Craig Biggio goes back to school…for one day.

Craig Biggio has three kids ranging from 11 to 18 and also coaches baseball at a local high school, so needless to say, he’s pretty at ease in the presence of young people.

Biggio fit right in as he chatted with Caleb Henson and friends at Swenke Elementary School on Tuesday and chowed down on burgers and fries as part of the Whataburger “Take a Player to School” program. This past summer, fans were invited to participate in an online essay contest that awarded one student the opportunity to meet with a player at his or her school at the start of the 2011-12 school year.

More than 950 entries were received from parents, relatives and friends of area first through eighth graders. Henson, 12 years old and a fifth grader at Swenke Elementary, was declared the winner and awarded the special visit from Biggio.

Henson’s big day actually started early in the morning. Junction Jack, the Astros’ mascot, personally escorted Henson to school in a limousine. Around noon, Henson met Biggio and the two enjoyed a private lunch with four of Henson’s classmates, followed by a visit to one of his classes.

Henson and his family were treated to tickets to Tuesday night’s game with an invitation to Henson to throw out the ceremonial first pitch. As a catcher, however, he requested to catch the pitch instead.

Video from Biggio’s visit can be viewed here.

The essay submitted on behalf of Henson explained why he was a worthy candidate to win this honor:

“Caleb is a well-rounded inspiring student. He is deaf in one ear and is scheduled for another surgery to stop the invasive cyst from damaging his brain. Caleb hasn’t let it slow him down. Caleb is in the Chess Club and makes straight A honor roll all year. His 4th grade teacher sent a request to the principal that he be moved into the gifted and talented room.  Caleb volunteers at a nursing home where he plays guitar and sings, and takes our Therapy Dog. Caleb is a catcher on a select baseball team. Caleb plays football, currently for a hand-picked team. Coach Ricco chose players who are good sportsmen, have an attitude to learn, and who are intellectually ready. We are worried that he may not get to play. Caleb’s upcoming surgery could prevent him from playing sports for 6 months or more. Caleb is really dreading it and if he won, it would help him focus on something better. Caleb has a hard time making friends. If [an Astros player] attended school with him it would help Caleb develop new friendships.”

Needless to say, Caleb was one cool kid on Tuesday…

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Ever since i saw biggio from the first time i have always wanted to get a signed ball. that was when i was 8 or 9, im 15 now and still he is my favorite, and i still REALLY want a signed ball. SO BAD! he’s awesome.

PS. im going to be at that game, so ill see Caleb and him cathing it. HAVE FUN!

Jeez, I can hardly read what I am typing…too blurry! All the best to Caleb as he goes through his medical procedures, and thanks to this city’s greatest ambassador’s – the transplanted northerner!

What a heart-warming story! Caleb must have been one happy kid that day – and a bunch of days after that! Kudos to Biggio (again!) for being such a good role model and available to the kids. Just looking at these photos, I’m not sure if the kids or Craig was having more fun! Good story, Allison – thanks for sharing.

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