It is definitely the worst of times.
There comes a time when you want to look back in fondness because the road ahead looks somewhat bleak. Yet, looking back at the sluggers in franchise history may seem a bit sparse.
Since Astros fans are concerned with their history right about now, we will do this in historical order. Enjoy the show as we walk down memory lane.
Jimmy Wynn was almost there from the very beginning. He played from 1963 to 1973 before moving to the Dodgers. He hit 223 homers in Houston including a career high of 37 in 1967. That mark stood as the franchise record until Jeff Bagwell broke it in 1994.
Pound for pound he may have been the best slugger in franchise history. You really had to give it a ride to get out of the Astrodome. Wynn had the misfortune (in terms of statistics) of moving to Los Angeles following Houston where he hit 32 home runs in his first season. He'd likely have been a Hall of Famer anywhere else.
Watson had quite a career both on the field and off of it. He was not a traditional slugger when looking at the numbers, but he probably would have been tremendous in Minute Maid Park. Watson was a classically good hitter. He was one of the few players in history to hit for the cycle in both leagues and scored baseball's one millionth run.
Off the field, he became baseball's first African American general manager in Houston and stewarded the Yankees to their 1996 title. Following that, he became the vice president of MLB in charge of player discipline (fines/suspensions) and rules.
Like Bob Watson, Rader's home run totals were not impressive, but when you consider that they came in the Astrodome you come away more impressed.
People from the younger generation cannot appreciate how difficult it was to get it out before the fences were moved in. He hit a career high of 25 home runs in 1970.
Cedeno hit a career high of 26 home runs, but he really wasn't a home run hitter per se. What can we say, the Astros have a thin history when it comes to sluggers.
Cedeno was far more talented than Jimmy Wynn, but didn't capitalize on all of it because of injuries and other factors. Yet, when he was at his best he was a tremendous player.
Lee May was the consummate slugger, but no one in Houston thinks of that when they think of his name. He was the principle player coming back from the Reds in exchange for Joe Morgan and others. The deal was not his fault and he kept up his end of the bargain.
He hit 30 or more home runs in the three seasons before coming to Houston, but that wasn't a fair expectation given the Astrodome's dimensions. Still, he hit 29 and 28 home runs in his first two seasons in Houston before dipping to a disappointing 24. He would go on to have some solid seasons in Baltimore before retiring in Kansas City.
There are still a number of Astros fans that believe that Glenn Davis was robbed of the MVP award in 1986. Like those before him, he was undoubtedly robbed of a lot of home runs during his Astros career.
He was traded to Baltimore in 1990 in one of the more lopsided trades in franchise history. Curt Schilling, Steve Finley, and Pete Harnisch came back while Davis was never healthy.
Biggio could hit with more power than people thought.
Yes, he was not a home run hitter, but he had a career high of 26 home runs at age 39. With nearly 300 career home runs he also stands third on the franchise list.
Who knows whether that makes him a slugger or makes the Astros a sad franchise when it comes to power production. Biggio will be a first ballot Hall of Famer though, and there is nothing wrong with that.
Bagwell is the measuring stick all Astros are measured by.
Jeff Bagwell holds every Astros record in power categories. He won the Rookie of the Year Award in 1991 and the MVP in 1994. A degenerative shoulder condition kept him from getting to 500 home runs.
Otherwise he'd be a shoe-in for the MLB Hall of Fame. As it stands, he will still likely get in down the road, though it is not expected on the first few ballots.
We'll always have 2000. The season itself wasn't all that memorable, but when you block out the shoddy pitching you come away marveling at all of the offensive production.
Hidalgo hit 44 home runs that season and was supposed to be a superstar. That didn't quite happen for whatever reason, and he came away looking more like a one-hit wonder in Houston.
Berkman will go down as the second best hitter in Astros history.
Lance Berkman played briefly in the Astrodome, but most of his numbers came in Minute Maid Park. Unfortunately, he will always be compared to Jeff Bagwell. That's unfair for anyone.
Fortunately for Lance, he was able to move on and he got his ring this year.
Lee has been better than the critics have laid out.
One of the common misconceptions (from management and fans) is that players suddenly become superstars when you pay them superstar money.
Carlos Lee was never a star, but he has averaged 100 RBIs a season in Houston and usually hits around 25 home runs a season. He has one more season in Houston before he rides off into the sunset, and will likely end up with 150 or more homers in 6 years with the 'Stros.
Pence has more to smile about in Philadelphia.
It's still weird seeing him in that uniform. Pence came up with the Astros after the beginning of the 2007 season, so technically he falls after Lee on the food chain.
Considering he was the last of the McLane Astros, he figures to be a good bookend to this particular story. He never hit more than 25 home runs, but as we have said, Houston doesn't have an impressive history of power hitters.