In March 2020, as sport stalled at all levels due to the coronavirus pandemic, Notre Dame infielder Quinn Biggio was sent home from college like other teammates and students across the country.
Unlike his other colleagues, however, Biggio returned to one of the most famous families in Houston.
It was a rare opportunity for the five to be home together: dad and Houston Astros icon Craig Biggio, Quinn’s older brothers – Toronto Blue Jay’s second baseman Cavan Biggio and former Notre Dame outfielder Conor Biggio – and their mother Patty.
Continue to play.
The pandemic-inspired backyard family Wiffle Ball World Series brought back memories for everyone. Cavan and Quinn tore open cardboard boxes for bases. The most important rule? Don’t hit a home run. Over the roof and you’re out.
(Try telling this to a family of slackers.)
“Our neighbors would take their dogs for a walk and see balls flying over the house,” said Quinn, who has completed five home runs for the Irish this year.
“The problem was we ran out of Wiffle Balls,” said Craig Biggio, who is now in his 13th season in the Astro’s front office as special assistant to the general manager.
“All the sports stores were closed, and then you’re trying to get more wiffle balls. We ran out of more equipment than anything. We knocked on our neighbors’ doors. ‘Can we go into your yard, look into your trees?'”
The Biggio family has always been supportive of one another, so it’s not surprising that the group was able to come together and thrive during the pandemic. Photo by Juan DeLeon / Icon Sportswire
With the pandemic derailing halfway through its sophomore season, Quinn said the chance to go home may have been the “wake-up call” she needed, a chance to work in the company of her most supportive fans at becoming a more consistent hitter be. While Notre Dame competes against Virginia Tech in the ACC tournament today (1:30 p.m., ACC Network), the third Biggio, who plays for the Irish, continues the family tradition, comes up with big hits in clutch moments and provides defense in the all over the world infield – but she makes it while she mostly comes off the bank.
“I think COVID really helped because I had the opportunity to step back during the quarantine step, see what I did well, what I didn’t do well, and do the job which was nice,” she said ” Kind of a long pause to really break my swing and get back in. “
The Biggios have a battered batting cage in their Houston home that has been around for three generations. They all used it during the pandemic and took turns in their weight room. When Craig threw at them, Quinn said, he had to wear a helmet because the ball could bounce off the light. It’s old, but they like it because it forces them to align and punch it in the middle.
However, it’s not just her father who has been a sounding board throughout her career. Quinn said her mother might have the best punch. (“She may not know how to explain,” Quinn said, “but she knows exactly what you’re doing wrong.”) Or she calls Cavan on FaceTime, puts the phone on the floor, and tells him to watch as she hits a few balls and tell her what he thinks. And Conor is the one who asks her for emotional support when she’s had a bad game or even just a bad day.
“To be honest, I have four hitting coaches on the speed dial,” she said with a laugh.
Including one that scored 3,060 hits.
“It’s never been like you have to do this, you have to do this,” said Craig Biggio, who retired in 2007 after a 20-year career with Astros.
“Sometimes people lose sight of how tough exercise is. My world is more about work and morale and being the best you can get from your abilities while trying to keep it simple . ” “”
Quinn enters the tournament after starting 17 games out of 30 and has a batting average of .259. She has 10 runs, 14 hits, and 13 RBI in 52 bats. Biggio has completed a comparable number of runs as teammates who started every game and have more than twice as many bats.
“Quinn as a player is very dynamic and I think she is more dynamic than she thinks,” said her brother Cavan.
“She has so much talent and such a high ceiling. You look at it from a defensive standpoint, she can play shortstop, play the third game the second, play the first and you can throw her out into the outfield. I think you can say the Biggio way where my father did that and I’m doing it now and she’s doing it in Notre Dame. “
Much like her father and brothers before her, Quinn Biggio can play all over the field and her versatility has been a great asset to Notre Dame. Notre Dame athletics
Your goal for the ACC tournament is to “fill every role that needs to be filled at this moment”.
“I’ve kind of stepped up in this way, in this kind of role this year, where I can do whatever it takes,” she said. “It doesn’t matter whether it’s third base every now and then or just the person in the dugout who cheers on their teammates and makes everyone excited and keeps everyone in the game.”
Biggio’s versatility is one of their greatest assets for the Irish, said Notre Dame coach Deanna Gumpf.
“Quinn did a great job filling shoes for us, which means she played almost every single infield position,” said Gumpf. “… and I wouldn’t be surprised if she didn’t finish her career with second base. So she did everything for us. And she was really solid and stable and she took care of it, you know she did dealt with some injuries too so she handled things really well and I think the biggest change for her was her confidence and her consistency on the plate. “
Earlier this month, against Virginia Tech, the Irish had a 2-1 lead in the sixth inning when Biggio was called to hit and delivered a home run with two outs.
“She is always ready to attack wherever the coaches use her and whatever position she is in,” said Notre Dame pitcher Payton Tidd. “She definitely has the last few pinch hits she’s had and she really overdone us in a lot of different games.”
When Quinn was younger and played on a community team, she was always given the number 7 because that’s what her father wore before the Astros withdrew its number on August 17, 2008. She said strangers would approach her and ask for a photo – from the back of her jersey.
“I was excited to get out of Houston for a bit and make a name for myself,” she said. “Baseball and softball are the same sport, but at the same time they are 100 ways different.”
Now she wears the number 4 – but didn’t know it was the same number her father wore when he entered the major leagues.
“A big name on your back, it can be that it can be very difficult at times, but I think our kids understand and they understand and they understand that they are just trying to be the best they can be that is” said Craig Biggio. “And other people have different expectations of who they should be or what it is. It’s up to them. That’s not who they are, they’re just trying to be the best possible athlete they can be. And the best possible teammate they could be. ” “”
Including in their own backyard.