The 36er’s stumbled during their first season, the pitching staff never quite coming together like they had hoped although the hitters held their own. They did create their own air conditioning by swinging and missing more than any other team in the league. The team got together to close out the season with a Texas BBQ and the team recognized several players with the year end awards.
Mark Grace won the best hitter award with a .349 average with 9 homers and 89 RBI’s. This award was pretty close since there were three hitters with a +.300 average, but Graces league record (and if you led this year you are the all time leader) 62 doubles that edged him ahead of Rodriguez, Biggio, Livingstone and Alou.
Juan Guzman took the Pitcher of the Year award with a hard luck 9-13 record with a 3.95 ERA over 212 innings with 165 strikeouts.
The Fireman of the Year award went to closer John Hudek who closed out games this year with a 8-7 record and 35 saves with a 3.71 ERA and 91 strikeouts over 70 innings.
The Rookie of the Year was Johnny Damon who patrolled centerfield with a .287 average with 12 homers and 73 RBI’s. Speed was a big part of his game adding extra bases with 31 doubles, 12 triples and 28 stolen bases.
After the standard awards, the team owner got a little more creative with the awards. Here are some of the highlights:
Darryl Kile got the Golden Band-Aid for the most critical injury. After being an early pick and being expected to be an anchor for the rotation, Kile went down in spring training and missed the whole season with an elbow ligament injury. Houston hopes that he can return to form and add a sub 4 ERA to the rotation next year.
Moises Alou got the Tequila award for hitting the most homers with 21 deep shots. Biggio was a close second with 19 deep ones.
Damon added to his awards with the homeward bound award for leading the team with 111 runs scored. Biggio was second with 93 runs.
Grace laughed as he got the Golden Dice for always rolling doubles and leading the team with 62 doubles. Biggio again was second with 39 doubles.
Damon grabbed the Trifecta award by running out 12 triples. Jefferies was a distant second with 4. Before he could even leave the stage, the Owner kept him on stage and gave him the Golden Handcuff award for 28 steals.
Biggio looked perplexed when he was called next to the stage and the Owner presented him with the Bridesmaid award for coming in second in the most categories.
Alou got the AC award for his 114 strikeouts.
Fielding was addressed next:
Biggio getting the team Golden Glove.
Scott Livingstone got the butter glove award for leading the team with 28 errors. Everyone got a big laugh when he pretended to drop the award.
Kevin Foster got the Golden W award leading the team with 11 wins. He was got the balance scales award for best record (11-10). Of course he was also the only one with a winning record. Phil Leftwich was a close second with 10 wins.
The team all had a great time at the end of year BBQ and everyone left in a good mood and looking forward to when pitchers and catchers report in February.