Astros’ Hall of Fame: Today, tomorrow and beyond

The Astros have just announced that they will be starting what many clubs already have, a team Hall of Fame.

The team will start off with what can only be called a huge inaugural class of 16 individuals. This includes those players, who have had their numbers retired – Nolan Ryan, Craig Biggio, Jeff Bagwell, Jimmy Wynn, Jose Cruz, Mike Scott, Larry Dierker, Don Wilson and Jim Umbricht — and those individuals (former players and broadcasters) who have been honored on the Astros’ Walk of Fame – Joe Morgan, Bob Aspromonte, Joe Niekro, J.R. Richard, Shane Reynolds, Gene Elston and Milo Hamilton.

Some of those named will undoubtedly create arguments. Aspromonte was a solid, unspectacular third sacker. Shane Reynolds was good, not great. Umbricht is on the list because he died of cancer while active. Some folks may say that Hamilton is no Elston and is there only because of longevity. But beyond these folks…..who should be considered for the next class? Assuming the people listed have to be retired or gone from the organization…..

  • Lance Berkman. Easily the best player not listed. For his Astros career, he ranked high with a .296 BA (4th among Astros), .410 OBP (1st), .959 OPS (1st), 326 HRs (2nd), 1090 RBIs (3rd) and 1008 Runs (3rd). And of top Astros, he was a clutch post-season performer.
  • Cesar Cedeno. From an era and a stadium, where hitting stats were depressed, he still has solid career numbers among Astros. 487 SBs (1st), .289 BA (7th), 890 runs (4th), 163 HRs (6th) and 778 RBIs (6th). Due to his conviction on involuntary manslaughter that took his mistress’s life, he will never be in this HOF.
  • Bob Watson. He too still ranks high in many career numbers despite playing in a much more “dead” ball era in a huge cavern of a ball park. .297 BA (T-2nd), .364 OBP (7th), .808 (10th), 640 runs (9th), 139 HRs (7th) and 782 RBIs (5th). He also was the second African American GM, when he served the Astros in that capacity.
  • Billy Wagner. Wagner was one of the top closers in the game and arguably the best the Astros ever sent out there. As an Astro – 225 saves (1st), 2.53 ERA (T-3rd), 464 Games (2nd), 1.04 WHIP (1st) and saved 86% of his save opportunities.
  • Roger Clemens. In his relatively short time with the Astros he was 38W 18 L with a 2.40 ERA. That career ERA is the lowest among ALL pitchers for the Astros including the relievers. His 1.07 WHIP is 2nd to Wagner. I mis-remember why he might not make it into the Astros’ HOF……oh, yeah.
  • Dave Smith. Probably the number 2 closer for the Astros all-time (sorry Brad Lidge and Ken Giles). 563 games (1st), 199 saves (2nd), 2.53 ERA (T-3rd), and he saved 81% of his save opportunities.
  • Roy Oswalt. The Wizard of Os, was one of the best at squeezing out wins in Astros history. His 143 wins were one behind Niekro. His ERA of 3.24 was 8th among starters and considering he was pitching in the wild and woolly days of mis-remembering that is a heck of a good number. He was also a go-to clutch guy in the post-season.

There are other folks, who could be considered here whether it is Mike Scott, Ken Forsch or Darryl Kile and Ken Caminiti.

Questions for you…

  1. Anyone who has been announced to be in the Hall that you don’t think should be in there?
  2. Who on my list should have the next shot at a spot?
  3. Anyone else not mentioned you think should be considered?
  4. How about non-players like Bill Virdon or Drayton McLane?
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