Astros History: Hunsicker's Last Gift: Mike Lamb

Gerry Hunsicker was one of the better general managers that the Houston Astros had. That fact, and the fact that people recognized that fact, may have gotten him fired sometime during or after the 2004 season.

One of the reasons he was so talented is he had a knack for finding great value in players that were acquired for little to nothing. From Carl Everett to Billy Spiers to Geoff Blum, Hunsicker found value. His last piece, and the one that lived on after he was gone, the one who wore No. 26, came to the Astros in a spring training trade.

In fact, it was Mike Lamb's second trade of the 2004 campaign, though the season hadn't even started. In February of that year, the Rangers sent him to the New York Yankees, but Lamb didn't look like he could crack that roster. With Hunsicker wanting a little insurance at third base, he dealt for Lamb, giving up a marginal guy who never saw the major leagues.

Lamb, however, would provide great value for Houston in the next four seasons. Every year he was in Houston, Lamb hit double-digit home runs.

He also hit the first World Series home run in Astros history, a blast that came in the second inning of Game 1 off Jose Contreras.

He hit two home runs in the 2004 postseason, both coming in the NLCS against St. Louis. The first was even a pinch-hit home run in the ninth inning of Game 1.

Lamb had his best season, though, in 2006, when he posted a WAR of 2.3 with a line of .307/.361/.475 with 12 home runs, 70 runs scored and 45 RBIs. The utility man played all over the diamond, but saw most of his time here at first base. In fact, that's where he started in that 2005 World Series game where he hit the home run.

Used in small doses, Lamb was great and helped get Houston to the next level as much as Chris Burke or Jason Lane. Lamb wasn't flashy and probably won't be remembered by Astros fans in 20 years, but No. 26 deserves to be remembered, just as Hunsicker deserves to be recognized for bringing him to the Astros in the first place.

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