2017-11-09 / Sports

Hooray for World Champ Astros

BASEBALL’S BEST
By LAMAR GARRARD baseball historian

“For me it was that you can dream big. I was born and reared on a farm in western Minnesota and dreamed of winning the World Series as a kid. It doesn’t matter where you come from or how you were raised. Anything is possible in this country. Anything.” – Jerry Koosman, pitcher, 1969 World Championship NY Mets.

In 1962, the Houston Astros set up shop and played their first Major League season recording a lackluster eighth-place finish under manager Harry Craft’s tutelage. They managed to win only 64 games while losing 96. That team consisted of mostly veteran players, many of whom were well past 30 years of age and at the twilight of their careers. The team batting average of .246 compared to the first place Giants average that year of .278 sums up the offensive story in a compelling way.

Fast forward to last week and we saw a completely different team. Filled with young players and non-stars, the Astros have been building for this event for the last several years. Just four years ago, the team lost 100 games, but after rebounding with a great farm system, this year’s version won 101 ball games. Just last year we saw the Cubs win their first World Series in ages as they put down the Cleveland Indians.

I am happy for the city of Houston and the State of Texas. After they endured the pain and loss of a major hurricane they can now celebrate a well deserved championship and ease the stress of tragedy that bad weather cast upon their city and state.

It is especially gratifying to see four of our ex-Atlanta Braves contribute to the success of the Astros. Brian McCann had such a great series especially defensively as time after time he blocked and stopped bad pitches and also made several putouts at the plate. He also delivered some key hits. This was Brian’s first World Championship in his long major league career. It was good to see Evan Gattis doing well and Cameron Maybin the slick outfielder also had some positives in the series. Charlie Morton, the pitcher who was in Atlanta one year and has bounced around a few clubs, was the winning pitcher in decisive game seven when the Astros held off the Dodgers 5-1.

The Dodger’s bats went silent in game seven producing only six hits while leaving 10 men on base. They were 1-for-13 with men in scoring position. Clayton Kershaw pitched four innings but the Astros had five runs before his exit. The rest of the Dodger pitching was not that bad, but the offense could not score any runs.

So we congratulate the winners and especially the play of George Springer, the MVP of the series who clobbered five home runs and batted .379 for the series. This series set a record with 25 homers between the two teams. We say a hearty well done to Houston’s manager, A.J. Hinch. We may see them back again in 2018!

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