Fun-Time Baseball Hall: Houston Colt .45s/Astros

Try to vote for at least 5 - but less if you wish - and no more than 7. Based on our rules related to franchise age, 4 will win first-year induction. The Colt .45s began play in 1962 and became the Astros in 1965.

Full career performance should matter somewhat but the impact on the specific franchise up for vote is of utmost importance. This is a team specific Hall. Example: Steve Carlton has an amazing Phillies career but shouldn't be inducted to the Fun-Time Baseball Hall as a White Sox player.

It's your choice whether longevity and counting stats are key deciding factors or if you prefer judging a player's overall franchise impact, even if made in a shorter period. Thanks for voting.

Franchise Leaders
Games: Craig Biggio (2,850), Jeff Bagwell (2,150), Jose Cruz (1,870)
Hits: Biggio (3.060)
Home Runs: Bagwell (449), Lance Berkman (326), Biggio (291), Jim Wynn (223)
Wins: Joe Niekro (144), Roy Oswalt (143), Larry Dierker (137)
Saves: Billy Wagner (225)

Note: Berkman and Oswalt will be eligible three full seasons after their last appearance as an Astro.

Jeff Bagwell (1B) 
  • Played his entire 15-year career (1991-2005) with the Astros.
  • Four-time All-Star (1994, 1996, 1997, 1999)
  • NL MVP (1994)
  • NL Rookie of the Year (1991)
  • Gold Glove winner (1994)
  • Three-time Silver Slugger (1994, 1997, 1999)
  • Had nine seasons with more than 30 home runs, eight seasons with 100 or more RBI and nine seasons with over 100 runs scored. In six consecutive years, from 1996 through 2001, he reached all three marks in every season. He drew at least 100 walks for seven straight seasons, and had six seasons with a .300 batting average.
  • Compiled a career .993 fielding percentage and was considered strong fielder through bulk of career until an arthritic condition in his shoulder developed.
  • Had above-average speed and baserunning skills for a first baseman, stealing 202 bases during his career, including two seasons (1997, 1999) when he stole at least 30 bases, and five seasons (1994, 1996–99) when he stole at least 15.
  • Astros career leader in home runs (449), RBIs (1,529), Walks (1,401) and  Intentional Walks (155).
  • Holds franchise season records for average (.368 in 1994), on-base percentage (.454 in 1999), slugging percentage (.750 in 1994), OPS (1.201 in 1994), runs (152 in 2000), total bases (363 in 2000), home runs (47 in 2000), walks (149 in 1999) and at-bats per home run (10.3 in 1994)
  • Unique batting stance made him vulnerable to inside pitches. His left hand was broken by pitches in 1993, 1994, and 1995. He began wearing a heavily-padded protective batting glove. Stance allowed him to shrink his strike zone and walk more often.
 Career totals (15 seasons): .297, 449 home runs, 1,529 RBIs, 1,517 runs, 202 stolen bases

Craig Biggio (2B/C)
  • Played entire 20-year career with the Astros (1988-2007).
  • 3,060 career hits and ninth player in the 3,000 hit club to get them all with same team. First player in franchise history to get 3,000 hits
  • Seven-time All-Star (1991-92, 1994-98).
  • Four-time Gold Glove winner
  • Five-time Silver Slugger winner
  • Became starting catcher in 1989. Because he was fast, team management was concerned catching would sap his speed. Biggio finally converted to second base in 1992 - an extremely rare position conversion in MLB history.
  • Holds NL record for most home runs (50) to lead off a game. 
  • Ended career with 668 doubles, fifth on all-time MLB list. Holds record for doubles by a right-handed hitter. Only player in MLB history with 3,000 hits, 600 doubles, 400 stolen bases and 250 home runs.
  • Biggio fell nine home runs short of joining the career 300-300 club (300 homers and 300 stolen bases). He would have become only the seventh player to achieve the feat. This also caused him to fall short of the 3,000 hits, 300 homers and 300 stolen bases mark. He would have been only the second player (Willie Mays being the first) in history to reach that club.
  • Played 1,800 games without a trip to the DL until August 2000, when he tore MCL and ACL in left leg.
    Career totals: .281, 291 home runs, 1,175 RBIs, 414 stolen bases

    Cesar Cedeno (OF)
    • Played for the Astros from 1970-81. Played for the Reds, Cardinals and Dodgers from 1982-86.
    • Four-time All-Star (1972-74, 1976). Beat out Robert Clemente for starting NL spot in 1972.
    • Five-time Gold Glove winner (1972-76).
    • His 550 stolen bases rank him 27th on the all-time MLB list. The 487 steals he had with the Astros ranks him first on the franchise's all-time leader list.
    • Hit for cycle in 1972 and 1976.
    • Batted .310 in his rookie season (1970) and .320 in both 1972 and 1973. A five-tool player that his manager Leo Durocher once suggested would become the "next Willie Mays." His aggressive playing style, in part, may have cut his career well short of realizing that.
    • He possessed a combination of great speed, power and good defense. Became the second player in MLB history (after Lou Brock) to hit 20 home runs and steal 50 bases in one season.
    • Accomplished that feat three straight seasons (1972-74).
    • Also stole 50-plus bases next three seasons (1975-77).
    • Twice led league in doubles.
    Houston totals (12 seasons): .289, 163 home runs, 343 doubles, 778 RBIs, 890 runs, 487 SBs

    Career totals (17 seasons): .285, 199 home runs, 436 double, 976 RBIs, 1,084 runs, 550 SBs

     Jose Cruz (OF) 

    Played for Houston from 1975-87. Began his career with the Cardinals (1970-74) and then finished with one season (1988) with the Yankees.
    • Two-time All-Star (1980, 1985)
    • Two-time Silver Slugger Award winner (1983, 1984)
    • Finished 3rd in NL MVP voting in 1980 when he hit (.302, 11 home runs, 91 RBIs, 36 SBs), 6th in 1983 and 8th in 1984.
    • Consistently put up double-digit home runs (high mark 17 home runs), with 80 or more RBIs. Classic multi-tool threat.
    • Had played in more games than any player in the history of the franchise (1,870) before Craig Biggio passed him. In 2000, Cruz coached from first base as Biggio passed many of his other long-standing franchise records, including at-bats, hits and total bases.
    • Eighty triples remains an Astros' record.
    • Stole 20 or more bases eight times during his 13 seasons in Houston, including five seasons with 30 or more.
    • Involved with all nine of Houston's postseason appearances, three as a player (1980, 81 and 86) and six as a coach (1997–99, 01, 04-05).
    • He hit .400 in the five-game series against Philadelphia in the 1980 NLCS. 

    Houston totals (13 seasons): .292, 1,937 hits, 335 doubles, 80 triples, 138 home runs, 942 RBIs, 288 stolen bases
    Career totals (19 seasons): .284, 2,251 hits, 165 home runs, 1,077 RBIs, 317 stolen bases

    Larry Dierker (P) 

    Drafted by the Colt .45s at age 17. Made his MLB debut on his 18th birthday – and struck out Willie Mays in the first inning.
    • Two-time All-Star (1969, 1971)
    • In 1969, went 20-13, 2.33 ERA, his best statistical season, becoming the Astros' first 20-game winner. Pitched 20 complete games that season.
    • 15 Wins Seasons: 3 (1969, 1970, 1972)
    • Pitched no-hitter against the Expos on July, 9, 1976.  
    • Returned to manage the Astros from 1997-2001. 1998 NL Manager of the Year.
    • In 1971, only 25 but a 7-year veteran with 1,250 innings, he developed a sore arm the first of several ailments. After a 10-1 start that earned him a spot on the 1971 All-Star team, he finished 12-6 that year.
    • In 1972, recuperated, he made 31 starts, completing 12 and winning 15, pitching 214 innings. Shoulder problems flared up in 1973, limiting him to three starts. He again recovered and in 1974 pitched 224 innings with a 2.89 ERA, earning his 100th career win.
    • His career quickly trailed off at age 28 and he retired at 30.

      Houston totals (13 seasons): 137-117, 3.28 ERA, 1.214 WHIP, 2,294 IP, 1,487 Ks
      Career totals (14 seasons): 139-123, 3.31 ERA, 1.217 WHIP, 2,333 IP, 1,493 Ks

     Joe Morgan (2B)
  • Played 10 seasons (1963-71, 1980) with Houston but achieved greatest fame and numbers as a member of the Big Red Machine (1972-79) in Cincinnati. Ended his career (1981-84) with Giants, Phillies, Athletics. Widely ranked as one of the top second basemen in MLB history.
  • Ten-time All-Star including two times (1966, 1970) in Houston.  All-Star Game (1972) MVP.
  • Two-time World Series champ in Cincinnati. Two-time NL MVP in Cincinnati.
  • Five-time Gold Glove winner (all during Cincinnati years.
  • NL Comeback Player of the Year (1982) as a Giant.
Houston totals: .261, 972 hits, 72 home runs, 327 RBIs, 219 stolen bases
Career totals: .271, 2,517 hits, 268 home runs, 1,133 RBIs, 689 stolen bases

Joe Niekro (P)
Pitched for Houston from 1975-85. Pitched for Cubs, Padres, Tigers and Braves before Houston; Yankees and Twins after. His career spanned 1967-88.
  • One-time All-Star (1979). Named TSN NL Pitcher of Year (1979)
  • His 221 career wins make him one of the most successful knuckleball pitchers ever. He and brother, Phil, combined for 539 total wins, making them the most successful brother combination of pitchers in MLB history.
  • Became a dominant pitcher in Houston after perfected his knuckleball. Went 21-11 in 1979 and 20-12 in 1980, to became the first Astros pitcher to win 20 games in consecutive seasons. In 1979, led the league in wins and shutouts (5) and finished second in Cy Young voting behind Bruce Sutter. 
  • In 1980, Houston played the Dodgers in a one-game playoff. Niekro allowed six hits in a 7–1 Houston win that led the Astros to their first postseason. He then pitched 10 shutout innings in Game 3 of the NLCS and the Astros won 1–0, though they lost the series to the Phillies.
  • World Series champ in with Minnesota in 1987. Set a record for the longest period of time between a major league debut and a first appearance in World Series.
  • Trivia: On May 29, 1976, Niekro hit the only big league home run of his career (973 lifetime at bats), and it came against his brother Phil.
Houston totals: 144-116, 3.22 ERA, 1.264 WHIP, 2,270 IP, 1,178 Ks
Career totals: 221-204, 3.59, 1.319 WHIP, 3,584 IP, 1,747 Ks
J.R. Richard (P)
  • Pitched his entire career (1971-80) with the Astros.
  • Premier MLB pitcher from 1976-80, twice leading the NL in strikeout, once in ERA and three times in hits allowed per nine innings. He won at least 18 games each year.
  • From 1971-75, had a limited role on the team, throwing no more than 72 innings in a season.
  • His 313 strikeouts in 1979 is a franchise record. Had 303 in 1978.
  • Suffered a stroke on July 30, 1980, collapsing while playing catch before a game. Condition brought a sudden end to his career at age 30. Record to that date was 10-4, 1.90 ERA.
  • Comeback attempt failed as stroke slowed his reaction time and harmed his depth perception. Scuttled in Astros minor leagues before being released in 1984.
Career totals (10 seasons): 107-71, 3.15 ERA, 1.243 WHIP, 1,606 IPs, 1,493 strikeouts

Nolan Ryan (P)
  • Recently inducted into the Fun-Time Baseball Hall as a California Angel, Ryan is again on the ballot. By the time he arrived in Houston in 1980, he was already a big-leaguer since 1966.
  • Pitched nine seasons (1980-88) in Houston (eight with the Angels and five each with the Mets and Rangers). Eight-time All-Star, including twice while in Houston (1981, 1985).
  • Finished in top 10 of Cy Young balloting three times during his years in Houston.
  • Pitched one of his seven no-hit games as a member of the Astros, Sept. 26, 1981 against the Dodgers. Pitched four during his eight years with the Angels.
  • 5,714 career strikeouts (MLB record)
  • After leading the AL in strikeouts seven out of his eight seasons in California, led NL in strikeouts twice during his eight seasons in Houston (his final two seasons there, 1987, 1988). In 1987, at age 40, he led the majors in both ERA (2.76) and strikeouts (270) —but finished 8–16 because of poor run support. Despite his .333 winning percentage, he tied for 5th place in the 1987 Cy Young voting.
  • World Series champion (1969): Ryan saved Game 3 as a New York Met, pitching 2.1 shutout innings against the Orioles. The Game 3 win gave the Mets a 2–1 lead in the Series, which they went on to win in five games. It would be Ryan's only World Series appearance.
  • MLB All-Century team
Houston totals: 106-94, 3.13 ERA, 1.206 WHIP, 1,854 IP, 1,866 Ks
Career totals: 324-292, 3.19 ERA, 1.247 WHIP, 5,386 IP, 5,714 Ks

Mike Scott (P)
Pitched for Houston from 1983-91. Began his career with the New York Mets (1979-82).
  • NL Cy Young award winner (1986)
  • Three-time All-Star (1986, 1987, 1989). Started 1987 game.
  • NL TSN Pitcher of the Year (1986)
  • NLCS MVP (1986) - first time in NLCS history that a member of the losing team was so honored.
  • Scott is part of a small group of pitchers who have thrown a no-hitter and struck out 300 in the same season. 
  • In 1986, he went 18-10, 2.22 ERA, 306 strikeouts (led league). Threw his no-hitter on Sept. 25 against the Giants.
  • The Astros lost the NLCS 4-2 to the Mets. The two Houston wins were a result of Scott's starting pitching in Games 1 and 4. 
  • In Game 1, Scott allowed just five hits and walked one while striking out 14 in a complete-game effort as the host Astros prevailed 1–0. (Dwight Gooden allowed one run in his seven innings.)
  • In Game 4, Scott pitched a complete game three-hitter in a 3-1 win.
  • Scott struggled with the Mets and in his first two seasons with the Astros, when he went 15-17. His career turned around in 1985 when pitching coach Roger Craig taught him the split-finger fastball. Scott won 18 games in 1985.
  • Finished seventh in Cy Young voting in 1987.
  • Scott won 20 games and finished second in NL Cy Young Award voting in 1989, behind reliever Mark Davis of the Padres. Injuries began to plague him soon afterwards and he retired in 1991.
  • Houston totals (nine seasons): 110-81, 3.30 ERA, 1.144 WHIP, 1,704 IP, 1,318 Ks
  • Career totals (13 seasons): 124-108, 3.54 ERA, 1.201 WHIP, 2,068 IP, 1,469 Ks
Billy Wagner (P)
  • Pitched for Houston (1995–2003), then for the Phillies (2004-05), Mets (2006-09, Red Sox (2009) and Braves (2010).
  • Seven-time All-Star, including first three on the list as an Astro (1999, 2001, 2003, 2005, 2007, 2008, 2010)
  • Franchise all-time saves leader (225)
  • Recorded 30 or more saves nine times in career, including five times in Houston
  • In 1999, finished fourth in Cy Young balloting when he saved 39 games and recorded 124 strikeouts in 74 innings.
  • Fifth on all-time saves list (422).
Houston totals (nine seasons): 26-29, 2.53 ERA, 1.039 WHIP, 504 IP, 694 Ks, 225 Saves
Career totals (16 seasons): 47-40, 2.31 ERA, 0.998 WHIP, 903 IP, 1,196 Ks, 422 Saves

Jimmy Wynn (OF)
  • Played for the Astros from 1963-73, then two years with the Dodgers before finishing his final two seasons with the Braves, Yankees and Brewers.
  • A shortstop primarily during his debut year, he struggled with the position and was moved to center field.
  • Three-time All-Star (1967 with Astros, then 1974, 75 with Dodgers)
  • NL Comeback Player of the Year (1974, Dodgers) when he hit .271, 32 home runs, 108 RBIs
  • Fixture in Astros OF for 11 seasons. He was a power hitter who likely lost many home runs to the spacious Astrodome. Hit career high 37 home runs in 1967, two behind Hank Aaron (who commented that he considered Wynn the season's home run champion.
  • Two-time NL Bases on Balls Leader (1969 & 1976)
  • 20-Home Runs Seasons: 8 (1965, 1967-1970 & 1972-1974)
  • 30-Home Runs Seasons: 3 (1967, 1969 & 1974)
  • 100 RBI Seasons: 2 (1967 & 1974)
  • 100 Runs Scored Seasons: 4 (1967, 1969, 1972 & 1974)
  • He was traded to a competitive team for the 1974 season, and his performance (he was 5th in the MVP voting) helped the Dodgers win the pennant. Teammate Steve Garvey was NL MVP that year, but Wynn had a higher on-base percentage and slugging percentage.
  • His 1,224 walks put him #46 on the all-time list, and his 1,427 strikeouts put him # 52 on the all-time list.
Houston totals: .255, 223 home runs, 719 RBIs, 180 stolen bases
Career totals: .250, 291 home runs, 964 RBIs, 225 stolen bases

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