The Former UL Baseball Great Who Was the Best Astros Player
What former member of the Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns had the best Major League Baseball stint as a member of the Houston Astros?
Well, there have been three former Cajuns who went on to play professionally for the Astros and all did fairly well.
Pitcher Xavier Hernandez (1990-1993, 1996), pitcher Donne Wall (1995-1997), and catcher Paul Bako (1999-2000) all had successful runs with the Astros.
That being said, Hernandez stands out the most.
A native of Port Arthur, Texas, Hernandez became the fourth former UL/USL player to reach the Major League Baseball level.
A three-year letterman for the Ragin’ Cajun baseball team from 1984-86, Hernandez, a right-handed pitcher, was named All-Louisiana in 1985.
The 6-foot-2, 185-pound Hernandez led the Cajuns in wins in both 1985 and 1986, with 10 and nine, respectively, and ranks second and third, respectively, on the career shutout and complete game list.
A fourth-round selection by the Toronto Blue Jays in the 1986 Major League Baseball Amateur Draft, Hernandez spent parts of four seasons in the minor leagues, before making his Major League debut on June 4, 1989, against the Boston Red Sox.
After 7 games with the Blue Jays in 1989, Hernandez was taken by the Houston Astros 1989 Rule 5 draft.
With the Astros, Hernandez solidified himself as a big-league pitcher. He pitched four seasons in Houston, putting together the best season of his career in 1992, going 9-1 with 7 saves and a 2.11 ERA in 1992.
After leaving Houston, Hernandez pitched for the Yankees (1994), Reds (1995-1996), and the Rangers (1997-1998), along with a brief return to the Astros for 5 games in 1996.
In parts of ten major league seasons, Hernandez posted a career 40-35 record, to go along with 35 saves and a 3.90 ERA.
In parts of five seasons with the Astros, Hernandez compiled a 22-19 record with 25 saves, to go along with a 3.40 ERA.
Hernandez was inducted into the UL Athletics Hall of Fame in 2008.
Now 55-years old, Hernandez is currently the pitching coach for Houston Baptist.