Astros History: Brad Ausmus

Hide your female counterparts because we're covering Brad Ausmus for game 11. Don't say I didn't warn you.

I've avoided using a Brad Ausmus image at the top of this post for a reason. He tends to attract a female audience and I'm trying to spare you of any female happening to walk by, racing over to your computer. Heavy breathing over your shoulder tends to make reading an article difficult.

I have two lasting images of Brad Ausmus. The first being the home run he hit with two outs in the bottom of the ninth with the Astros needing a run to tie, in Game 4 of the NLDS against the Atlanta Braves. That shot sent the game into not only extra's but baseball history, when eight innings later Chris Burke finally ended it with a home run of his own.

My other lasting imagery of Ausmus is his ability to block any and every ball in the dirt. Jason Castro's inability to do so this season reminds me how good Ausmus was at it, and listening to various announcers tell kids that's the way to do it.

Not only was he a favorite with the female population, but he was also a favorite of any pitcher he worked with. Constant praise was heaped on him by pitchers and is certainly one of the reasons he played in 1971 games, 1259 of those with Houston, despite batting .251/.325/.344 for his career.

Ausmus was drafted by the New York Yankess in the 48th round of the 1987 draft. He was then drafted by the Colorado Rockies in the 1992 expansion draft. In the summer of 1993 he was traded to the San Diego Padres. During the 1996 season he was traded to the Detroit Tigers. That offseason he was traded to Houston where he would remain until just before the 1999 season when he was sent back to Detroit. After two seasons in Detroit he was traded back to Houston where he would remain until the completion of the 2008 season.

His final tally with Houston was a whopping 41 home runs, 386 runs batted in on 970 hits. But he wasn't there for his offensive aptitude, he was there for the way he handled pitchers and his defense behind the plate. We're only now realizing the value of a catcher like Brad Ausmus, but all you really have to do is talk to one of the many pitchers he caught.

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