Thanks for a fantastic season
It wasn't a record anybody wanted, but the Astros season ended with yet another hit by pitch record. No other team in World Series history has had as many as 5 hit batters with none of them scoring a run. And while Craig Biggio and the Astros became the first team to lose a World Series to a Chicago team in 88 years, it's worth noting who led the last team to lose to the other Chicago team. The Cubs last World Series win was in 1908 over the Detroit Tigers - managed by Hughie Jennings.
In 2005 Craig Biggio broke Don Baylor's 267 HBPs mark and was crowned by the media as the modern plunk king. The Astros came from 15 games under .500 to make it to the World Series. Biggio led the postseason in total hits and runs scored. He hit his 600th double, played in his 2500th game, stole his 400th base, recorded his 5000th assist and his 1000th double play, and drove in the 1000th run of his career. He also removed himself from all records related to most games without a World Series appearance. And, Biggio became the first player since 1901 to record his 273rd career plunk.
The 2006 season is right around the corner, and it will no doubt be another memorable one. Whether or not the Astros can make another run at the postseason is anyone's guess, but we can be sure Craig Biggio will be making a run at 287 plunks. There's always something to look forward too in baseball.
On a personal note, I'd like to thank everyone for reading this crazy little site. Special thanks to everyone who commented and emailed and asked question or made rambling predictions mixed with updates on life in "Chesterfield County", and the various other people who wrote about this site in their own blogs. Also, thanks to all the media types who encouraged my statistical shenanigans by taking the time to talk to me or exchange emails - Chance McClain and the guys at AM 610 in Houston, Rich Connelly at Houston Press, Jack Curry at NYT, Alyson Footer at MLB.com, Mark Simon at espn research, Bill Littlefield at NPR's "Only a Game", Jamie Mottra at Sportsbloggers Live for giving me a chance to actual ask Biggio a question during an interview a couple of weeks ago, and every other sports writer who advanced the cause of Craig Biggio this season.
Thanks also to Retrosheet for making such a fantastic wealth of baseball data available on the internet. That site is a living memorial to all the pioneers of the early days of baseball who started the tradition of tracking every imaginable stat for every player in the game. Baseball wouldn't be what it is today without those people who first had the vision to distill the game into the simplicity of the box score. Without that, in the age before tv and radio, the game would have been limited to the fans in the park. Stats are a huge part of the broad appeal of baseball - they let us talk about and compare players throughout history. Records bind the modern day game to its roots, and the games we're watching to the future. Once in a while a player comes along and challenges a record set 100 years ago, and you never know when the game you're watching is going to turn into a performance that will be in the record books for 100 years to come.
Most importantly, thanks to Craig Biggio for being a great player as well as a likeable guy in an age when so many of the great on-the-field performers leave us disappointed off the field. Thanks Craig, for having a sense of humor about the record and not taking this site the wrong way. And sorry if you got sick of answering questions about hit-by-pitch records all season, but I'm pretty sure most of those still would have been asked even without the existence of this site.
I'll be back in the spring, hopefully full of new and entertaining hit-by-pitch related stats. But no more poetry. Unless someone makes me.
Have a good winter everybody.