1998: Larry Dierker
Aug 16, 2014; Houston, TX, USA; General view of the exterior of NRG Stadium (left) and Houston Astrodome before the NFL game between the Atlanta Falcons against the Houston Texans. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
1998 was Houston’s most promising year to date. Larry Dierker, in his second year at the manager’s helm, lead the Astros to a 102-60 record and a NL Central crown. All the signs pointed in the favor for the Astros this season to be a team that could bring down the daunting New York Yankees. You can blame the failure on Kevin Brown, but this team was built to be fail proof.
The Astros lost in the division series three games to one versus the San Diego Padres ace. Due to bogus scheduling the Astros were forced to face Brown twice in only four games. With the team only winning one game in postseason play on a stacked roster I can only giver Dierker the five spot on this poll. However lets not forget the awesomeness that 1998 was.
The starting rotation lacked any holes, lead by mid-season acquisition Randy Johnson. Johnson compiled an impressive 1.28 era with a 10-1 record over 84.1 innings down the stretch. Not to be outdone, the Astros rotation featured extreme depth with Shane Reynolds, Jose Lima, and Mike Hampton all pitching more than 200 quality innings.
The offense? Well that was not too shabby either. You had the killer B’s in full force with Craig Biggio and Jeff Bagwell in their primes. Moises Alou put up an MVP caliber season, and Derek Bell was awesome. The run production was sickening with 124 rbi from Alou, 111 from Bagwell, and 108 from Bell. Lets not forget Biggio also drove in 88 out of the leadoff position. The mojo was flowing, and you have to give credit to Larry Dierker for bringing these 25 guys together. Winning 100 games is nothing too shabby, however it is unfortunate that this season may be labeled as a disappointment forever.
Next: 1972: Harry Walker and Leo Durocher