The next team I would like to focus on is the Houston Astros.
I have never been a “hometown fan,” partly because I spent many years of my childhood in Idaho and Colorado (before the Rockies). As such, the favorite teams from my youth were never local teams.
In a previous post, I mentioned how much influence my dad had on me. So when I found out that his favorite pitcher was Nolan Ryan, my favorite pitcher was Nolan Ryan. During the years of my earliest memories, Ryan played for the Astros, so I was aware of the team and tried to collect as many Astros cards as possible, especially Ryan.
When I was 11, my parents told us that we were moving back to Texas, which is where I was born. I had virtually no knowledge of Texas, especially the vast size of the state. In my mind, moving to Texas meant going to Houston Astros games; even if we didn’t live in Houston, it wouldn’t be a long drive (It is about 400 miles from my parents house to Houston).
We moved in 1994, and Nolan Ryan had retired from baseball after playing for the Texas Rangers during the last 5 years of his career. But two players had started to transform the Astros into an exciting team to follow: “The Killer B’s”, Jeff Bagwell and soon to be hall of famer Craig Biggio.
Biggio began his career as a catcher (which is why he remains my favorite Astro of all time). By 94′, he was an all-star 2nd baseman. He was a great fielder, winning 4 Gold Gloves, and an amazing leadoff hitter who collected 5 Silver Slugger Awards.
As a 2nd baseman, Biggio had a huge impact on me during high school (yes, I am talking about playing 2nd base on the JV baseball team). His style of play, consistency, and willingness to help the team were amazing characteristics of his career, which will be recognized when he makes it to the Hall of Fame next year.