Talk Radio Compares Biggio to Gantner. Really?

So, I was driving home from the auto shop and had sports radio on – specifically 98.5 the Felger and Massarotti show. They are annoying much of the time and their callers often say crazy, dumb stuff. It makes me laugh and I guess that’s why I listen – to hear what dumb things people will say.  When Felger and Massarotti talk baseball, though, they can often drive me insane. As I drew near home, the results from the Hall of Fame come out and Felger began to crap all over Craig Biggio for getting nearly 75% of the vote and almost getting into the Hall of Fame. Felger rants that Biggio is no Hall of Famer and then compares him to Jim Gantner, saying they are the same type of player. This set me off and I fired off the following email.

Dear Michael:

You made the comment on the air today, just a bit ago, that Craig Biggio is like Jim Gantner and there is no way he is a hall of famer.

Really? Craig Biggio = Jim Gantner?

You are insane and just plain wrong. May I suggest a quick look at baseball-reference.com before you make such statements again?

Biggio’s career – 12,504 PA, .281/.363/.433, 3060 hits, 291 HR, 5th most doubles ALL TIME with 668, 15th ALL TIME in runs scored with 1,844, 414 SBs, OPS+ of 112. Biggio had 13 seasons where his OPS + was over 100. He had 4 seasons of OPS + over 138.

Biggio’s three peak years, 1997-1999:

1997: .309/.415/.501, 22 HR, 146 Runs, 4th in MVP voting behind Larry Walker, Mike Piazza and Jeff Bagwell.

1998: .325/.403/.503, 20 HR, 123 Runs, 51 doubles, 5th in MVP voting behind Sosa, McGwire, Moises Alou and Greg Vaughn.

1999: .294/.386/.457, 16 HR, 123 Runs, 56 doubles.

He was a seven time all star and won 4 gold gloves.

Here’s an interesting tidbit. Only two players have hit 50 doubles and stolen 50 bases in the same year – Biggio and Tris Speaker. Hmm. Biggio was also only 9 HRs shy of being the only other player to join Willie Mays to have 3,000 hits, 300 Homers and 300 stolen bases.

To suggest that Jim Ganter is his equal, or even anywhere in his general vicinity, shows you have no idea how good Craig Biggio was or you have some inflated sense of how good Jim Gantner was.

Jim Gantner – career line – 6787 PA, .274/.319/.351, 1696 hits, 47 HR, 726 runs, 137 SBs, OPS+ 88. Only once in his career did he have an OPS + over 100. Gantner never was an All Star, never won a gold glove, never got any MVP votes.

Nearly 6,000 fewer at bats, 1350 fewer hits, 244 fewer home runs, 1,100 fewer runs scored, 277 fewer stolen bases. Heck, you’d need two Jim Gantner’s to get one Craig Biggio.

I won’t even bother with Gantner’s peak; it is laughable when compared to Biggio’s.

I’m sorry, but this isn’t even a comparison. Your comment belittles how great Biggio was and suggests you really have not thought about the hall of fame credentials of Biggio and perhaps others all that much. But, your radio lunacy worked. You got me to write you because your statement was so off the wall I nearly had an aneurism. As it was, I spit up my coffee.

As a parting thought, I ask you this : do you think Joe Morgan is a hall of famer? If so, consider this:

Biggio had more hits (3060 v. 2517), more home runs (291 v. 268), more rbi’s (1175 v. 1133), more runs scored (1844 v. 1650), and a higher career batting average (.281 v .271). Morgan betters Biggio in OBP (.395 v. .363), and in stolen bases (689 v. 414). Does that give you pause?

Best wishes,

Chris Goddu

I took out the part where I responded to Felger suggesting that when he watched Biggio he did not say to himself, “That’s a hall of fame player.” But, I figured my last point about Joe Morgan tangentially addressed that.

Being somewhat narcissistic, I tuned into 98.5 to see if Felger would have anything to say about my e-mail.  Surprisingly, he mentioned it on air and admitted that I made a mockery of his comparison, but he held firm that when he saw Biggio play he saw a slap hitting second baseman who he never thought of as a Hall of Famer. He also suggested that playing a long time let Biggio accrue counting stats and that somehow hurt Biggio’s Hall of Fame case. Then, he suggested Biggio was a steroid user.

I have no idea if Biggio was a steroid user, there was no mention of him in the Mitchell Report. But, if the BBWAA can exclude someone from the HOF just because they think or guess or have a sense that the player used steroids then I guess you might as well shut down the voting process – for noone would be getting in.

Biggio played a long time and that hurts his case. That is a crazy position. Isn’t longevity in the game what sets most Hall of Famer players apart from other players? They played a hard game, a long time and excelled. You don’t get to play for a long, long time if you stink.

Biggio was a slap hitting second baseman.  Not true, see above. This is clearly just Felger holding onto his stupid argument that Biggio is Jim Gantner. I question if he really ever saw Biggio play that much if he considered him a slap hitting second baseman.

Not surprisingly, Tony Massarotti agreed with Felger on most of these points and agreed that Biggio should not be in the Hall of Fame. Oh, my, why do I listen to these clowns? Heck, I’m not even a huge Biggio fan. I just remembered Jim Gantner and couldn’t countenance the absurdity of the comparison.

Lesson learned.  Move on, Chris.

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