Friday, September 7, 2018

Around the Horn: Houston Astros

Time for another entry in the "Around the Horn" series! This time, the Astros are up to bat!

The Astros were founded in 1962 and spent the first three years of their existence as the Colt 45's before moving into the Astrodome and being re-christened the Astros. 

The Astros has a plethora of great talent in the 70s ranging from Joe Morgan and Cesar Cedeno (two future Reds) to young fireballer J.R. Richard. The picture on the Jesus Alou card is just fantastic. Side note, I can't wait for Topps Heritage two years from now when they pay tribute to the 1971 set.

The great pitching carried over into the early 1980s when the Astros made the playoffs three times during the decade (1980, 1981, 1986). My favorite of this batch has to be the Lee May Swell oddball. Funny thing I just realized, I have cards of two players from the most important Reds trade in the 70s in Astros uniforms, Lee May and Joe Morgan (in the first batch). 

Here are four of my favorite Nolan Ryan cards I have covering his stint in Houston. I'm not a big Nolan Ryan collector by any means but these were all found in quarter bins or pack pulled and if I can find stuff of his cheap, then I'm all about it, especially stuff of him when he's not in a Rangers uniform.

Here's a curiosity ... two Phil Garner cards from 1982 Donruss. I was confused as heck when I found these in the giant box of 1982 cards I bought at the community yard sale last spring. It turns out the one on the right in a reverse negative error card. Pretty cool!

Moving towards the 90s now and the "Killer B's" of Craig Biggio and Jeff Bagwell. Instead of taking pictures of all my cards of a certain player/player collection, I'm just going to narrow it down to my favorite 3-4 cards of a particular player.

These Craig Biggio cards are my four favorites of his and I really, really like the Panini Diamond Kings cards. I'd honestly forgotten I had it until I was digging out cards to show off. I've got two copies of the 1989 Donruss rookie, I can't remember how I acquired them but I know one of them was pulled from a 100-card repack.

Jeff Bagwell is someone I really don't have a lot of cards of but he's definitely someone I need to acquire more cards of. The 1992 Topps card is the actual one, not one of the numerous reprints floating around out there.

I love collecting Reds players from the mid-90s regardless if its before or after their run with the team. Eddie Taubensee was the primary catcher for the Reds from 1994-2000. I always liked watching him as a player and he was pretty solid behind the plate.

When I'm sorting through cards trying to find stuff to talk about, I always come across a few curiosities, like this Miguel Tejada card. I'd completely forgotten about him playing two seasons in Houston towards the tail end of his career.

Same goes for J.D. Martinez, who is absolutely crushing the American League right now. I'd completely forgotten his first big league team was the Astros. That was during the lean years where losing at least 100 games a season was almost a guarantee.

Speaking of the lean years, Jose Altuve came along in 2011 for an Astros team that lost 106 games that year in what was their second to last year in the National League. He's always a guy that I see playing with a smile on his face and seems to enjoy every minute of every game. I've started a small Altuve collection as he's one of the players on the Astros I really enjoy watching.

Here's one of my favorite cards from Topps Archives last year. Everything on this picture just works, the orange of the uniform, the green of the railing on the dugout ... everything. It's too bad Archives this year really couldn't come anywhere close to this.

As far as short-term stops go, I honestly don't have too many as far as the Astros go. I think this Carlos Beltran card would probably be as close as I can get though. He had a full year stint in Houston in 2017 and another half-season with the Astros way back in 2004.

I think this card in particular is one of my favorites of this year. Not only does it show him as a member of the Astros, it's also a sunset card (meaning the his last regular issue card after his final season), plus look in the background, there's actually a sunset! It's a perfect card for a player that went out on on top and will eventually be in the Hall of Fame someday.

Last year, the Astros stunned everyone and won the World Series, their first. They'd been to the World Series one other time, in 2005 against the White Sox and got swept. I honestly didn't think they had a chance against the Dodgers last year but I was really happy to see them get their first championship, especially after all the city went through last fall with Hurricane Harvey and the catastrophic flooding thereafter.

That's another edition of "Around the Horn" in the books. On deck .... the Toronto Blue Jays.

1 comment:

  1. Reverse negative Garner! I wanted that card so badly when I was a kid.