In this installment of the Players You Forgot Were Astros series, we look at former Rangers manager Ron Washington.
Most Astros fans know Ron Washington as the manager who led the in-state rival Rangers to consecutive AL pennants in 2010 and 2011. But how many know that he actually played for the Astros, albeit very briefly?
Washington was an infielder in his playing days, originally breaking through with the Dodgers in 1977, playing in 10 games. But he didn’t see the major leagues again for the next three seasons, remaining in Triple-A and being traded to Minnesota.
He got called back up in 1981 and remained in the majors with the Twins, compiling a .265/.294/.373 line in 452 games over six seasons. He bounced around the next couple of years before the Astros signed him as a free agent in February 1989.
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Washington spent most of that season in Triple-A, hitting .320 for Houston’s top affiliate. He did manage to get into seven games with the major league club, managing one hit (a double) in seven plate appearances. At age 37, these would be his final major league appearances.
Washington spent more than a decade on Oakland’s coaching staff before landing the Rangers’ managerial gig prior to the 2007 season. He enjoyed a run of four straight 90-win seasons from 2010 through 2013, including back-to-back AL pennants in 2010 and 2011.
His first trip to the World Series resulted in a five-game loss to the Giants, who were managed by another former Astros player. This was the first of three consecutive titles won by the Giants in even-numbered years, as they also won in 2012 and 2014.
Washington’s second trip to the World Series was a gut-wrenching seven-game loss to the Cardinals, giving former Astro Lance Berkman his only ring. The Rangers had a 3-2 series lead after five games, and had a 7-4 lead after seven innings in Game Six, only to see series MVP David Freese help the Cards win in extra innings.
Washington resigned as Rangers manager late in the 2014 season. He currently serves as the third-base coach for the Braves. And for a brief time, he played for the Astros.