Monday, December 25, 2017

Christmas Morning Hot Links

Sometimes "Merry Christmas' is not the right thing to say - not because the person to whom you're speaking is a weak-minded political idiot, but rather because Christmas is extremely hard for a lot of people. There are those among us for whom Christmas is a time of loss, a reminder of friends and family who have passed away, or of relationships severed. Perhaps the commercials depicting the perfect Christmas morning are a reminder of a childhood they never had. Or returning to school was a reminder of a definitive class structure of which even the youngest children were painfully aware. I do hope everyone has a Merry Christmas no matter your circumstance. To those of you who woke up this morning with a sense of loss and dread, you're in my thoughts and prayers.

Astros players born on Christmas Day:

Willy Taveras (2004-2006)
In 311 games for the Astros Taveras hit .284/.329/.340 and finished 2nd in the NL Rookie of the Year voting in 2005, finishing behind Ryan Howard and ahead of Jeff Francoeur. Taveras put together a 30-game hit streak in 2006 and was traded to Colorado in a package for Jason Jennings that off-season.

Ty Gainey (1985-1987)
Gainey, the Astros' 2nd Round draft pick in 1979, played a sporadic outfield for 57 games over three seasons for the Astros, hitting .216/.293/.288 with 37 strikeouts in 124 plate appearances. The Greatest 21 Days has a really good profile of his career.

Julio Gonzalez (1977-1980)
Acquired in a trade with the Cardinals for outfielder Greg Gross (who had finished 2nd in NL ROY voting in 1974, and hit .293/.376/.351 for Houston), Julio Gonzalez hit .235/.270/.288 for the Astros from 1977-1980 playing 2B, SS, and 3B in his 296 games in Houston. Gonzalez was released prior to the start of the 1981 season.

Nellie Fox (1964-1965)
Fox played the last two seasons of his 19-year Hall of Fame career with the Colt .45s/Astros after a trade with the White Sox for Jim Golden, Danny Murphy, and cash. Fox was released after a 1964 season in which he hit .265/.320/.319 and led the NL with 20 sacrifice hits, striking out just 13 times in 502 plate appearances (Fox struck out 216 times in 10351 career plate appearances, just 2.1% of his PAs, 3rd all-time, and 1st among players with more than 650 games played). The newly-rebranded Astros re-signed Fox in May 1965 before getting released again on July 31, 1965, ending his playing career, but he remained as a coach with the team through the 1967 season. Joe Morgan credited Fox with maximizing his playing potential.

*The Astros' acquisition of Justin Verlander on August 31 is akin to getting to open one Christmas present on the day after Thanksgiving.

*Tradition plays a big role in Big Joe, Big Joe Musgrove's family.

*Why it feels good to hate the Yankees again.