Baseball Notes

Biggio reflects on close cut

HGH testing expands through regular season

The Associated PressJanuary 11, 2013 

Biggio No Hall of Fame Baseball

Former Houston Astros player Craig Biggio, who received the highest vote total in the Baseball Hall of Fame vote which ended with no one being elected, talks with the media during a news conference, Thursday, Jan. 10, 2013, in Houston. (AP Photo/Pat Sullivan)

PAT SULLIVAN — The Associated Press

— Craig Biggio thinks he might have been bypassed for the Hall of Fame because he was on the ballot for the first time with several big stars linked to performance-enhancing drugs.

Biggio received the highest vote total in a year that produced no electees to Cooperstown on Wednesday. Biggio, 20th on the career list with 3,060 hits, appeared on 68.2 percent of the 569 ballots — 39 votes shy.

Steroids Era stars Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens and Sammy Sosa also were on the ballot for the first time and all fell far short of the required 75 percent. Biggio thinks it’s unfortunate if he was lumped in with others associated with performance-enhancing drugs

“I think it’s kind of unfair, but it’s the reality of the era that we played in,” he said. “Obviously, some guys are guilty and others aren’t, and it’s painful for the ones that weren’t.”

He wasn’t completely sure whether feelings about the others played a role in his coming up short.

“All I know is that I went out there and played the game and I loved the game and I went out there to win, and we have a lot of flags on that wall out there that represent that, and that’s really the most important thing to me,” he said.

He thinks he probably also was hurt by the preference of some writers not to vote for first-time eligibles.

Biggio, who played his entire 20-year career with the Astros, was disappointed but says the exclusivity of the Hall makes getting in mean that much more.

“When you look at the Hall of Fames, that’s what makes baseball pretty special, pretty unbelievable. We’re not letting six guys in every year,” Biggio said.

“You had a list of a lot of guys that were very qualified and nobody was let in. It just says a lot about how special that building really is.”

Voting is done by writers who have been members of the BBWAA for 10 straight years at any point.

Biggio doesn’t have a vote, but said he would have voted for both Bonds and Clemens if he did.

“Barry Bonds was the greatest hitter that I’ve ever played against … and Roger was one of the greatest pitchers of all time,” he said.

“I would have yes, I think those guys are Hall of Fame players. Barry and Roger, their numbers speak for themselves and what they did on a baseball field speaks for itself.”

MLB to expand blood testing for HGH

Major League Baseball will test for human growth hormone throughout the regular season and increase efforts to detect abnormal levels of testosterone, a decision the NFL used to pressure its players.

Players were subject to blood testing for HGH during spring training last year, and the agreement between management and the Major League Baseball Players Association expands that throughout the season. Those are in addition to urine tests for other performance-enhancing drugs.

The World Anti-Doping Agency laboratory in Laval, Quebec, will keep records of each player, including his baseline ratio of testosterone to epitestosterone, and will conduct Carbon Isotope Ratio Mass Spectrometry tests of urine specimens that “vary materially.”

Baseball commissioner Bud Selig reflected on how far baseball had come.

“This is remarkable when you think of where we were 10, 12, 15 years ago and where we are today,” he said. “Nobody could have dreamed it.”

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