1993 - Season Recap
(c) Bob Hulsey
The National League expanded in 1993 for the first time in 24 years, placing teams in Denver, Colorado and Miami, Florida. The league realigned the next year to form three divisions and add a new round of playoffs to the postseason - one that proved a thorn in Houston's side later in the decade. From 1994, the Astros would reside in the National League Central Division with new rivals like St. Louis, Chicago and Pittsburgh replacing the West Coast ballclubs in the minds of Houston fans.
Drayton McLane wanted to make a statement about his commitment to building a winning team. Knowing that pitching was the club's greatest weakness, he reached into the free agent market and lured two well-known starting pitchers to sign with Houston. Doug Drabek was a former Cy Young Award winner and the ace of the Pittsburgh staff. He had pitched before at the University of Houston. Lefty Greg Swindell was a star at the University of Texas before earning honors in Cleveland and Cincinnati. It didn't work as planned. Drabek suffered through a 9-18 campaign while Swindell fared only slightly better at 12-13. It was the rest of the rotation that picked up the slack.
Mark Portugal had one of the best seasons ever by an Astro pitcher, winning 18 games and losing four. Pete Harnisch tossed a pair of one-hit gems during the campaign, including a shutout on September 17th where the only San Diego hit was a controversial bunt play. He won 16 games, four by shutout.
Darryl Kile racked up 15 wins, none more dramatic than on September 8th when he tossed a no-hitter for a 7-1 triumph over the Mets. It was the ninth no-hit performance in franchise history. Earlier in the year, Kile blanked St. Louis, 6-0, while belting a home run and a double.
It added up to an 85-77 record and a third place finish in the Western Division. The addition of two expansion teams, the Colorado Rockies and the Florida Marlins, seemed to water down the pitching around the league as offenses had a banner year.
Seven Astros reached double figures in home runs, led by Craig Biggio with 21 and Jeff Bagwell with 20. Bagwell also led the team with a .320 average and 88 RBIs. Luis Gonzalez turned in a .300 season while banging 15 long balls and leading the club with 20 steals.
Art Howe proved he could rebuild a team almost entirely in five years and have them play as well as when he first arrived. But, surprisingly, this was not enough. After the season he was fired and replaced with Terry Collins, a coach from the Pittsburgh organization. McLane also fired General Manager Bill Wood, who had held the job since 1987, and promoted former player Bob Watson. It was a special moment for Watson who became the first African-American to hold such a position in major league history. That it was also someone who starred for the ballclub implied the Astros would try to stick to their roots. With labor unrest on the horizon, Watson's task would not be an easy one.
3rd place, NL West
Nov 3 1992 - granted free agency to Pete Incaviglia(OF), who signed with Phi-N on Dec 8.
Nov 17 1992 - traded Hector Carrasco(P) and Brian Griffiths(P) to Fla-N for Tom Edens(P)
Dec 1 1992 - signed Doug Drabek(P) from Pit-N as free agent
Dec 4 1992 - signed Greg Swindell(P) from Cin-N as free agent
Dec 8 1992 - paid waiver price to Fla-N for Chris Donnels(IF)
Dec 18 1992 - signed Jim Lindeman(OF) from Phi-N as free agent
Dec 18 1992 - selected Chris Donnels(IF) off waivers from Fla-N
Dec 19 1992 - granted free agency to Joe Boever(P), who signed with Oak-A on Jan 21
Dec 19 1992 - granted free agency to Jimmy Jones(P), who signed with Mtl-N on Jan 25
Jan 5 1993 - signed Jose Uribe(P) from SF-N as free agent
Jan 5 1993 - signed Jack Daugherty(IF) from Tex-A as free agent
Jan 5 1993 - signed Kevin Bass(OF) from NY-N as free agent
Jan 8 1993 - signed Chris James(OF) from SF-N as free agent
Jan 19 1993 - signed Mark Grant(P) from Sea-A as free agent
Jan 19 1993 - signed Eric Bell(P) from Cle-A as free agent
Jan 21 1993 - released Rich Scheid(P)
Feb 15 1993 - signed Mike Brumley(OF) from Bos-A as free agent
Mar 2 1993 - signed Manuel Barrios(P) as non-drafted free agent
Apr 23 1993 - granted free agency to Karl Rhodes(OF), who signed with KC-A on Apr 27
May 20 1993 - traded Mark Grant(P) to Col-N for Braulio Castillo(OF)
May 24 1993- signed Juan Agosto(P) as free agent
Jul 12 1993 - traded Jack Daugherty(IF) to Cin-N for Steve Carter(OF)
Jul 29 1993 - claimed John Hudek(P) from Det-A on waivers
Sep 17 1993 - traded Chris James(OF) to Tex-A for Dave Gandolph(P)
Oct 4 1993 - sent Mike Brumley to Cal-A for waiver price
Oct 4 1993 - granted free agency to Casey Candaele(IF), who signed with Cin-N on Nov 24
Oct 4 1993 - granted free agency to Jim Lindeman(OF), who signed with NY-N on Dec 16
Oct 4 1993 - granted free agency to Rick Parker(OF), who signed with NY-N on Dec 16
Oct 15 1993 - granted free agency to Juan Agosto(P)
Oct 15 1993 - granted free agency to Eric Bell(P)
Oct 25 1993 - granted free agency to Mark Portugal(P), who signed with SF-N on Nov 21
Oct 29 1993 - granted free agency to Jose Uribe(IF)