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."

Monday, May 17, 2010

James Mouton

James Mouton was selected by Houston in the 7th round of the 1991 amateur draft. He played for the Astros on the major league level from 1994 to 1997. By the next season he had traded to the Padres for Sean Bergman. After a year in San Diego he would play two more seasons, this time for the Brewers.

While checking out the internet to see what Mr. Mouton has been up to these days, I ran across a website for the Fort Bend Texans Sports Association, which feature several former Houston players. It seems Mouton was a guest coach recently. I believe I might have read once where he was coaching on the minor league level; then again, I might be confusing him with someone else.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Round Rock Express

I attended my first minor league game this week. I'm currently in Austin, TX, which is just down the road from Round Rock, home of the Express. The Memphis Redbirds were in town and I attended the only home game that was held this week. Too bad this conference wasn't held in Houston so I could see the 'Stros in action. Back when I was doing parole I attended annual conferences every November and would take in a Rockets game while I was in town. Living out in the sticks has a tendency to make you want to catch all the games when you're in the big city.

I had a chance to see the Redbirds several years while visiting friends in Memphis. We stood outside the stadium but never bothered to go in and watch the game.

Anyway, I thought I'd make use of the free wifi in the hotel lobby and post a few photos. I think I did more walking around and taking pictures than actually sitting.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Norm Miller

Signed by the Los Angeles Angels as an amateur free agent, Norm Miller would began his career in Houston as a result of the 1964 first-year draft. He was drafted by the Colt .45s in November and put on the Astros jersey the following season.

His first game was on September 11, 1965 in Los Angeles. In he top of the 8th inning he pinch hit for Danny Coombs and hit a single that advanced Ron Brand to second. Unfortunately the Dodgers beat the Astros 8-3 that game.

In April of 1973 Miller was traded to the Braves for Cecil Upshaw. He would play in Atlanta again in '74; the next year he was picked up by the Dodgers but then released.

According to his website for his book, 'To all my fans from Norm Who?', he has worked 30-plus years in marketing and advertising and "for the past 13 years (has) been associated with a publicly–traded bank headquartered in Houston".

Monday, March 22, 2010

Pete Harnisch

Pete Harnisch was drafted by the Baltimore Orioles in the 1st round (27th pick) of the 1987 amateur draft on June 2, 1987.

On January 10, 1991 he was traded with Steve Finley and Curt Schilling to the Astros for Glenn Davis. While in Houston he was on the '91 All-Star team. Also that year he struck out three batters on nine pitches against the Phillies, making him the 17th person in the NL and the 26th in Major League history to do so.

By November 1993 he was traded to the New York Mets for players to be named later. The New York Mets sent Todd Beckerman (minors) (December 6, 1994) and Juan Castillo (April 12, 1995) to the Houston Astros to complete the trade.

Baltimore Orioles (1988-1990)
Houston Astros (1991-1994)
New York Mets (1995-1997)
Milwaukee Brewers (1997)
Cincinnati Reds (1998-2001)

Friday, March 5, 2010

Cliff Johnson...and my radio debut

Cliff Johnson was drafted by the Astros in 1966 in the 5th round. After a few years in the minors he made his major league debut on September 13, 1972.

By 1977 he was traded to the Yankees for Mike Fischlin, Randy Niemann and a player to be named later; the Yankees sent Dave Bergman (November 23, 1977) to the Astros to complete the trade.

During his career he also played for the Indians, Cubs, A's, Blue Jays, and ended up back in Texas with the Rangers before retiring in 1985.

Career highlights and awards:
World Series championship- 1977, 1978
Hit a Major League record 20 career home runs as a pinch hitter

In other news...

I had the privilege of being the guest on the morning show at KBHT 93.5 today. A good buddy of mine is the morning DJ, Jake "the Snake" Austin, and he asked me last week to be on today's Snake Farm (as his show is called; you Ray Wiley Hubbard fans will make the connection).

I had no idea this little ol' blog would be discussed; if I had I would have given a link to their web broadcast so all my loyal followers out there in baseball card blogland could listen in.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Dave Giusti

Dave Giusti was signed by the Colt .45s in 1961 as an amateur free agent. He would eventually be traded by the Astros on October 11, 1968 with Dave Adlesh to the St. Louis Cardinals for Tommy Smith (minors) and Johnny Edwards.

A starter with the Colts and Astros, he was known for his palm ball.

Houston Colt .45's/Astros (1962-1968)
St. Louis Cardinals (1969)
Pittsburgh Pirates (1970-1976)
Oakland Athletics (1977)
Chicago Cubs (1977)

Career highlights and awards:
All-Star (NL) 1973
Led NL in saves in 1971 with 30

After retiring from baseball Dave was an executive with American Express.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Doug Jones

Doug Jones was drafted by Milwaukee in 1978. He eventually played six seasons with the Indians before signing with the Astros in 1992. He played the next season with the 'Stros before being traded along with Jeff Juden to the Phillies for Mitch Williams.

Jones, a relief pitcher, was known for his slow pitches that could always get the better of hitters that faced him. At the time of his retirement he was 12th in the majors with 303 saves.

5x All-Star selection (1988, 1989, 1990, 1992, 1994)

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Taylor Buchholz

Drafted in 2000 by the Phillies for their minor league system, Buchholz was traded to Houston on November 3, 2003 along with Ezequiel Astacio and Brandon Duckworth for Billy Wagner. His first season with the Astros organization was spent in New Orleans, followed by two seasons in Round Rock with the Express. While in Round Rock he was called up during the 2006 season but was later sent back down to the Express that same year.

On December 12, 2006 he was traded along with Jason Hirsh and Willy Taveras to the Colorado Rockies for Miguel Asencio and Jason Jennings.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Bryant Nelson

Bryant Nelson was drafted by Houston in 1993. He never played any major league games while with Houston, but did play in their minor league organization.

He was released by Houston in 1997. He was eventually picked up by Boston and played one season in the majors with them (2002).

Nelson currently plays in the Atlantic League with the Camden Riversharks.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Donne Wall

Donne Wall was drafted by Houston in 1989. In 1995 he was the MVP for the Tucson Torros.

After a few years in the minors he played his first big league game on September 2, 1995. He eventually played for the Padres, Mets, and Angels before retiring in 2002.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Dean Hartgraves

Drafted by the Astros in the 20th round in 1987, Dean Hartgraves would spend several years in the minors, mostly in Tucson, before making his MLB debut in '95. He continued to play for the Astros until 1996, however he was selected off waivers by Atlanta in June of that year. In '98 he saw some playing time with the Giants; at the end of the season he signed with the Padres but did not play any games with them. Instead, he would play in Japan in 1999 for the Chiba Lotte Marines.

Sent off 9/4/09; returned 9/12/09.