CTH Staff: Our favorite Astros players growing up

(Photo by SPX/Ron Vesely Photography via Getty Images)
(Photo by SPX/Ron Vesely Photography via Getty Images) /
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(Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
(Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images) /

Dan Shedd, Contributor

My favorite Astro of all time is Lance Berkman, The Big Puma. I can’t remember when I found out he went to Rice University, which was a block from where I grew up in Houston, but once I did, he instantly became my favorite Astros player because of his connection. to the Owls. As I got older and started following the Astros on a more regular basis, I saw what kind of player and person he was, which made me like him even more.

As a player for the Astros, he was one of the most feared hitters in all of Major League Baseball with the “Killer B’s.” In 12 seasons with the Astros, Berkman hit .296, 326 home runs and 1,090 RBIs. One of the best stories about Berkman as a person comes in Brian McTaggart’s book 100 Astros Fans Should Know and Do Before You Die. McTaggart tells the story of when Berkman was once being heckled by fans at Wrigley Field because of his perceived weight, which Berkman chalked up to big jowls. The fans threw Twinkies at Berkman, which he ate during a pitching change and stuffed the other one in his back pocket. “They gave me a standing ovation, I ended up homering my next at bat,” Berkman said.

I was very upset when the Astros traded away Berkman to the New York Yankees in 2010 and when he finished out his career with the St. Louis Cardinals and Texas Rangers. I still rooted for the Astros, but it just wasn’t the same without Berkman being in an Astros uniform.