ST. PETERSBURG — Craig Biggio, to be honest about it, was hoping to be prepping for induction to the Baseball Hall of Fame.
But joining the Ted Williams Hitters Hall of Fame wasn't a bad consolation prize.
"I'm honored and humbled," Biggio said. "I truly am."
Biggio, Johnny Damon and Frank Howard were inducted in a Saturday night ceremony at Tropicana Field. Tampa's Dwight Gooden, Jim "Mudcat" Grant and former Rays ace James Shields were added to the Pitchers Wall of Great Achievement.
Biggio, who compiled 3,060 hits for the Astros, missed election to Cooperstown last month by two votes.
"We can't get much closer," said Biggio, 48. "Hopefully next year will be a magical year."
Damon, who totaled 2,769 hits during an 18-year career that he isn't ready to say is over, was also thrilled at the honor, especially given his reverence for Williams.
"It's special," said Damon, 40, who had a solid 2011 for the Rays and signed with the Indians in 2012 but was let go in August and hasn't played since. "As I started crossing names off the hit list, the most important one was Ted Williams."
Rays senior adviser Don Zimmer received the Ted Williams Lifetime Achievement award at the banquet, which drew a sellout crowd of 1,100 and was hosted by the Rays' Ben Zobrist.