HOUSTON — He’s the spark plug of the Astros and a former league MVP. We’re talking about Jose Altuve. He’s stands 5 feet, 6 inches tall, but he’s a giant when it comes to production.
He was the American League Championship Series MVP after his Game 6 walk-off home run. For the postseason, the 29-year-old Altuve was 15 for 43 with five home runs. He has a lifetime.282 postseason average.
His 13 postseason home runs are the most in the playoffs for any second baseman in MLB history. For his career, Altuve is a .315 hitter with 128 home runs and 538 RBIs. He was the 2017 American League MVP.
The Maracay, Venezuela, native debuted with the Astros in July of 2011 and was the team’s marquis player during the lean years of 2011, 2012 and 2013, when Houston lost 106, 107 and 111 games respectively. He was also part of the team’s massive turnaround when they won 101, 103 and 107 games over the last three years.
At age 16, Altuve went to a tryout in Venezuela. According to CBS Sports, scouts told him he couldn't participate because he was too short. He came back to the tryouts the next day and ended up signing as an unrestricted free agent for $15,000.
That was 2007. Fast forward to today, and Altuve is a six-time All-star, three-time batting champ, league MVP and now the 2019 American League Championship Series most valuable player.
Altuve came up with the Astros organization, having played in the Astros minor league system in Greeneville, Tri City, Lancaster, Lexington and Corpus Christi.
Altuve's height nearly kept him out of the Major Leagues, but he's far from the shortest. 3-foot7 Eddie Gaedel of the St. Louis Browns in 1951 holds that record. he was signed as a gimmick and he only had one appearance. But other players short on stature were big on accomplishments, according to Hero Sports. There was Hall of Famers Wee Willie Keeler at 5-foot-4 and Rabbit Maranville at 5-foot-5. Hack Wilson, Phil Rizzuto, Miller Huggins, Joe Sewell and Billy Hamilton were all 5-foot-6, like Altuve.
What do all of those players have in common? They're all in the Hall of Fame.