As the nation reflects on the July 4th holiday, it begs a great question. Which Houston Astros’ team members in history were born on this red-letter date?
Have you ever wondered if any Astro was born on Independence Day? According to Baseball Reference, 914 players have taken the field in a Houston Astros or Colt .45s uniform during the regular season. However, only two of them feature July 4th birthdays.
To bring you this information, going that extra House of Houston mile for you, our wonderful readers, I individually researched every single Houston Astros roster since 1962. Without further ado, let’s take a look at some Astros players who share a birthday with our nation. Enjoy!
Dan Larson represents the first of only two Houston Astros to be born on July 4th. The right-handed pitcher debuted as an Astro in 1976. In over 90 innings of work as a rookie, Larson gave up only three homers, as well as walked only 28. After two seasons with the Astros, and seven total, he retired in 1982.
Of note, another player with a similar name, Don Larsen, featuring a surname with a slightly different spelling, pitched for the 1964 Astros, turning in an outstanding 2.24 ERA in over 100 innings of work. As a matter of fact, Larsen, who passed away earlier in 2020, represents one of only two pitchers to throw a perfect game in a major league postseason matchup when he did so for the Yankees in the 1956 World Series. Larsen pitched for seven teams, including parts of two seasons with Houston, and served in the United States Army during the Korean War.
The second former Astro to feature a July 4th birthday was none other than Vinny Castilla. The infielder primarily played third base for Houston and spent one of his 16 seasons as an Astro. However, in only 122 games of action in 2001, Castilla launched 23 long balls and drove in 83 runs for Houston, helping the Astros clinch the NL Central.
Astros with July 3rd birthdays
While only two Astros were born on Independence Day, a handful of players feature July 3rd birthdays.
Three former Astros were born on July 3rd. The first, Matt Keough, played for the Astros in 1986, his final season. After being acquired from the Cubs during the 1986 campaign, the righty contributed five starts, as well as five relief appearances with a solid 3.09 ERA for an Astros squad that would go on to lose the NLCS to the World Champion Mets. Also of note, Keough impressively managed to hit .364 by way of earning four singles as a hitting pitcher in 11 at-bats for the 1986 Astros.
Jack Daughtery’s 1993 stint in Houston lasted only four games before the right-handed hitter finished the remainder of his final season in the bigs with Cincinnati. The switch-hitter finished his six-year career with a .256 average, and managed to notch one single in three at-bats in his cup of coffee with the Astros, good for a .333 average before moving on to the Reds.
However, the most accomplished Astro with a July 3rd birthday is none other than Moises Alou. The right-handed outfielder wore Astros’ gear for three seasons and put up ridiculously impressive numbers. As an Astro, Alou hit .331, with a .403 on-base percentage, and averaged over 30 home runs a year for the franchise. In particular, during the 2000 season, Alou hit a videogame-esque .355 with 30 dingers and 114 runs batted in.
Astros with birthdays July 5th through July 8th
A little further out than July 4th, several other notable Astros feature birthdays.
Curt Blefary was born on July 5, 1943, and played for the Astros in 1969. He played first base and
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left field and contributed 137 hits in a campaign that saw the Astros finish with a .500 record.
Two former Astros feature July 6th birthdays. The first, Germán Rivera, featured a brief three-year career between the Dodgers and Astros. In his only season in Houston, the third baseman hit .194 in 13 games before retiring. Also of note, former Astro, Preston Tucker, features a July 6th birthday. In limited action, the left-handed outfielder represented a home run threat in the Astros’ lineup. Tucker debuted with the Astros in 2015, and played two seasons with Houston before being traded to the Braves.
Terry Puhl and Alan Ashby were both born on July 8th. The left-handed hitting Puhl sits in eighth place in franchise history with 1,357 hits as an Astro, while Ashby ranks 27th with 736 hits for Houston. Ashby, a catcher with a penchant for analysis, and Puhl, a utility outfielder, played together in Astros’ gear from 1978 to 1989. Though five years apart in age, both players would undoubtedly have known that they shared the same birthday. Interestingly, following Puhl’s departure from the Astros to play his last season in Kansas City in 1991, no Astro featured a birthday occurring on any day in July until 1993.