The Astros have had a handful of mega star players over the past 50 years. In fact, before 2012 or so, the names synonymous with the organization were named Bagwell and Biggio. Now that Houston has won its first World Series with a bevy of up-and-coming superstars, the game has been joined.
That brings us to the Best of the Best series. We’ll cover every position and then some between now and opening day, so please register your thoughts, but stay on today’s position.
Today: First base.
- Jeff Bagwell. 1991-2005. On this, there is no argument. At all. With a career cut short because of nagging injuries, Bagwell turned in one of the best careers ever by a first baseman, Astro or otherwise. As an Astros’ hall of famer, he stands alone atop the list of first basemen in the organization’s history. He’s in the top 3 in virtually every Astros’ offensive career category. He’s second in games played, OPB, runs scored, hits and total bases and leads the organization in home runs (449) and RBI (1529) and walks (1401).
- Lance Berkman. 1999-2010. Yes, Berkman played the outfield for many years as he was blocked by Bagwell. As Bagwell’s skills diminished and ultimately led to his retirement, Berkman made the obvious move to first. Berkman won’t be in the Hall of Fame, but you will find him at or near the top of the leaderboard of many Astros all-time stats.
- Glenn Davis. 1984-90. Before there was Bagwell, before there was Berkman, there was Glenn Davis. To that moment in time, he was the best the Astros had produced at first base. A career .262/.337/.483 slash — all in the Astrodome mind you — with 166 home runs, he was a former first round pick ultimately traded to the Orioles for Steve Finley, Pete Harnisch and Curt Schilling. Davis was a two-time All Star who finished second to Mike Schmidt in the 1986 NL MVP vote. He shows up 14 times on Top 10 lists for Houston, including home runs (166, 5th), slugging percentage (.483, 6th) and OPS (.819, 8th).
- Bob Watson. 1966-1979. Like Berkman, Watson bounced around the outfield and settled in at first base in the last few years of his career as an Astro. He was a two-time All Star for Houston. One of his big claims to fame is that he scored the 1,000,000th run in MLB and he later became the general manager of the Astros. He later served as GM of the Yankees and won a World Series in 1996. He was the last Yankees’ GM before Brian Cashman took over in 1998.
- Lee May. 1972-74. The big bopper made his mark in Houston in just three years, coming over to Houston in one of the biggest trades in the organization’s history. It’s the trade that sent Joe Morgan to the Big Red Machine and a Hall of Fame career. May is eighth on Houston’s list of AB/HR with a 20.9 figure.
Those are five of the best in Houston history. Yuli Gurriel is signed through 2020. How many pennants and World Series would he need to put him on the list above?
- What’s your best or favorite memory of Bagwell?
- Does anyone remember Berkman’s catch on Tal’s Hill in centerfield?
- Bagwell may be the best first baseman in Astros’ history. Who’s your favorite though?