The Unique Story Behind Jose Altuve Signing With The Houston Astros

The Unique Story Behind Jose Altuve Signing With The Houston Astros

Most professional baseball personnel feel Houston Astros second baseman Jose Altuve is on a path to a Hall of Fame induction.

Altuve, now 33, has completed 13 years of Hall of Fame caliber baseball for the Astros.

Altuve finished the regular season hitting .311/.393/.522/.915 with 21 doubles, two triples, 17 home runs, 51 RBIs, and 14 stolen bases in 16 attempts. He had 410 plate appearances in 90 games played.

Altuve finished the season with a sparkling .307 lifetime batting average in 7,360 plate appearances.

How Jose Altuve Became An Astro:

Tim Purpura was the very successful general manager of the Houston Astros in 2007.

Purpura and this old scout have been close friends for over 30 years.

Purpura recently reminded this writer of the unique circumstances behind the discovery, and ultimate signing of Jose Altuve.

Altuve’s is a story of a young man who believed in himself. It is a story about a persistent young man who just wanted a chance to prove his talents and share his love of the game of baseball.

When Purpura was the General Manager, the Astros had a baseball camp in Valencia, Venezuela.

The Astros had access to playing fields and the locker room at Venezuela’s Venoco Oil Products Company. At that time, companies had recreational fields for their employees. The Astros used those facilities.

Also during that time, Major League Baseball allowed baseball players to work out with a team for two weeks without being signed. If a player wasn’t signed, he had to return home, and come back again in a week.

Al Pedrique. an icon in Venezuela, was a Special Assistant to Purpura, and Senior Director of Latin American Scouting and Player Development in the Astros organization.

18-year-old Jose Altuve played regularly at the Venoco complex, but did not get signed.

Convinced of his baseball abilities, Altuve returned to the complex four or five times, determined to convince scouts he had the talent to play major league baseball.

Altuve was relentless. He never gave up on himself. He kept coming back over and over, and over again.

The Astros had a signing threshold of $75 thousand.

Pedrique and his scouts had Purpura’s approval to sign any player, as long as the cost was less than $75,000.

Astros scout Omar Lopez introduced Jose Altuve to Al Pedrique.

Then Pedrique spoke with Purpura with a very positive scouting report about a second baseman named Jose Altuve.

Pedrique told Purpura that Altuve had plus range, and a plus arm at second base.

Pedrique told Purpura that Altuve ran the bases well, with average speed.

Pedrique told Purpura that Altuve had a very advanced hit tool. He said Altuve makes good contact, and projects to have power in his future.

Pedrique was interested in signing Altuve. He said Altuve had a plus makeup and demeanor, a good family structure, and he loves to play the game.

Purpura asked Pedrique how much Pedrique was willing to spend to sign Altuve?

Pedrique said “$15,000.”

Purpura said, “If it’s only $15,000, why are we even having this conversation?”

Purpura related that Pedrique sheepishly told him, “Boss, he’s only 5 foot 4, or maybe 5-foot-5.”

Pedrique was a member of the Kansas City Royals organization when infielder Freddie Patek played for the Royals. Patek was only 5-5, but he was an excellent baseball player.

Pedrique had not forgotten Freddie Patek.

Patek had a successful 14-year career with the Pittsburgh Pirates and Royals.

Altuve signed with the Astros March 6, 2007.

The rest is baseball history.

Jose Altuve has been an All Star eight times.

Jose Altuve has been a Silver Slugger six times.

Jose Altuve was the America League Most Valuable Player in 2017.

Jose Altuve won a Gold Glove at second base in 2015.

His power has emerged.

His defense has remained stellar.

And Altuve’s faith in himself, his belief in his abilities, and his persistence in pursuing his dream, were the foundation of his career that has placed him on a path to the Hall of Fame.

As the years have progressed, Jose Altuve has proven Omar Lopez, Al Pedrique and Tim Purpura to be 100% correct in their own faith and belief in his abilities.

Today, there are ballparks throughout Venezuela named after Jose Altuve.

Altuve is a legend and a hero in his country.

Jose Altuve has to be among best $15,000 player investments any Major League Baseball team has ever made.

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