Astros win third straight championship
Victory overcomes season of adversity
Box Score   Play-by-Play

Biggio and Hampton take a victory lap
(c) Houston Astros

October 3, 1999 - In the final regular-season game played in the Astrodome, the Astros needed a victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers to clinch their third straight NL Central championship. Providing the team with his typical clutch performance, Mike Hampton made a bases-loaded, first inning double by Daryle Ward stand up as the Astros won easily, 9-4. With the championship, the Astros capped an injury-filled season and held off a tough Cincinnati Reds team that had owned first place just a week earlier. Hampton's victory gave him a 22-4 record for the year, setting the franchise mark for wins. He would finish second in the NL Cy Young voting behind ex-Astro Randy Johnson. The team finished with 97 wins, the second-most in franchise history, five games behind their mark set in the previous season. Jose Cabrera pitched a scoreless 8th inning and Jay Powell added some drama to a 9-1 laugher by allowing three runs in the 9th inning.

Some controversy came from Los Angeles' decision to start rookie Robinson Checo instead of pitching ace Kevin Brown on three days rest. Checo walked five of the seven batters he faced, setting up the three-run double to Ward. Most of the grumbling came from Cincinnati, which subsequently lost a one-game playoff to the Mets. In the fourth inning, Craig Biggio laced a double into the right-field corner, giving him 56 for the season and establishing the current franchise record.

Clinching in the Astrodome's final game was special, no doubt. But, more importantly, the 1999 championship represented a victory over the tremendous adversity that the team faced during the season. First-base coach Jose Cruz missed time after being diagnosed with an irregular heartbeat. Hitting coach Tom McCraw missed time to undergo treatment for cancer. The team was also devastated when manager Larry Dierker nearly died in the dugout after suffering a "grand mal" seizure on June 13. After undergoing brain surgery, the beloved skipper was back to normal and managing again within a month. On the field, many key players missed time due to injury. Outfielder Moises Alou missed the entire season and catcher Mitch Meluskey played only three weeks before being sidelined with a season-ending shoulder injury. Third baseman Ken Caminiti missed half of the season with a leg injury. Outfielder Richard Hidalgo missed the last two months of the season due to a knee injury. On top of all of this, the team faced a tough challenge from the Cincinnati Reds, which won 96 games and still failed to make the playoffs. 1999 certainly represented one of the greatest seasons in franchise history.

Jay Powell finds himself at the bottom of the victory pile
(c) Houston Astros

For the fans, nothing beats clinching at home
(c) Houston Astros

The team's third consecutive championship was one reason to celebrate...
(c) Houston Astros a proper sendoff to the team's famous home was another reason
(c) Houston Astros

The Sports Ticker summary of the game:

Behind another clutch performance by Mike Hampton and a three-run double by Daryle Ward in the first inning, the Houston Astros clinched their third straight National League Central title with a 9-4 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Hampton (22-4) set an Astros record for wins and held the Dodgers to just one run and three singles over seven innings. He walked four and struck out eight in winning for the second time in five days.

Jose Cabrera tossed a scoreless eighth before Jay Powell allowed three runs on three hits in the ninth.

The Astros, who finished 97-65, avoided the possibility of a one-game playoff with Cincinnati by winning today. They will face either the Arizona Diamondbacks or Atlanta Braves in the postseason.

After toying with the idea of starting ace Kevin Brown, the Dodgers opted to go with Robinson Checo, who lasted just one-third of an inning. Checo allowed four runs on five walks and Ward's double.

While Craig Biggio and Mike Hampton were motoring
around the field, the rest of the team took a
"victory lap" for the fans, sharing their third
consecutive championship with them and providing
a memorable moment for the Astrodome's final
regular-season game

(c) Houston Astros

The champagne flowed freely, celebrating a remarkable championship overcoming a season filled with adversity
(c) Houston Astros

Box score

     Game of 10/3/1999 -- Los Angeles at Houston 
     Courtesy of Retrosheet

  Los Angeles        AB  R  H RBI    Houston            AB  R  H RBI  
Young E, 2b           4  1  0  0   Biggio C, 2b          3  0  1  0   
Grudzielanek M, ss    5  0  2  1   Javier S, rf-lf       4  2  1  1   
Mondesi R, rf         5  0  2  1   Bagwell J, 1b         3  3  1  1   
Karros E, 1b          4  0  0  0   Everett C, cf-rf      4  1  1  0   
White D, cf           3  0  0  0   Caminiti K, 3b        2  2  1  2   
Beltre A, 3b          4  1  1  0   Ward D, lf            2  0  1  3   
Hubbard T, lf         3  1  0  0   Mieske M, ph          0  0  0  0   
LoDuca P, c           3  0  0  0   Barker G, pr-cf       2  0  1  1   
Checo R, p            0  0  0  0   Eusebio T, c          3  0  0  1   
Herges M, p           1  0  0  0   Gutierrez R, ss       4  0  0  0   
Cromer T, ph          0  0  0  0   Hampton M, p          3  1  1  0   
Masaoka O, p          0  0  0  0   Spiers B, ph          1  0  0  0   
Arnold J, p           0  0  0  0   Cabrera J, p          0  0  0  0   
Borbon P, p           0  0  0  0   Powell J, p           0  0  0  0   
Vizcaino J, ph        1  0  1  0   
Mills A, p            0  0  0  0   
Maddux M, p           0  0  0  0   
Hansen D, ph          1  1  1  2   
                     -- -- -- --                        -- -- -- --
                     34  4  7  4                        31  9  8  9   

Los Angeles      001 000 003 --  4
Houston          401 013 00x --  9

  Los Angeles          IP  H  R ER BB SO
Checo R (L)           0.1  1  4  4  5  1
Herges M              3.2  2  1  1  1  5
Masaoka O             0.1  1  1  1  2  1
Arnold J              1.1  2  3  2  1  1
Borbon P              0.1  1  0  0  0  1
Mills A               1.0  0  0  0  0  2
Maddux M              1.0  1  0  0  1  1

  Houston              IP  H  R ER BB SO
Hampton M (W)         7.0  3  1  1  4  8
Cabrera J             1.0  1  0  0  0  2
Powell J              1.0  3  3  3  1  1

Game winning RBI -- none
E -- Ward D, Arnold J, Barker G
LOB -- Los Angeles 8, Houston 9
2B -- Ward D, Biggio C, Javier S, Hansen D
HR -- Caminiti K
SB -- White D, Young E, Bagwell J
CS -- Biggio C
SH -- Biggio C
WP -- Hampton M, Arnold J, Maddux M
T -- 3:06
A -- 52033

Play by Play

Game of Saturday, 10/3/1999 -- Los Angeles Dodgers at Houston Astros 
Courtesy of Retrosheet

Starting Lineups:

   Los Angeles                   Houston                       
1. 2B Eric Young                 2B Craig Biggio                    
2. SS Mark Grudzielanek          RF Stan Javier                    
3. RF Raul Mondesi               1B Jeff Bagwell                   
4. 1B Eric Karros                CF Carl Everett                   
5. CF Devon White                3B Ken Caminiti                  
6. 3B Adrian Beltre              LF Daryle Ward                      
7. LF Trent Hubbard               C Tony Eusebio                   
8.  C Paul LoDuca                SS Ricky Gutierrez                 
9.  P Robinson Checo              P Mike Hampton                   

E.Young grounded out (R.Gutierrez-ss to J.Bagwell-1b)
M.Grudzielanek singled to right field 
R.Mondesi flied to C.Everett-cf
E.Karros struck out
0 R, 1 H, 0 E, 1 LOB.  Dodgers 0, Astros 0.

C.Biggio struck out
S.Javier walked
J.Bagwell walked [S.Javier to second]
C.Everett walked [S.Javier to third, J.Bagwell to second]
K.Caminiti walked [S.Javier scored, J.Bagwell to third, C.Everett to second]
D.Ward doubled to right field [J.Bagwell scored, C.Everett scored, K.Caminiti scored]
T.Eusebio walked
R.Gutierrez flied to R.Mondesi-rf
M.Hampton forced D.Ward (A.Beltre-3b unassisted) 
   [T.Eusebio to second, M.Hampton to first]
4 R, 1 H, 0 E, 2 LOB.  Dodgers 0, Astros 4.

D.White walked
A.Beltre struck out
D.White stole second
T.Hubbard struck out
P.LoDuca walked
M.Herges struck out
0 R, 0 H, 0 E, 2 LOB.  Dodgers 0, Astros 4.

C.Biggio walked
C.Biggio was caught stealing second (P.LoDuca-c to M.Grudzielanek-ss)
S.Javier struck out
J.Bagwell struck out
0 R, 0 H, 0 E, 0 LOB.  Dodgers 0, Astros 4.

E.Young walked
M.Grudzielanek struck out
M.Hampton threw a wild pitch [E.Young to second]
R.Mondesi singled to left field [E.Young scored, R.Mondesi to second 
  (error by D.Ward-lf)
E.Karros grounded out (K.Caminiti-3b to J.Bagwell-1b) [R.Mondesi to third]
D.White struck out
1 R, 1 H, 1 E, 1 LOB.  Dodgers 1, Astros 4.

C.Everett struck out
K.Caminiti homered to rightfield (it was the 2-1 pitch)
D.Ward flied to D.White-cf
T.Eusebio flied to R.Mondesi-rf
1 R, 1 H, 0 E, 0 LOB.  Dodgers 1, Astros 5.

A.Beltre grounded out (K.Caminiti-3b to J.Bagwell-1b)
T.Hubbard struck out
P.LoDuca popped to C.Biggio-2b in foul territory
0 R, 0 H, 0 E, 0 LOB.  Dodgers 1, Astros 5.

R.Gutierrez grounded out (A.Beltre-3b to E.Karros-1b)
M.Hampton struck out
C.Biggio doubled to right field
S.Javier struck out
0 R, 1 H, 0 E, 1 LOB.  Dodgers 1, Astros 5.

T.Cromer walked
E.Young forced T.Cromer (C.Biggio-2b to R.Gutierrez-ss) [E.Young to first]
M.Grudzielanek flied to C.Everett-cf
E.Young stole second
R.Mondesi grounded out (R.Gutierrez-ss to J.Bagwell-1b)
0 R, 0 H, 0 E, 1 LOB.  Dodgers 1, Astros 5.

J.Bagwell walked
J.Bagwell stole second
C.Everett singled to right field
K.Caminiti struck out
M.Mieske walked [J.Bagwell to third, C.Everett to second]
T.Eusebio grounded out (E.Young-2b to E.Karros-1b) 
   [J.Bagwell scored, C.Everett to third, G.Barker to second]
R.Gutierrez grounded out (J.Arnold-p to E.Karros-1b)
1 R, 1 H, 0 E, 2 LOB.  Dodgers 1, Astros 6.

E.Karros grounded out (R.Gutierrez-ss to J.Bagwell-1b)
D.White grounded out (J.Bagwell-1b unassisted)
A.Beltre struck out
0 R, 0 H, 0 E, 0 LOB.  Dodgers 1, Astros 6.

M.Hampton singled to right field
C.Biggio out on a sacrifice bunt (J.Arnold-p to E.Karros-1b) [M.Hampton to second]
S.Javier doubled to center field [M.Hampton scored]
J.Arnold threw a wild pitch [S.Javier to third]
J.Bagwell reached on an error by J.Arnold-p [S.Javier scored, J.Bagwell to first]
C.Everett struck out
K.Caminiti walked [J.Bagwell to second]
G.Barker singled to center field [J.Bagwell scored (unearned), K.Caminiti to second]
T.Eusebio struck out
3 R (2 ER), 3 H, 1 E, 2 LOB. Dodgers 1, Astros 9.

T.Hubbard grounded out (K.Caminiti-3b to J.Bagwell-1b)
P.LoDuca grounded out (K.Caminiti-3b to J.Bagwell-1b)
J.Vizcaino singled to third base
E.Young flied to C.Everett-rf
0 R, 1 H, 0 E, 1 LOB.  Dodgers 1, Astros 9.

R.Gutierrez flied to R.Mondesi-rf
B.Spiers struck out
C.Biggio struck out
0 R, 0 H, 0 E, 0 LOB.  Dodgers 1, Astros 9.

M.Grudzielanek struck out
R.Mondesi singled to right field
E.Karros flied to G.Barker-cf
D.White struck out
0 R, 1 H, 0 E, 1 LOB.  Dodgers 1, Astros 9.

S.Javier grounded out (E.Young-2b to E.Karros-1b)
J.Bagwell singled to center field
C.Everett struck out
M.Maddux threw a wild pitch [J.Bagwell to second]
K.Caminiti walked
G.Barker grounded out (E.Young-2b to E.Karros-1b)
0 R, 1 H, 0 E, 2 LOB.  Dodgers 1, Astros 9.

A.Beltre singled to shortstop
T.Hubbard walked [A.Beltre to second]
P.LoDuca popped to J.Bagwell-1b
D.Hansen doubled to left field [A.Beltre scored, T.Hubbard scored, 
   D.Hansen to third (error by G.Barker-cf)]
E.Young popped to C.Biggio-2b
M.Grudzielanek singled to center field [D.Hansen scored]
M.Grudzielanek advanced to second because of defensive indifference 
  [M.Grudzielanek to second]
R.Mondesi struck out
3 R, 3 H, 1 E, 1 LOB.  Dodgers 4, Astros 9.

Final Totals      R   H   E  LOB
 Dodgers          4   7   1   8
 Astros           9   8   2   9