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Everystros Countdown: Chapter XXV

How many of these guys do you remember?

Houston Astros v Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
Jimmy Paredes slides into second safely.
Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

We’ve made it to Chapter 25 of the Everystros Countdown, the offseason-long series you never knew you needed.

Today’s Chapter will look at another 13 of the 975 players to appear for Houston through their first 62 seasons. The players appearing today are ranked from 637 up through 625. They each have between 101 and 500 BF/PA while with the franchise, and clock in between negative-0.0051 and negative-0.0045 bWAR per BF/PA with the team.

637. Ron Mathis is a six-foot right-handed pitcher from Kansas City, MO. Born on September 25, 1958, he was a 30th-round selection of the Detroit Tigers in the 1980 draft out of the University of Missouri.

Just into the 1982 season, and still in the lower level of the minors, the Tigers released Mathis, and Houston picked him up two weeks later. By 1984, his second season with Houston’s Triple-A Tucson Toros, he was 5-2 with a 3.34 ERA and a 1.099 WHIP.

Although he played a lot of the 1985 campaign with the Toros, he also got his first action in the big leagues. He started the season as Houston’s number five starter, and struck out four in 5 13 innings on April 13, taking a 4-2 loss against the Philadelphia Phillies. On May 14, he pitched seven shutout innings and earned a win in a 10-0 triumph against the Montreal Expos. On July 5, he pitched a perfect eighth and ninth inning for his first save, in a 4-2 win over Montreal.

Mathis pitched in 23 games spread across most of the season with the Astros. He was 3-5 with a 6.04 ERA and 34 K’s, along with a 1.571 WHIP in 70 innings. After another season cooling his heels in the minors, Mathis appeared in another eight games for Houston in 1987, all in relief. Unfortunately, he walked more (11) than he struck out (8), pitching to a 5.25 ERA and a 1.750 WHIP in 12 innings.

636. Bobby Sprowl is a six-foot-two left-handed pitcher from Sandusky, OH. Born on April 14, 1956, he was a second-round pick of the Boston Red Sox in the 1977 draft out of the University of Alabama. He actually reached the majors the following season with Boston, starting three games and pitching to a 6.39 ERA with an 0-2 record.

Ensconced somewhere in Boston’s minor league complex in mid-1979, the Red Sox sent him to Houston as a PTBNL in an earlier deal with Pete Ladd and cash for Bob Watson. In September, he joined the Astros proper and made three relief appearances through the remainder of the season. Over four innings he only allowed one hit and struck out three, allowing no runs and walking two.

In 1980, Sprowl again played most of the year in the minors, and graduated to the majors for just one game, on September 23. In that one, he pitched the seventh inning of a 9-4 loss to the San Diego Padres, For his part, he walked one, allowed a triple, and struck out the side.

The 1981 season would see the lion’s share of Sprowl’s major league appearances. His best appearance of the season was his only start, on May 14 against the St. Louis Cardinals. He held the Cards to one unearned run on four hits and two walks, striking out three in seven innings. He earned no decision in the eventual 7-6 loss to St. Louis.

But it wasn’t all puppies and rainbows for Sprowl that year. Aside from that triumph, it was pretty dark. Outside of his start, he allowed 36 hits in 21 23 innings, along with 12 walks. Overall, he posted a 5.97 ERA and a 1.884 WHIP with 5.7 K/9.

635. Tommy Manzella is a six-foot-two right-handed shortstop from Chalmette, LA. Born on April 16, 1983, he was a third-round pick in 2005 for the Astros out of Tulane University. It took until 2009, but he reached the majors for Houston in September, and played in seven games, mostly as a pinch-runner. At the plate, he was one-for-five with four strikeouts.

The bulk of Manzella’s major league experience came for him in 2010. On June 10, he hit a sacrifice fly in the second for a 2-0 lead, then added a two-run single in the sixth inning to make it 5-2 in an eventual 5-4 win over the Colorado Rockies.

Manzella played in 83 games for Houston over the course of the season, collecting multiple hits 13 times. On August 28, he had the only three-hit game of his career, with three singles and an RBI in a 4-1 win against the New York Mets. Overall, he hit .225/.267/.264 with one homer and 21 RBI. He drew 13 walks, scored 17 runs, and struck out 71 times in 282 plate appearances.

Manzella never got back to the majors again, although he did play another three seasons of minor league ball with the Arizona Diamondbacks, the Milwaukee Brewers, the Chicago White Sox, the Colorado Rockies, and the Toronto Maple Leafs.

634. Dave Rohde is a six-foot-two switch-hitting second and third baseman from Los Altos, CA. Born on May 8, 1964, the Astros made him a fifth-round choice in 1986 out of the University of Arizona.

Rohde reached the majors with Houston in 1990, and played the bulk of his big league games with them that year. Over the course of the year, he was 18-for-98 with four doubles and five RBI. He drew nine walks, scored eight runs, and struck out 20 times.

In 59 games, Rohde had multiple hits six times, including twice where he collected three. On July 18, he provided the offense for the Astros by hitting two singles and a double, scoring the only run of the game in a 1-0 win against the New York Mets.

In 1991, Rohde appeared in another 29 games for Houston, going five-for-41 with three runs, no extra-base hits and no RBI. He drew five walks and struck out eight times, On May 20, he had his only multiple-hit game of the year, going two-for-four with a pair of RBI in a 4-1 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers.

After the 1991 season, the Astros traded Rohde with Kenny Lofton to the Cleveland Indians for Willie Blair and Ed Taubensee. Rohde appeared in five games for Cleveland, and was 0-for-7 with two walks.

633. Dan Schneider is a six-foot-three left-handed pitcher from Evansville, IN. Born on August 29, 1942, he made his major league debut in 1963 with the Milwaukee Braves. He appeared with them 57 times, both in Milwaukee and after the team relocated to Atlanta. He struck out 44 in 106 13 innings, with a 3.98 ERA and a 1.382 WHIP.

After the 1966 season, the Braves traded Schneider with Lee Bales and Tom Dukes to Houston for Ed Pacheco, John Hoffman and Gene Ratliff.

In 1967, Schneider worked out of Houston’s bullpen for the entire season. Going by WPA, his best performance was on September 26. He inherited a 2-1 lead in the eighth inning, with nobody out and two runners on base, then got a lineout and two groundouts to get out of it unscathed. Even though he gave up a run in the top of the ninth, Houston still won, 3-2 over the Philadelphia Phillies.

Schneider struck out 39 in 52 23 innings over the campaign, with a 4.96 ERA and a 1.652 WHIP. He spent the 1968 season with the Columbus Jets, the Pittsburgh Pirates Triple-A International League affiliate, going 7-2 with a 3.42 ERA.

In 1969, Schneider got back to the big leagues with Houston in April. He made six appearances, all in relief and all eventual Astros’ losses. In 7 13 innings he allowed 12 runs on five walks and 16 hits for a 13.50 ERA and a 2.864 WHIP. After heading down to the minors, he later joined the St. Louis Cardinals, but didn’t reach the majors again.

632. Runelvys Hernández is a six-foot-three right-handed pitcher from Santo Domingo, DR. Born on April 27, 1978, he started his baseball career in 2001 with the Kansas City Royals at their Single-A level, then reached the majors for them the next season. In parts of four seasons for Kansas City, Hernández was 25-36 with a 5.38 ERA, a 1.516 WHIP, and 4.8 K/9.

The Royals granted Hernández free agency following 2006, and he appeared in the minors in 2007 with the Boston Red Sox, the New York Yankees, and the Pittsburgh Pirates, not making it to the majors with any of them through the campaign. During 2008 Spring Training, he signed a deal with Houston.

Hernández started four games for the Astros in late-June and early-July in what would turn out to be his major league swan song. His best start, his first, was on June 27. He struck out five and allowed three runs in five innings in a 6-1 loss to the Red Sox. On July 7, he actually scored a minus-five GameScore when he surrendered 10 runs in four innings, on 13 hits and four walks.

During his short time with Houston, Hernández went 0-3 with an 8.38 ERA and a 2.224 WHIP, with 15 strikeouts in 19 13 innings.

631. Armando Gallaraga is a six-foot-three right-handed pitcher from Cumana, VZ. Born on January 15, 1982, he started his pro career in 2007 with the Texas Rangers, posting a 6.23 ERA in 8 23 innings and striking out six in three relief appearances. He spent the next three seasons with the Detroit Tigers.

Galarraga pitched well enough as a rookie in 2008 to finish fourth in the American League Rookie of the Year Award voting, with a 13-7 record and a 3.73 ERA. In three seasons in total with Detroit, he was 23-26 with a 3.44 ERA and 295 K’s in 466 23 innings, but that’s not what you remember about him...

Yeah, that happened. To their shared credit, first base umpire Jim Joyce and Galarraga have made peace over this incident, and have even appeared together at times since then. After his time with the Tigers, Galarraga spent 2011 with the Arizona Diamondbacks (3-4, 5.91, 42 23 IP).

After the 2011 campaign, Galarraga was granted free agency, and he signed to play with the Baltimore Orioles, but after failing to break camp with them, was released in April. In May the Astros took a flyer on his services.

Galarraga joined Houston’s rotation on July 28, against the PIttsburgh Pirates. It was his best start with the team, lasting five innings and three runs (two earned), with five strikeouts in an eventual 4-3 loss.

The Astros lost all five of Galarraga’s starts, with the pitcher himself going 0-4 with a 6.75 ERA. He struck out 17 in 24 innings, but also walked 18 and gave up 28 hits for 20 runs. He finished wtih a 7.43 FIP and a 1.917 WHIP. Houston granted free agency before August was over.

Galarraga later signed on with the Cincinnati Reds, the Colorado Rockies, and the Rangers, but never got back to the big league level.

630. Larry Sherry was a six-foot-two right-handed pitcher from Mission Viejo, CA. Born on July 25, 1935, Sherry started his professional baseball career in 1953 at the age of 17 with the Brooklyn Dodgers C-level club, the Santa Barbara Dodgers. He also played for the Bakersfield Indians, the Great Falls Electrics, the Newport News Dodgers, the Pueblo, um, Dodgers, the minor-league Los Angeles Angels, the Spokane Indians, and the St. Paul Saints, one and all Dodgers affiliates at the time.

Sherry reached the Dodgers proper in 1958 and pitched six years for them at their top level, mostly out of the bullpen. In 1960, he was 14-10 with a 3.79 ERA as a relief pitcher, and even earned some down-ballot MVP consideration. Overall as a Dodger, he was 34-25 with 39 saves, a 3.47 ERA and 385 strikeouts in 505 13 innings. He then spent three-and-a-half seasons with the Detroit Tigers (18-17, 37 saves, 3.85, 250 13 IP).

On June 29, 1967, the Tigers traded Sherry to the Astros for Jim Landis. Through the balance of the campaign, Sherry appeared in 29 games for Houston, going 1-3 with seven saves. On July 31, he had what was likely his best game with Houston, when he inherited a 3-2 lead and two baserunners with nobody out in the top of the ninth inning against the New York Mets. He then got Ed Charles to hit into a force-play at second. Then, with runners on the corners, he got Larry Stahl to hit an infield pop fly and struck out Ed Kranepool to slam the door for his sixth save in six opportunities for Houston. It would also be his last.

Over his next eight appearances, Sherry allowed 15 runs in 13 23 innings for a 9.22 ERA. In fact, through the end of the season, he never again had an appearance without allowing a baserunner, despite averaging 1 13 innings per appearance over those 19 appearances.

But the final tally includes the good with the bad, and we always have to take both (See glossary — baserunning; Altuve). In 40 23 innings Sherry struck out 32 and walked 13, allowing 22 earned runs on 53 hits, including four home runs. He finished with a 4.87 ERA and a 1-2 record.

Just before the 1968 regular season got underway, the Astros released Sherry, who later found employment with the California Angels (3 IP).

629. Rob Mallicoat is a six-foot-three left-handed pitcher from St. Helens, OR. born on November 15, 1964, he was an eighth-round choice of the Detroit Tigers in 1983 out of high school. After going unsigned, he was later Houston’s first round choice the next year out of Taft College, with the 16th overall selection.

Mallicoat first reached the majors with the Astros in 1987, and walked six versus four strikeouts in 6 23 innings over four games. He allowed five runs on eight hits over that time, and seemingly retired to Weiland Island afterward, not appearing in any games at any level for over two calendar years.

Mallicoat did eventually return to the bigs with Houston, in 1991, and played his best major league season. His best appearance of the season was on August 18, when he earned an old-timey save when he came in to pitch the seventh with a lead and held onto it through three innings. He allowed one hit and one walk, but no runs, and struck out three in an 8-4 win against the Los Angeles Dodgers.

From August 17 through the end of the year, Mallicoat pitched in 24 of Houston’s final 47 games, He had a 3.86 ERA and a 1.500 WHIP, with 18 strikeouts in 23 13 innings. He allowed 10 runs on 22 hits and 13 walks — numbers that added up to an above-replacement level campaign for Mallicoat.

The 1992 season was a different story for Mallicoat. In 23 23 innings he allowed 19 runs on 26 hits and 19 walks for a 1.901 WHIP and a 7.23 ERA. He struck out 20, but also hit five batters and finished with a 48 ERA+. It was Mallicoat’s final appearances in the big leagues.

628. Carroll Hardy was a six-foot right-handed hitting and throwing outfielder from Sturgis, SD. Born on May 18, 1933, Hardy first appeared in affiliated ball with the Reading Indians, a Cleveland affiliate in 1955. He was also a third-round pick in the 1955 draft, and played halfback for the San Francisco 49ers, catching 12 passes including four touchdowns. But this isn’t about his football career. (Check my everyniners countdown for that (don’t go looking for that it’s made up)).

He eventually reached the majors with Cleveland, playing three seasons for them at the major league level (88 games, .192/.263/.258, one home run, nine RBI).

Hardy joined the Boston Red Sox via mid-season trade in 1960, and played four seasons with them (273 games, .236/.321/.357, 13 home runs, 87 RBI). After the completion of the 1962 season, the Red Sox traded Hardy to the Houston Colt .45s for Dick Williams.

Hardy only slashed .227/.277/.295 in 15 games for Houston in 1963, all before May 8, but he collected three hits in two of those games. On April 17 he had three singles and a stolen base in a 2-1 13-inning win against the San Francisco Giants. On April 21, in the second game of a doubleheader against the Los Angeles Dodgers, he hit two singles and a double with an RBI in an eventual 6-5 loss.

In 1964 Hardy joined the team in early July and stayed through the season, playing in 46 of Houston’s final 82 games. He had multiple hits seven times, including a three-hit game on August 1, with two singles and a homer for two RBI in a 9-7 win against the New York Mets. He finished with a .185/.232/.242 line, with two home runs and 12 RBI. Three years later, Hardy again reached the majors, with the Minnesota Twins, but only played in 11 games, going three-for-eight.

627. Jeff Juden is a six-foot-seven right-handed pitcher from Salem, MA. Born on January 19, 1971, he was a first-round pick of Houston in 1989, with the 12th selection overall off the board out of Salem HS.

Two years after being selected, Juden reached the Astros via mid-September callup. He allowed four runs in 1 23 innings of relief work in his first appearance, but settled down a bit when called on to start three times through the conclusion of the season. As a starter, opponents slashed .233/.284/.383 over his three starts. He struck out 10 and allowed only five walks over 16 13 innings, finishing with a 4.96 ERA (as a starter).

In the video below, Juden gets trolled hard when pitching against the Astros by Chuck Carr.

Juden spent the 1992 season entirely in Triple-A, then spent the 1993 season in Triple-A through their entire season once more before getting another call to play in Houston. He came out of the Astros bullpen twice over their final 13 games, striking out seven in five innings and allowing three runs on four hits and four walks.

After the 1993 season, the Astros traded Juden with Doug Jones to the Philadelphia Phillies for Mitch Williams. Juden pitched six more seasons in the bigs, with the Phils (3-8, 4.68, 90 13 IP), the San Francisco Giants (4-0, 4.10, 41 23 IP), the Montreal Expos (12-5, 3.82, 162 23 IP), the Cleveland Indians (0-1, 5.46, 31 13 IP), the Milwaukee Brewers (7-11, 5.53, 138 13 IP), the Anaheim Angels (1-3, 6.75, 40 IP) and the New York Yankees (0-1, 1.59, 5 23 IP).

626. Jimmy Paredes is a six-foot-three switch-hitting, right-handed throwing right fielder and third baseman from Bajos de Haina, DR. Born on November 25, 1988, Paredes started his professional baseball career in earnest in 2007, in the Dominican Summer League for the New York Yankees affiliate. Before ever getting to the majors, the Bombers traded him with Mark Melancon to the Astros for Lance Berkman.

It was with Houston for whom Paredes made his first major league appearances in 2011. On August 9, in just his seventh career game, he hit a single, a double, and a solo homer in an 11-9 loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks. In face, he totaled 16 multi-hit games, appearing in 46 of Houston’s final 54 games. Overall, he hit .286/.320/.393 with a pair of jacks and 18 RBI. He hit eight doubles, two triples, drew nine walks, scored 16 runs, stole five bases in nine attempts, and struck out 47 times, ending his rookie campaign at a nifty 0.5 bWAR.

In 2012, found himself with the Triple-A level Oklahoma City RedHawks for much of the season, with an .826 OPS in 124 games. When he was again promoted to Houston, he went 14-for-74 at the plate with a double, a triple, and three RBI. He scored seven times, stole two bases in three attempts, and drew six walks against 21 strikeouts.

The 2013 season would see Paredes again spend a lot of the season with the RedHawks, hitting .288 with an .806 OPS in 86 contests. He did appear in 48 games for the Astros, scattered from May through September. On May 21, he hit two singles and a three-run homer, accounting for all of Houston’s offense in a 7-3 loss to the Kansas City Royals. On September 9, he hit a game-tying run in the top of the ninth inning against the Seattle Mariners, then scored an insurance run later in the inning in an eventual 6-3 victory.

In total over his final season with the Astros, Paredes was 24-for-125 with four doubles, a home run, and 10 RBI. He scored eight times and drew six walks, with four stolen bases in eight attempts and 44 strikeouts. After the season, he was claimed off waivers by the Miami Marlins.

Paredes later played in the majors for the Kansas City Royals (nine games, two-for-10), the Baltimore Orioles (122 games, .279/.312/.425, 12 home runs, 50 RBI), the Toronto Blue Jays (seven games, four-for-15, one homer), and the Philadelphia Phillies (76 games, .217/.242/.350, four home runs, 17 RBI).

625. Skip Guinn, who’s real name was Drannon (thus the nickname), is a five-foot-10 left-handed pitcher from St. Charles, MO. Born on October 25, 1944, he started pro baseball in 1964 in the rookie affiliate for the Milwaukee Braves. By 1968, he appeared in the majors for them, pitching five innings over three games.

After the 1968 season, Guinn was drafted by the Montreal Expos in the expansion draft. Just after the 1969 season started, Montreal flipped Guinn with Jack BIllingham and $100K to Houston for Donn Clenendon. Clenendon never reported, but Guinn still joined the Astros.

Guinn came out of the Houston bullpen 28 times in 1969, striking out 33 in 27 innings for a cool 11.0 K/9, a staggering (at the time) strikeout rate. He also pitched to a 6.67 ERA, allowing 22 runs on 34 hits and 21 walks for a 2.037 WHIP. On July 15, Guinn earned a victory by coming out of the pen for 4 13 scoreless innings, striking out four and giving up just a hit and a walk in a 10-7 win against the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Guinn spent 1970 at the Triple-A level with the Oklahoma City 89ers, going 4-8 with a 3.85 ERA. He also spent most of 1971 at OKC, going 3-7 with a 3.55 ERA in 30 games. He rejoined Houston proper in mid-September, pitching in another four games. He struck out three over 4 23 scoreless one-hit innings. On September 24, he earned a save by getting the final out in a 2-1 win over the San Diego Padres. It was Guinn’s last appearance in the majors.

Sorry about the dead air yesterday, I got busy with family matters and couldn’t free myself up for the time it takes to write one of these. Anyway, hope you enjoyed these first 25 chapters. That’s 351 Astros in the books, and 624 to go for those of you counting. Tomorrow, we scale down to 12 players per day and remain in the fourth bracket with players between 101 and 500 PA/BF with the club. We’ll be looking at a dozen guys who finished between negative-0.0043 and negative-0.0038 bWAR while with the Houston franchise.

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