Cedar Rapids Astros
- Location: Cedar Rapids, IA
- League: Midwest League 1973-1974
- Affiliation: Houston Astros 1973-1974
- Ballpark: Veterans Memorial Stadium I
Formerly the Cedar Rapids Cardinals, the club became the Cedar Rapids Astros in 1973 when the team switched affiliations from St. Louis to Houston. They went 61-60 their first year, 4th of the five teams in the northern division of the Midwest League. Managed by Leo Posada, the team drew 53,369 fans and had no All-Stars. They scored 522 runs and allowed 493 that year. 1B-OF Fred Mims was 8th in the league in average (.293/~.371/.512), led in triples (12) and tied for the team lead with 14 homers. Mike Stanton (3-2, 1.36, 59 K in 53 IP) pitched very well in limited time, while Eleno Cuen (10-8, 3.06) and Romualdo Blanco (9-9, 3.32) were respectively fourth and fifth in the MWL in ERA. Francisco Lopez (7-3, 10 Sv, 2.06, 106 K in 109 IP, 71 H, only 1 HR allowed) did a great job out of the bullpen. The greatest career, though, would be had by a 17-year-old outfielder named Arturo Gonzalez, who hit only .161/~.181/.169 in 59 games, walking just three times and fanning 45 trips in 124 AB. He was error-free in 36 games in the outfield. Gonzalez would go on to win 266 games in the minor leagues after being converted to pitcher later in his career.
In 1974, the Astros only had 36,056 fans (lowest in the league) come out to see Posada's team get outscored 487-384 (last in offense) and go 54-66. Alex Taveras (.285/~.370/.342) was 8th in average and second in the circuit with 40 stolen bases. His .928 fielding percentage was second at shortstop and he made the MWL All-Star team as the shortstop. Arturo Gonzalez returned and hit .195/~.235/.230, stole five bases in five attempts and was error-free in 33 games in the outfield, while Mims fell to .225/~.299/.345. A bright spot was the fine pitching of Luis Sanchez (9-4, 2 Sv), who led the MWL with a 1.59 ERA. Joe Sambito (11-8, 12 CG, 4.07, 106 BB, 113 K in 135 IP) would clearly go on to the best major league career of any player from that team.
Switching affiliations once more, they became the Cedar Rapids Giants the next season.
Sources: 1974-1975 Baseball Guides
|1973||61-60||5th (t)||Leo Posada|