Narrowing It Down
Of the ten names I’ve put forth, I can cut it down to five easily. Ryan, Oswalt, Dierker, Berkman and Altuve are still in the running. With due respect to the other five, I think these guys all have a legitimate case to join Biggio and Bagwell.
Now comes the hard part, which is figuring out which two have the better case. It’s hard to go wrong with any of these five, and each fan will probably have his or her own opinion on who the best two should be. It’s a good problem to have when you’ve got this many players of such importance.
With respect to Ryan, he has the benefit of being a Hall of Famer and the all-time strikeout king. He and Dierker both have contributions outside of their playing careers as well. So with that being said, I think we can eliminate Oswalt, as good as he was.
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Berkman was a force, one of the best all-around hitters of his era. At his peak, you could argue he was as dangerous at the plate as Bagwell. He didn’t quite get to Bagwell’s level in the counting stats, but that’s a tough standard to meet.
Altuve has the benefit of being one of the faces of the franchise during its only World Series championship thus far. His counting stats will only get better as he continues to play, and his rise from unheralded prospect to MVP is a story that resonates with every Astros fan.
Considering his importance to the franchise and that he’s the only one with a ring, I give Altuve a slight edge over Berkman. We have to have at least one pitcher on the list, so Berkman is out. That leaves us with Altuve, Ryan and Dierker.
Maybe it’s unfair, but Dierker never made it past the first round of the playoffs as manager despite some incredibly talented teams. And while he was an excellent pitcher in his day, he wasn’t an all-time great like Ryan. So I think I’ll scratch him off and put Ryan and Altuve on the Astros Mount Rushmore alongside Biggio and Bagwell.
***Statistics courtesy of Baseball-Reference and MLB.com***