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Biggio MLB Hall of Fame

It was the inevitable result to a

big-league career fueled by an

insatiable drive with equal off-

the-field devotion to family and


The first home-grown Houston

Astro was voted into the

hallowed National Baseball

Hall of Fame ... just 12 months

removed from tying the record

for the closest rejection in ballot


Craig Biggio reveled in the

supreme satisfaction of the

moment. The rush followed by


He then paused in the swirl of

emotions to contact someone

who couldn’t have been further

removed from his two-decade

climb to his sport’s Mount


He reached out for a relationship

that didn’t take firm root until

after his Astros retirement

... when he suddenly (if not

stunningly) accepted the head

baseball coaching position at St.

Thomas, where his sons, Conor

‘11 and Cavan ‘13, were already


Biggio knew his much

anticipated induction day

in the historic hamlet of

Cooperstown, New York would

bring more than the treatment

a transcendent athlete hopes

for and deserves ... more than

the authentic applause and

support from fans, his peers and

predecessors, his game.

Biggio knew the third Sunday in

July necessitated a personal favor

the president of St. Thomas

could satisfy.

“Craig is not a thump-you-over-

the-head Catholic,” Fr. Kevin

Storey, CSB said. “But he is a

wear-it-on-my-heart Catholic.

Never embarrassed to discuss

his faith. Always a priority in

his life. In my mind that’s the

way the best Catholics live, by

invitation and by example.

“Craig didn’t want to go to

the local Catholic church for

Sunday Mass because he knew

that would have turned into

spectacle. He wanted a private

setting to make sure he and (his

wife) Patty and the surrounding

family could be comfortable.

I understood completely why

and what he was asking. And it

struck me how easily the Sunday

devotion could have been lost in

the hoopla of a day unlike any

other in his life. It was a honor

to be able to accommodate

the Biggios, especially given all

that they have meant to the St.

Thomas community over the


Biggio arranged for Fr. Storey

to travel to the enshrinement

weekend on the Astros private

charter with an entourage that

included Hall of Fame strikeout

king Nolan Ryan, his son and

Astros president Reid Ryan, a

host of minority Astro owners

and executives, plus assorted

baseball dignitaries, such as

former Astro players and

managers Phil Garner and Larry


Storey’s fellow St. Thomas

Basilian, Fr. Jim Murphy,

CSB made the drive from

Massachusetts to concelebrate

the Sunday Mass at Biggio’s

hotel, both priests part of a

larger St. Thomas contingent

that included Athletic Director

Mike Netzel and his wife,

Jeanice ... plus Ryan Lousteau,

Sean O’Neill ‘00 and Keith

Page, all of whom were Biggio’s

coaching compadres at STH

with long standing professional

connections to the game, now

making their Cooperstown

pilgrimage with an ever-

swelling pride for the personal

connection with their one-time

Eagle in arms.

“When you’re there on the

ground, it really hits you that

there are only 210 players in

the Hall. An incredibly small

number,” Page said. “And now

Craig is one of them. And I

know him, coached with him,

won championships with him.

Pretty sweet.”

O’Neill enjoyed the luxury of

having the eternal Astro icon as

his assistant coach when heading

the STH freshmen in 2008 and

then served on Biggio’s staff

during the subsequent five-year

run which produced consecutive

TAPPS 5A state titles and

four straight trips to the state


O’Neill taught both Conor

and Cavan as a member of

the Science faculty and was

determined to witness Biggio’s

ultimate baseball salute

even though he and and his