After getting plunked by so many pitches in my career, I'm surprised I'm still walking. To be my size, 185 pounds, and to be hit by that many pitches, let's just say I've just been very fortunate to have been able to get up and walk away -- at least most of the time.I don't know if I take pride in being hit so many times, but it is part of the game. It's going to happen, and I just deal with it. Bottom line, it's another way to get on base, so you dust yourself off and head to first. I never go up there with the intention of getting hit. My leg kick has been so big during the past 10 years, however, that I've had a hard time getting out of the way. By the time I put my leg down the ball is already on me and it's too late to move. That's probably the biggest reason I've been hit so many times.
|All-time hit-by-pitch leaders|
|Since 1900, through 06/22/2005|
Still, it's my job as a leadoff or No. 2 hitter to get on base and you do what you need to do to get on base and help the team. I've never had an opportunity to talk with Don Baylor specifically about the record or getting hit by so many pitches. I almost played for Don back in '95 when I was a free agent and he was managing the Rockies. I talked with the Rockies extensively, so I got to know him a little bit and I've seen him on the road every once in a while with the other teams he's coached. I have a fond respect for Don and having my name associated with his is a nice honor. I don't know exactly where on my body I've been hit the most or which pitcher has hit me the most, but there's a Web site called something like Plunk Biggio that tracks all of that sort of stuff. Although a few have scared me, getting hit is not that painful of an experience for the most part. Don't get me wrong, though. It hurts and there are lingering little injuries that often result. If you get hit on your wrist or your forearm or elbow, you're going to feel it. From a potential injury standpoint, the elbow is the biggest area of concern, which is why I wear the arm guard. If you get hit there, you can usually play the next day, but you're still going to be hampered for about five or six days because you can't fully extend your arm. I realize some players complain about other guys using arm guards like the one I use. But I've seen Jeff Bagwell have to go on the disabled list three times because of a broken hand and I've seen Adam Everett and Luis Vizcaino break their wrists, so I believe if you can wear something that will prevent you from getting hurt, you should wear it. If I'm an owner paying someone $5 million or $10 million to play the game, I don't want him on the DL -- I want him to play for me. The one HBP that really stands out was when I got hit in the eye by Jeremi Gonzalez with an 0-2 fastball. That was in '97 in our clinching game against the Cubs and it was either my second or third at-bat. The pitch hit the helmet a little, too, and I think that's what saved me. That type of thing gets you thinking because if it's an eighth of an inch over, it would have hit me directly in the eye. I've also been hit a few times in the head, but the time I got hit in the face was the worst of them. I remember it distinctively. It's my 18th year now and if someone had ever told me that I'd be hit 260-plus times, I'd have told him he was crazy. Mostly, I've been lucky and fortunate not to have been seriously injured or lost significant time because of getting hit. Getting hit is part of the game. Yes, it's going to hurt. But there's nobody in a Major League Baseball clubhouse who isn't playing with some type of ache or pain from the first day of Spring Training. You just deal with the pain and move on. After getting hit twice on June 22, Craig Biggio is one shy of Don Baylor's post-1900 record of getting hit by pitches 266 times. Biggio has 20 multiple HBPs during his career.
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