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RF Eric Anthony (56) hit .224/.295/.378 over 430 games for Houston between 1989 and 1993.
John Fishel See #775, below.
C Yosweld Vasquez (19) went 13-for-69 in 23 games with the DSL Orangestros in 2023.
RHP Jeremy Molero (24) just completed his sixth year in Houston’s system (including 2020). In 29 innings as a reliever, he pitched to a 0.93 ERA and 12 hits allowed in 29 innings. He also gave up 31 walks and racked up 43 strikeouts.
Everystros Countdown Chapter XIV
784. Dale Berra is a six-foot left-side infielder from Ridgewood, NJ. Born on December 13, 1956, he was a first-round choice of the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1975 out of Montclair HS with the 20th overall selection.
Dale, who was sometimes called BooBoo for obvious reasons, is Hall of Fame Yankees catcher Yogi Berra’s son. He got to the bigs with the Pirates in 1977, and played shortstop and third base for all or part of the next eight seasons. In 744 games he hit .238/.295/.346, then he joined the New York Yankees for two seasons starting in 1985 (90 games, .230/.285/.336). On August 4, 1986, the Astros signed him through free agency.
Berra, still just 30, spent most of the 1987 season at Triple-A with the Tucson Toros, hitting .270 in 116 games. He joined Houston on August 15 and played in 19 of the Astros final 47 games. On August 24 Berra hit a double and scored in the fifth then doubled again in the seventh as Houston won, 5-2. On October 4, he went two-for-three in his final major league game, a 2-1 loss to the Cincinnati Reds. SABR Bio
783. Jonathan Johnson is a six-foot right-handed pitcher from La Grange, GA. Born on July 16, 1974, he was a 34th-round pick of the Montreal Expos out of Forest HS in 1992. Instead of signing, he matriculated to Florida State, and played with the Seminoles. In 1995, the Texas Rangers took him in the first round, seventh overall.
Johnson made it to the majors with Texas in 1998, and appeared with them for parts of the next three seasons as well. He totaled 22 appearances, including one start and going 1-1 with a 7.71 ERA and 40 strikeouts in 46 2⁄3 innings. In 2002, Johnson appeared in 16 games in relief for the San Diego Padres, putting up a 1-2 record and a 4.11 ERA with 21 strikeouts in 15 1⁄3 innings.
Johnson signed on with the Astros on November 9, 2002. In 13 starts at the Triple-A level with the New Orleans Zephyrs, he was 5-4 with a 3.92 ERA and 62 K’s in 74 innings. On May 28, he made his Astros debut, starting against the St. Louis Cardinals. He lasted 5 2⁄3 innings and allowed three runs on eight hits and two walks, also striking out a pair in a 3-1 loss to the St. Louis Cardinals. On June 13, in Johnson’s final major league appearance, he walked eight in three innings, also allowing four hits. Somehow, he only surrendered three runs despite the mess. On July 3, he retired from the Astros.
782. Chris Jones is a left-handed outfielder from Los Angeles, CA. Born on July 13, 1957, Jones was chosen twice, most recently by the Houston Astros in the 25th round of the 1979 draft out of San Diego State University.
Jones eventually reached the majors with Houston in 1985 in his fourth season at the Triple-A level with the Tucson Toros. A bit of a Triple-A savant, Jones hit .291 with an .800 OPS over 534 games in six seasons at the level.
Jones joined Houston on June 8, and appeared in 31 of Houston’s next 60 games, 17 of them as a pinch-hitter and seven times as a defensive replacement without getting a plate appearance. Overall, he was five-for-25 from the plate with one RBI and no extra base hits. He drew three walks versus seven strikeouts. After the season, the Astros released Jones.
Jones later signed on with the San Francisco Giants, and appeared in three games for them at the major league level in 1986, where he was 0-for-1 with one stolen base.
781. Kyle Weiland
You frequent commenters on TCB mention “Weiland Island,” and I’ll confess I don’t know what you’re talking about. This guy? Let me know in the comments.
Weiland is a six-foot-four right-handed pitcher from Albuquerque, NM. Born on September 12, 1986, he was the third-round pick for the Boston Red Sox in 2008. Three years later, he joined them at the major league level, and struck out 13 in 24 2⁄3 innings. He was 0-3 with a 7.66 ERA and a 1.662 WHIP. After the season the Red Sox sent Weiland and Jed Lowrie to the Astros for Mark Melancon.
Weiland appeared in three games for Houston in April, 2012, starting in each of them. Although he lost all three, he did rack up a Quality Start in the final one, lasting seven innings and allowing three runs on six hits and a walk. He struck out six in a 5-1 loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers. Overall, he pitched 17 2⁄3 innings with Houston, striking out 13 and giving up 13 runs on 24 hits and seven walks for a 1.755 WHIP. It was Weiland’s last exposure to the majors.
780. Juan Centeno is a five-foot-nine lefty-hitting catcher from Arecibo, PR. Born on November 16, 1989, he was a 32nd round pick of the New York Mets in 2007 out of Antonio Luchetti. Centeno reached the majors with the Mets in 2013, appearing in 14 games for them over parts of two seasons, going nine-for-40 at the plate. He later played with the Milwaukee Brewers in 2015 (10 games, one-for-21) and the Minnesota Twins in 2016 (55 games, .261/.312/.392 with three home runs and 25 RBI). He was granted free agency following the season.
Centeno signed with the Astros on December 15, 2016. In 2017, he played with Houston’s Triple-A affiliate, the Fresno Grizzlies, and hit .311 with a .737 OPS and 33 RBI. He joined the Astros for two games in May. In the first, on May 23, he was two-for-three with a solo home run in a 6-2 win against the Detroit Tigers. Two days later, in his second game, he hit another solo shot against the Tigers, in a 7-6 win. He rejoined the Grizzlies soon afterward, and was called up to the Astros once more in early-August.
Centeno remained with the Astros through the rest of the season, appearing in 20 of Houston’s final 52 games. He had two hits in each of his first two games back in the majors, then went three for his next 32 before closing the season with another multi-hit game. Overall he was 12-for-52 with five runs scored and four RBI, with four walks and 12 strikeouts. In Houston’s charge to the Championship, Centeno appeared in one ALDS game against the Boston Red Sox as a defensive replacement.
After the season ended, the Texas Rangers claimed Centeno off waivers. He played in 10 games for them in 2018 (six-for-37) and another seven with the Boston Red Sox in 2019 (two-for-15).
Farnsworth made the Cubs at the major league level for the first time in 1999. He eventually played six seasons with them (22-37, four saves, 4.78), followed by time with the Detroit Tigers 2-2, 3.53, six saves), the Atlanta Braves (0-0, 1.98, 10 saves), the New York Yankees (6-9, 4.33, seven saves), the Kansas City Royals (4-5, 3.40), the Tampa Bay Rays (8-7, 3.54, 25 saves), the Pittsburgh Pirates (1-1, 1.04, two saves) and the New York Mets (0-3, 3.18, three saves).
The Mets granted Farnsworth free agency on May 15, 2014 when the season was just six-weeks old. He signed on with the Astros and pitched in 16 games between the middle of May and the end of June.
Farnsworth posted a 1.921 WHIP in 11 2⁄3 innings for Houston, allowing eight earned runs on 14 hits and nine walks. He struck out eight and finished with a 6.17 ERA. Houston granted Farnsworth free agency just six weeks after signing him. It was his last major league appearance.
778. Rich Scheid is a six-foot-three left-handed pitcher from Staten Island, NY. Born on February 3, 1965, he was taken in the second round by the New York Yankees in the 1986 draft out of Seton Hall University.
Before getting to the majors, the Yankees traded Scheid with Bob Tewksbury and Dean Wilkins to the Chicago Cubs for Steve Trout. The Cubs then traded Scheid to the Chicago White Sox for Chuck Mount. On July 4, 1992, Scheid was then traded to the Astros for Eric Yelding.
Scheid made it to the majors for the first time with the Astros, in September, 1992, pitching in seven games. On September 11, he pitched two scoreless innings, finishing the game in a 7-0 loss to the Atlanta Braves. On September 24, he pitched three innings of shutout ball in a 4-3 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers. In total, Scheid pitched 12 frames and allowed eight runs on 14 hits and six walks, with eight strikeouts. The Astros released him during the offseason.
Scheid later made it back to the major leagues with the Florida Marlins in 1994, and in parts of two seasons pitched in 14 games. In 42 2⁄3 innings he was 1-3 with a 4.01 ERA.
777. Dick Gernert was a six-foot-three first baseman from Reading, PA. Born on September 28, 1928, Gernert started his professional career with the Boston Red Sox organization in 1950, breaking into the big leagues with them two seasons later.
Gernert played eight seasons for Boston (706 games, .252/.352/.436), later playing with the Chicago Cubs (52 games, .250/.321/.281), the Detroit Tigers (27 games, 16-for-55, .823 OPS) and the Cincinnati Reds (40 games, 19-for-63). In the 1961 expansion draft, the Houston Colt .45s chose Gernert with the 31st overall pick.
Gernert appeared in 10 of Houston’s first 26 games overall, going five-for-24 with one run and one RBI. He drew five walks and struck out seven times. In 61 2⁄3 defensive innings at first base, he took 64 chances without an error. On May 19, the Colts released Gernert. SABR Bio
776. Garrett Stubbs is a left-handed hitting right-handed throwing catcher and corner outfielder from San Diego, CA. Born on May 26, 1993, Stubbs was Houston’s eighth-round choice in the 2015 draft out of the University of Southern California.
Stubbs found his way to the majors with the Astros in 2019. In his debut on May 28, he went two-for-four with a double and an RBI in a 9-6 victory over the Chicago Cubs. Eventually, he appeared in 19 games for the Astros, and went seven-for-35 with three doubles, eight runs scored, and two RBI. He stole one base, drew four walks, and struck out seven times.
The 2020 campaign, shortened as it was, would see Stubbs join the Astros for most of the season, and play in another 14 games. This time, most of his impact came on defense, as he only had 10 plate appearances all season, going one-for-eight with a run, an RBI, and a pair of sacrifices.
In 2021, Stubbs played a lot of the season with the Triple-A Sugar Land Skeeters, hitting .265 and drawing 30 walks versus 29 strikeouts. He also spent at least part of each month of the season at the parent unit, getting into 18 games along the way. On June 13, he got a pair of hits in a 14-3 win over the Minnesota Twins. Overall, he was six-for-34 with two doubles and two runs scored, with three RBI. He drew two walks and struck out seven times. After the 2021 season, the Astros traded Stubbs to the Philadelphia Phillies for Logan Cerny.
Since Stubbs joined the Phillies, he’s appeared in 87 regular season games and hit .233 with a .681 OPS.
775. John Fishel is a five-foot-11 left fielder from Fullerton, CA. Born on November 8, 1962, he was drafted three times in total. The Astros chose him in the most recent one, in the ninth round out of CSU-Fullerton in 1985.
In his first four seasons of professional ball, Fishel played a season each at Low-A (Auburn Astros), Single-A (Osceola Astros), Double-A (Columbus Astros), and Triple-A. (Tucson Toros). In 1988, he played 102 games with Tucson, hitting .261 with 18 home runs and 68 RBI in 102 games. He also got to the majors for the first time with the Astros.
In his first 16 games at the big league level, Fishel’s appearances were limited to one plate appearance each time. On September 3, he hit his first home run in a 10-1 win against the St. Louis Cardinals. Overall, Fishel was six-for-26 with a pair of RBI. He drew three walks and struck out six times. It was Fishel’s first and last look at the major leagues.
774. Eddie Tucker is a six-foot-two catcher from Greenville, MS. He’s also the third Astros player in today’s article that google confuses with Kyle Tucker (Kyle Farnsworth, Kyle Weiland) Born on November 18, 1966, Tucker was a fifth-round choice of the San Francisco Giants in 1988 out of Delta State University. Tucker never reached the majors with the Giants, as Houston claimed him off waivers near the end of the 1991 regular season.
Tucker made it to baseball’s showcase level in 1992 with Houston. In just his second career game, on June 16, Tucker collected three singles, driving two runs in and scoring twice in an 11-0 victory against the San Diego Padres. He ultimately played in 20 games for Houston over the course of the season, and unfortunately, the three hits he collected in his second game would be half of his season’s total. He was six-for-50 with one double, five runs scored, and three RBI, with three walks and 13 strikeouts.
Tucker rejoined Houston near the end of the 1993 season, appearing in another nine games and going five-for-26 with a double, a run, and three RBI, with two walks and three strikeouts. After hitting .321 with 14 home runs for the Tucson Toros in 1994, spending the entirety of the season at Triple-A, Tucker started 1995 back in the majors with the parent club.
On May 6, Tucker hit his first major league home run, going two-for-four in a 7-5 loss to the St. Louis Cardinals. On May 15, the Astros traded Tucker to the Cleveland Indians for Matt Williams. He appeared in 17 games that season with the Tribe, going two-for-20. It would be his last time in the majors. SABR Bio
773. Frank Thomas was a six-foot-three outfielder and corner infielder from Pittsburgh, PA. Born on June 11, 1929, Thomas got his start in D-league ball in the Pittsburgh Pirates system in 1948. He reached the majors with them in 1951, and over eight seasons with them hit .275/.333/.474 with 163 home runs and 562 RBI, making the All-Star Team three times. He later played with the Cincinnati Reds (108 games, .225/.278./380), the Chicago Cubs (155 games, .238/.278/.397), the Milwaukee Braves (139 games, .279/.329/.491), the New York Mets (342 games, .262/.319/.434), and the Philadelphia Phillies (74 games, .282/.303/.459).
On July 10, 1965, the Astros purchased Thomas’ contract from Philadelphia. In 23 games with Houston, Thomas only hit .172, but he still managed a couple of signature moments. On August 21, he hit a double and a home run with two RBI in a 9-2 win against the Cubs. Ten days later, he hit two home runs for a total of four RBI, representing all of Houston’s offense in a 4-3 win over the Mets.
Overall, Thomas was just 10-for-58 with Houston, with three homers and nine RBI. Houston traded Thomas to the Braves for minor leaguer Mike Sinnerud on September 1, 1965. After 15 games for the Braves, Thomas joined the Cubs again in 1966 for five games, but went 0-for-5 and was released on June 4. SABR Bio
772. Francisco Liriano is a six-foot-three left-handed pitcher from San Cristobal, DR. Born on October 26, 1983, he initially signed with the San Francisco Giants, playing rookie ball for them starting in 2001. Before reaching the majors, Liriano was traded to the Minnesota Twins with Boof Bonser and Joe Nathan for A.J. Pierzynski and a cash settlement (for taking AJ I hope it was a lot).
Liriano played seven seasons with the Twins (50-52, 4.33), later also playing with the Chicago White Sox (3-2, 5.40), the Pittsburgh Pirates (46-39, 3.65) and the Toronto Blue Jays (8-7, 4.77). At the 2017 trade deadline, the Jays traded Liriano to the Astros for Nori Aoki and Teoscar Hernández.
Liriano came out of the bullpen 20 times for the Astros through the remainder of the season, totaling 14 1⁄3 innings. On September 15, he struck out the side, coming within two pitches of an immaculate inning in a 5-2 win against the Seattle Mariners. Overall, Liriano was 0-2 with a 4.40 ERA and a 1.674 WHIP. He pitched in five games during Houston’s run to their first World Series Championship, facing 10 batters and allowing one run on two hits and one walk.
Granted free agency soon after the conclusion of the festivities, Liriano later pitched with the Detroit Tigers (5-12, 4.58) and finished his major league career in 2019 with the Pirates.
771. Colin Porter is a six-foot-two outfielder from Tucson, AZ. Born on November 23, 1975, he was a 17th-round choice of Houston in 1998 from the University of Arizona. Porter rose at a more-or-less normal rate through Houston’s farm system, landing with the New Orleans Zephyrs in 2001. In 2003, he hit .320 in 102 games with the club, with an .872 OPS and 11 home runs. Also in 2003, he made his first appearances in the majors.
Porter appeared in 24 games for Houston between his debut on May 30 and the end of the season. Overall he was six-for-32 with five runs, no RBI, one walk and no extra-base hits, with 17 strikeouts. Just prior to 2004 Spring Training, the St. Louis Cardinals claimed Porter off waivers. Porter appeared in 23 games for the Cardinals in 2004, and hit .314, but it was the last time he appeared in the major leagues.