Welcome to the Thursday Boil.
Houston Astros News
Astros 2023: The Fat Lady finished singing (Chipalatta)
AL West News
Stadium authority takes major step toward new Las Vegas ballpark (Las Vegas Sun)
ALCS Managerial Report Card: Dusty Baker (Fangraphs)
Houston Astros Birthdays
LHP Francisco Liriano (40) pitched 14 1⁄3 innings over 20 games for the Astros in 2017. He struck out 11 and posted a 4.13 FIP and a 1.674 WHIP.
960. Héctor Giménez is a switch-hitting catcher from Venezuela. He made his pro debut at the age of 19 at the rookie level for Houston in 2002, then worked his way up through the system until making his first major league appearances with the Astros in 2006. In late September, he made two pinch-hit appearances, going 0-for-2 with a strikeout.
959. LHP Philip Barzilla was born in Houston, and 22 years later, they drafted him in the fourth round out of Rice University. In 2006, he made his first major league appearance with the Astros. On June 11, in an eventual 14-4 win over the Atlanta Braves, he entered the game with two outs in the eighth and a runner on first. He then allowed Brian Jordan to single before retiring Todd Pratt on a fly ball to center field. Lifted for a pinch-hitter in the ninth, it was Barzilla’s only big league appearance.
958. Pembroke Pines, FL native Joe Perez was Houston’s second-round pick in 2017. A third baseman by trade, Perez got into his first game with the Astros on April 8, 2022, entering as a pinch-hitter in the eighth inning of a 13-6 win over the Los Angeles Angels. Perez struck out, and didn’t get into another game with Houston. In August of this year, he was released, and soon after picked up by the Pittsburgh Pirates.
957. Alonzo Harris, who sometimes went by “Candy,” was a third-round pick for the Baltimore Orioles in 1966. After that season, the Astros chose Harris in the rule 5 draft. In April, 1967, Harris was called up to the Astros, and got into five games as a pinch runner. On April 22, he had his only plate appearances, and struck out.
956. RF John Paciorek had a truly great major league debut. On September 29, 1963, the final game of the Colt .45s second season, he started in right field and batted seventh. In the second inning, he drew a walk and scored, hit a two-run single in the fourth, added an RBI-single in the fifth, drew a walk and scored in the sixth, and hit a third single in the eighth inning. Injuries kept him from playing another major league game, and he retired from minor league ball after 1967. He holds the distinction of being the only major league player to have a 1.000 career average with more than two at bats.
Paciorek brings to a close the first and smallest grouping, that of players who totaled five or fewer PA and/or BF while a member of the Houston franchise. The second grouping consists of players who totaled between six and 20 BF/PA and begins with Hipólito Pichardo.
955. RHP Hipólito Pichardo pitched 769 1⁄3 innings between the Kansas City Royals and the Boston Red Sox between 1992-2001. He had a 1.456 career WHIP and a 4.17 FIP to that point in time. Prior to the 2002 season, he signed with the Astros through free agency.
On May 7 of that year, Pichardo made his debut with the Astros, coming into a 4-4 tie to open the seventh against the Philadelphia Phillies. He gave up a double to open things up, then coaxed a 4-3 groundout out of Jimmy Rollins, moving the runner to third. He then threw a wild pitch, gave up a single, two walks, and a two-run single, and also three stolen bases while he was at it. He was lifted for Ricky Stone with one out, three in, and two on, and was eventually charged with a loss for his efforts. That was Pichardo’s only appearance with the Astros, and his final look at the major league level.
954. Don Bradey is a right-handed pitcher from Charlotte, NC. He began his minor league career in 1953 in the Chicago White Sox system. He also later played in the minors for the Detroit Tigers, the New York Yankees, and the Baltimore Orioles. A few days shy of his 30th birthday in 1964, he made his major league debut with the Colt .45s.
Bradey pitched in three games to close out the campaign. He pitched 2 1⁄3 innings over three appearances, allowing seven runs (five earned) on six hits and three walks, striking out two. His final appearance was actually on his birthday, a game he lost. His major league career concluded with that, along with an 0-2 record and a 19.29 ERA. SABR Bio
953. Switch-hitting second baseman Derrel Thomas was Houston’s first-round selection in the 1969 draft. After quickly rising through the minors, he got into five games for Houston in 1971, including a start at second base on September 24. Overall, he was zero-for-five with two strikeouts, a sacrifice hit, and a caught stealing. After the season, the Astros traded Thomas to the San Diego Padres for Dave Roberts.
Thomas went on to have a pretty great career, playing in 1,592 contests between the Los Angeles Dodgers, the Padres, the San Francisco Giants, the California Angels, the Montreal Expos, and the Philadelphia Phillies. Over his career, he slashed .249/.317/.332 and hit 43 home runs with 370 RBI.
952. Rylan Bannon was the eighth-round pick of the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2017, out of Xavier University. He was traded to the Baltimore Orioles as part of the Manny Machado deal, and four years later was reclaimed by the Dodgers off waivers.
Bannon appeared in four games for the Orioles, and after getting waived, appeared in another with the Atlanta Braves in 2022, hitting .143 by going 2-for-14. The Astros claimed him off waivers following the 2022 season by the Astros.
This season, Bannon spent most of the season at the Triple-A level with the Sugar Land Space Cowboys, hitting .241/.360/.449 with 18 jacks and 56 RBI. Near the end of April he joined the Astros for a series against the Phillies. In a pair of starts, one at DH and one at second base, he was 0-for-6 with three strikeouts.
951. Catcher Robinson Cancel was drafted by the Milwaukee Brewers in the 16th round in 1994. He did reach the majors with them in 1999, where he was eight-for-44. nine years later, he reached the majors again, but this time with the New York Mets. He was 12-for-50 in 28 games for them. During 2011 Spring Training, he signed with the Astros through free agency.
He got back to the majors with the Astros near the end of May, and in two starts at catcher went 0-for-6 with a walk and four strikeouts. Houston granted his free agency following the season.
950. LHP Jay Dahl was the most recent 17-year-old player to appear in a major league game, and that was with the Houston Colt .45s in 1963. Dahl started in his only appearance for the Colts, pitching against Houston’s expansion cousins, the New York Mets. In 2 2⁄3 innings, he gave up seven runs (five earned) on seven hits. After the game, his ERA was 16.88, and would remain so. Dahl died in a car crash aged 19 years old. SABR Bio
949. Backstop Tom Wieghaus was drafted by the Oakland A’s in the 10th round of the 1975 draft. After not signing, he was again drafted in 1978 by the Montreal Expos in the 10th round. He reached the majors with the for one game in 1981 and for one more game in 1983. Just before the 1984 season, Wieghaus was traded to the Astros for PTBNL George Bjorkman.
Wieghaus joined Houston’s active roster soon after the start of the 1984 season, and got into six games from mid-April through the beginning of May. In 12 plate appearances, he was 0-for-10 with one walk, one RBI, and three strikeouts.
948. C J.R. House was a fifth-round pick of the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1999. He did get to the Pirates at their parent club level for 10 plate appearances in 2003 and 2004. He was released before the 2005 season, and signed with the Astros through free agency prior to the 2006 season. In August, he appeared in four games with the Astros, and went 0-for-9 with a pair of strikeouts. He signed with the Baltimore Orioles for the 2007 campaign, and appeared in 19 games for them.
In 2008, House rejoined the Astros, again through free agency. In three pinch-hit appearances, he was 0-for-3 with a strikeout and an RBI.
947. Roberto Petagine was a left-handed first baseman and left fielder from Venezuela. In 1994, he got to the majors with Houston, and was 0-for-7 with three strikeouts and a walk. After that season he was traded with Ken Caminiti, Andujar Cedeno, Steve Finley, PTBNL Sean Fesh, and Brian Williams to the San Diego Padres for Derek Bell, Doug Brocail, Ricky Gutierrez, Pedro Martinez, Phil Plantier, and Craig Shipley.
After leaving the Astros organization, Petagine was a literal journeyman for his next six major league seasons. He played with the Padres, the New York Mets, the Cincinnati Reds, the Boston Red Sox, and the Seattle Mariners.
946. Outfielder Jeff Baldwin was Houston’s 14th-round choice in 1985 out of Camden County College. In 1990, he made his debut with the Astros. Between May 22 and June 4, he made seven appearances, going 0-for-8 with a walk in nine plate appearances, scoring a run and striking out twice.