Brian Wilke, left and Houston Astros' Hall of Famer Craig Biggio pose for a photo Friday, Jan. 5, 2018, outside Wilke's Badass Pits in downtown Conroe. The second base legend was in Conroe to pick up a custom World Series fire pit from Wilke's Badass Pits
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Hall of Fame second baseman Craig Biggio slid into Astros camp this week with the same under-the-radar tactic he used last year. The iconic Astro shirked attention, sneaked into the dugout during the team's afternoon game against the Marlins and hung out with "the boys," he said, identifying with them more like a 52-year-old teammate than a guest instructor.
Biggio recently has devoted his spring training stints to minor leaguers, but because they did not have a game scheduled, he strolled to the major league turf field on a chilly Thursday morning to pal around with the franchise stars.
The current crop of chummy players reminds Biggio of pairing with Hall of Fame first baseman Jeff Bagwell on close-knit teams 20 years ago - only these guys are World Series champions.
"There's always going to be something that needs to be tweaked or fixed or tried to get done at the deadline, but this team," Biggio said, "they have talent and they got chemistry. They get along together, they play well together, they're very talented guys. Being around these guys, it's so similar to the '90s. A lot of the time that's what gets you over the hump."
That hump - a historic gap, really - is the challenge the Astros face in becoming the first repeat champions since the 2000 Yankees. The 17-season drought is the longest in history.
"Repeating in general is hard," Biggio said, "I mean, winning it is hard. It's the first time in 60-something years" - 56 years, but who's counting? - "it took us to win your first championship.
Biggio played 20 years wi