All Star thoughts and a quiz from Dan
Dan Peschong pinch hit on Monday with an All Star quiz. NOTE: The answers are now included below.
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Unlike the NBA – if you have a major league baseball team – you have an All-Star. And while the Jason Castro choice is not too controversial – I thought I would hit on it quickly before turning to an Astros All-Star quiz. It should be noted that Jason will be the answer to a future Astros quiz – who was the first Astro All Star representative in the American League?
Yes this sounds like some cold war south Florida group – but here are some arguments against Jason Castro being the Astros rep at the All Star game.
- He’s not a very good fielding catcher – especially when it comes to passed balls (7 so far this season) and saving wild pitches.
- He cannot hit left handed pitching to save anyone’s life.
- He is not in the neighborhood of big bat catchers like Joe Mauer.
- There are other more deserving players on the team – Altuve, Norris, Veras. Paredes (just checking to see if you are paying attention).
Please no riots in Little Havana over the title of this section:
- A lot of guys who are not very good fielders make the All-Star team – Mike Piazza made the team in two years when he led the NL in passed balls. And Jason has improved his caught stealing rate this year over 2012 – in fact he is throwing out a higher percent this year than NL All Star Buster Posey. (But don’t compare their previous years).
- His life time numbers against left-handed pitching – .146 BA and .438 OPS, point to a player who perhaps needs a DH more than the pitcher spot does. But I will point out that his numbers against leftys are on the slope up and his 2013 stats .204 BA and .685 OPS are not in the hopeless range.
- While his BA is not in the range of Joe Mauer – he is overall having a 2013 that is offensively in the Twins’ catcher’s neighborhood. Castro has 12 HR and 31 RBIs vs. Mauer’s 8 and 32. His OPS is .804 vs. .862 for Mauer. Mauer is better, but the gap is not that big.
- I’ve said before that I think Norris would be my pick for best Astro this year – but it is not like some huge injustice here. Castro is putting up solid numbers at a position where the Astros traditionally never have solid numbers. He deserves recognition and he is getting it.
Astros All Star Quiz
- How many Astro catchers were chosen for the All Star team prior to this year?
- How many previous Astro All-Stars are now enshrined in the Hall of Fame?
- The 1994 Astros sent the most players to the AS game in club history – how many did they send and who were they? (Naming more than 3 correctly will be impressive)
- TheAstros continued a tradition this year of having one representative to the All Star game. In their 52 seasons, this marks:
- The 15th time
- The 20th time
- The 25th time they had only one rep.
- Which of these starting pitchers was named to the most All Star teams as an Astro – Larry Dierker, Don Wilson, Joe Niekro, Nolan Ryan, Turk Farrell, JR Richard or Roy Oswalt?
- Which of these Astros relievers never made the AS team as an Astro? Bill Dawley, Dave Smith, John Hudek or Brad Lidge?
- Which Astro All Star worked for 30 seasons as a Montreal Expos announcer on their French speaking broadcasts?
- Which of the following unlikely candidates was an Astros All-Star – jerry Mumphrey, Omar Moreno, Roman Mejias or Eric Yelding?
- Craig Biggio holds the club record by being named to the most All Star teams (7) and to the most consecutive AS teams (4). Who is second in both of these categories? (And no – it is not Jeff Bagwell).
- None of the following players made the All Star team as an Astro. Steve Finley, Luis Gonzalez, Kenny Lofton and John Mayberry Sr. (We did not call him Sr. – but now that his son has made the majors…). Anyways – how many of them made the All Star team after leaving the Astros?
And, voila, the answers to the quiz.
- Before Jason Castro – only Craig Biggio (in 1991) made the All Star team as an Astro catcher. And then HE was switched to 2nd base, a decision which allowed him to have a career that put him on the cusp of the Hall of Fame.
- Speaking of Hall of Fame – Nolan Ryan(‘80 and ‘85) and Joe Morgan(‘66 and ‘70) were the only Astros to date to be an All Star and make the Hall of Fame. They also are two of the players who make the most fans bitter when it comes to the Astros’ management letting the big ones get away.
- Most All Stars in one year occurred in 1994 and they were not surprisingly Jeff Bagwell and Craig Biggio, semi-surprisingly, Ken Caminiti and very surprisingly Doug Drabek and John Hudek.
- The Astros are one of the most experienced teams in having only one rep at the All Star game – this will be the 25th time for our home club.
- Dick “Turk” Farrell was one of the few real major leaguers on the early Astros and represented them in 3 of the first 4 years of the franchise.
- Who never made it – Dawley, Smith, Lidge, Hudek, – BAD DAN – all four actually made it. My eyesight is going. * Replacement question – which Astro pitcher was named an All Star in the same year he lost 20 games. The 1962 expansion year Colt .45’s were led by Turk Farrell (again) who could file for non-support – his 10-20 record not matching his 3.02 ERA.
- Which Astro all star worked as the French speaking radio announcer for the Montreal Expos for 30 seasons? Claude “Frenchy” Raymond (and no that was not pronounced like Dave Raymond – but like Ray-mone)
- Which of the following unlikely candidates was an Astros All-Star? Jerry Mumphrey in 1984 – Hard to believe.
- Who was named to the second most All Star games and second most consecutively as an Astro? Cesar Cedeno was named to 3 straight All-Star games and 4 overall.
- Finley, Gonzalez, Lofton, Mayberry- all were named All-Stars multiple times after leaving the Astros.