Friday, December 3, 2010

Kevin Bass

Kevin Bass was drafted by the Milwaukee Brewers in the 2nd round of the 1977 amateur draft on June 7, 1977. By September 3, 1982 the Milwaukee Brewers sent players to be named later, Kevin Bass, Frank DiPino and Mike Madden to the Houston Astros to complete an earlier deal made on August 30, 1982. On August 30, 1982 the Brewers sent players to be named later and cash to the Houston Astros for Don Sutton. Up until this time most of his years were spent in the Brewers minor league organization.

During his first stint in Houston Bass was selected for the 1986 National League All-Star team.

In 1990 Bass signed as a Free Agent with the San Francisco Giants. On August 8, 1992the San Francisco Giants traded hi to the New York Mets for a player to be named later. The New York Mets sent Rob Katzaroff (minors) to the San Francisco Giants to complete the trade.

On January 5, 1993 Bass returned as a Free Agent to the Astros. He remained in Houston until 1995 when he signed with the Baltimore Orioles

Two of Kevin's sons (Garrett and Justin) were selected during the 2007 draft. Garrett played for a college about 40 miles from here; had I known that I probably would have attend a few games to see him play.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Bruce Bochy

If you don't know who Bruce Bochy is chances are you didn't follow the World Series this year. Bruce is the manager of the know, the team that beat those other guys from Texas a little over a week ago.

But, most importantly, Bruce once played for a Texas team himself. And, since this is an Astros blog, you've probably guessed by now it wasn't the Rangers.

Bochy was drafted in the 1st round (24th pick) by Houston in 1975. He had been drafted by the White Sox prior to that but did not sign. His first season in the majors wasn't until 1978; he would play for he Astros until 1980, and by 1981 he was traded to the Mets. He spent that year with the Mets' farm team, then played the '82 season back in the majors.

The Mets released him in 1983 and he was picked up by the Padres where he would continue to play through 1987. While he was with the Padres he was in his first World Series (played one game during the '84 Series).

He has also managed for San Diego (1995-2006). During his second season with the Padres he was named the National League Manager of the Year. Two years after that (1998) he led them to the World Series against the New York Yankees (but lost).

The 2007 season saw Bruce as the manager of the Giants. And of course, a few years later he's back at a World Series. Congratulations, Mr. Bochy, and thanks for signing my card! It took a long time to get it back but it's well worth the wait.

Sent off: June 22, 2009
Received: November 9, 2010

Trivia: Bruce Bochy was born in France (dad was in the US military serving overseas)

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Lee Thomas

Lee Thomas started his career in the minors with the Yankees in 1955. In 1961 he finally broke into the majors; however, after only playing two games for New York, he was traded to the Angels, which was a new expansion team that year. After a couple years in LA he played briefly for the Red Sox, the Braves, and the Cubs before ending up in Houston in 1968.

Lee finished out his playing career in Japan in 1969 but by the early '70s went back to the minors as a coach for St. Louis. He eventually ended up in the front office. He also spent time in the front office of the Phillies and was once named Executive of the Year for all of Major League Baseball. He has also worked for the Red Sox and Brewers as part of their staff.

Thomas is currently a scout for the Astros.

(Card was mailed 10/28/09 and received back on 11/10/09)

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Domingo Jean

Domingo Jean, initially signed by the White Sox, only played one season in the majors (ten games as a matter of fact), and that was with the New York Yankees. The Yankees traded Domingo Jean to Houston for Xavier Hernandez in November of 1993. He never played on the pro level as an Astro but did play two seasons in Tucson before being traded to the Rangers for Roger Luce (never heard of this guy but I'm willing to bet we're related).

Jean continued to play for nearly ten years in the minors after his brief stint with the Houston organization. He retired in 2003 after a shoulder injury. Currently he is teaching others at his training academy in Florida, the Domingo Jean Baseball Academy. You can learn more by visiting his website.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Brian Hunter

Brian Hunter was signed in 1989 by Houston in the 2nd round of the amateur draft. He played several seasons in the minors, including stints with the Gulf Coast League Astros, Asheville Tourists, Osceola Astros, Jackson Generals, and finally Tucson Toros in 1994. During the '94 season he was bumped up to the majors and would remail in Houston through 1996. On December 10, 1996 he was traded with Doug Brocail, Todd Jones, and Orlando Miller to the Detroit Tigers for Brad Ausmus, Jose Lima, Trever Miller, C.J. Nitkowski and Daryle Ward.

While he was with Detroit he led the American League with 74 stolen bases (1997).

He also had somewhat brief stints with the Mariners (where he again let the AL in stolen bases, this time in '99), Rockies, Reds, and Phillies from 1999-2001. But, by 2002 he would return to Houston for two more seasons.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Ron Brand

Brand was selected by the Houston Colt .45s in the 1964 rule 5 draft. He had originally been signed by the Pirates, where he played several years in the minors and one in the majors (1963). So, after spending all of 1964 on one of Pittsburgh's farm teams, he would then become an Astro. Ron and John Bateman would be the two main catchers for the Astros. Both eventually ended up being drafted by the Expos in 1968.

Ron hit a triple for the Astros first hit in the 'Dome on April 9, 1965 in an exhibition game against the Yankees.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Jose Lima, 1972-2010

Today Jose Lima, former Astro, passed away due to a massive heart attack. Jose became a part of the Astros in 1997. He played for Houston through part of the 2001 season. In fact, though he played for several different teams he spent the majority of his career in Houston, compiling a 46-42 record from 1997-2001.

"It saddened me greatly to hear of Jose's passing," Astros owner Drayton McLane said. "He was truly a gifted person both on the field and off of it. He could dance, he could sing, but his best gift of all was that he was an extremely happy person. He just lit up our clubhouse with his personality, which was his greatest asset. Jose was not shortchanged in life in any way. He lived life to the fullest every day."