In the second edition of the Players You Forgot Were Astros series, we highlight Steve Pearce.
I’ll admit that I had completely missed the fact that Steve Pearce was once an Astro. I’ve been a fan my whole life, but for whatever reason just have no memory of Pearce being in an Astros uniform. It could be that it was because his time in Houston came smack dab in the middle of the three straight 100-loss seasons.
Pearce was in Houston for a brief time during the 2012 season. In fact, his 2012 season is one of the more active we’ve seen from anyone. He initially signed as a free agent with the Twins but was released late in Spring Training. He then signed with the Yankees but was sent to the Orioles on June 2.
The Astros picked him up off waivers on July 28, but he didn’t stay long. The club sent him to the Yankees on August 27. Then on September 29 he was claimed on waivers again — this time by the Orioles.
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So if you’re keeping score, he had two separate stints with both the Yankees and Orioles in 2012, with a 21-game Astros career sandwiched in the middle. And this all came after he’d spent Spring Training with the Twins. That’s not a season many players experience.
Pearce was decent in his Astros stint, though he did not hit a home run in his 21 games. He slashed .254/.347/.349 with the club, splitting time between first base and the corner outfield. He’s got a career .838 OPS against left-handed pitching, which is a big part of his appeal.
It’s a big reason with the Red Sox dealt for him in 2018, and that turned out to be one of the best moves any team made that year. He put up a .901 OPS in 50 regular season games for Boston and went on to win World Series MVP, slashing .333/.500/1.167 with three homers and eight RBIs.
His 2019 season was marred by injuries and he’s now a free agent, so there’s no telling if or where he’ll play in 2020. But he made his mark as a postseason hero in Boston a few years after a very brief run with the Astros. It’s too bad Houston didn’t keep him — those 100-loss teams could’ve used all the offense they could get.