Astros in the Sky
Born: Jul 20, 1953
A native of Santa Barbara, CA, Woods had early trials with Oakland and Toronto. He was acquired by Houston in a minor league deal and re-surfaced as a September call-up during the 1980 pennant race. His bat was red hot and he got more playing time as the month progressed, hitting .377 in 19 games as Houston outlasted the Dodgers for their first title.
In the NLCS that year, Woods was involved in two critical plays during the zany Game Four. After drawing a walk in the fourth, he tried to advance when the ball slipped out of left fielder Lonnie Smith's hand when he tried to throw home. Smith recovered and threw Woods out at third.
Third base also was Woods' Waterloo two innings later when he tagged up there on a sacrifice fly ball by Luis Pujols with the bases full against Steve Carlton. Woods scored easily but the Phillies dugout erupted, claiming Woods left the base early. Umpire Bob Engel backed them up when they tried the appeal play. There were far more dramatics left but perhaps the Astros might have won without one of those two gaffes.
Woods played more for Houston in 1981 then was dealt to the Cubs that winter for future manager Jim Tracy. Woods spent four years as a Cub to complete his career. In Houston, he had a .264 average and two homers. For his career, he hit .243 with 13 homers over nine seasons.
Woods passed away at age 60 from a heart attack on February 19, 2015 in Solvang, CA.