Originally Posted by Mario-Rijo
No wonder Robby was one of my favorite non-Reds players. But seriously Biggio's number's may be better overall but I liked Alomar's defense and versatility better. I suppose thinking about it Biggio was more versatile (in the lineup I mean) than I am willing to give him credit for but I just liked Alomar better. Probably because he was a player so very similiar to Larkin, not just by the #'s but also in style/grace.
Barry Larkin and Roberto Alomar were my two favorite players growing up, hands down, for many of the reasons you state.
With regards to Biggio, I just think Biggio was a bit better at his peak and he also lasted as a productive player a little bit longer. Alomar had an outstanding season in 2001 when he was 33, but then he fell off a cliff and was out of baseball altogether by age 36.
Biggio also has a ton of value in a lot of little stats. Here's what Bill James said about him in his Historical Abstract:
Craig Biggio in 1997 was hit by 34 pitches, while grounding into zero double plays. Both of these figures were historic. He was the fifth player ever to play a full season without grounding into a double play, and missed the major league record for most plate appearances without grounding into a double play by only four. The 34 HBP was the highest total in the National League in 26 years, the second-highest of the twentieth century.
I have always linked these two stats together, long before Biggio, as "little stats." There are a half-dozen batting stats which get left out of USA Today, and left off baseball cards, becausely they're not generally significant. The stats include sacrifice hits, sac flies, and intentional walks, but GIDP and hit batsmen are the most important of the group, the two which are most likely to change the way a player should be evaluated.
Biggio has the best "little stats" of any player in baseball history, this being one of the reasons that he has been tremendously underrated. If you compare him to, let's say, Jim Rice in 1984, Biggio has a hidden advantage of 69 extra times on base, since he was hit by pitches 33 more times (34 to 1), and beat the throw to first on a double play attempt 36 more times (0 to 36). Those little stats that get left out of USA Today, in this comparison, have an impact roughly equivalent to 100 points of batting average.
** As an aside, could somebody get Brandon Phillips to read this piece, specifically regarding the double plays?