All-Decade Houston Astros

The 1970s

One of the cornerstone themes of the Topps Shoebox Legends binders is the all-decade team pages. It paints a snapshot of the organization over the course of that particular decade. The 1970s Houston Astros was one of the easier teams to assemble.

The outfield is made up of Cruz, Cedeno, and Wynn. Around the infield, you have Rader at third, Metzger and Morgan manning up the middle with Watson covering first. Edwards is the backstop with Richard his battery mate. I could have gone Don Wilson in place of J.R., but felt Richard was such a force from 1976-79. Somehow he only managed one All-Star selection (1980).

You look at this team and wonder how come they weren’t better than a .493 (793-817) team for the decade. Sure Morgan was traded in ’72 and Wynn at the end of ’73, but the core plus the likes of Enos Cabel, Terry Puhl, and Art Howe still would have made for a formidable foe. The pitching staff in the mid to later part of the decade had Richard, Joe Niekro, Joaquin Andujar, and Ken Forsch. The ‘Stros finished fourth out of six National League West teams four times, third three times, and almost won the division in 1979 finishing second, a game and half behind the Cincinnati Reds. And here lies part of the reason for hovering around .500 ball for the decade. You were in the same division as the Big Red Machine and the Los Angeles Dodgers who were exceptionally strong too.

| Between the Foul Poles | In 1971 the Astros play a National League record 75 one-run games, losing 43 of them … Jose Cruz had two brothers in the bigs at the same time he was (Hector, Tommy) joining the Alou brothers to accomplish the same feat … Ceasar Cedeno was a superstar in the making until some off-field issues side-tracked his career. He had already made four All-Star teams and five straight Gold Gloves in his first seven seasons … Jim Wynn on a 162-game average, would score nearly 100 runs, walk 100 plus times, hit 25 home runs, drive in 80, and steal 19 bases … 1979 the Astros had four National League Pitchers of the Month; Ken Forsch (April), Joe Niekro (May), Joaquin Andujar (June), and J.R. Richard (September).

Favorite card: 1976 Topps J.R. Richard … look at that jacket!
Favorite card design: 1976 Topps
Least favorite card design: 1970 Topps
Hall of Famer(s): Joe Morgan
Red Sox or ex-Red Sox: Bob Watson (1979)
Longest career: Joe Morgan, 22 years
Shortest career: J.R. Richard, 10 years
Most teams played for: 5, both Joe Morgan and Jim Wynn
Best nickname: Jim “Toy Cannon” Wynn

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