Every-Thing Sports

How Jose Altuve became my favorite baseball player of all time

Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

I believe it started in 2012, maybe 2013. Admittedly, I wasn't really paying too close attention when Jose Altuve made his debut in 2011. What I remember most was the moment my daughter asked "Dad, who's that little guy for the Astros?" "Baby, that's Jose Altuve. He's their best player." Back then, they were losing 100 games a year on a fairy regular basis. I got the kids tickets to a game in 2014. They were really excited. My daughter wore her Jose Altuve t-shirt. My son had on his Astros hat. We were all in. When we got to our seats and they looked over the program, I remember my son randomly asking how tall was he. He was about 5'5 or so at the time. My daughter immediately replied "You're about as tall as Jose Altuve!" He felt like he was on top of the world, and my daughter was excited to know her brother was about the same height as her favorite player. As she put it "short people rule!" Now, he's my height, she's about 5'7, and the wife is the shortest person in the house. Here are a few more reasons why Altuve became my favorite player of all time:

Humble

No matter what he's accomplished, the stage he's done it on, or how often he's had successes, Altuve has remained humble. Whether it's in television, radio, or print interviews, his humble spirit has come across time and time again. It's not a phony act that's been debunked either. Others who've had countless interactions with him have all said the same thing. He's the kind of guy that you would want dating your daughter/sister (if he wasn't married).

Hard worker

The story of Altuve refusing to give up when turned away at tryouts in his home country of Venezuela is remarkable. If you don't know: he was turned away because of his size, came back the next day with birth certificate in hand, didn't take no for an answer, and the rest is history. He's continued to work to make himself into an AL MVP and one of the most feared and respected hitters in the game today. Oh, and he's also a hell of a second baseman.

Clutch

His home run to send the Astros to the World Series this year was just one of his many clutch moments. Altuve is tied with teammate George Springer as the team's all time leader in potseason home runs with 13. He's a career .315 hitter with a career .827 OPS. All that is great, but he does it when it counts most. He never acts as if the moment is too big for him. Most times, you'll see him with that infectious smile on his face, or his trademark scowl. He takes everything in stride and never acts like the moment is too big for him.

Fun-loving

If you've never seen the video of Altuve singing "I Want It That Way" by the Backstreet Boys, you're missing out. He also has countless videos and GIFs out there in which he's dancing and having fun. His HEB commercials are gold as well. He seems like one of those guys that you can't help but have a good time if he's around. Other teammates have said as much. Even opponents root for him because he's such a good guy.

Family and faith

When he's rounding the bases, Altuve told his teammates not to tear his jersey off. Why? He didn't want to upset his wife. After the game, he was most happy when he was holding his daughter and hugging his wife. The way he honors them and respects his wife are truly admirable. He's also a man of faith. One of the first things he did was thank God when he was interviewed, something he's done often.

Fred Faour said it on The Blitz that "if you don't like Jose Altuve, well then you hate puppies." I'm a firm subscriber to that theory. The guy gives you no reason to hate him, unless you're one of those dumbass Yankee fans who chanted "bleep Altuve." The guy is a treasure. Whenever he decides to hang it up, I'm sure he'll have a statue outside whatever stadium the Astros are playing in at the time. Charlie Palillo and Fred both have him ranked highly in their all-time Houston sports greats patheons. In my humble opinion, he's my favorite baseball player of all time. Given all the reasons I've listed, and add to that the fact that he's done all this thus far without the hint of PEDs. So yes, I'm taking him over Ken Griffey Jr, Greg Maddux, Barry Bonds, and all the others. He's now my No. 1, and I don't see that changing. Ever.

Photo by Alex Bierens de Haan

What a week.The Rockets look terrible in losing consecutive games to losing teams, and that doesn't register as the tiniest ripple in the week's pond of Houston sports woe. Pond? More like ocean.

The Astros are irrefutably confirmed for all-time as cheaters and liars over a multi-season period. Jim Crane is no idiot, but specifically on the issue of whether the Astros' 2017 World Series championship is tainted, Jim Crane is an idiot if he really thinks it is not. Astro lackeys, toadies, and homers should stop the "a bunch of other teams did it too!" and "Mike Fiers is an a-hole" lameness. The Astros were guilty, caught, and deserved to get hammered. If/when others are proven as guilty as the Astros, so should they be hammered.

So after Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred's lowering of a rightful boom, and then Jim Crane firing Jeff Luhnow and A.J. Hinch, what does it all mean for the 2020 Astros? It's a wow of a story, but really not a crisis. The loss of Gerrit Cole is much more meaningful. Luhnow's shoes are fairly easily filled for this season. Hence for now, Crane himself will head up baseball operations. The Astros weren't and aren't pursuing any meaningful free agents or major trades. Before his demise Luhnow finished the financial corner cutting moves that filled out the roster.

It's not as if Luhnow's personal expertise made all scouting, drafting, and signing decisions. And now the Astros have no first or second round pick to make this June anyway. 30 year old Pete Putila is the ranking baseball guy still employed by the club, but he is a branch of the Luhnow tree. If Crane's goal is the "housecleaning" he termed the Luhnow and Hinch firings as being, how can he promote a Luhnow lieutenant? Every front office in baseball has shrewd analytic minds, looking to move up. Crane can easily hire one of them.

As for field manager, Hinch was a great handler of people (well….with one kind of important exception) but this roster is strong enough to operate on autopilot to a good extent. Bench coach Joe Espada is highly regarded and been a finalist for other managerial gigs. But he was on Hinch's staff when cheating was ongoing in 2018. That seems pretty much disqualifying. Two known interviewees are quality options, though neither has skippered a team to the World Series. Buck Showalter was always extremely highly regarded, John Gibbons steered the Blue Jays to back-to-back American League Championship Series appearances in 2015 and 2016. Between those two I'd lean Showalter but either would be fine.

How thankful are Bill O'Brien and the Texans for the Astros' mess grabbing all the headlines not even 24 hours after the Texans' collapse in Kansas City? It's almost impossible to get blown out of an NFL game in which you lead 24-nothing. Almost. The Texans pulled it off! Won't that cute little AFC South Champion banner be extra cute when it hangs next season? Hangs like a dead man from a noose.

As I put it last week, the Chiefs' offense is better than the Texans' offense, the Chiefs' defense better than the Texans' defense, and the Chiefs' coaching better than the Texans' coaching. But the way the game played out was still preposterous.

If Travis Kelce had beaten Lonnie Johnson any worse than he did Johnson's name should have been legally changed to Rented Mule. J.J. Watt was essentially a zero. No tackles, no assists on tackles, no sacks, no quarterback hits. Are you going to pay 15 and a half million dollars to a 31 year old Watt after his three major injuries in the last four seasons. That's a yes.

At least we have clarity that the Texans must dedicate their first round pick to a pass rusher or a defensive back. Wait, they don't have a first round pick. Well, in 2021 then. Wait. Bill O'Brien traded that away too. Speaking of O'Brien…

Opting for the field goal on fourth and one up 21-0 early second quarter was not indefensible. However, O'Brien's explanation for doing so was pitiful. The fake punt? Most agree, dumb.But not absolutely indefensible. This was the O'Brien Is Not Fit For Command moment of the game: He needed to use a timeout, with 11:45 left in the fourth quarter, the Texans down 17, facing fourth and fourth and four, in Chiefs' territory, to decide to go for the first down rather than punt. A cinder block could have displayed the same game management IQ. O'Brien has three seasons left on his contract. Unless Cal McNair takes a decidedly different tack than his father did, O'Brien's job is as safe as any Supreme Court Justice's.

Speaking of Cal, since the loss he's been spotted as often and been as vocal this week as Alex Bregman.

Buzzer Beaters

1. So, if guaranteed the truth: For a million dollars is your bet Altuve was wearing something or not? 2. Alex Cora should be banned from ever again managing a Major League team. 3. Famous "scandals": Bronze-Teapot Dome Silver-Patty Smyth fronted band, had big hit with Goodbye to You Gold-Kerry Washington and the TV show.

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