Jim Wynn Tribute
Jim Wynn, "the Toy Cannon", #24
"he could do anything on a baseball field -- and do it spectacularly"
Joe Morgan, Hall of Famer

(c) Topps
Jimmy Wynn was born on March 12, 1942 in Hamilton, Ohio, a medium-sized city just north of Cincinnati. He was a dimininutive 5'9" and weighed 160 lbs, but excelled at baseball, playing shortstop at R.A. Taft High in Cincinnati. After graduating, he briefly attended Central State College before being signed in 1962 by his hometown Reds. After a Spring Training workout with the Reds, he was dispatched to play for their minor-league affiliate, Tampa, in the Florida State League. Despite an impressive season with Tampa, Wynn was left unprotected in the 1962 Winter draft and was snatched up by the Houston Colt .45s on November 26.

Wynn was not destined to toil in the minors for long. After an excellent half-season with San Antonio in the Texas League, Wynn was called up to play for the Colts in mid-season. Debuting on July 10, 1963, Wynn played over 20 games at shortstop before moving to the outfield. With his speed and powerful arm, Wynn quickly adapted and finished his first half-season in the majors with 5 outfield assists, just two short of the team lead. Unfortunately, Wynn struggled at the plate and began the 1964 with Oklahoma City in the Pacific Coast League. Once again, a successful half-season in the minors was rewarded and Wynn finished the 1964 season with the Colts and never again returned to the minors.

(c) Topps
The 1965 season represented a new beginning for the franchise, and also proved to be Jim Wynn's breakthrough season in the majors. The Colts, re-christened as the Astros, moved into the Astrodome, a stadium that would come to symbolize the franchise for decades. Entrenched as the team's everyday centerfielder, Wynn established himself as THE star of the new team. Only 23 years old, every aspect of Wynn's game was on display that season. The right-handed slugger had power: his 22 home runs and 73 RBI led the team. He had speed: his 43 stolen bases led the team and would be his career high. He had the arm: his 13 outfield assists led the team and earned him a nickname that would stick forever: "The Toy Cannon". And he had the batting discipline for which he would never receive adequate credit: his 84 walks were second only to Joe Morgan and gave him a fat .371 on-base percentage. For his efforts, he was named the team's Most Valuable Player at the end of the season.

In 1966, Wynn was on pace for an even better season. With a third of the season remaining, Wynn had already hit 18 homers and driven in 62 runs, although his batting average had dropped from .275 to .256. But on August 1, Wynn's season would end suddenly after a collision with the center-field fence in Philadelphia that would fracture his left hand, wrist and elbow. The effects of the injury were not lasting, as Wynn rebounded in 1967 with a power display that Houston fans would not be seen again for decades. On June 10, in front of his family and friends in Cincinnati, Wynn hit the longest home run in the history of Crosley Field. His blast was a titanic shot that cleared the 58-foot scoreboard in left-center field and bounced onto Interstate 75 outside the stadium. Just five days later, Wynn would set a team record by hitting three home runs in a game against the Giants in the Astrodome. One month later, he would make his first All-Star appearance, and his only as an Astro. As the season wound down and the team slid further down the standings, excitement was still high because Wynn was in a heated race with Hank Aaron for the home run title. With both players tied at 37 home runs entering the last few days of the season, Aaron took the title with two late home runs. Nevertheless, Aaron would later comment that he considered Wynn to be the champion because the Astro had to play half of his games in the cavernous Astrodome. At the end of the season, Wynn was the team leader in home runs, RBIs and runs scored, but his disappointing .249 average would cost him the team's MVP award, which went to Rusty Staub and his .333 batting average, another team record that would last for decades.

(c) Houston Astros
Over the next three seasons, Wynn would continue to show an outstanding blend of power, speed, and defensive prowess. Off the field, he was the well-liked, party-going sort of personality that helped glue the team together. His friendship with Joe Morgan was discussed extensively in Morgan's book, "A Life in Baseball", which is a must-read for fans interested in the early years of the franchise. In 1969, Wynn tied the NL mark with 148 walks, which would stand until Mark McGwire's epic 1998 season. On July 30, 1969, Wynn and teammate Denis Menke would both hit grand slams in the same inning, setting a mark that would be untouched until Fernando Tatis duplicated it single-handedly thirty years later. On April 12, 1970, Wynn would become the first player to ever hit a home run into the upper deck of the Astrodome, launching a Phil Niekro offering down the left-field line. The seat containing the impact crater was later re-upholstered with the image of a cannon to commemorate the home run. When the Astrodome was renovated in the late Eighties, the seat was given to Wynn, who still keeps it in his living room.

Wynn's role with the team would change on July 8, 1970. On that date, he would be displaced in center field by 19-year-old phenom Cesar Cedeno. Wynn finished the season with fine numbers, but soon faced unexpected adversity in the off-season. On December 21, Wynn was injured in a near-fatal stabbing during a domestic dispute and required emergency abdominal surgery. Although physically healed by the following Opening Day, it is clear that Wynn was not ready to return to playing full-time. Wynn struggled through the worst season of his entire professional career, batting only .203 with 7 home runs over the season. Wynn returned to form in 1972, hitting .273 with 24 homers and 90 RBI. But after struggling with a .220 average in 1973, the 31-year-old Wynn was shipped to Los Angeles in the off-season for pitcher Claude Osteen.

In Los Angeles, Wynn became an instant hit. His season started under the media scrutiny of Hank Aaron's chase for home run #715, and Wynn was playing center field when that historic blast was launched off of Al Downing. After a hot start, Wynn was named to the All-Star team and led the team to the 1974 World Series. Unfortunately, he injured his arm late in the season and was never the same. Although he made All-Star team again in 1975, Wynn's injury affected his defense as his once-powerful arm became a liability in the outfield. His hitting suffered as well, and 1977 became was his last season of major-league ball.

Wynn: Will Cooperstown realize its error?

Jim Wynn belongs in the Hall of Fame. I have believed this for quite a while, and have not seen a compelling argument to convince me otherwise. The centerfielders in the HOF can be roughly divided into three categories: the elites, the very good, and the marginal picks. Here are the players in those categories, listed with the following stats: games played, batting average, on-base pct, slugging pct, and Total Player Rating by Total Baseball, which adjusts for era and park effects.

The elites:         G    AVG   OBP   SLG    TPR   Inducted
Willie Mays       2992  .302  .387  .557   92.2   1st year - 1979
Ty Cobb           3035  .366  .433  .512   91.0   1st - 1936
Tris Speaker      2789  .345  .428  .500   86.5   2nd - 1937
Mickey Mantle     2401  .298  .423  .557   76.1   1st - 1974

The very good:      G    AVG   OBP   SLG    TPR   Inducted
Joe Dimaggio      1736  .325  .398  .579   46.9   3rd - 1955
Robin Yount       2856  .285  .346  .430   43.1   1st - 1999
Richie Ashburn    2189  .308  .397  .382   30.2   Veteran's Committee - 1995
Kirby Puckett     1783  .318  .363  .477   29.1   1st - 2000
Billy Hamilton    1591  .344  .455  .432   26.5   Veteran's Committee - 1961
Max Carey         2476  .285  .361  .386   22.6   Veteran's Committee - 1961
Duke Snider       2143  .295  .381  .540   22.3   11th - 1980 
Larry Doby        1533  .283  .387  .490   21.2   Veteran's Committee - 1998

The marginal:       G    AVG   OBP   SLG    TPR   Inducted
Earl Averill      1668  .318  .395  .534   17.6   Veteran's Committee - 1975
Hack Wilson       1348  .307  .393  .545   15.6   Veteran's Committee - 1979
Edd Roush         1967  .323  .369  .446   13.1   Veteran's Committee - 1962
Earl Combs        1445  .325  .397  .462   11.6   Veteran's Committee - 1970
Hugh Duffy        1737  .324  .384  .449    5.5   Old-Timer's Committee - 1945
Lloyd Waner       1993  .316  .353  .393   -3.4   Veteran's Committee - 1967

One interesting thing I noticed about these lists is that, with the exception of Duke Snider, the Hall of Fame center fielders were either inducted right away or had to wait for an induction by the Veteran's Committee. Perhaps this is typical for other positions, but I expected to see more players inducted in their later years of standard eligibility. Regardless, it is clear that the Veteran's Committee is responsible for watering down the standards for the Hall.

But the HOF voters can be finicky. Here are the better centerfielders left out of the Hall, with the maximum number of HOF votes they received in any year:

The left-outs:      G    AVG   OBP   SLG    TPR   Max votes received
Jim Wynn          1920  .250  .369  .436   33.2   0
Cesar Cedeno      2006  .285  .350  .443   28.3   2
Roy Thomas        1470  .290  .413  .333   22.8   0
Chet Lemon        1988  .273  .357  .442   22.3   1
Fred Lynn         1969  .283  .364  .484   22.3   26
Amos Otis         1998  .277  .347  .425   19.3   0
Dale Murphy       2180  .265  .348  .469   19.2   
Al Oliver         2368  .303  .348  .451   13.4   19
Vada Pinson       2469  .286  .330  .442    8.8   67

(c) Houston Astros
If you are a true orange-blooded Astros fan, then you should be bristling right about now. For not only do Astros represent the two highest-rated "left outs", there is no one else even close. If there is any bias in this list, it is that the TPR stat does compensate for park effects. Since Wynn and Cedeno both played a majority of their careers in one of the most extreme pitchers' parks in the history of the game, their TPR is adjusted upwards to compensate. By the same token, hitters in Coors Field and Enron Field will suffer a negative adjustment to their TPR. Combining the "left-outs' list with the Hall of Famers ranks Wynn as the 7th-best center fielder of all time among retired players.

One key gripe about Wynn is his low batting average. But when making this argument, Wynn's critics always neglect to mention that his ability to draw walks more than compensated for his low batting average. Without even considering the effects of the Astrodome, Wynn's OBP is better than three of the eight "Very Good" HOF'ers, and his slugging pct is better than four. That doesn't make Wynn an elite member of the "Very Good" HOF'ers, but it certainly places him just under the midpoint. And when you consider that his offensive numbers were depressed by his home park and that his career ended early because of an arm injury, his case becomes stronger.

In a recent column, "Deshaies gets his due", I briefly suggested that I thought Jim Wynn was more qualified for the Hall of Fame than the newly-inducted Kirby Puckett. Without resorting to TPR and park effects, here is a comparison of the two center-fielders:

            AB    R   HR   RBI   AVG  OBP  SLG   SB   
Puckett   7244 1071  207  1085  .318 .363 .477  134   
Wynn      6653 1105  291   964  .250 .369 .436  225   

For all of the consideration given to Puckett's career-ending glaucoma, Wynn's career was ended just as abruptly by his arm injury in Los Angeles. With a roughly equivalent amount of playing time, Wynn showed more power, more speed, and was most certainly a better defensive player. Puckett had a huge, 68-point edge in batting average, but that edge completely evaporated when their strike-zone judgement is considered: Wynn had the superior on-base percentage. In the end, Puckett garners a slight edge because of his superior slugging percentage, but that is the area where players are most negatively impacted by the Astrodome. Once those effects are properly considered, Wynn easily ranks in the top 10 among all-time center fielders.

Emotions among baseball fans are often strongest when the Hall of Fame criteria are discussed. And when emotions run strong, opinions are rarely changed. If you started reading this with the preconception that Wynn is undeserving of the Hall of Fame then I understand that, in all probability, your opinion remains unchanged. At a minimum, however, is the hope that Wynn's case of the Hall of Fame is now seen as supportable by facts and not merely the blatant orange-blooded fanaticism that is part of this particular fan.

Time diminishes Wynn's accomplishments

I would like to suggest a brief thought experiment for long-time Astros fans. Think about the team's assorted sluggers throughout the history of the franchise, especially the one's noted for their power. Think about the home-run hitters that stood out above their teammates and were feared across the league for their power. In the Nineties, Jeff Bagwell springs immediately to mind, as might Moises Alou and Richard Hidalgo. Some might put Eric Anthony on this list, although he fizzled out rather quickly. Derek Bell and Craig Biggio do not, although perhaps Ken Caminiti would if he had not been traded to San Diego. Going back to the Eighties, the only true slugger the team had was Glenn Davis, also known as the "Big Bopper". The Seventies gave us plenty of home-run hitters: Lee May, Cesar Cedeno, Doug Rader and Cliff Johnson. Their home-run totals would pale in comparison to today's inflated statistics, but in their time they were certainly feared for their ability to hit the ball out of the park in any given at-bat. And finally, the premier slugger for the Sixties was Jim Wynn, who in 1967 came closer to winning a home-run title than any other Astro in history.

(c) Houston Astros
In 1999, the Nineties and the Sixties came together for a rare photo opporunity (right). The occasion being commemorated was the official "crowning" of Jeff Bagwell as the new all-time home run king for the franchise. Bagwell now has 310 career home runs, well ahead of the 223 homers that Wynn hit for the team. When Bagwell passed Wynn, he did it in grand style: hitting three home runs in a game for the second time in his career. Of course, little mention was given to the notion that Bagwell had seemingly benefitted from conditions that made it much easier to hit his home runs. And mentioning this would have been both inappropriate and a no-win situation. Bagwell is truly a great hitter and had earned the additional moment of glory, and it was also nice to see Wynn step onto the Astroturf again, if only to honor Bagwell. But the contrast between the eras of the two players should provoke discussion about how to evaluate players in the current era while not diminishing the accomplishment of players of the past.

Here are two lists, the Top 10 single-season leaders for home runs for the Astros, and the Top 10 career leaders for home runs per 150 games played.

Top 10 Single season leaders, Home Runs    Top 10 Career leaders, Home Runs
     Year Player                HR              Player               HR/150g
  1. 2000 Jeff Bagwell          47           1. Jeff Bagwell           31.5 
  2. 2000 Richard Hidalgo       44           2. Glenn Davis            30.0 
  3. 1997 Jeff Bagwell          43           3. Richard Hidalgo        28.8 
  4. 1999 Jeff Bagwell          42           4. Lee May                27.1 
  5. 1994 Jeff Bagwell          39           5. Jimmy Wynn             23.5 
  6. 1998 Moises Alou           38           6. Cliff Johnson          20.7 
  7. 1967 Jimmy Wynn            37           7. Sean Berry             17.3 
  8. 1998 Jeff Bagwell          34           8. Eric Anthony           17.1
     1989 Glenn Davis           34           9. Doug Rader             16.3
 10. 1969 Jimmy Wynn            33          10. Derek Bell             16.3 
                                            (minimum 300 games played)

(c) Houston Astros

What sticks out like a sore thumb in these lists is the complete dominance by modern players. Jim Wynn's single-season record of 37 home runs lasted 27 years, but has been broken six times since 1994. In the second list, five of the ten players are modern players, and it's only going to get worse as Moises Alou (35.8) and Lance Berkman (25.3) move into the list when they reach 300 games played for club. Of course, most old-timers would scoff at the notion that Derek Bell and Sean Berry were better power hitters than Cesar Cedeno, or even that Richard Hidalgo could go deep like Jim Wynn.

What's missing in these lists is that the hitters are not being placed within the context of the times they played in. Wynn and Cedeno never had the opportunity to play in Enron Field, to take advantage of a smaller strike zone, or even to participate in an off-season training regimen. Players during Wynn's era actually had to work in the off-season for extra money. For whatever reason, home runs before the Nineties were far less frequent than they are today. For example, when Wynn set the club HR record at 37, there were 1.37 home runs hit per game in the National League. In 2000, when both Bagwell and Hidalgo exceeded Wynn's mark, there were 2.32 home runs hit per game. That's almost a 70% increase in frequency over 1967, not even considering the advantages gained by playing in Enron Field. So while Hidalgo and Bagwell may have hit more home runs, Wynn was the player in a tight race with Hank Aaron for the home run title.

To put the accomplishments of these players within the context of their contemporaries, we need to compensate for the changing offensive levels across the seasons involved. While this might sound like a difficult task, it is a feature easily accessed within the ASS 2001 program by simply clicking the "Normalize for era" check box on any of the Astros reports. Doing this will re-adjust statistics based on an "average" year from 1962 to 2000. So players in the Nineties will have their power numbers adjusted downwards, and players in the Sixties will see the opposite effect.

After compensating for era, here is how the two previous lists now look:

Top 10 Single season leaders, Home Runs    Top 10 Career leaders, Home Runs
     Year Player                HR              Player               HR/150g
  1. 1967 Jimmy Wynn            43           1. Glenn Davis            31.8 
  2. 1968 Jimmy Wynn            38           2. Lee May                29.5
     1989 Glenn Davis           38           3. Jeff Bagwell           25.6
  4. 1988 Glenn Davis           36           4. Jimmy Wynn             25.6
  5. 1997 Jeff Bagwell          35           5. Cliff Johnson          25.1
  6. 1969 Jimmy Wynn            34           6. Richard Hidalgo        19.5
  7. 1986 Glenn Davis           32           7. Cesar Cedeno           18.5
     1974 Cesar Cedeno          32           8. Eric Anthony           18.1
     1994 Jeff Bagwell          32           9. Doug Rader             17.6
 10. 2000 Jeff Bagwell          31          10. Bob Watson             16.9
     1972 Lee May               31          (minimum 300 games played)

Wow! Now there is definitely more balance in the lists. Bagwell still owns three of the top 10 spots in the single-season totals but places no higher than #5. But this makes sense when you realize that Bagwell has never really contended for a home-run title except in 1994, when his season was coincidentally ended prematurely by a broken hand and a players' strike. You can also see the extent to which Bagwell's and Hidalgo's home-run totals in 2000 were severely deflated. Although their 47 and 44 homers rank #1 and #2 on the "raw" all-time list, after adjusting for differences in era only Bagwell's 47 homers barely crack the Top 10. And, true to his legend, Jim Wynn still holds the top two spots for most adjusted home runs in a single season. Also, Wynn and Bagwell are coincidentally neck-and-neck in the number of adjusted home runs per 150 games.

On the career list, both Sean Berry and Derek Bell have been sensibly knocked off in favor of Cesar Cedeno and Bob Watson. As one fan who has seen all four of those players hit, those changes make a lot of sense. While Moises Alou (25.8) is still only 15 games away from springing into the middle of the list, Lance Berkman's era-adjusted total (17.2) will not be high enough to make the Top 10 after Alou is in.

So what's the point of this? Is it merely a calculator exercise designed to impugn the accomplishments of our current players while pining for a return to the "good old days"? I think not. Rather, I think it is important to recognize the fundamental changes which have since 1993 dramatically altered the balance between pitching and hitting. While we can argue over the causes of these changes, we cannot rationally dispute that the changes have actually occurred.

After all, nobody except stat geeks really cared about "park effects" until Colorado joined the league and their mediocre players started hitting like Triple Crown winners -- at home. Now anyone knowledgeable about the game knows to make adjustments when evaluating the performances of Colorado players. That is because the differences between Coors Field and every other park are so obvious that they cannot be ignored. Enron Field is also developing a similar reputation. Until last season, there has never been a time when writers routinely suggested that the power numbers of Astros should be adjusted DOWNWARD because of their park. Sometimes, I don't know whether to laugh or cry about that.

So just as we now consider the effects of parks when comparing players on different teams, the offensive explosion of the current era forces us to consider the changing conditions in baseball across time when we compare current players to the old-timers. And when we consider Hall of Fame inductions or the breaking of career records, those are the comparisons that we are making. For the old-time Astros hitters like Jim Wynn, this is especially important because they were doubly burdened with the misfortune of playing during a pitchers' era in an extreme pitchers' park.

Awards and Honors

1962 - named Topps Player of the Month
1965 - Houston Astro Most Valuable Player
1967 - named to National League All-Star team
1974 - named to National League All-Star team
1975 - named to National League All-Star team

Professional Baseball Record

 Year Team                G   AB    R    H  2B 3B  HR  RBI  SB   BB   SO    BA   OBP   SLG  
 1962 Tampa             120  400       116  10  5  14   81  20            .290        .445 
 1963 San Antonio        78  302        87  15 11  16   49   7            .288        .570 
 1963 Houston            70  250   31   61  10  5   4   27   4   30   53  .244  .319  .372 
 1964 Oklahoma City      82  282        77   8  5  10   40  13            .273        .443 
 1964 Houston            67  219   19   49   7  0   5   18   5   24   58  .224  .301  .324 
 1965 Houston           157  564   90  155  30  7  22   73  43   84  126  .275  .371  .470
 1966 Houston           105  418   62  107  21  1  18   62  13   41   81  .256  .321  .440
 1967 Houston           158  594  102  148  29  3  37  107  16   74  137  .249  .331  .495
 1968 Houston           156  542   85  146  23  5  26   67  11   90  131  .269  .376  .474
 1969 Houston           149  495  113  133  17  1  33   87  23  148  142  .269  .436  .507
 1970 Houston           157  554   82  156  32  2  27   88  24  106   96  .282  .394  .493
 1971 Houston           123  404   38   82  16  0   7   45  10   56   63  .203  .302  .295
 1972 Houston           145  542  117  148  29  3  24   90  17  103   99  .273  .389  .470
 1973 Houston           139  481   90  106  14  5  20   55  14   91  102  .220  .347  .395
 1974 Los Angeles       150  535  104  145  17  4  32  108  18  108  104  .271  .387  .497  
 1975 Los Angeles       130  412   80  102  16  0  18   58   7  110   77  .248  .403  .417 
 1976 Atlanta           148  449   75   93  19  1  17   66  16  127  111  .207  .377  .367  
 1977 Milwaukee          36  117   10   23   3  1   0   10   3   17   31  .197  .294  .239  
      New York (AL)      30   77    7   11   2  1   1    3   1   15   16  .143  .283  .234   
 MINORS TOTAL           280  984       280  34 21  40  170  40            .284        .484 
 HOUSTON TOTAL         1870 6629  871 1937 335 80 138  942 288  730  841  .292  .359  .429 
 MLB TOTAL             1920 6653 1105 1665 285 39 291  964 225 1224 1427  .250  .366  .436

For more complete stats on Jim Wynn, check his entry at Baseball-Reference.com.

Astros Media Guide entries

1963 Media Guide
1962 Record
                        G   AB    H  2B 3B  HR  RBI  SB   AVG
Tampa (Fla-St.)       120  400  116  10  5  14   81  20  .290    

(c)Houston Astros
#61 - 1962 first season in pro ball... led Florida State League in home runs (14) and runs-batted-in (81)... selected to all-star team... named as "Topps Player of Month" during 1962 season... played third base at Tampa but was shortstop and first baseman in high school... attended R.A. Taft high in Cincinnati... was in Spring Training with Cincinnati 1962.

1964 Media Guide
1963 Record
                        G   AB    H  2B  3B  HR  RBI  SB   AVG    
San Antonio (Texas)    78  302   87  15  11  16   49   7  .288    
Houston                70  250   61  10   5   4   27   4  .244   

(c)Houston Astros
#24 - Can play third, short and outfield... started 1963 season at San Antonio and joined .45s on July 10... 1963 was his second pro season... played 1962 and 1963 Florida Instructional League.

1965 Media Guide
1964 Record
                        G   AB    H  2B  3B  HR  RBI  SB   AVG    
Oklahoma City (PCL)    82  282   77   9   5  10   40  13  .273    
Houston                67  219   49   7   0   5   17   5  .224   

#24 - Started career as infielder, but played mostly in the outfield during 1964... did outstanding defensive job in centerfield last three weeks of season for Houston...

1966 Media Guide
1965 Record
                        G   AB    H  2B  3B  HR  RBI  SB   AVG    
Houston               157  564  155  30   7  22   73  43  .275   

#24 - Voted club's most valuable player in 1965 by Houston area sports writers... Set club season records for doubles (30), extra base hits (59), total bases (265), stolen bases (43), slugging average (.470) and most home runs on the road (15)... also lead '65 club in homers, RBIs and batting average... also made some of the club's best defensive plays in his first full season in the majors.

1967 Media Guide
1966 Record
                        G   AB    H  2B  3B  HR  RBI  SB   AVG    
Houston               105  418  107  21   1  18   62  13  .256   

#24 - Was injured seriously August 1, 1966 in Philadelphia and missed the rest of 1966 season... his 18 home runs last year made him the Houston all-time leader with 49... one of club's best defensive players... was second in National League in double plays by outfielders in 1966.

1968 Media Guide
1967 Record
                        G   AB    H  2B  3B  HR  RBI  SB   AVG    
Houston               158  594  148  29   3  37  107  16  .249   

#24 - Had outstanding year, breaking nine major club batting marks for one season, plus many others... singled in his only time at bat in the All-Star game... leads club in career homers with 86... hit three homers in one game against Giants in the Astrodome... works for Schlitz beer distributor in Houston during off-season.

1969 Media Guide
1968 Record
                        G   AB    H  2B  3B  HR  RBI  SB   AVG    
Houston               156  542  146  23   5  26   67  11  .269   

#24 - Led 1968 Astros in homers (26), total bases (257), runs (85) and walks (90)... runner-up in total hits (146) and triples (5), tied for second in doubles (23)... hiked his batting average 20 points to .269... had team's longest 1968 hitting streak (16 games)... set all-time club outfield records for most assists (20) and most double plays (8)... has 112 career home runs to lead Houston... was radio sportscaster during the off season... nicknamed "The Toy Cannon".

1970 Media Guide
1969 Record
                        G   AB    H  2B  3B  HR  RBI  SB   AVG    
Houston               149  495  133  17   1  33   87  23  .269   

#24 - Figured prominently in Houston's record-setting in 1969... he and Menke combined to tie major league mark of two grand slams in one inning (July 30)... he set a National League mark, walking in 11 consecutive games, and tied the NL season mark of 148 bases on balls... set Houston records for runs (113), slugging percentage (.507), most single season homers in the Astrodome (16)... has hit 96 homers the last three seasons... hit .269 for the second straight year, but appreciably increased his total of RBI's (by 20)... now has 145 major league career homers... radio sportscaster during the off season...

1971 Media Guide
1970 Record
                        G   AB    H  2B  3B  HR  RBI  SB   AVG    
Houston               157  554  156  32   2  27   88  24  .282   

#24 - Continued to be one of Houston's top offensive guns, ranking 1-2 in virtually all departments... produced 27 homers and batted in 88 runs... over the past four seasons, has hit 123 homers and had driven in 349 runs... upped his 1970 average to .282, his major league high... he's closing in on his 1,000th hit (needs 45 more)... holds all-time Houston lead in most major batting categories... in 1970, was especially productive against Pirates (.389, 12 RBI), Padres (.354, 17 RBI), Cubs (.351, nine RBI)... had 21 RBI in May... employed as radio sportscaster in the off season.

1972 Media Guide
1971 Record
                        G   AB    H  2B  3B  HR  RBI  SB   AVG    
Houston               123  404   82  16   0   7   45  10  .205   

#24 - Went over 1,000 career hit mark last season... needs 21 home runs to reach 200-HR plateau... holds club lead in most major batting categories.

1973 Media Guide
1972 Record
                        G   AB    H  2B  3B  HR  RBI  SB   AVG    
Houston               145  542  148  29   3  24   90  17  .273   

#24 - Set club record for most runs scored in a single season with 117 in 1972... Scored in 89 of the 145 games he played in last season... Scored at least once in 11 consecutive games last season (June 12 through June 23)... Holds numerous club single season achievement records such as most homers (37 in 1967), most runs batted in (107 in 1967) and highest slugging percentage (.507 in 1969)... Led Astros in walks with 103 in 1972... Had 90 runs batted in which was best since 107 in 1967.