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Old 03-26-2002, 05:26 PM   #1
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Default Is Houston Jinxed Too?

The Houston Astros have been the Houston Astros since 1965. Before that they were know as the Houston Colt 45's. The Houston Colt 45's began play in the National League in 1962. 36 years is a long time to not ever have won a pennant. They are the oldest team in existance today that hasn't won a pennant or gone to the World Series.

The other teams that exist today that haven't won a pennant just yet are the Seattle Mariners, the Texas Rangers, the Colorado Rockies, Montreal Expos, Tampa Bay Devil Rays and the Anaheim Angels.

It must be noted that the Anaheim Angels have really gone the longest without winning a pennant, but their name has been changed twice. They came into the American League in 1962, but they were called the Los Angeles Angels, then in 1965 changed it to the California Angels. Then after the 1996 season they were bought by Walt Disney and changed their name to the Anaheim Angels. So Houston is really the oldest team. They have been know as the Houston Astros since 1965 as I stated earlier.

When Houston was in the West Division they were division champions in 1980, 1981 and 1986. They lost to the Philadelphia Phillies in 1980, lost to the LA Dodgers in 1981 and to the New York Mets in 1986.

When Houston moved to the Central Division they won division titles in 1997, 1998 and in 1999. Losing to the Atlanta Braves in 1997 and 1999. They lost to San Diego in 1998.

This team has had some great talent over the years, but they just seem to fall short every time they play in the postseason.

In 1986 they had Cy Young Award winner pitcher Mike Scott. They had great players like Jimmy 'the toy cannon" Wynn in the 1960's and 70's. Outfielder Glenn Davis was a good player. Controversial player Carl Everett played for Houston at one time. You got to remember pitcher Joe Niekro, brother of Hall of Famer Phil Niekro. He won 20 games for Houston in 1979 and in 1980. How about outfielder Cesar Cedeno? What speed and power. Jose Cruz still holds a lot of Astros record in hitting. He left the Astros after the 1987 season. The great Rusty Staub played first base for Houston for a number of years. Ex Astros manager Larry Dierker pitched for Houston in the 60's and 70's. Luis Gonzalez even played for Houston once.

In a category by himself, the great Hall Of Fame pitcher Nolan Ryan pitched several seasons for Houston.

I just wanted to let you know that Houston has had some great talent over the years. So that eliminates one reason for never winning a pennant. Remember pitcher J.R. Richards? What a fastball. He was a great pitcher, but his career was cut short due to a stroke.

Houston's current team is loaded with talent as it was in 1997, 1998 and 1999. First baseman Jeff Bagwell won Rookie of the Year in 1991 and was NL MVP in 1994. He provides a lot of power for Houston's offense. Second baseman Craig Biggio is a leader on this team and certainly a franchise player for Houston. The Astros led outfielder Moises Alou get away from them during the off-season, He will be sorely missed.

Houston begins the 2002 season with a new manager. Jimy Williams who was fired during the the 2001 season with the Boston Red Sox begins his tenure with Houston. He is really a great manager. He worked under Atlanta's Bobby Cox for years as a coach.

In my humble opinion Houston's best chances for winning a pennant was in 1997, 1998 or in 1999. Houston faces some tough competition in the NL Central. The St. Louis Cardinals and the Chicago Cubs figure to fight for the top spot this year in the Central, but you can't count Houston out all together.

Houston has a lot of weapons too on offense and with their starting pitching staff. Jeff Bagwell is a mainstay at first base. Craig Biggio the same at second base and last year's star for Houston outfielder Lance Berkman. He had a fantastic year. Outfielder Richard Hidalgo can put up some big numbers on offense. He had a bad year in 2001, but it is hoped he can return to his 2000 form. Houston expects big things from rookie third baseman Morgan Ensberg.

As for their pitching staff, last year's rookie pitcher Roy Oswalt had a great year along with Wade Miller. Oswalt went 14-3 with an ERA of 2.73. He is only 24. Miller went 16-8 with an ERA of 3.40. Pitcher Shane Reynolds fought off injuries in 2001 and hopefully will be 100% in 2002. Dave Mlicki who came over from Detroit in the latter part of the 2001 season went 7-3 in the finals six weeks of the 2001 season for Houston. Houston has a very good closer in Billy Wagner and in Octavio Dotel. Wagner had 39 saves in 2001. He was not 100% for part of 2001 too.

Like I stated earlier Houston will have a tough time winning their division this season, but if their starting pitching continues to improve they may be hard to beat and may surprise many of us. Houson has some things going for them, like a good manager, good pitching and good hitters.

In closing I don't think Houston has a jinx on them. I believe they will eventually win a pennant and it will be withing the next couple of years I feel. Only time will tell.
Keith "baseball nut" Thronson

Last edited by bama4256; 03-27-2002 at 08:16 AM.
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Old 03-26-2002, 11:35 PM   #2
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I agree that the last couple of years was their best chance. Although if their pitching is as good as people think (I'm still not convinced) they have a good shot. Hidalgo should bounce back and have a great year alongside Berkman and Ward. They should stay in competition for the pennant this year.
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