2020 - People came from all over to harass Astro players in their first spring contest after the sign-stealing scandal emerged during the winter. In an ironic twist, fans had their homemade signs stolen by stadium personnel enforcing a "no signs or banners" policy at the stadium. Some banged on metal seats while others just used lung power to voice their displeasure. The whole event did not last long as the exhibition game was rained out after two innings.
1998 - Tornadoes pound the Kissimmee, FL area where the Astros spring training camp is based. The fields themselves suffer minor damage. A light tower is blown down, an astroturf field is ripped up and a batting cage is blown across the street and crumpled into a heap. Power is out and several nearby homes where the Astros were staying are damaged. Eight people die at a nearby RV park. The Astros donate money to the relief efforts.
1973 - William Russell Johnson is born in Baton Rouge, LA. A .266 hitter in four seasons as an Astro reserve (1997-2000), Johnson never gets the chance to be an everyday third baseman in Houston.
1965 - Eric Yelding is born in Montrose, AL. Tried in both the infield and outfield, Yelding's best season comes in 1990 when he bats .254 and steals 64 bases.
1948 - Tom Griffin is born in Los Angeles, CA. Great things are expected after his rookie 1969 campaign when he goes 11-10, with 200 strikeouts and a 3.54 ERA but arm injuries ruin most of his remaining six years an Astro. His best season is 1974, when he delivers a 14-10 record.
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Houston Astros recap - 02/07/24 - Altuve, Astros Extend Contract; What It Means
Altuve, Astros Extend Contract; What It Means
Altuve: An Astro for life
(c) Fox Sports
The news that Jose Altuve had agreed to a five-year contract extension with the Astros was not unexpected but I'm sure it was met with a sigh of relief from most Houston fans. The little second sacker, who has been around for the downs and ups with the Spacemen since 2011, never was intending to go anywhere else. Even though he was represented by super agent Scott Boras, Altuve was never going to drive a hard bargain.
The extension helps the Astros map their course for the next five years and how they can stay close to the luxury tax cap. General Manager Dana Brown may decide that next year (2025), he's going to sacrifice Alex Bregman in order to make room for Framber Valdez and/or Kyle Tucker - two players who will be on a course for free agency if Houston can't sign them to new deals before then. As long as the face of the franchise is still on the roster, Houston fans will be forgiving if there's not enough to pay everyone.
Jose proved he still had the postseason magic in Game 5 of the LCS, drilling a ninth-inning homer to topple the Rangers in Arlington. Unfortunately, the last two games were at Minute Maid where, ironically, the Astros have their hardest time winning.
Other free agent signings will start to fall off the books after 2025 such as Justin Verlander, Jose Abreu, Ryan Pressly and Rafael Montero. Brown will have more freedom to sculpt the payroll in the way he would prefer.
As for Altuve, he'll be able to make a push toward 3,000 hits and a Hall of Fame plaque as long as he can stay healthy and productive during the life of the deal. It will seem like Craig Biggio 2.0 except Altuve has an MVP Award, four league titles and two World Championships to post on his resume. If we're lucky, there will be still more.