#12 Top Hitter:
Doug Rader by Cody Poage
Signed as an amateur free agent in 1965, Doug Rader made his major league debut during the 1967 season originally at first base with the Astros. From 1968 onwards, the Chicago native would call third base his home on the baseball diamond. And he would also go on to be one of the Astros best players during the franchise’s early days.
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Primarily known for his defense, Rader also held his own with the bat despite various struggles throughout his career. In fact, the longtime Astro would finish every season but one in a Houston uniform with at least 1.8 WAR. Not bad when considering that he played in the spacious Astrodome for the bulk of his Astros career.
Statistically speaking, Rader’s best seasons came in 1970, 1972, and 1974. The rule of every two years, right? Rader at his best managed to hit at least 21 home runs and 87 RBI while maintaining an average to above average wRC+. For his Astros career, the former third baseman finished with 128 HR and 600 RBI, which is ranked 11th and 8th best respectively in franchise history. His 20.3 Astros career WAR is in fact currently ranked 12th in franchise history as well.
After numerous seasons with the Astros, Rader would eventually be traded to the San Diego Padres for Larry Hardy and Joe McIntosh right after the 1975 season. He would go on to retire after spending time with the Toronto Blue Jays following the 1977 season. And even though he didn’t appear in any playoff appearances for the Astros, he would leave a legacy of great defense and solid hitting. If I can be quite honest, that isn’t a bad legacy at all.
Next: 11th All-Time Astros Hitter