The more I dig into the Astros franchise history the more I've begun to realize the Astros were pretty good at collecting talent. They were also really bad about keeping that talent.
Ben Zobrist, Johan Santana, Bobby Abreu, Luis Gonzalez, Joe Morgan and Rusty Staub among others. Today, coinciding with game 44 of the season we're going to look at Staub's 1967 season and his exit from Houston.
Only five times in his 23 year career did Rusty Staub hit below an 100 OPS+. In 1967 he had one of the best years in his career and certainly his best with the Astros. His 153 OPS+ was the product of a .333/.398/.473 slash line, including 60 walks to 47 strikeouts, 10 homeruns, one triple and a league leading 44 doubles.
At the time that was a franchise record for doubles in a season. A record that would stand alone for 27 years and would eventually be broken after 29 years when Craig Biggio and Jeff Bagwell came along. Biggio tied Staub's mark in 1994 and Bagwell broke it in 1996 with 48 doubles. Staub's '67 season is now eighth all time, tied with two Biggio seasons.
Two years after setting the franchise record in doubles Staub would be traded to the Montreal Expos for Jesus Alou and Don Clendenon. Only Clendenon threatened to pull a Jake Plummer and retire instead of report to Houston. After a ruling, some threats and some more threats the Astros instead received Jack Billingham, Skip Guinn and cash along with Jesus Alou to complete the deal. Clendenon did not retire and was later traded to the New York Mets. The Hardball Times Richard Barbieri took an in-depth look at the trade between the Expos and Astros if you're interested in reading more.