(c) Houston Astros

See Also:
Baseball Reference
Retrosheet
Baseball Almanac
Wikipedia

Position: C      Born: Apr 14, 1969      Bats: Right      Throws: Right

An Ivy Leaguer and a fan favorite, particularly with the ladies, Brad Ausmus was equally popular with pitchers for his strong defensive skills and ability to call pitches from behind the plate.

Originally drafted by the New York Yankees, Ausmus was claimed in the 1993 expansion draft by the Colorado Rockies. He was then sent to San Diego in a trade that included pitchers Greg Harris and Bruce Hurst. He made his debut with the Padres at age 24 but was soon on the move again, dealt to Detroit during the 1996 season.

During the offseason, he packed his bags again. He was sent to the Astros along with Jose Lima, Daryle Ward, Trever Miller and C.J. Nitkowski for four players and cash. Ausmus had his first big highlight with the Astros when he homered in the division-clinching game against Chicago in 1997. He was also the primary catcher when the Astros won the division again in 1998.

With catching prospect Mitch Meluskey ready to reach the majors, Houston traded Ausmus back to Detroit in another mega-deal that brought catcher Paul Bako and pitchers Dean Crow and Brian Powell. In 1999, Ausmus made the American League All-Star team.

It became clear Meluskey wasn't the answer so the Astros re-acquired Ausmus by trading the Tigers Meluskey, Chris Holt and Roger Cedeno in return for Ausmus, Doug Brocail and Nelson Cruz. Ausmus helped the Astros claim another division crown in 2001, hitting a homer in the playoffs in a losing effort.

Ausmus then stayed with the Astros through the 2008 season, catching 1259 games in a Houston uniform while batting .246 with 41 homers. He also won three Gold Glove Awards (2001, 2002, 2006).

He homered against the Braves again in the 2004 NLDS and came through with his most memorable hit in Game 4 of the 2005 NLDS - a game-tying homer with two outs in the bottom of the ninth to send the game to extra innings. It was eventually won in the 18th inning to clinch the series.

Brad played two final seasons with the Dodgers to conclude an 18-year career with a .251 average, 80 homers and 102 stolen bases. Retired after 2010, there are rumors he is interested in coaching or managing in the future.