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December 11 - This Date in Astros History
December 11 - This Date in Astros History
December 11

2003 - Lefthander Andy Pettitte signs a three-year deal with Houston for $31.5 million. It's both a surprise that the Astros would spend again on a top-dollar free agent and that Houston would snatch him away from the Yankees where he had won 149 games over nine seasons and pitched in six World Series. At the time, Pettitte had more postseason victories to his name than the franchise he was joining.
2000 - Disappointments Mitch Meluskey, Roger Cedeno and Chris Holt are sent to the Detroit Tigers for catcher Brad Ausmus and pitchers Doug Brocail and Nelson Cruz. It's the second trip to Houston for both Ausmus and Brocail. Meluskey leaves with a .291 career average and 15 homers but questions arose about his abilities behind the plate. Holt leaves with a 21-42 record.
1975 - Houston trades third baseman Doug Rader to San Diego for pitchers Larry Hardy and Joe McIntosh. The Gold Glover completes nine seasons in Houston with a .250 average, 160 homers and 600 RBIs.
1973 - Cesar Cedeno is involved in the shooting death of 19-year-old Altagracia de la Cruz in Santo Domingo, DR. He would be acquitted of voluntary manslaughter but pled guilty to a lesser charge, fined and released.

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Date      Opp      Result
9/01      ANA      W 7-3
9/02      ANA      W 4-2
9/03      MIN*     W 4-1
9/04      MIN      W 5-2
9/05      MIN      W 9-1
9/06      off        --
9/07     @BOS      W 6-3
9/08     @BOS*     W 5-3
9/09     @BOS      L 6-5
9/10     @DET      W 3-2
9/11     @DET      W 5-4
9/12     @DET*     W 5-4
9/13      off        --
9/14      ARI      L 4-2
9/15      ARI     W 10-4
9/16      ARI*     W 5-4
9/17      SEA      L 4-1
9/18      SEA      W 7-0
9/19      SEA      L 9-0
9/20      off        --
9/21      ANA     W 11-3
9/22      ANA     W 10-5
9/23      ANA*     W 6-2
9/24     @TOR      W 5-3
9/25     @TOR      W 4-1
9/26     @TOR*     L 3-1
9/27     @BAL        ppd
9/28     @BAL      W 2-1
9/29     @BAL*     W 4-3
9/29     @BAL      W 5-2
9/30     @BAL*     L 4-0
--end of regular season-
10/5      CLE*     W 7-2
10/6      CLE*     W 3-1
10/8     @CLE*    W 11-3
---Astros sweep ALDS ---  
10/13    @BOS      W 7-2
10/14    @BOS      L 7-5
10/16     BOS*     L 8-2
10/17     BOS      L 8-6
10/18     BOS      L 4-1
---Astros eliminated ---
* - day game.

April record:  20 - 10
May record:    16 - 12
June record:   19 -  8
July record:   13 - 11
August record: 14 - 12
Sept record:   21 -  6
Postseason:     4  - 4
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Houston Astros recap - 12/09/18 - Astros Gloom Extended With Tragedies
Astros Gloom Extended With Tragedies
Winter Meetings May Not Produce Changes

Teammates parade caskets of fallen stars
(c) Associated Press
While the nation completed their week of mourning over the death of President George H.W. Bush, a loss felt strongest in the Houston area with all of his ties to the city, the Astros found themselves continuing in sorrow at the news of former players Luis Valbuena and Jose Castillo killed in Venezuela in a robbery plot which turned to murder.

Poverty is deep in Venezuela as well as some other Latin American countries. A common tactic is to lay large obstacles along barren paths of road which force motorists to stop and clear the road. When they do, thieves come out of the nearby woods to rob them. The tactic works best in twilight when visibility is poor.

This is apparently what happened to the driver of former big leaguer Carlos Romero who was taking home players from a game involving Los Cardinales de Lara on Thursday from a Winter League contest. The driver flipped their SUV to avoid large rocks that had been placed in the roadway. Valbuena, who played with the Astros in 2015 and 2016, and Castillo, who was briefly an Astro in 2008, died at the scene. Romero and his driver survived.

Four thieves were later arrested, found with player belongings that had been taken from the crash site. Ballplayers are adored in Venezuela but they are also considered wealthy and become targets of robbery and violence when returning from the States. Whether the players were targeted for robbery on Thursday or just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time is still under investigation.

While the deaths sadden me, they are also a warning to Venezuelan players who go home during the winter. The Astros used to have an academy there with many big leaguers like Bobby Abreu and Richard Hidalgo making their way from the camps to the majors. Astros star infielder Jose Altuve is among the last of these who went through that pipeline before the socialist government made them untenable to keep open.

The latest addition to the Astros is also Venezuelan although not a product of the Astro camps. Robinson Chirinos has spent the past six years in the Rangers organization and signed a one-year $5.75 million deal to play for Houston in 2019. Chirinos is a career .233 hitter who has averaged 13 homers over the past five seasons.

Chirinos actually approached the Astros with a desire to play in Houston along with Altuve, his friend. A dead pull hitter, the 34-year-old backstop loves the idea of taking aim at the Crawford Boxes. He joins Max Stassi and Garrett Stubbs on the 40-man roster although the Astros are still looking to land another veteran catcher.

That could come at the Winter Meetings which take place this week although don't get your hopes up too high. The modus operandi for the Jeff Luhnow front office has been to make their big splashes later in the offseason, such as the additions of Charlie Morton and Gerrit Cole were the past two years.

The Astros had been rumored to be after Houston native Nathan Eovaldi to bolster their rotation but he has opted to re-sign a four-year contract with the World Champion Red Sox and who can blame him? The Astros aren't fond of signing pitchers to long-term contracts.

- Bob Hulsey

Houston's Team Houston's Title (click to order)

Breathing Orange Fire: Jose Altuve
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Houston Baseball: The Early Years 1861-1961
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RSS Feed | News Archives
Another WS contender has reportedly asked White Sox about Jose Abreu - NBC Sports Chicago
George Springer net worth - Celebrity Net Worth
Tucker intent on being big part of 2019 Astros - Houston Chronicle
Bregman, Houston-area mascots take 'The Stare' to another level of awesome - KPRC-TV
Rangers, Astros will be only clubs with 3-day All-Star break next season - Dallas Morning News
Atlanta kicks tires on potential Keuchel signing - Forbes
MLB Power Rankings: Red Sox, Astros, and Yankees are Top 3 - Scout
Exclusive Astros experience available in auction - Astros.com
Astros part of analytics panel at Winter Meetings - Astros.com
McHugh served as Emory University professor - Astros.com
'Right situation' could see Astros add payroll - Astros.com
Correa sends help for the holidays - The Robesonian (NC)
Astros offered two solid pitching prospects for Goldschmidt - MLB Trade Rumors
Top five Astros players in franchise history - LWOSports
Astros keep it close to the vest in Las Vegas - Houston Chronicle
Valbuena was part of a huge pipeline of Venezuelan baseball talent - Breitbart News
Here are Winter Meetings FAQs to know - Astros.com
Astros in pursuit of starter, impact bat at WM - Astros.com
Astros Gloom Extended With Tragedies
- Astros Daily
Valbuena, Jose Castillo killed in car accident - Astros.com
'RIP hermano': Teammates, fans react to deaths of two former Houston Astros - KHOU-TV
Ex-Astros Luis Valbuena, Jose Castillo die in car crash - Associated Press
Rays considering Morton among starting pitching options - Tampa Bay Times
Former Astros players Luis Valbuena, Jose Castillo die in car accident - Houston Chronicle
Chirinos, Stassi fill Astros needs at catcher, Jeff Luhnow says - Houston Chronicle
Billy Wagner is the poor manís Mariano Rivera - Call to the Pen
Correa to offer free baseball clinics this weekend - The Robesonian (NC)
Itís a little early to be worrying about Astrosí offseason - Houston Chronicle
Bridal party complete: Fiancť of Astros Carlos Correa hits River Oaks restaurant for special night - Houston Chronicle
Astros might not be done shopping for catching - Astros.com
George H.W. Bush, the Astros fan, gets in a parting shot at the Rangers - Fort Worth Star-Telegram
Correa's fiancee picks two Astros' wives as bridesmaids - KTRK-TV
Hinch recalls Benintendi's catch in ALCS G4 - Astros.com
Hinch among Astros' reps at Bush homecoming - Astros.com
Inbox: Will Astros make big move? - Astros.com

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- Bob Hulsey