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This Day In Astros History: July 27, 1996

An unusual one today, as this is the anniversary of the Rick Wilkins trade. Yep, it's a big date in team history, am I right?

Wilkins was part of a crazy time in Astros catchers back then. He was acquired in 1995 when the Astros traded Luis Gonzalez and then-starting catcher Scott Servais to Chicago for Wilkins. He only played in 15 games down the stretch in '95 and didn't hit at all in '96. 

That's when Houston decided to flip Wilkins to San Francisco for another catcher, Kirt Manwaring. Oh, and the Astros sent cash to the Giants in that deal. Wilkins was 29 that season and had just won an arbitration case in the offseason to get $1.5 million. He hit just .213/.330/.331 in 84 games for Houston in '96 but hit a robust .293/.366/.510 for San Fran.

Of course, the Giants also released Wilkins in the middle of '97 and Manwaring got his free agent walking papers from Houston at the end of '96. Even though this whole roller coaster wasn't very productive, it did lead to Houston making a trade for a defensive specialist who graduated from Princeton and would become one of the best known catchers in team history besides John Bateman and Alan Ashby.

Oh, and Houston also was able to play a game on this same day, losing 6-5 to the Los Angeles Dodgers in 11 innings. Manwaring was in the game, entering the game as a defensive replacement after Brian Hunter pinch hit for Randy Knorr (who started at catcher).

Here's the graphic replay of the game, thanks to Back to Baseball.