Over the course of seven seasons with the Houston Astros, George Springer established himself as one of the best players in franchise history, and one of the top postseason performers that the sport has ever seen.
A first-round pick in 2011, Springer made three All-Star teams as a member of the Astros, slashing .270/.361/.491 with 174 home runs, 458 RBIs and an .852 OPS across 795 regular season games.
In the postseason, Springer was even better.
His 19 postseason home runs as an Astro are tied for fifth in MLB history with Albert Pujols, despite Springer having had 60 less plate appearances.
En route to winning the 2017 World Series MVP, Springer tied Reggie Jackson and Chase Utley by hitting five home runs, the most anyone has hit in a single Fall Classic.
Had Springer spent his whole career with the Astros, he may very well have found his way onto this list. But while Springer drew consideration, his decision to leave Houston to sign a lucrative six-year/$150 million deal after the 2020 season kept him from continuing to build upon his legacy with the Astros. And so, Springer just missed out on this list, like former teammates Alex Bregman and Carlos Correa.
Initially called the "Colt .45's," Houston's baseball franchise has existed since 1962. Here are the nine greatest players in Astros history:
9. Jimmy Wynn (1963-1973)
Best Season as an Astro: 1969 - .269/.436/.507 with 33 home runs, 87 RBIs, 148 walks, .943 OPS, 167 OPS+ and a 6.7 fWAR
Career Stats as an Astro: .255/.362/.445 with 223 home runs, 719 RBIs, 847 walks, 1,291 hits, .806 OPS, 131 OPS+ and 38.8 fWAR
One of the most underrated players of his time, Wynn was an on-base machine. "The Toy Cannon" led baseball with a staggering 148 walks in 1969, which was among the top 10 most walks in a single season at the conclusion of his career. While Wynn wasn't going to compete for a batting title, he did slug 223 home runs during his 11 seasons with the Astros, which is fourth in franchise history. The Astros retired Wynn's No. 24 in 2005.
8. Nolan Ryan (1980-1988)
Best Season as an Astro: 1987 - 8-16 with a 2.76 ERA, 142 ERA+, 2.47 FIP, 1.139 WHIP, 270 strikeouts, zero complete games and a 6.4 fWAR
Career Stats as an Astro: 106-94 with a 3.13 ERA, 110 ERA+, 2.87 FIP, 1.206 WHIP, 1,866 strikeouts, 38 complete games and 36.7 fWAR
The peak of Ryan's career probably came during his eight seasons with the California Angels, but he spent the largest chunk (nine years) of his 27-year career with the Astros. Between 1980 and 1988, Ryan won two ERA titles and posted a league-high 36.6 fWAR. The No. 34 that Ryan wore as an Astro was retired in 1996, three years before he was inducted into the Hall of Fame.
7. César Cedeño (1970-1981)
Best Season as an Astro: 1972 - .320/.385/.537 with 22 home runs, 82 RBIs, 56 walks, .921 OPS, 162 OPS+ and a 7.8 fWAR
Career Stats as an Astro: .289/.351/.454 with 163 home runs, 778 RBIs, 534 walks, .805 OPS, 129 OPS+ and 46.4 fWAR
In 12 seasons spent with the Astros, Cedeño won five Gold Glove Awards and made four National League All-Star teams. Cedeño led the National League in doubles in both 1971 and 1972, and finished fifth among all players in two-base hits during the 1970s. During his time with the Astros, Cedeño was worth 46.6 fWAR, more over the same period than Hall of Famers Carl Yastrzemski, Willie Stargell and Tony Pérez.
6. Jose Altuve (2011-Present)
Best Season as an Astro: 2017 - .346/.410/.547 with 24 home runs, 84 RBIs, 58 walks, .957 OPS, 160 OPS+ and a 7.6 fWAR
Career Stats as an Astro (as of December 2021): .308/.360/.462 with 164 home runs, 639 RBIs, 443 walks, 1,777 hits, .821 OPS, 125 OPS+. and a 40.3. fWAR
Fairly or unfairly, Altuve became one of the faces of the 2017 Astros sign-stealing scandal. Based on numbers alone, though, Altuve has already become one of the greatest players in Astros history and built a compelling Hall of Fame case. Still only 31, Altuve has led baseball in hits on four occasions, winning batting titles in 2014, 2016 and 2017. Along with his third batting title, Altuve won the American League MVP Award in 2017. The seven-time All-Star has also been a tremendous postseason performer, as he has 23 home runs in 79 career postseason games, the second most in MLB history. The Astros have reached the World Series on three occasions with Altuve, winning the first title in franchise history in 2017.
5. Roy Oswalt (2001-2010)
Best Season as an Astro: 2005 - 20-12 with a 2.94 ERA, 144 ERA+, 3.16 FIP, 1.204 WHIP, 184 strikeouts, four complete games and a 6.1 fWAR
Career Stats as an Astro: 143-82 with a 3.18 ERA, 135 ERA+, 3.34 FIP, 1.184 WHIP, 1,593 strikeouts, 20 complete games and a 48.2 fWAR
Though he was at times outshined in his own rotation by Roger Clemens and Andy Pettitte, Oswalt is the greatest starting pitcher in Astros history. Between 2001 and 2006, Oswalt finished fourth among all starting pitchers in fWAR, behind only Randy Johnson, Curt Schilling and Pedro Martinez. During that same period, he posted five finishes in the top five in National League Cy Young Award voting.
4. Lance Berkman (1999-2010)
Best Season as an Astro: 2008 - .312/.420/.567 with 29 home runs, 106 RBIs, 108 walks, .986 OPS, 160 OPS+ and a 7.7 fWAR
Career Stats as an Astro: .296/.409/.545 with 326 home runs, 1,090 RBIs, 1,042 walks, 1,648 hits, .954 OPS, 145 OPS+ and 51.4 fWAR
It didn't matter whether he was playing first base, left field, center field or right field defensively, Berkman was going to drive in a ton of runs for your team. Between 2001 and 2008, only four players -- Alex Rodriguez, Albert Pujols, Manny Ramirez and Carlos Delgado -- posted more RBIs than Berkman, who drove in more than 100 runs on six occasions in his career. "The Big Puma" was hardly just a slugger, though, as he hit .296 and posted a .410 on-base percentage during the parts of 12 seasons that he spent in Houston.
3. José Cruz (1975-1987)
Best Season as an Astro: 1983 - .318/.385/.463 with 14 home runs, 92 RBIs, 65 walks, .848 OPS, 142 OPS+ and a 5.8 fWAR
Career Stats as an Astro: .292/.359/.429 with 138 home runs, 942 RBIs, 730 walks, 1,937 hits, .789 OPS, 125 OPS+ and a 47.9 fWAR
Cruz spent 13 of his 19 major league seasons with the Astros, making two All-Star teams, winning two Silver Slugger Awards and leading the National League in hits in 1983. Cruz -- who is third in franchise history with 1,937 hits -- had his No. 25 retired in 1992.
2. Craig Biggio (1988-2007)
Best Season as an Astro: 1997 - .309/.415/.501 with 22 home runs, 81 RBIs, 84 walks, .916 OPS, 143 OPS+ and 9.3 fWAR
Career Stats as an Astro: .281/.363/.433 with 291 home runs, 1,175 RBIs, 1,160 walks, 3,060 hits, .796 OPS, 112 OPS+ and a 65.8 fWAR
A seven-time All-Star, Biggio racked up over 3,000 hits in a 20-season career spent exclusively with the Astros. Biggio was one of the more complete second basemen in MLB history, with 414 career stolen bases and four Gold Glove Awards. The Astros retired Biggio's No. 7 in 2008 and he was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2015.
1. Jeff Bagwell (1991-2005)
Best Season as an Astro: 1994 (season cut short at 110 games because of strike)- .368/.451/.750 with 39 home runs, 116 RBIs, 65 walks, 1.201 OPS, 213 OPS+ and a 7.8 fWAR
Career Stats as an Astro: .297/.408/.540 with 449 home runs, 1,529 RBIs, 1,401 walks, 2,314 hits, .948 OPS, 149 OPS+ and 80.2 fWAR
Bagwell won a National League Rookie of the Year Award, a National League MVP Award and is a Hall of Famer, and yet, is somehow underrated. Bagwell's best season came in 1994, when he hit 39 home runs and posted an OPS north of 1.200 in a strike-shortened season. If you adjust the numbers he put up in just 110 games to a full 162-game season, Bagwell would have homered 57 times and driven in 170 runs. Bagwell is one of the greatest first basemen in MLB history, and the best player that's ever put on an Astros uniform. His No. 5 was retired in 2007, and he was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame a decade later.