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Astros History: The Astros Sign Tony Eusebio

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The Astros made quite possibly one of the most important signings of the franchise in the Summer of '85. Okay maybe I'm exaggerating a bit. Still, Tony Eusebio was a fan favorite in Houston which is the reason why he'll be highlighted in advance of game number 85 on the season.

Eusebio was signed May 30, 1985. Six years later he would make his debut with the club August 8, 1991. He didn't stick with the club and wasn't a permanent fixture in Houston until 1994, at the age of 27. Once he was up for good he would spend the next eight years as the Astros backup catcher.

Only once did he get more than 400 plate appearance, and that was his second year. That year he batted .299/.354/.410 in 408 plate appearances. His best year came in 2000 when he batted .280/.361/.459 in 249 plate appearances. That's the same year he went on his 24 game hitting streak in part-time duty.

Clack already talked about that streak earlier in the year so I just quote what he had earlier regarding the streak:

Eusebio's hit streak was unique because he was a back up player and pinch hitter. His hit streak covered 54 days between July 9 and Aug. 28, due to the intermittent nature of his playing time. Eusebio batted .409 during the streak, and raised his OPS from .611 to .843 over that period. Eusebio was hitting .285 at the end of the streak. Eusebio's streak was the fifth longest by a ML catcher since 1900.

Eusebio perhaps was the most improbable player to be associated with a long hitting streak, and not just because of his role as a reserve player. Tony was slow, like many catchers. Eusebio's career batting average was .275. However, he had shown the ability to hit for high average early in his career (.296 and .299 in 1994 and 1995). Eusebio's hitting style was based on a opposite field swing.

The sponsor of Eusebio's Baseball Reference.com player page points out another hitting streak oddity:

"Did you know Tony Eusebio had a 24 game hit streak for the AAA Tucson Toros in 1993? Better yet, he extended it to 30 games during a rehab stint in 1996. That's why we love tough Tony."