Thursday, September 17, 2009

1976 Topps #209 - Alan Ashby

  • Alan Ashby played for three teams from 1973-1989. He spent most of his career with the Houston Astros (1979-1989). Alan started in the Cleveland Indians' organization when he was 17 years old in 1969 and moved through their minor league system. He had short stints in Cleveland in 1973 (.172 in 29 AB) and 1974 (.143 in 7 AB).
  • In 1975 and 1976 Ashby was a backup catcher. He batted .224 in 254 AB in '75 and .239 in 247 AB in '76. After the 1976 season Alan was traded with Doug Howard to the expansion Toronto Blue Jays for Al Fitzmorris. He got more playing time in 1977 and batted .210 in 396 AB. In 1978 Ashby batted .261 in 264 AB for the Blue Jays. After the season Ashby was traded to the Houston Astros, where he would spend the rest of his career.
  • Ashby became Houston's starting catcher in 1979. He batted .202 but he provided good defense behind the plate. Alan hit only two home runs in '79, but that was more than three players in the Houston starting lineup (Rafael Landestoy, Craig Reynolds, and Jeffrey Leonard). In 1980 Ashby improved to a .256 average in 352 at bats as the Astros took the NL West title and almost made it to the World Series.
  • Andy had one of his better offensive years in 1981, batting .271 with a .356 on base percentage.
    In 1982 he hit .257 with 12 homers in 339 AB.
  • Ashby missed about 4 1/2 weeks (late June-late July) of the 1983 season and batted .229 in 87 games. He missed at least a month in each of the 1984 and 1985 seasons and appeared in a combined 131 games in the two seasons, batting .262 and .280.
  • In 1986 Andy was again the starting catcher for the Astros and played in 120 games. He batted .257 in 315 at bats. Ashby had his best power year in 1987, hitting 14 homers and batting .288 in 386 AB.
  • Andy missed two months of the 1988 season and batted .238 in 227 at bats. After starting slowly in 1989 (.164 in 22 games), he was released on May 11.
  • After his playing career Ashby was a sports director and sports anchor for a Houston TV station from 1990-1992. He hosted a televised business magazine in Houston from 1994-1995 and then coached and managed in the minors for a few years. Alan was the bullpen coach for the Astros in 1997 and then moved into the Houston radio broadcasting booth from 1998-2006. He was let go after the '06 season, apparently because he was too critical of Houston players and management. Here is an editorial piece about Ashby's dismissal. He is now a broadcaster on Toronto Blue Jays' radio games.

1 comment:

  1. He's a great broadcaster. Just nitpicking a bit, but you called him Andy a few times in your post.