2006 - Timeline
from This Date in Astros History
Jan 03 - Free agent outfielder Preston Wilson signs a one-year deal with the Astros. His time in Houston lasts only through August but he winds up the year celebrating a World's Championship with the St. Louis Cardinals.
Jan 27 - The end may be near for Jeff Bagwell's 15-year run in Houston. The Astros announce they have filed an insurance claim to recover $15.6 million of the $24 million remaining on Bagwell's contract, asserting he has not recovered sufficiently from shoulder surgery last year to throw a baseball. Bagwell disputes the allegation and wants to play in spring training which would jeopardize the claim. Bagwell had recently been examined by noted surgeon Dr. James Andrews.
Feb 15 - Reaction continues to simmer over a memoir published by Astros broadcaster Milo Hamilton, who is in his 22nd year with Houston. While he has some critical comments for local folks, the national media focuses on Hamilton's portrayal of deceased Cubs broadcaster Harry Caray as "a miserable human being". Caray's widow, Duchie, responds that Hamilton hasn't "shown any class at all". In the Chicago restaurant that bears Caray's name, a new drink called the "Milo" is christened made of "cheap shots and sour grapes".
Feb 21 - Gene Elston is named as the 30th Ford C. Frick Award winner, honoring the top baseball announcers in history. The award is presented at the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown. Elston's career with Houston spanned from 1961 to 1986. He joins Harry Kalas (1965-1970), Bob Prince (1976) and Milo Hamilton (1985-present) as Astro play-by-play men to receive the honor.
Feb 24 - It's normally not news when a player shows up for spring training but that's not true this time for Jeff Bagwell. The first baseman arrives with a $15.6 million dollar insurance tag on his head if he can't play. Bagwell insists he'll play despite an arthritic right shoulder that required surgery the previous year. He fields grounders and hits in light drills the first day and talks briefly with owner Drayton McLane.
Feb 27 - Roger Clemens sends a brushback message to his own 19-year-old son after Koby slams a home run off his dad in the minor league Astros camp where Koby is training. Roger is preparing to pitch in the first World Baseball Classic but is not officially with the Astros. Denied salary arbitration, the pitching legend is fielding contract offers from other clubs while mulling retirement. The Astros cannot negotiate with him until May 1st. Officially, that is.
Mar 25 - Jeff Bagwell announces he may undergo "last resort" surgery to remove bone spurs in his aching right shoulder in a final attempt to resume his playing career. Bagwell, the subject of much off-season speculation and a $15.6 million dollar insurance claim, will go on the disabled list. Two days later, the insurance claim is denied but the Astros say litigation is likely.
Apr 05 - Craig Biggio adds to his illustrious credentials in a 6-5 triumph over the Marlins. His first-inning double gives him 606 in his career to become tenth all-time in that category. Later, he scores his 1700th run, 24th all-time in that department. He is two hits shy of the 2800 plateau. Lance Berkman and Preston Wilson supply the muscle with two-run homers to support Wandy Rodriguez.
Apr 18 - It took 44 years for Houston to reach the World Series; it takes 44 years for the Astros to return to the .500 mark as a franchise, standing 3,507-3,507 overall and 10-4 on the season with a 13-12 slugfest over Milwaukee. Adam Everett drives in four while Morgan Ensberg belts two homers to lead the attack. Brad Lidge gets the save after the Brewers rallied from an 11-2 deficit. Preston Wilson fans twice to reach seven consecutive strikeouts before grounding out and singling twice.
Apr 22 - Taylor Buchholz gets his first big league win, blanking the Pirates, 3-0. Buchholz has a one-hitter with one out to go before an error and a single causes Manager Phil Garner to bring Brad Lidge in to get the final out. Craig Biggio scores all three runs using a single, a double and a homer. The Astros' all-time franchise record climbs above .500 for the first time since early 1962.
May 19 - After losing three at home to the Giants by a combined 34-5 and getting two suspensions, the Astros appear in a free-fall until Adam Everett delivers a three-run double off Joaquin Benoit in the bottom of the eighth to topple the Texas Rangers, 5-3. Brad Lidge, who had temporarily lost his closer role, returns to nail down his 12th save. Chad Qualls gets the win after rescuing Roy Oswalt from a bases-loaded jam in the seventh. The day was a 20th Anniversary tribute to the division-winning 1986 Astros, made sweeter by a comeback win befitting that club.
May 28 - Having lost five straight, as well as an 18-inning affair the night before, and trailing 4-0 in the ninth, the Astros get off the mat and stun the Pirates at PNC Park, 5-4, in ten innings. Houston takes advantage of two bases-loaded walks before Preston Wilson singles home Morgan Ensberg in the tenth for the game-winner.
Jun 25 - Adam Everett's bloop triple in the 13th inning followed by Willy Taveras' RBI single salvage a 10-9 win over the Chicago White Sox, avoiding their second series sweep at the hands of the American League champs in a span of nine months. The Astros were coasting with a 9-2 lead behind Roy Oswalt going into the bottom of the eighth when one man led the Sox back. Tadahito Igushi belts a three run shot off Russ Springer then tags Brad Lidge for a grand slam the next inning - the third slam off Houston pitching in three days - to tie it up. Fernando Nieve gets the win. Despite a dreadful month and a .500 record, the Astros are only five games back of St. Louis and three games back of Cincinnati in the division chase.
Jul 19 - Roger Clemens moves into eighth place on the all-time wins list with a 4-2 victory over Greg Maddux and the Cubs. He tosses six shutout innings to notch his 343rd career win. Craig Biggio leads off the game with a home run and Preston Wilson, on his 32nd birthday, smacks two key doubles to spearhead the offense..
Jul 26 - Craig Biggio smacks the 50th leadoff homer of his career in an 8-5 victory over the Reds. Lance Berkman goes deep twice and drives in four. Berkman's 91 RBIs lead the league. However, the floundering Astros sit five games under .500, five games out of the wild card race and with five teams in between Houston and Cincinnati.
Jul 28 - Luke Scott hits for the cycle but it is not enough as the Astros fall to Arizona, 8-7, in 11 innings. Scott, a call-up earlier in the month from AAA, performs the feat backwards, smacking his first major league homer in the fourth, a triple in the fifth, a double in seventh and a single in the 11th just before the final out was made . Scott drives in five of the runs. Andy Pettitte makes his first relief appearance since 1998 and takes the loss.
Aug 05 - A day after celebrating his 44th birthday, Roger Clemens notches his 344th career victory, a 9-3 triumph at Arizona. Brad Ausmus belts a grand slam while Luke Scott punches four hits, including a two-run homer. Craig Biggio legs out an infield single to become the 34th player to achieve 2,900 hits in a career.
Aug 09 - Aubrey Huff swats two homers and a bases-loaded double to drive in six during a 14-1 rout of the Pirates. Roy Oswalt adds his first career home run. Craig Biggio, Luke Scott and Jason Lane also go deep. Phil Garner gets his 900th career managerial win.
Aug 27 - Willy Taveras becomes the first Astro to achieve a 30-game hitting streak with a leadoff single that begins a 13-1 bombing at Pittsburgh . Taveras bats .349 during the streak, raising his average to .284. Lance Berkman drives in four while Jason Hirsh gets his second big league win. Taveras' run ends two nights later.
Sep 04 - Charlton Jimerson homers in his first major league at-bat - the third time an Astro has accomplished this feat. His pinch-hit blast in the sixth breaks up a no-hit bid by Cole Hamels to tie Philadelphia at 1-1 but Chase Utley gives the Phils their first win over Houston in three years with a solo shot off Dave Borkowski in the tenth for a 3-2 decision. Time's running out on Houston who is four games below .500 yet 4-1/2 games out in the wild card race.
Sep 28 - Roy Oswalt endures a three-hour rain delay to blank the Pirates, 3-0, for Houston's ninth straight win. The late-season rally brings the Astros, 8-1/2 games behind the Cardinals just two weeks before, within a half-game of the Central leaders. Houston would lose two of three in Atlanta and wind up 1-1/2 games out at 82-80 for the season. Oswalt wins the league ERA title at 2.98. Lance Berkman would single on the last day to set a new team RBI record at 136.
Oct 27 - Joe Niekro, the first pitcher in Astro history to post consecutive 20-win seasons, dies of a brain aneurysm in Tampa, FL at age 61. He threw in Houston for 11 seasons (1975-1985). At the time of his passing, he was the franchise leader in wins with 144.
Nov 03 - Brad Ausmus wins the National League Gold Glove Award for catchers. It is the third time he has won the honor as an Astro, having won also in 2001 and 2002.
Nov 10 - Craig Biggio agrees to a one-year deal with Houston for $5.15 million dollars, avoiding free agency. The 40-year-old is 70 hits shy of 3,000 as he approaches his 20th season with the Astros.
Nov 24 - Slugger Carlos Lee is signed to a six-year contract for a reported $100 million dollars. Nicknamed "El Caballo", the outfielder comes to Houston after stops with the White Sox, Brewers and Rangers. The Astros also ink righthander Woody Williams to a two-year deal worth $12.5 million dollars. The 40-year-old veteran is a Houston native who formerly pitched at the University of Houston.
Dec 12 - After the departure of lefthander Andy Pettitte and the failure to land Jon Garland in trade, Houston gets their replacement by acquiring righthander Jason Jennings from the Rockies along with rookie righthander Miguel Asencio in exchange for outfielder Willy Taveras and pitchers Taylor Buchholz and Jason Hirsh. In Colorado for six seasons, Jennings had amassed a 58-56 record and was the 2002 N.L. Rookie of the Year.
Dec 15 - Jeff Bagwell officially retires after a brilliant 15-year career that leaves him as the franchise leader in home runs (449), RBIs (1,529) and extra-base hits (969). He had a lifetime batting average of .297. Bagwell will continue to work with the Astros under a personal services contract.
Dec 17 - Larry Sherry dies of cancer in Mission Viejo, CA at age 71. As part of an 11-year career, the righthander notches a 1-2 record and six saves in 29 games for the Astros in 1967.