The all-time team in 1999 and the all-time team now: What’s changed?

Some of you might recall the nostalgic look back to the Astrodome days that we took a few weeks ago, when we reprinted pages from the game program sold during the final weekend of the season in October of 1999.

In the middle of that commemorative Farewell to the Astrodome issue of Astros Magazine was pictorial tribute to the players and manager who were named to the All-Astrodome team.

It’s interesting to see who was picked back then — after all, at that time, Lance Berkman had about 10 big league at-bats to his name and Roy Oswalt was still about a year and a half from from making his Major League debut.

Catcher: Alan Ashby

First baseman: Jeff Bagwell

Second baseman: Craig Biggio

Shortstop: Craig Reynolds

Third baseman: Doug Rader

Outfielder: Cesar Cedeno

Outfielder: Jose Cruz

Outfielder: Jimmy Wynn

Starting pitcher: Joe Niekro

Starting pitcher: J.R. Richard

Starting pitcher: Nolan Ryan

Starting pitcher: Mike Scott

Starting pitcher: Larry Dierker

Reliever: Dave Smith

Reliever: Billy Wagner

Next year, fans will have plenty of input as we elect the all-time team during our celebration of the 50th anniversary of Houston baseball. But for now, let’s have a little fun. Take a look at who was considered to be the best of the best in 1999. Who would your all-time team be now? Looking for one manager, a first baseman, second baseman, shortstop and third baseman, catcher, three outfielders and two relievers.

(For those of you stressing over Berkman and Jeff Bagwell both being first basemen, just count Puma as an outfielder.)


While we’re on the subject — and boy, we’ve been talking a lot about Larry Dierker lately — our lovable former skipper is now a full-fledged blogger. A lot of you might remember Dierk’s “Baseball Library” columns that used to run in the Houston Chronicle back in the day. Well, they’re back, in the form of  “Dierk’s Dugout,” which you can find on or just by clicking here.  Not only is Dierk a great writer, but the insight he provides after nearly 50 years in this game is priceless.

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In my view most of the 99 list still applies. I would probably put C Ausmus, 1B Bags, 2B Biggio, 3B Caminiti, SS Reynolds, OF Berkman, Cruz, Cedeno, SP Oswalt, Richard, Ryan, Dierker, Niekro, RP Smith and Wags. I gave the nod to some because of overall impact and longevity. Toughest decision was leaving out Scott and Ashby.

Ausmus as an all-timer? Caminiti makes the list after his rampant roid usage? Disagree there my friend. While catcher wasn’t the strongest position and Ausmus was a great defensive catcher, I think Ashby still has the edge as the Catcher for the all-time team. Caminiti’s roid use should disqualify him if it disqualifies Clemens, Bonds, McGwire and Sosa from the Hall of Fame.

I think the only additions are Berkman and Oswalt (I would have added Clemens to that list if he wasn’t a roider). As for who Berkman replaces…Its a tough call but I guess I’d go with Cruz (disclaimer-he was my fav player growing up).

I grew up in the 90’s and you can throw all the asterisks out there you want, all I know is Big Mac was hitting balls a mile (of course, Bagwell was the best power hitter and 1B in the NL, but I digress). No one has been “disqualified” from the Hall, it’s just a bunch of out of touch journalists who blame the players and forget how flawed the MLB’s drug policy has been.

Caminiti is left out because his peak performances were all in San Diego. Clemens only pitched here for 3 years. How they got their outrageous stats is another argument. If Roger had come home earlier or Ken had stuck around, they would be on this list.

your out of your mind cruzzzzz best outfielder we ever had

1B: Bagwell
2B: Biggio
Short: Reynolds
3B: Rader (it’s a shame, because Caminiti’s best years were in San Diego)
Catcher: Ashby
OF: Berkman, Cedeno, Cruz
– Ryan
– Scott
– Niekro
– Roy O
– Dierker
Smith and Wagner.

Berkman definitely makes it. Funny thing is, I’d put Bidge in at catcher, too! Cammy should be at 3rd.

This is tough without having some guidelines…. so im just gonna go with being on the team at least two seasons and sheer #s(while an astro). Im gonna take the liberty and add some extra here too. Sorry Mrs Footer.
Mgr: Dierker
1st: Bagwell
2nd: Morgan
SS: Thon
3rd: Ensberg(yes, that’s right, check out his SABR numbers as an Astro)
OF: Berkman, Cedeno, Pence(sorry Toy Cannon)
C: Biggio
Bench: Wynn, Cruz, Caminiti, GDavis, Ausmus
Rotation: Ryan, Richard, Scott, Niekro, Oswalt
Bull pen:Dotel, Sambito, the Charlie Kerfeld,Dr Death Darwin, Smith, Wagner.

C- Ausmus
1b – Bagwell
2b – Biggio
3b – Ensberg
SS – defensive Everett
OF – pence, Bourn, and Cruz
SP – oswalt, Ryan, Scott, niekro, and Clemens (yes I know steroids are and issue)
RP – dotel, Wagner, lidge (when he was lights out) valverde

Bench berkmen

Hit enter by accident

Bench – berkman, caminiti, Wynn and ashby

All-time catcher…Strech Suba people!

It’s sad that the Astros choose to simultaneously celebrate their 50-year NL history and spit on it by moving to the AL.

The Astros aren’t going volutarily; Bud ‘Herp-a-Derp’ Selig is the one that forced them to the AL (side note: Selig is a pathetic excuse of a man).

1st base Jeff Bagwell
2nd base Craig Biggio
SS Craig Reynolds
3rd Bob Lillis
C Alan Ashby
OF Jose Cruz, Cesar Cedeno, Lance Berkman (I would also include Terry Puhl and Rusty Staub)
Starting rotation: J.R. Richard, Nolan Ryan, Joe Niekro, Larry Dierker, Roy Oswalt
Relief pitchers: Dave Smith, Joe Sambito, Billy Wagner…

I negelected to mention a manager in my first comment, but I’d say you’d have to go with Dierker for overall success. Close behind to me would be Virdon as he was intregal in the Astros first becoming a contender.

Darrell – the Astros DID NOT choose to go to the AL – there is no way the sale would gone to Crane if they did not go. They did not want to go. Mark, I thought Lillis was a SS??

C – Biggio
1B – Bagwell
2B – Morgan
3B – Radar / Cabell
SS – Craig Reynolds (shame Thon got beaned and Tejada was beyond his years.)
OF – Cruz, Cedeno, Berkman
SP – JR Richard, Nolan Ryan, Mike Scott, Joe Niekro, Ken Forsch (shame Randy Johnson didn’t hang around,) Dierker, Mike Cuellar, Don Wilson, Jerry Reuss, Joaquin Andujar, Jim Deshaies

RP – Sambito, Dave Smith, Wagner, Lidge

Pinch Hitter – Denny Walling

Bench – Terry Puhl, Rusty Staub, Billy Hatcher (based on that game 6 homer mostly), Jimmy Wynn, Eddie Matthews, Glenn Davis, Dennis Menke, Doug Radar, Bob Watson, Lee May, Roger Metzger, Cesar Geronimo, Bob Abreau

LMAO at Stretch Suba…bring back some memories for me of old game in the dome….also a shame that many of these players had their best years on other teams’ rosters.

ah…man…forgot Billy Doran….

The 99 list looks pretty god with these exceptions.

OF: Berkman
Lose Cedeno

S Pitching: Oswalt
Lose Ryan. He’s the enemy, now.

Really I can’t justify losing any of them, but I just know Roy O’s gotta be in there. My gut says Neikro, but that may be a bias because of when I began watching Astros after he was gone. Another argument is that you lose Dierker on the starting pitcher list and put him as the all-time manager, where I think he belongs, anyway.

Mgr: Dierker

Sounds like a good list. I’ve just gotta put Ausmus at catcher though.

C – Ashby
1B – Bagwell
2B – Biggio
3B – Rader
SS – Dickie Thon
OF – Wynn, Cedeno and Berkman
SP – Oswalt, Ryan, Scott, Dierker and Richard
RP – Wagner and Sambito

Honorable mentions – Ausmus C, Smith RP, Cruz OF, Reynolds SS, Caminiti 3B

Those were a fun set of drawings to do..they werent my first picks..even at the time..I still put Cammy at third. Thanks for posting all of them. Each player was given the original on the last regular season day out on the field. I am currently working on the 50th Anniversary painting for the team..being a native Houstonian, the research is a fun trip down memory lane.
opie otterstad

Doug Rader?????????????????????????????

What about Terry Puhl?

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