KISSIMMEE, Fla. -- Three-time World Series champion manager Tony La Russa, who's going into the Hall of Fame this year, spent a decade battling the Astros led by Jeff Bagwell and Craig Biggio as manager of the Cardinals in the National League Central.
La Russa has an immense amount of respect for the Killer B's, and he said on Friday that both should get into the Hall of Fame. Biggio came up two votes shy of reaching Cooperstown, N.Y., this year in his second year on the ballot in voting by the Baseball Writers' Association of America.
"There's no doubt that Craig's going to be a Hall of Famer. It's going to happen," said La Russa, who is a special assistant to Commissioner Bud Selig. "He almost got in the first time and didn't get in the second time. I'm sure he gets a little impatient, but I'm sure it's going to happen for him, and when he does, it will be well deserved."
La Russa said he enjoyed battling yearly with the Minnesota Twins while he was manager of the A's in the 1990s, and he said he had a similar rivalry with the Astros when both were in the NL Central.
"Houston, in our division, Bagwell, Biggio and [Lance Berkman], they had good surrounding characters the couple of years you had [Carlos] Beltran and [Jeff] Kent," La Russa said. "So I saw Bagwell as a huge influence, not just on the field but off. One of the best players of our generation."
La Russa said he doesn't understand the criteria members of the BBWAA use to vote for the Hall of Fame.
"Otherwise, Jack Morris would be in the Hall of Fame," La Russa said. "The new metrics have a real important place, just don't exaggerate them, and I think they get exaggerated at times. Like with Jack Morris, and maybe Bagwell."
Brian McTaggart is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Tag's Lines. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.