON -- The Astros will retire Craig Biggio's jersey in a ceremony on Aug. 17, owner Drayton McLane announced on Friday.

The announcement came during a pregame ceremony presenting Biggio with MLB.com's This Year in Baseball 2007 Moment of the Year award for his 3,000th hit on June 28.

"It was voted on by our fans on MLB.com, so we certainly appreciate what you have meant to this franchise," McLane told Biggio during the ceremony. "Craig has been the heartbeat of the Houston Astros. We talk every day about being a champion, and he has certainly lifted us up and made us all champions."

Biggio told reporters the honor was one he never aspired to achieve. He said he had left it in McLane's hands whether to retire his No. 7.

"Just because you play the game for a long time doesn't mean you have to have your number retired," Biggio said. "That's one of the greatest feelings you're every going to have. Forever you will look up and see your name and retired number, and I'm very humbled."

Biggio, who played 2,850 games for the Astros in 20 years, is the franchise's all-time leader in hits, games played, runs scored and at-bats. He retired following the 2007 season with 3,060 hits (20th all-time in the Major Leagues), 668 doubles, 291 home runs, 1,175 runs batted in and a .281 career batting average.

His number will sit to the right of longtime teammate, former first baseman Jeff Bagwell, whose No. 5 was retired last season.

Biggio told a story about visiting a little girl in the hospital. When she told him her favorite player was Bagwell, he said, "Well, me too."

"It's pretty special," Biggio said. "We've played together for so long, we know each other so well. I couldn't think of a better person to have your name sitting next to, and I couldn't have had a better teammate for 16 years."

The former catcher, center fielder and second baseman will be the 10th player to have his number retired by the Astros, including Jackie Robinson, whose No. 42 was retired by Major League Baseball in 1997.

Biggio said he and McLane previously discussed a date for the pregame retirement ceremony, but Biggio's wife, Patty, had the final say. She takes care of the family's busy schedule, which this summer includes a personal services contract between Biggio and the Astros, his new coaching position at St. Thomas High School and a month-long vacation to Italy.

"He text-messaged Patty, and she said, 'Well let me check the calendar,'" McLane said. "That took about an hour. I said, 'Well, we need to make a decision,' and he said, 'She'll let us know.'"

Biggio said he is especially proud of the honor because of where the retired numbers are displayed at Minute Maid Park. They were moved from the upper wall along the third-base line to above the scoreboard in right field, where they hang among two pennants.

Biggio was also honored Friday night with a random giveaway. Fans received a replica of his famously dirty batting helmet. He said his own helmet is hanging from a deer antler in his son's room.

Fans voted among 10 nominees for the Moment of the Year award, with Biggio receiving 25.9 percent, or over 9.6 million votes. He was the 27th player in Major League history to record 3,000 hits and the ninth to do it with just one team. The hit came one day shy of the 19th anniversary of his first Major League hit.

"I'm a lucky man," he said. "I guess the people just appreciate the way we played the game. It's just something they respect you for, and I respect them. I think the relationship between us is just a respectful relationship of over 20 years."

Krysten Oliphant is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.