Mount Crushmore: A look at greatest Astros of all time
HOUSTON – Jeff Bagwell, Craig Biggio, Lance Berkman, Jose Altuve, Nolan Ryan, Mike Scott, Larry Dierker and Roy Oswalt.
Basically, if you don't know those names, you need to brush up on your Astros history.
They are the kings of Crush City.
Plenty of other names -- Jose Cruz, Jimmy Wynn, Roger Clemens, J.R. Richard, Moises Alou and Don Wilson, for example -- had to be left off the Mount Rushmore of Astros players because we simply didn't have enough room on the mountain.
We'll start with the hitters and explain why they're on the facade.
No. 5's number is hanging in the rafters at Minute Maid Park for a reason. He was the strike-shortened 194 season's MVP and spent 15 seasons in an Astros uniform.
His last year with the club was a bit rocky, but it did result in the franchise's first trip to the World Series. Baggy went 1-for-10 in his one and only appearance in the World Series.
Aside from the MVP award, Bags was named the NL Rookie of the Year in 1991. He finished in the top 20 of MVP voting 10 times.
Between 1996 and 2001, he averaged 39 homers and 126 RBI per season while holding a .301 batting average and stealing 20 bases per year.
Bagwell is a legend in Houston.
Plenty to say about No. 7, whose number is also hanging in the rafters at MMP.
B-G-O spent 20 seasons in an Astros uniform and was named an All-Star seven times. He also won four Gold Gloves and five Silver Slugger awards.
Biggio spent time at catcher, outfield and second base with the Astros. He posted a career .281 batting average and averaged 31 stolen bases per season between 1989 and 1999. He led the National League with 39 stolen bases in 1994.
He ranks second all-time in the league for being hit by pitches with 285, two fewer than Hughie Jennings. Biggio led the league in HBPs in 1995, 1996, 1997, 2001 and 2003.
Big Puma will always have a special place in the hearts of Astros fans. He was born in Waco, went to high school in New Braunfels, played his college baseball at Rice University and then was drafted by the 'Stros with the 16th overall pick in the 1997 draft.
He debuted with Houston in 1999 and went on to play 12 seasons with the Astros.
Between 1999 and 2009, Berkman averaged 28 homers and 95 RBI with a .299 batting average and a .412 on-base percentage.
Although he wasn't ever a flashy player, he did have some moments that live in lore for most Astros fans. For example, does anyone not remember when a fan at Wrigley Field threw a Twinkie at the Big Puma while he was on the field. He unwrapped it and ate it.
Berkman was named an All-Star five times with Houston and finished in the top 10 of MVP voting in five seasons.
The only current player that made the cut on the pitching or batting mountain? None other than the 5-foot, 6-inch wonder: Jose Altuve.
In a league dominated by physical specimens, Altuve was named the league MVP in 2017, the same season the Astros brought home the franchise's first World Series title.
Altuve racked up at least 200 hits in four straight seasons -- 2014 through 2017. He has been named an All-Star in six of his eight seasons in the big leagues and also won five straight Silver Slugger awards.
'Tuve has averaged 36 stolen bases per year and sits with a career .316 average entering the 2019 season.
He seldomly strikes out and has helped the Astros to the playoffs in three of the last four seasons.
Altuve is also responsible for the most memorable putout in Astros history when he fielded Corey Seager's groundout in the bottom of the ninth inning of Game 7 of the 2017 World Series in Los Angeles. With his throw to first, Houston clinched its first championship.
Dierker's No. 49 is retired by the Astros. The righty made his MLB debut on his 18th birthday in 1964. He struck out Willie Mays in the first inning of his first game. He pitched in his last game in 1977.
Dierker also managed the Astros for five seasons.
No. 49 pitched 12 seasons in Houston, winning more than 10 games in a season nine times. He was named an All-Star twice and in 1969, he won 20 games.
Dierker posted a 3.28 ERA in Houston and struck out 1,487 batters in 2,294 innings.
As a manager, Dierker was named the National League Manager of the Year in 1998, when he led the 'Stros to a 102-60 record and the NL Central crown. Houston lost to the Padres in the Division Series.
Scott's No. 33 is retired by the Astros organization.
Scott, who pitched right handed, made his debut with the New York Mets in 1979. After four seasons in New York, Scott came to Houston and pitched nine seasons to close out his career.
He won the Cy Young Award in 1986 when he compiled a 2.22 ERA with a .92 WHIP in 275 innings. He struck out 306 batters that season. He finished 10th in MVP voting.
Scott was named an All-Star three times in his Astros career.
On Sept. 25, 1986, Scott's no-hitter in the final game of the 1986 season clinched the National League West division title for the Astros. He struck out 13 Giants.
Scott pitched in two games during the infamous NLCS series against the Mets in 1986.
Scott threw two complete games in the series that the Astros would eventually lose, one of them being a shutout. In Game 1, Houston won 1-0 behind Scott's gem. He struck out 14 batters and scattered five hits while issuing one walk. In Game 4 of the series, Scott went the distance in a 3-1 Astros win.
Scott was named the NLCS MVP even though the Astros lost the series 4-2.
The Ryan Express came to town in 1980, when he became the first million-dollar player. He signed a four-year contract for $1 million per season. He pitched in Houston for nine seasons, through the 1988 season.
Born in Refugio, Ryan attended Alvin High School and was drafted by the New York Mets in the 12th round of the 1965 draft.
His No. 34 was retired by the Astros in 1996.
While pitching in Houston, Ryan threw his fifth career no-hitter during the 1981 season. He also led the NL with a 1.69 ERA that year.
While in Houston, Ryan was named an All-Star twice and finished in the top 10 of Cy Young Award voting three times.
He averaged 207 strikeouts per season and posted a 3.13 ERA and 1.20 WHIP. He threw 38 complete games with the Astros, including 13 shutouts. His record was 106-94 in 282 starts. Ryan failed to win at least 10 games only one season in Houston.
Roy O's No. 44 may not be retired by the Astros, but he will always be a fan favorite.
Born in Mississippi, the Astros drafted Oswalt in the 23rd round of the 1996 draft. He debuted with the team in 2001.
Oswalt pitched 10 seasons in Houston, winning 20 games in back-to-back seasons in 2004 and 2005.
Known as an efficient worker, Oswalt racked up 143 wins in 291 starts with the Astros.
Oswalt finished in the top five of Cy Young Award voting five times and was named an All-Star three times.
He was named the 2005 NLCS MVP when the Astros beat the Cardinals to advance to the franchise's first World Series. In the Championship Series, Oswalt won both of his starts while posting a 1.29 ERA.
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