Houston Astros: Butch Henry’s unlikely shining moment in MLB history

Former Houston Astros pitcher Butch Henry (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
Former Houston Astros pitcher Butch Henry (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images) /

Houston Astros pitcher Butch Henry had an exceptional moment not only franchise history but in MLB as well. What did he do? Let’s take a look at what’s up.

The Houston Astros‘ season is up in the balance as the MLB and the MLBPA wrestle on the best way to get things restarted so that there will be a 2020 season to finish up and that a World Series champion will be crowned.

As we know, the Houston Astros are going to be an excellent candidate to win the title this year but it’s a matter of when — not if — things get started so they can go out on their campaign to prove to the baseball world that they can win without any additional tools to give them an edge.

The MLB is talking a 50/50 revenue split among owners and players — which could present a lot of hurdles to get approved — as well as a short “Spring Training” period in mid-June with games starting as early as July 1.

COVID-19 testing will be robust, players who test positive will be isolated without interrupting gameplay and the MLB will also have to convince skeptical players that the environment is as safe as possible to play games.

The season would be cut to 82 games and things would still end on time for the MLB to have a normal offseason period and hopefully kick off the 2021 season with some normalcy.

All that has been proposed seems plausible on paper but it’s a matter if the players/owners can come to an agreement and until that happens, we’ll have to wait.

But in the meantime, let’s look back on Houston Astros‘ history because fortunately they have a lot of it and there are many that have made an impact on the status of the franchise.  Some more often than not.  We continuously hear about Nolan Ryan, Mike Scott, Jose Cruz, Jimmy Wynn, Craig Biggio and Jeff Bagwell being those players most impactful on the franchise’s success in their respective eras but what about those that made their mark in just one shining moment?

Yes, Houston Astros‘ pitcher Butch Henry was the guy to complete such a feat.

What did he do?  He did the unthinkable for a pitcher, he hit an inside-the-park home run — the

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last time a pitcher has done so — against the Pittsburgh Pirates back May 8, 1992.  He remains the last one to do so since Joaquin Andujar back in 1979.

Henry, the lefty who was acquired from the Cincinnati Reds in 1990 along with minor-leaguer Keith Kaiser and Terry McGriff, which were the players to be named later when Billy Doran was traded just one week earlier opened up the door to make his major-league debut just two seasons later in ’92, which was with the Houston Astros of course.

This was at the now-demolished Three Rivers Stadium, the predecessor to PNC Park, of which the successor is one of the most beautiful parks I’ve seen in my life by the way.

Anyway, there were two guys on base and two outs on the board when he hit a flyball off Doug Drabek — who also pitched for the Houston Astros and got his only All-Star nod back in 1994 — that found a way slice down the left-field line outside of a hustling yet young Barry Bonds‘ glove.  Somehow, that ball made it to the left-field wall.

Henry described how he felt when all of the action unfolded:

"“I started out slow and ended up slower,” said Henry, who slid in barely ahead of the tag. “I was cussing [third-base coach] Tommy Spencer when he waved me home. I would have settled for a triple and two RBIs.”"

Let’s illustrate that play, shall we?

Here we go:

It sounded like it was pretty painful of a play for Henry to complete but little did he know that he’d have a moment in MLB history with a record that’s still intact to this day.

Henry would end being redrafted at the end of that season and finished up his seven-season career with stops with the Colorado Rockies, Montréal Expos, Boston Red Sox and Seattle Mariners before calling it a career in 1999.

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All heroes don’t wear capes and for that moment, I salute you, Butch, for such an awesome yet unexpected moment in Houston Astros’ history.