1996 - Timeline
from This Date in Astros History

Feb 02 - Speculation that Houston would become a member of the Canadian Football League ends when the Baltimore Stallions announce they will relocate to Montreal. Astros owner Drayton McLane toyed with the idea of bringing a CFL team to the Astrodome as a replacement for the departing NFL Houston Oilers.

Mar 20 - Jim Pendleton dies in Houston, TX at age 72. His 36 RBIs as a Colt in 1962 were the most of his big league career.

Mar 21 - Houston sends lefthander Billy Wagner to the minors, intent on converting him to a starting pitcher. By year's end, he is in the Astros bullpen, winning two games and saving nine in 37 appearances.

Apr 19 - Houston batters Cincinnati, 13-5, on 18 hits. Sean Berry has three hits and five RBIs. Derek Bell has four hits while four other Astros enjoy multi-hit evenings.

Apr 21 - For the third time that season, Todd Jones blows the save and gets the win. Each time, Derek Bell is his savior. Bell's three-run homer in the eighth rescues a 7-5 victory over Cincinnati. Brian Hunter chips in with three hits. Jones has a rather undeserving 3-0 record.

May 07 - Anthony Young , who had the majors' longest personal losing streak while with the Mets and Cubs, gets the win as Houston roars back to topple the Phillies, 7-5. Jeff Bagwell launches two home runs while Sean Berry adds a solo shot. Both rap four hits on the evening.

May 12 - Reserve catcher Jerry Goff ties a modern major-league record, allowing six passed balls in a 7-6 loss to Montreal. Goff also plunks a homer and goes two-for-four in his final major league appearance.

May 24 - Houston rallies for an 8-7 victory over the Cubs in the ten innings. Craig Biggio belts a two-run two-out homer in the bottom of the ninth off Turk Wendell before Sean Berry ties it. John Cangelosi singles home Ricky Gutierrez the next inning to win it. Todd Jones picks up the victory.

May 29 - In a 7-4 Astros triumph, Jeff Bagwell swats an upper-deck shot off Danny Darwin at Three Rivers Stadium, to join Pirate legend Willie Stargell as the only players to reach that level more than once. Bagwell caps his four-hit, five-RBI night with a two-run shot off Francisco Cordova.

Jun 04 - Craig Biggio scores five times during a 16-8 drubbing of Colorado at the Dome. John Cangelosi and Sean Berry both launch three-run shots off Lance Painter.

Jun 30 - John Cangelosi is the sparkplug in a 9-3 triumph over the Mets. He gets two hits, walks twice, drives in three and steals three bases to pace the Houston attack. Everyone in the lineup gets at least one hit, including Darryl Kile who notches his seventh win in a complete-game performance.

Jul 21 - Derek Bell singles home James Mouton with the game-winner for the second straight night as the Astros clip the Braves, 4-3, in ten innings. Greg Maddux was the victim the previous night and Brad Clontz gets deja vu in this one. Mike Simms belts a two-run homer for Houston.

Aug 24 - Orlando Miller belts a two-run homer off Todd Stottlemyre in the bottom of the ninth to stun St. Louis, 3-1 . Shane Reynolds gets the win with a complete-game five-hitter.

Aug 30 - Sean Berry drives in six as Houston blanks the Pirates, 10-0. Berry also steals a pair of bases. Jeff Bagwell goes 4-for-5. Donne Wall scatters seven hits in a complete-game shutout.

Sep 25 - Mike Simms drives in the winning run with a single in the tenth to upend the Mets, 5-4. John Hudek gets the win. The victory snaps a nine-game losing skid that pushes Houston out of the N.L. Central race.

Sep 29 - Tony Eusebio doubles home James Mouton with the season's final run in a 5-4 ten-inning victory over the Marlins. Fans come to honor pitcher Nolan Ryan who sees the Astros retire his #34 jersey.

Oct 04 - Larry Dierker, the Astros' former player and broadcaster, is named the new manager despite having no previous coaching or managing experience. Terry Collins is relieved after three years, posting a 224-197 record marred by late-season collapses.

Nov 05 - Houston voters approve a new baseball-only stadium to be built downtown, with a slim 51% of the vote. Astros ownership had threatened to leave Houston as the NFL Oilers are doing, if the stadium was not okayed.

Nov 09 - Shane Reynolds, pitching for a group of Major League All-Stars against stars from Japan, gives up a grand slam homer to Hideki Matsui in Yokohama then retires 20 of the next 21 batters. The Japanese All-Stars still win, 6-4.

Nov 11 - Luman Harris dies in Pell City, AL at age 81. Harris coached the Colt .45s until he became manager late in the 1964 campaign. He lasts through the 1965 season with a 70-105 record. His best days are with Atlanta (1968-1973) where he skippers the first Western Division winners in 1969.

Nov 13 - Ken Caminiti is named N.L. Most Valuable Player by unanimous vote, two seasons after being traded to the Padres from Houston. Teammate Steve Finley, who also left Houston in the same trade, finishes tenth in the MVP voting. Jeff Bagwell finishes ninth.

Nov 27 - Schedules with interleague play are introduced for the first time. Houston will host three teams from the American League Central, including the Milwaukee Brewers who would switch to the National League Central Division in 1998.

Dec 02 - Infielders Pat Listach and Bill Spiers, along with pitcher Sid Fernandez, are signed as free agents. While Listach is slated to be the starting shortstop and Fernandez is expected to find a role in the starting rotation, it is the versatile Spiers who has the more lasting impact with the ballclub.

Dec 03 - John Bateman dies in Sand Spring, TX at age 56. The native Texan would enjoy a ten-year big-league career with a .230 batting average and 81 home runs.

Dec 10 - Astros swap pitchers Todd Jones and Doug Brocail along with outfielder Brian Hunter and shortstop Orlando Miller to Detroit for pitchers Jose Lima, C.J. Nitkowski and Trever Miller along with catcher Brad Ausmus and first baseman Daryle Ward. Ausmus is the man Houston really wants but Lima and Ward eventually become major contributors.

Dec 19 - Outfielder Luis Gonzalez and pitcher Mike Magnante are signed to free agent deals. It's the second go-round in Houston for the popular Gonzalez who, after leaving again, would find a home run stroke and blast 57 for Arizona in 2001 and muscle a bloop single off Mariano Rivera to beat the Yankees in Game Seven of the World Series.

Dec 30 - Pitcher Russ Springer is signed to a free agent contract. The righthanded reliever has two stints with the Astros (1997, 2004-2006), compiling an 8-9 record with three saves in Houston.