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Category Archives: Astros

Larry Dierker – 1973 Topps #375

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ImageLawrence Edward Dierker (born September 22, 1946, in Hollywood, California) is a former Major League Baseball pitcher and manager. During a 14-year baseball career as a pitcher, he pitched from 1964–1977 for the Houston Colt .45s/Astros and the St. Louis Cardinals. He also managed the Astros for five years. Drafted by the Colt .45s at age 17, Dierker made his major-league pitching debut on his 18th birthday – and struck out Willie Mays in the first inning. In 1969, he became the Astros’ first 20-game winner, while compiling a 2.33 earned run average, 20 complete games and 232 strikeouts over 305 innings. He was elected to the National League All-Star team in 1969 and 1971. On July 9, 1976, Dierker pitched a no hitter against the Montreal Expos.
Dierker was elected National League Manager of the Year in 1998. Houston finished in first place in four of the five years Dierker managed the team, failing only in 2000 when the Astros placed fourth. In 1999, Dierker had a brush with death during a game against the San Diego Padres.Image He had been plagued with severe headaches for several days. During the game, Dierker had a seizure that left him unconscious. He required emergency brain surgery for a cavernous angioma and after four weeks of recovery, returned to the Astros and led the team through the season. The Astros won 97 games and a third consecutive National League Central Division title.
He currently serves as a community outreach executive for the Astros. Dierker has also wrote a book titled “This Ain’t Brain Surgery”, detailing his baseball career as a pitcher and a manager. He later wrote “My Team”, in which he remembered the greatest players he’d seen in his years of baseball.
On May 19, 2002, the Astros honored Dierker, retiring his No. 49 jersey.


Jim York – 1973 Topps #546

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ImageJames Harlan York (born August 27, 1947, in Maywood, California) is a former professional baseball pitcher. In his six year Major League Baseball career, he played for the Kansas City Royals, the Houston Astros, and the New York Yankees. In six years and 174 games, York posted a lifetime record of 16-17, 194 strikeouts and an ERA of 3.79. His best season statistically came with Kansas City in 1971, when he had career bests with 103 strikeouts, a 2.89 ERA, and a 5-5 record, and earned $12,500. As a batter, he had three hits in 40 at bats in his career. He hit one home run, also in the 1971 season, against Cleveland Indians pitcher Alan Foster. After being released by the Yankees in August 1976, York played in the minor leagues with the Iowa Oaks in the Chicago White Sox organization. He retired in 1978.Image


Jim York – Baseball Reference

Jim Ray – 1973 Topps #313

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ImageJames Francis Ray (born December 1, 1944 in Rock Hill, South Carolina), is a retired American professional baseball player, a right-handed pitcher in the Major Leagues from 1965–1966 and 1968–1974 for the Houston Astros and Detroit Tigers.  Ray was known as a hard thrower with a stellar fastball and earned the nickname “Ray Gun” during the 1969 season when he struck out 115 batters in 115 innings. Ray appeared in 308 Major League games, all but 20 in relief, and notched 25 saves. He has shunned public life since his retirement from baseball.Image

Jerry Reuss – 1973 Topps #446

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ImageJerry Reuss (born June 19, 1949 in St. Louis, Missouri) is a former left-handed pitcher in Major League Baseball, who had a 22-year career from 1969 to 1990.  He was the third oldest active player when he retired at age 41 in 1990. He was one of only 29 players in major league history to play in four different decades. In 1988 he became the second pitcher in history, joining Milt Pappas, to win 200 career games without ever winning 20 in a single season. He was later joined by Frank Tanana, Charlie Hough, Dennis Martinez, Chuck Finley, Mike Mussina, Kenny Rogers, and Tim Wakefield.
Reuss was a two time All-Star – first in 1975 with the Pirates, having 18 wins and 11 losses that season and an earned run average of 2.54, and then again in 1980 with the Dodgers, striking out all three batters he faced in that year’s game, and earning the win. In 1980 Reuss had one of the best seasons of his career with eighteen wins and only six losses, and leading the majors in shutouts with six; he also threw a no-hitter against the San Francisco Giants on June 27, striking out only 2 batters, narrowly missing a perfect game due to a throwing error in the first inning by shortstop Bill Russell. Reuss finished second behind Steve Carlton in the running for the Cy Young Award, and won the MLB Comeback Player of the Year ImageAward. In 1981 Reuss went 10-4 with a career-low 2.30 ERA in a strike-shortened season, and won two postseason games including one against the New York Yankees in the 1981 World Series, helping the Dodgers win the title. On June 11, 1982, Jerry Reuss recorded 27 consecutive outs in a game, with only the opponent’s leadoff batter reaching base.
Reuss later became a baseball broadcaster for the Angels and a pitching coach with the minor league Iowa Cubs, before returning to the Dodgers in 2006 to serve as a color commentator alongside Rick Monday. He was previously a color commentator for the California/Anaheim Angels from 1996-98.

Doug Rader – 1973 Topps #76

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ImageDouglas Lee Rader (born July 30, 1944 in Chicago, Illinois), nicknamed “The Red Rooster”, is a former third baseman in Major League Baseball who was known primarily for his defensive ability, winning five straight Gold Glove Awards from 1970 to 1974. Rader’s career lasted from 1967 to 1977. He played for the Houston Astros, San Diego Padres, and Toronto Blue Jays. He later managed the Texas Rangers, Chicago White Sox, and California Angels between 1983 and 1991. Also nicknamed “Rojo”, ImageRader earned his nickname “The Red Rooster” from the thick head of red hair which always protruded from under his cap.

Jim Ray – 1973 Topps #313

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ImageJames Francis Ray (born December 1, 1944 in Rock Hill, South Carolina), is a retired American professional baseball player, a right-handed pitcher in the Major Leagues from 1965–1966 and 1968–1974 for the Houston Astros and Detroit Tigers. ImageRay was known as a hard thrower with a stellar fastball and earned the nickname “Ray Gun” during the 1969 season when he struck out 115 batters in 115 innings. Two years later, he appeared in 47 games played for the 1971 Astros, all but one in relief, and won ten of 14 decisions with a 2.12 earned run average. Ray appeared in 308 Major League games, all but 20 in relief, and notched 25 saves.

George Culver 1973 Topps #242

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George Raymond Culver (born July 8, 1943 in Salinas, California) is a former professional baseball player who played pitcher in the major leagues from 1966-1974. Culver would play for the Cleveland Indians, Cincinnati Reds, St. Louis Cardinals, Houston Astros, Los Angeles Dodgers, and Philadelphia Phillies. He also pitched one season in Japan for the Nippon Ham Fighters in 1975. Culver pitched a no-hitter against the Phillies while pitching for the Reds on July 29, 1968. As of the 2009 season, Culver serves as the Pitching Coordinator at Camelback Ranch, the Spring Training facility of the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Jimmy Stewart – 1973 Topps #351

James Franklin Stewart (born June 11, 1939 in Opelika, Alabama) is a former Major League Baseball player for the Chicago Cubs, Chicago White Sox, Cincinnati Reds, and Houston Astros from 1963–1973. Stewart came up with the Cubs as a middle infielder in 1963. He was purchased from the Cubs by the Chicago White Sox during the 1967 season. After playing in their minor league system for two seasons, he was drafted by the Cincinnati Reds from the ChiSox in the 1968 rule 5 draft. On November 29, 1971, Stewart was part of a trade that brought Joe Morgan, Cesar Geronimo, Ed Armbrister, Jack Billingham, and Denis Menke to the Reds from the Houston Astros for Stewart, Lee May and Tommy Helms. After his playing days, Stewart served as a longtime scout for the Philadelphia Phillies.

Gary Sutherland – 1973 Topps #572

Gary Lynn Sutherland(born September 27, 1944 in Glendale, California) was a Major League Second Baseman and Shortstop for 13 seasons from 1966-1978. After attending the University of Southern California, where he played under legendary coach Rod Dedeaux, Sutherland played for the Philadelphia Phillies (1966–68), Montreal Expos (1969–71), Houston Astros (1972–73), Detroit Tigers (1974–76), Milwaukee Brewers (1976), San Diego Padres (1977) and St. Louis Cardinals (1978). He recently served as special assistant to the general manager with the Los Angeles Angels. Sutherland had a career high 26 doubles with the Expos in 1969. His best season all-around season was 1974 in Detroit, when he was third in the American League with 619 at bats. His 157 hits in 1974 was also the team-high for the Detroit Tigers that year. Unfortunately, 1974 also saw Sutherland’s most dubious accomplishment in leading the American League in Outs with 489. Sutherland has two places in Montreal Expo history. He scored the first run in franchise history, on a Bob Bailey double in the first inning of the Expos’ inaugural game, an 11-10 victory over the New York Mets at Shea Stadium on April 8, 1969. He also recorded the first putout in a Major League regular season game in Canada on April 14 of that same year, that of Lou Brock’s line drive in the Expos’ inaugural home game against the St. Louis Cardinals at Jarry Park.

Bob Watson – 1973 Topps #110

Robert Jose Watson(born April 10, 1946 in Los Angeles, California) is a former first baseman for the Houston Astros, Boston Red Sox, New York Yankees and Atlanta Braves from 1966-1984, and currently serves as Major League Baseball’s vice president of rules and on-field operations. Watson was credited with scoring the 1,000,000th run in major league history on May 4, 1975 at 12:32 in the afternoon. Watson scored from second base on a three-run homer by teammate Milt May at San Francisco’s Candlestick Park. It was known that the 999,999th run had already scored, with sponsored updates being provided by and to every ballpark. Despite the lack of in-game urgency, Watson ran at full speed, reaching home plate approximately four seconds before Dave Concepción, who had just homered in Cincinnati and was also racing around the basepaths. “I never ran so fast in my entire life,” said Concepcion. But it was Watson who won $10,000 and one million Tootsie Rolls provided by the event’s sponsor. The 1,000,000th run total only included runs scored in the National and American Leagues (not “3rd” major leagues, such as the Federal League). Watson joked that in the aftermath of the event, his fan mail doubled—from 4 letters to 8. Later, more accurate recalculations of baseball’s record-keeping showed that neither Watson nor Concepcion scored baseball’s actual millionth run, and it is not known who did.

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