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Houston Astros News
AL West News
Houston Astros Birthdays
Due to popular demand, birthdays will continue, but the rundown of each birthday boy will be slightly curtailed.
RHP Danny Darwin (68) aka Dr. Death amongst other nicknames, was 47-35 with 12 saves over parts of six seasons with Houston. He pitched to a 3.21 ERA, a 3.41 FIP, a 1.164 WHIP, 6.4 K/9, and an ERA+ of 113 with the team from 1986 through 1990 and part of 1996. Although he never won a Cy Young Award, or made the All-Star team, he led the majors with a 1.027 WHIP in 1990.
LHP Skip Guinn (79) pitched in 32 games for the Astros in 1969 and 1971. He struck out 36 over 31 2⁄3 innings, with a 1.863 WHIP.
The first tier of players consists of men who had less than five PA and/or BF while a part of the franchise. This tier will continue into tomorrow.
975) C Otis Thornton was a right-handed hitter and thrower from Docena, AL. Drafted in the 68th round of the 1965 draft, Thornton made two appearances at the top level for the Astros. In 1973, he appeared in a pair of games for Houston, both in a July 6 doubleheader against the Montreal Expos. In the first game, Thornton was a defensive replacement, and in the second he went 0-for-3 with a pair of strikeouts and an RBI on a ninth-inning groundout. Houston lost the pair of games 12-8 and 14-6, respectively.
Final Statline: 2 G, .000/.000/.000, one RBI
974) Jim Mahoney was a right-handed middle infielder from Englewood, NJ. Before making his debut with Houston, he appeared in 31 games for the 1959 Boston Red Sox, 43 games for the 1961 Washington Senators, and another 41 for the 1962 Cleveland Indians. Between May 30 and June 14, 1965, Mahoney appeared in five games, going one-for-five with three K’s. His lone hit, on June 13, he collected his lone hit on a two-out, bases-empty fifth-inning single in an eventual 5-0 loss to the Philadelphia Phillies. SABR Bio
Final Statline: 5 G, .200/.200/.200
973) C Terry McGriff was an eighth-round pick of the Cincinnati Reds in 1981, and appeared in 77 games for them before joining the Astros via trade on September 7 (as a ptbnl in the Bill Doran deal). For Doran, we also got Butch Henry.
For McGriff’s part, he appeared in four games for the Astros down the stretch, going hitless in five plate appearances. Granted free agency following the season, he later appeared with the Florida Marlins (three games) and the St. Louis Cardinals (42 games).
Final Statline: 4 G, .000/.000/.000
972) Craig Smajstrla was a second baseman from Houston, and was drafted in the fourth round by the Chicago White Sox in 1981. In 1988, he made it to the major leagues for what would be his only look appearing in eight games for Houston, mostly as a pinch runner. At the plate, he went 0-for-3 and scored a pair of runs.
Final Statline: 8 G, .000/.000/.000, 2 R
971) C Brian Esposito was drafted in the fifth round of the 2000 draft by the Boston Red Sox. He first got to the majors with the St. Louis Cardinals for one game in 2007, but did not get a plate appearance. Three years later, he got back to the bigs with the Astros and appeared in a pair of games. He was 0-for-3 in as many plate appearances, and never again reemerged at the top level.
Final Statline: 2 G, .000/.000/.000
970) Houston native C Chris Tremie was taken in round 41 of the 1988 draft by the Astros. Although he didn’t then sign, he was again drafted three years later by the White Sox in the 39th round. Tremie was six-for-41 at the big league level between three teams in the 1990s before getting back to the majors in 2004 with Houston. He appeared in one game for the team as a late-inning defensive replacement, in a 9-2 loss to the San Francisco Giants on September 7.
Final Statline: 1 G
969) RHP Larry Yount was drafted by the Astros in the fifth round back in 1968. On September 15, 1971, Yount made his only major league appearance, and didn’t really get into the game at all. With the Atlanta Braves leading 4-1, Yount replaced pitcher Rich Chiles for a second, then Jim Ray replaced Yount without him having been on the field for a single pitch.
Final Statline: 1 G(?)
968) 2B Dave Matranga was a sixth-round pick in 1998 by Houston. In 2003, he made his major league debut with the Astros on June 27. In the bottom of the fifth inning, trailing the Texas Rangers by a 4-3 score, he pinch-hit for pitcher Nate Bland and smacked it deep to tie the score at four. Houston eventually lost that game 10-7.
Matranga got into another five games with the Astros, but couldn’t collect another base hit. In 2005, he had another plate appearance with the Los Angeles Angels, but didn’t get on base. SABR Bio
Final Statline: 6 G, .200/.200/.800, 1 HR, 1 RBI
967) Eddie Zosky was an infielder from California. In 1986, the New York Mets made him their fifth-round choice. In 1991, he got to the majors with the Toronto Blue Jays, and appeared in 26 games for them. In 1995, he played in six games for the Florida Marlins, then in 1999 appeared in eight games for the Milwaukee Brewers.
At the age of 32, he once more reached the major leagues, this time as a member of the Houston Astros. In what would be his final look at baseball’s best level, he got into four games for Houston, going 0-for-4 with a strikeout. SABR Bio
Final Statline: 4 G, .000/.000/.000
966) Gene Ratliff reached the major leagues without the benefit of being drafted, making his debut with the 1965 Astros. In four games, all pinch-hit opportunities, Ratliff went 0-for-4 with four strikeouts.
Final Statline: 4 G, .000/.000/.000
965) Steve Hertz made his major league debut at the age of 19 for the Houston Colt .45s in 1964. Although he was 0-for-4 at the plate with three strikeouts, he scored two runs and appeared in five games overall. He played two innings in the field at third base, making one putout and concluding his playing career with a 1.000 fielding percentage. Although that was the end of his major league career, he continued on in the minors until 1969.
Final Statline: 5 G, .000/.000/.000, 2 R
964) Jay Schlueter was a left fielder out of Phoenix, AZ. In 1967, the Astros picked him in the second round out of Central HS in his hometown. After four years of shoving in the minors, he got to the bigs with Houston in 1971. Between June 18 and July 25, he appeared in seven games, sometimes as a pinch-runner, sometimes as a defensive replacement in left field, and twice as a pinch hitter. On July 9, in the second game of a doubleheader against the St. Louis Cardinals, he got his only career big-league hit in the fifth inning of an eventual 9-5 loss. Ultimately, he went one-for-three with a run and a strikeout. He also played five innings in left field, making three putouts without negative incident.
Final Statline: 7 G, .333/.333/.333, 1 R
963) RHP Mike Mendoza was taken in the fifth round by Houston in 1973. It was a long and hard push, lasting six seasons of more-or-less steady progression through the Astros’ minor league system. In 1979, on September 26, he pitched one perfect inning for Houston, the eighth inning of a 9-4 loss to the Atlanta Braves. Although it was low leverage, Mendoza has a flawless pitching career.
Final Statline: 1 G, 1 IP, 0 BB, 0 H, 0 ER, 0 K
962) Jesús de la Rosa joined the Astros organization in 1969, and finally made his way up to Houston in 1975. Although he was adept at three infield positions and all outfield positions, his major league experience was entirely as a pinch hitter. In three games, he was one-for-three with a double. It’s not much consolation for a guy who eventually spent 12 seasons in professional baseball, but his 1.000 career OPS is something, right?
Final Statline: 3 G, .333/.333/.667, 1 2B, 1 R
961) Jack Daugherty was a switch-hitting left fielder and first baseman out of Hialeah, FL. Not just a flash-in-the-pan like most of these other first chapter players, Daugherty enjoyed a six-season major league career, mostly with the Texas Rangers between 1989 and 1992. Out of an eventual total of 355 games, he played in four for the Astros in 1993. He was one-for-three with Houston, including a single on May 4, his last game with the team and an eventual 6-1 loss to the St. Louis Cardinals.
Final Statline: 4 G .333/.333/.333