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October 29, 2007

Biggio Wins Clemente Award

Craig Biggio is a world-renowned nice guy. For some reason, I never really realized that, maybe because I only ever saw him wearing his big scary game face. But here, just a scant month after he’s retired, I’m getting up to speed.

Major League Baseball was apparently already in on the news, seeing as Biggio is being presented with the Roberto Clemente award (via The Astros Dugout):

Craig Biggio wins Clemente AwardDENVER — With 3,060 hits and 291 home runs, Craig Biggio will undoubtedly be remembered first for his offensive contributions during his 20-year Major League career. But it’s quite possible the veteran second baseman is as recognizable to those in his adopted home of Houston for his affiliation with the Sunshine Kids as he is for his on-field accomplishments.

Less than a month after he said goodbye to baseball and hello to retirement, Biggio, one of the most celebrated players in Astros history, was given the highest off-the-field honor in baseball — the 2007 Roberto Clemente Award.

“I’ve often said … that baseball is a social institution, and for those who really are into sport and understand it, we have enormous social responsibilities,” Commissioner Bud Selig said during a press conference at Coors “To be part of this award and recipient this year, I am very humbled anField. “I hope all the young players in this sport will watch and follow this man’s career, because he is what a Major League Baseball player should be, on and off the field.”

The Clemente Award recognizes the player who best exemplifies the game of baseball, sportsmanship, community involvement and the individual’s contribution to his team. It is named in honor of the former Pirates outfielder whose spirit and goodwill will always be remembered. Clemente died in a plane crash while attempting to transport relief supplies to earthquake-stricken Nicaragua on Dec. 31, 1972.

Biggio, the 2005 winner of the Hutch Award and the recipient of the 2006 “Heart and Hustle” Award, made it a hat trick this year, winning the top community service honor. Biggio was presented the Clemente Award during a pregame ceremony prior to Game 3 of the World Series in Denver.d grateful for this,” Biggio said. “This is something that, as a Major League Baseball player, some of us get the opportunity to have an impact on the community. Some have a chance to have a real big impact on certain communities, and I know that I’m very grateful for my 20 years in Houston to be associated with the Sunshine Kids.”

Congratulations to Biggio and to all the kids who are benefiting because of him.