Craig Biggio made his major league debut as a catcher with the Houston Astros in 1988. After four seasons behind the plate, he moved to second base to prolong his career. It worked.
Biggio will end his stellar career after playing his franchise-record 2,850th game in the Astros' season finale against the Atlanta Braves on Sunday.It has been a disappointing season for the Astros (72-89), but Biggio's farewell tour has given them plenty to celebrate.On June 28, Biggio became the 27th player in baseball history -- the first in franchise history -- to reach 3,000 hits. He joined the exclusive club with the second five-hit game of his career.On July 24, just hours after announcing he'd retire at the end of this season, Biggio hit a tiebreaking grand slam to help the Astros to a 7-4 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers.On Saturday, he hit his 30th double of the season, giving him 667 in his career -- fifth-most all-time and most ever by a right-handed hitter. He scored on Lance Berkman's home run as Houston beat Atlanta 3-2. He also caught the first two innings for his first appearance behind the plate since Oct. 5, 1991."I'm glad it went well," said Biggio, who enters his final game with 3,059 hits and is 20th on the all-time list. "I forgot what that side of the game was like. I was nervous but I just worried about trying to catch the ball."The win was the first for Cecil Cooper since he was promoted to full-time manager of the Astros on Friday. He took over on an interim basis when Phil Garner and general manager Tim Purpura were fired Aug. 27, and is 14-16 overall.While he was excited to get the win, Cooper knows that this weekend in Houston is all about saying goodbye to Biggio -- the face of the franchise for the last 20 years."He's a pretty special player," Cooper said. "I'm just tickled I got to manage a Hall of Famer, even though it wasn't for very long."The Braves (84-77) have lost three of four games, and will miss the playoffs for the second straight season after making 14 consecutive postseasons."Don't tell me about it," manager Bobby Cox said. "I don't like the end whether we're winning or losing, even when you get beat or win the World Series. It's the end and there's nowhere to go the next day."Chipper Jones had one of Atlanta's eight hits Saturday, but lost the NL batting lead to Colorado's Matt Holliday. Jones is batting .339, while Holliday is hitting .340 with one game left for each player.Buddy Carlyle (8-6, 5.16 ERA) will start for the Braves Sunday in search of his first win in more than a month. The right-hander is 0-1 with a 6.75 ERA in three games -- two starts -- since beating Florida on Aug. 29. He pitched two scoreless innings of relief in the Braves' 7-4 loss at Washington on Sept. 15.Carlyle allowed two runs in five innings of a 12-3 win over the Astros on Aug. 1, his only career start against them.He'll will match up with Houston's Felipe Paulino (1-1, 10.38), who's never faced Atlanta.Despite giving up five runs in five innings on Tuesday, Paulino got his first major league win as the Astros beat Cincinnati 8-5.