As you may be aware Jose Altuve is leading the AL in hits, batting average and stolen bases this season. You may also understand that the Houston Astros have had some incredible second sacker’s over their half century existence. Art Howe, Bill Doran, Phil Garner and Jeff Kent all posted really good seasons for the Astros.
But the franchises first great middle-infielder was future hall-of-famer Joe Morgan. Before being traded to the Reds prior to the 1972 season Morgan was named to two All-Star teams. According to FanGraphs “Offense” his two best run producing years in Houston were ’65 & ’67. These were two of the eight best years ever posted by an Astros 2B.
As you can probably guess Craig Biggio dominates the list with six of the top nine years. That leaves one great season by a Houston second baseman. If he doesn’t slump in September Altuve will finish with a better run producing year than Morgan ever had during his first nine years in the big leagues.
The 1984 Houston Astros outscored their opponents by 63 runs while hitting just 79 HRs. Fortunately for Nolan Ryan, Mike Scott and Joe Niekro they played in the freakin Astrodome which posted a 92 park factor.
Houston managed to score the 3rd most runs in the NL despite playing in the Dead-Ball Era part II. Jose Cruz, their 36 year old left-fielder slugged .371 at the Astrodome with exactly 0 homers in 286 ABs. So how did he “rake” you say? Well, in 80 road games he cracked 12 HRs and slugged .545 (1.5X the league!).
Jose Cruz was a very under-rated ballplayer. He fully realized 4 1/2 tools (that’s half an arm) at the big league level. His lifetime productivity was pretty super as well, the closest active players to Cruz in career bWAR are:
Alas, Cruz received 10 fewer HOF votes than Don Baylor in their only year on the ballot.