Houston’s Adopted Son Still Giving Back To The City With Coaching, Community Service And A Cool New Restaurant
By Judy Latta
Craig Alan Biggio may have been born and raised on Long Island, New York, but Houston has been his home since being drafted by the Astros in 1987. One of only a few players to spend a two-decades long Major League Baseball (MLB) career in a single uniform, he played for the Astros from the time he was drafted until 2007 when he retired. He has followed up his iconic playing career with a position as a Special Assistant to the Astros General Manager, ongoing service to the Houston community, and most recently, a partnership with the RIDA Development Corporation to open a trendy restaurant and sports bar that bears his name in the new Marriott Marquis Houston.
An All-American, All-Star Career
Once an aspiring football star, Biggio settled on playing baseball in college at Seton Hall University in New Jersey, where he became an All-American. He still holds several of Seton Hall’s major records and was inducted into the university’s Hall of Fame in 1996.
Following college, in 1987 he was drafted as the 22nd pick in the first round of the MLB draft by the Astros. “Being a Long Island kid, I didn’t know a lot about Houston growing up. When I signed with the Astros, honestly, the thing I was most excited about was being picked up by a team and having the opportunity to continue to play ball,” he says.
As an Astros player, Biggio earned many extraordinary professional achievements, including 3,060 career hits and a trip to the World Series in 2005. He was a seven-time National League All-Star, four-time Gold Glove winner, five-time Silver Slugger winner, Roberto Clemente winner, Hutch winner, Branch Rickey winner, and was inducted into the MLB Hall of Fame in 2015. He holds the Astros records for most games, at-bats, runs, hits, doubles and extra-base hits, and he achieved success at multiple positions including catcher, second base and outfield. The Astros retired his number 7 in 2008 in recognition of his remarkable accomplishments.
Biggio considers two achievements to be the highlights of his stellar playing career. “One would definitely be my 3,000th hit. I’ll never forget that day and the anticipation leading up to it throughout that whole season. It was really incredible to have it all happen while being at home and being able to enjoy it with the fans,” he says. “The other highlight would be going to the World Series. It was the first time it was ever done in Texas, and even though it didn’t go the way we wanted it to, it was still really special to get there and experience it all alongside our fans.”
After retiring from baseball in 2007, Biggio could have moved his family back to his roots in the northeast, but he says he decided instead to stay here because of his love for the Astros organization and the incredible people of Houston. “The Astros were the only team I played for during my Major League career, and the people I came to know here were great. Houston is where I started my family. All my children were born here, they attended school here, we raised them here. Texas has been great to us,” he says. Thirty years after being drafted, “Houston is still my home, which I think shows how great this city has been to me and my family.”
Following retirement, Biggio accepted a job as Special Assistant to the Astros General Manager, Ed Wade, and he stayed on in that capacity when Jeff Luhnow took over as General Manager in 2011. In this position, Biggio has a wide range of responsibilities related to scouting, the draft, spring training, player development and more. “I am very happy to still be working with the team and enjoy what I do,” he says. As a member of the Astros staff, Biggio aspires to help get the team back to the World Series. “Hopefully our boys can get a winner sometime soon,” he says.
Service to the Houston Community
In addition to his outreach work with the Astros’ community development program, Biggio and his family are very actively involved with the Sunshine Kids, a support organization for children with cancer and their families. Biggio is the national spokesperson for the Houston-based organization, and he and his wife, Patty, host an annual day at Minute Maid Park for the Sunshine Kids and their families, where participants play baseball and other games on the field and are treated to lunch in the luxurious Diamond Club. His work with the organization is not limited to public appearances; he is actively involved with the organization behind the scenes and he volunteers with the sunshine kids and their families on a personal level. Two of his major awards, the Roberto Clemente and the Branch Rickey, were for his community service work.
Biggio’s Restaurant and Sports Bar
In 2016 Biggio agreed to partner with The RIDA Development Corporation to open a restaurant called Biggio’s in the beautiful new Marriott Marquis on Walker Street in the downtown Houston convention district. The restaurant, of course, includes a sports bar complete with authentic Astros memorabilia, huge TVs for watching the Astros and other sporting events, and a bar lined with Louisville Sluggers. The menu spans upscale cuisine and fine wine to traditional bar food and local craft beer. Biggio describes the swanky two-story establishment as an exciting venue in the perfect location within downtown Houston. “Biggio’s is in a great area, two blocks from where I made my living, close to the field where the Dynamo play and across from the Rockets’ Toyota Center,” he says. “It’s the place to go if you are a sports nut and want to grab a bite or drink before the game, or if you’re headed to a concert or just having a night out and are looking for a place with great food and great energy.”
Biggio says he leaves the day-to-day management of the restaurant to the excellent staff at the Marriott Marquis, but he was very involved with its development and will continue to be involved with its operation going forward. Located just a few blocks from his other workplace, Minute Maid Park, Biggio spends time at the restaurant when he can. “You will definitely see me there tapping shoulders to say hello,” he says.
In college, Biggio met Patty Egan and the two have been together since. They were married in 1990 and have three children. “My oldest son, Conor recently graduated from college at Notre Dame where he played baseball. My second son, Cavan, just signed with the Toronto Blue Jays after playing baseball at Notre Dame. My youngest, and only daughter, Quinn, will be going to Notre Dame this fall and will be playing softball,” he says. “I love my family, and as we get older, everyone is constantly going in different directions, so I really enjoy the time we get to spend together.” On the rare occasions that the Biggios have free time, they enjoy retreating to their ranch in south Texas. He says, “I appreciate getting away for a while to hunt and enjoy the outdoors.”