Derek Jeter (Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports)
How much different would things have been for the Houston Astros if they had just listened to Hal Newhouser?
In 1992 the Astros had the first overall pick in the draft and Newhouser advocated pretty hard for a shortstop from Michigan. Instead of drafting future Hall of Famer Derek Jeter, Houston selected college star and Golden Spikes winner Phil Nevin. This is what one could refer to as a “franchise changing decision”.
After the Astros went with Nevin, Newhouser resigned in protest and the rest is history. Things would have been a little different for Houston with Jeter teaming up with Craig Biggio, Jeff Bagwell, Lance Berkman, and company.
We know all know about Jeter’s illustrious resume, and there is no sense in repeating that. The Astros will once again be a part of history for the New York Yankees as they host the first stop on Jeter’s retirement tour.
Nevin on the other hand did not exactly have the best of careers for the Astros. He played in just 18 games for Houston and batted only .117. After he left the Astros, Nevin did have a respectable career (.270, 208 home runs, 743 RBI’s), but he just didn’t do it for the team that drafted him.
It took until 1995 for Nevin to make his major league debut, and his time in Houston did not last long. Baseball America had ranked him as a top prospect, and his performance was actually pretty serviceable in the minor leagues (.286/10/83 and .263/10/89), but there were off the field issues as well. So it wasn’t too surprising that the Astros moved him as the Player to be Named Later for Mike Henneman.
Yes, Derek Jeter would have been just a bit better.