Ex-Houston Astros star Craig Biggio stole the spotlight while his former team continued to have a quiet offseason.
Biggio received the most support of any player on the 2013 Hall of Fame ballot, earning 388 of the 569 total votes cast (68.2 percent) and falling just 39 votes short of becoming the first player in Houston's 51-year history to officially represent the franchise in the Hall.
During a year that saw all-time home-run leader (Barry Bonds) and a seven-time Cy Young winner (Roger Clemens) appear on the ballot as potential first-time inductees, no player received the 75 percent vote required for admission into the Hall. It was only the eighth time no players were voted in, and the first time since 1996.
Biggio spent weeks avoiding controversy about the vote. But when he woke up during the morning of the announcement, Biggio was a child again: anxious, hopeful, impatient.
When a call came through just 26 minutes before results were announced, Biggio found relief. The phone number had a New York area code. It was Cooperstown, Biggio thought. He'd made it in.
The call was only a New York radio station, wanting to ask Biggio yet another question about a highly controversial ballot dominated by big-name former All Stars linked to performance-enhancing drugs.
Biggio passed on the interview. Then the BBWAA passed on him.
Despite being the only player in history with at least 3,000 hits, 600 doubles, 400 stolen bases and 250 homers, Biggio was denied. He wasn't mad and held a news conference at Minute Maid Park only so he could answer a flurry of lingering questions in a controlled setting. But he acknowledged anti-first-ballot voters and MLB's unresolved steroid era could have prevented him from entering the Hall.
"I think it's kind of unfair, but it's the reality of the era that we played in," Biggio said. "Obviously, some guys are guilty and other guys aren't. It's painful for the ones that weren't. But the situation is what it is and hopefully this thing'll pass and move on and we'll have something possibly good to talk about next year."
As for voters who intentionally ignored him just because he was on the ballot for the first time?
"You get 68 percent of the vote, you're 39 (votes) shy," Biggio said. "Was it 39 guys that didn't vote for guys the first time? I don't know. We'll see. But I'll study a little harder and hopefully get a 75 (percent vote) next year."