Upcoming Birthday List

added 10/7/2003 by Willie B. Lakey

While everyone else spends their time and energy solving all of the Astros’ roster, front office stadium roof troubles, I thought it might be fun to spend the offseason looking at past, present and future Astros celebrating upcoming birthdays. It’s actually just an exercise to get me off my diff and start to fill in some of the missing Astros player bios that the magnanimous Ray Kerby asked me for in the first place!

This week I’m highlighting one of my all-time favorite Astros, Roger Metzger. For those of you who may not have seen him wield the leather on the carpet at the “old Dome,” you missed one of the steadiest shortstops that have played the game in the past 42 seasons that I’ve been watching the game. He just seemed to get to darn near everything, and anything he got to was as good as gold, so good that he remains the only shortstop in club history to win a Gold Glove. The trouble was Metzger not only had warning track power, he barely had short pop fly power!

Offseason’s greetings to all, and relax. There’s a reason why the man yells, “Play ball!” It ain’t supposed to be work all the time.

My sources are Astros Daily itself, plus Baseball Reference, Baseball Library and my own journals and notes over the years.

October 6
Gerald Wayne “Jerry” Grote, 1942, San Antonio, Texas

October 7
Floyd Bluford “Butch” Henry III, 1968, El Paso, Texas

October 8
Enos Milton Cabell Jr., 1949, Ft. Riley, Kansas

October 9
Joseph Anthony Pepitone, 1940, Brooklyn, NY
Alejandro Antonio “Alex” Taveras (Betances), 1955, Santo Domingo, D.R.

October 10
Roger Henry Metzger, 1947, Fredericksburg, Texas: The speedy shortstop with the excellent mitt and arm made his MLB debut with the Cubs in 1970, then came to Houston (1971-78) in a trade for Hector Torres. The Astros sold Metzger to the Giants (1978-80) where he wrapped up his career. The career .231 hitter relied on his speed, twice leading the NL in triples (1971, 1973), and his defense to hang around in the bigs for 11 seasons. He played in 1,007 games at short for Houston, still an Astros team record, and remains the only Astros shortstop to win a Gold Glove, copping the 1973 honor in the National League. With Houston he played in 1,021 games with 844 hits (.229), all 5 of his career homers, 206 RBI, 64 SB and 62 three-baggers (#3 all-time on Houston’s charts). His career totals include 1,219 games, 972 hits, 254 RBI, 83 SB and 71 triples.

Robert Walter Sperring, 1949, San Francisco, California
William Brian Powell, 1973, Bainbridge, Georgia

October 11
Gorrell Robert “Bob” Stinson III, 1945, Elkin, North Carolina
Greggory William “Gregg” Olson, 1966, Scribner, Nebraska

October 12
Charles Sidney “Sid” Fernandez, 1962, Honolulu, Hawaii

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