Roy Oswalt will start this afternoon, two victories away from the Astros all-time record, currently held by Joe Niekro. He's also asked to be traded and may be a former Astro by the end of July. Our favorite reader from across the pond came up with a cool idea for a post a while back. He wrote about his favorite Roy Oswalt memory. I liked the idea so much, I've decided to steal and run with it.
To mark each of his remaining starts with the Astros, let's post one thing about his career that has stood out. Today, I'm going to tell you about my favorite Roy Boy memory.
In the fall of 2000, I was a bright-eyed and bushy-tailed college freshman. I was away from home with my own computer, where I could finally while away the hours playing The Sims and looking up baseball stats without family interrupting me.
At that point, I wasn't nearly as prospect-crazy as I am now, but I did have high hopes for a certain shortstop with the new Double-A affiliate in Round Rock. Adam Everett was also on the Olympics team, which happened to take place in Sydney in the last part of September that year. Following that team is when I learned about one of Everett's teammates, a pitcher from Mississippi.
That sent me to the Round Rock website, where I found some startling stats. Like a 7-to-1 strikeout to walk ratio. or a K/9 rate right around 10. Or, in my less enlightened moments, his 11-4 record and 1.94 ERA. In my defense, Moneyball wouldn't be published for another year and I was too young/dumb to have heard about Bill James by that point.
I became a big fan of most of those Express players that September, including Morgan Ensberg, Keith Ginter and Tim Redding. It was Oswalt, though, that captured my excitement the most. All through spring training and the first month of the regular season, I got more and more excited about him. When he got called up and put in the bullpen on May 6th, I was really excited. What I remember most fondly happened two games later.
That's when he picked up his first big-league victory (of course, against Cincinnati). He threw 3 2/3 scoreless innings, striking out four while walking none. That's when I got to call my dad and tell him, "This is the guy I've been talking about! He's awesome." That's how it started.
As that season wore on and roy ran his record to 8-1, then 14-2, striking out 10 Pirates in the process, Oswalt became my favorite player. I thought at the time that he got robbed for Rookie of the Year by some flash in the pan from St. Louis (one of my worst calls ever). Through post season success and the first World Series in franchise history, Roy has stayed near and dear to me. I felt like I'd found him first and that was cool. Because of that, those first games in 2001 have always stood out in my mind.