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The 1991 Houston Astros

Discussion in 'Houston Astros' started by DoitDickau, Jul 17, 2013.

  1. DoitDickau

    DoitDickau Contributing Member

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    The first few years of the 1990's served as a transition period from the Scott-Ryan-Davis led teams of the late-80's to the Biggio-Bagwell era in the 90's. The Astros executed a complete rebuild, as the stars of the 1980s either left (Ryan), retired (Scott), or were traded for younger pieces (Davis, Anderson). To be quite blunt, the Astros during the 90-91 years were some of the worst teams in franchise history. In 1991, the Astros went 65-97, finished last in the league, and secured the #1 pick in the next year's draft. They were bad, but looking back, however, it also turns out it to be the most talented roster in franchise history and the foundation for 15 years of competitive teams.

    With the exception of 30 year old Casey Candaele, every one of the Astros starters in 1991 was under 28 years old. Of the young players on the roster 3 would build Hall of Fame careers, 2 would win MVP's, 1 would win a WS MVP, and 6 would have careers worth over 40 WAR.

    At C the Astros started a 25 year old Craig Biggio who made his first All-Star appearance that year. He would make 6 more appearances on route to 3,000 career hits, 64 career bWar, and what should be HOF plaque.

    At 1b a 23 year old Jeff Bagwell won the NL rookie of the year. It was the first year of a 15 year career that would feature an MVP, 73.8 war, and what should be a Hall of Fame induction.

    Everyone knows those two formed the heart of the Astros' 6 playoff appearances in the 90s and 2000s. But, they're just a part of the young talent the Astros had that year.

    In 1990-91 the Astros made two big trades. The Anderson for Bagwell trade will rightfully go down as one of the biggest heists of all-time, but the Glenn Davis to Baltimore trade was just as lopsided. For a 30 year old Davis, the Astros received:

    A 24 year old Curt Schilling who started 91 as the Astros' closer. After pitching in relief for Houston that year, he would go on a HOF career that would include 216 wins, a WS mvp, 3 runner up Cy-Young finishes, and 80 career war.

    A 26 year old CF named Steve Finley. Finley would amass 16 war in his 3 1/2 year career (94 was strike season) in Houston. He would go on to get over 2500 hits, 2 all-star appearance, and amass 44 career war.

    And a 24 year old SP Pete Harnisch who served as the Astros ace in 1991 and made the all-star team. Harnisch won 111 games in his career along with producing 19 war.

    In addition to the players they acquired via trade, the Astros had one of the most fruitful farm systems in baseball.

    3b Ken Caminiti at 28 was the veteran on the team. He'd go on to produce 33.3 wins and win an MVP for SD in 1998.

    23 year old LF Luis Gonzales was in his first full season in 91. He was worth 3.6 wins that year and would produce 12 war in his first 5 season in Houston (including the two strike shortened seasons in 94-95). He'd go on to have later career success in Arizona with Schilling, including the game winning WS hit, 5 all-star appearances, and 51.5 career war.

    On the bench behind Gonzales and Finley was a 24 year old outfielder named Kenny Lofton. Lofton was ranked the #28 overall prospect in baseball by BA after the 91 season. He got a cup of coffee in 91 and was traded in the offseason for Ed Taubensee. Lofton would go on to play in 6 all-star games, get 2428 hits, and be worth 68.1 war in a 16-year career.

    Joining Harnisch and Schilling on the staff was a 22 year old SP named Darryl Kile. Kile career was cut short due to his untimely death at 33, but in his career he would pitch a no-hitter, win 133 games and be worth 20.5 career war.

    Also worth mentioning was 28 year old Mark Portugal who go on to win 109 games, finish 6th in the CY Young balloting in 1993, and be worth 16 career war.

    This doesn't even get into the farm system that had player like Shane Reynolds coming up through the system.

    I wanted to bring up this team for a couple of reasons. The first is just that it amazes me how much young talent was on the 91 team. Bagwell and Biggio were obviously the foundation for the golden age of Astros baseball, but can you imagine if the Astros were smart enough to keep that young team together. How good would Lofton have looked leading off in front of Bagwell and Biggio. How good would the rotation have looked if you had Schilling and Kile leading it through the 90's?

    The other point is that I think the next year or so following the Astros will be fun. Losing with hope for the future isn't the same thing as just losing. As a kid I started following the Astros in 1990 and those first few years were as fun as any year that followed. A large part of that was following players like Bagwell and Biggio, and Finley and Kile, and watching them grow into the players they would become. The most painful part of the rebuild is coming to an end. Pretty soon we won't have to follow a team filled with guys like Happ, Ambriz, Bedard, Carlos Lee, etc. Like in 91, the team might not be good, but in Springer, Cosart, Lyles, Castro, Altuve, etc, we'll be able to watch the future of the franchise grow in front of our eyes.

    The other lesson is that if the Astros are luckily enough that they strike gold on players like Springer, Singleton, Appel, and Correa, I hope they find a way to keep them together.
     
    #1 DoitDickau, Jul 17, 2013
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2013
  2. CometsWin

    CometsWin Listening to Tupac Westsiiiiide
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    You left out Tuffy Rhodes. He tied Oh's single season homerun record in Japan. :grin:
     
  3. juicystream

    juicystream Contributing Member

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    Ed Taubensee
    Ed Taubensee
    Ed Taubensee
    Ed Taubensee
    Ed Taubensee
    Ed Taubensee
    Ed Taubensee
     
  4. LonghornFan

    LonghornFan Contributing Member

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    Excellent memory lane thread, thanks breh.
     
  5. boozle222

    boozle222 Contributing Member

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    Are we just going to act like it wasn't Tony "Wheels" Eusebio's rookie season either???!?!?!11

    Seriously, though, great write up. Man we had such a great core... it is a shame that we couldn't have held on to them all. It just makes me excited to watch the new guys grow up.
     
  6. juicystream

    juicystream Contributing Member

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    Now I'm seeing Walt Weiss dive for the ball...

    This happy thread makes me depressed. :(
     
  7. boozle222

    boozle222 Contributing Member

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    For those that may be uninformed:
    Per an old school Jayson Stark article.
     
  8. juicystream

    juicystream Contributing Member

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    MLB's overkill on video rights protection has made it an impossible to find video of the play (for better or worse). It's just always what I think about with Tony Eusebio.
     
  9. leroy

    leroy Contributing Member
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    Why don't you go ahead and post the video of the Bills v Oilers playoff game, you bastard.
     
  10. boozle222

    boozle222 Contributing Member

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    Haha I know, I know. Some wounds can never heal. Nor should they.
     
  11. leroy

    leroy Contributing Member
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    Walt Weiss
    Kevin Brown/Sterling Hitchcock
    Frank Reich
    John Stockton
    Karla "the child rapist" Malone

    Who else should be on our "stay the f*** out of Houston" list?
     
  12. juicystream

    juicystream Contributing Member

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    At least Weiss is a good guy.
     
  13. Nick

    Nick Contributing Member

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    Albert Pujols
    Jim Edmonds
    Albert Haynesworth (more for the Schaub injury)
     
  14. Mashing

    Mashing Member

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    Ron Gant, seems like he'd always be getting huge hits against us. God, I hated the Braves in the 90's.
     
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