07/09/2004 10:54 PM ET
Scott still fond of Houston
Former All-Star recalls 1986 and the friends he made
By Alyson Footer / MLB.com
HOUSTON -- When the Houston Astros were preparing to close the doors of the Astrodome for good in 1999, an endless amount of nostagic media coverage followed the club throughout the season.
Past and present players, broadcasters and front office personnel were asked ad nauseum to name the most exciting moment they witnessed in the 35-year history of the Dome.
The answer was the same, no matter who answered: Mike Scott's no-hitter against the San Francisco Giants that clinched the National League West title on Sept. 25, 1986.
Scott was 18-10 that year with a 2.22 ERA and a mind boggling 306 strikeouts as he led the Astros to their most exciting postseason in team history, one that ended with a 7-6 loss to the New York Mets in a mind-numbing 16-inning marathon. Scott was named the Cy Young Award winner that year.
In 1989, the right-hander became the fourth Houston pitcher to record a 20-game season, going 20-10 with a 3.40 ERA. Over 13 big league seasons, the first four with the New York Mets, Scott compiled a 124-108 with a 3.55 ERA.
Scott, an All-Star in 1986, '87 and '89, was one of a number of former Astros who appeared at the John Hancock All-Star FanFest on Friday to sign autographs at the George R. Brown Convention Center. The All-Star festivities, which run through Tuesday, gave Scott a chance to mingle with fans, and to catch up with former teammates and friends with whom he spent the majority of his career.
In fact, earlier Friday morning, he played golf with Bill Doran, Larry Dierker and Kevin Bass, all of whom are still very closely linked with Astros history.
"You just talk about everything," Scott said of the reunions. "We'll probably tell the same old stories, although they get a little better each time you see each other -- a little more exaggerated."
The 1986 Astros were a unique group. They weren't considered a great team when the season started, but they found themselves just one game out of first place at the All-Star break. When play resumed, they beat the Mets three out of four to begin a seven-game winning streak.
They ended the season with 96 wins, a club record that would stand until the 1998 Astros won 102.
"We had a good mix," Scott said. "A lot of veterans, a lot of older guys, and the only thing we cared about was winning the game. It didn't matter how it was done or who did it."
And the best part? They were able to sneak into the division hunt while no one was looking.
"We had no expectations," Scott said. "We got to the All-Star break, and if I remember right, we weren't playing all that well at the time."
Until they beat the Mets three out of four, that is.
"Then we said, 'Hey we can do this,'" Scott said. "Then the rest of the year, we never had a bad stretch. We might have lost a couple in a row here and there, but we never lost three or four in a row. We just kept on a roll until the end of the year and won it by quite a bit."
And with personalities like Scott, Jim Deshaies, Larry Andersen and Nolan Ryan, they not only won the division by 10 games, but they had fun doing it, too.
"It was a fun group," he said. "When the game was over, it was over. You could sit around the clubhouse and talk about it and then forget about it, whether you lost or won. It was a good mesh.
"We had a lot of guys that had been together five, six, seven years on that team, which doesn't happen anymore. The logistics of baseball doesn't let it happen. We had the same guys around for a while, and it worked. It was fun."
These days, Scott enjoys the retired life. He lives in Laguna Niguel, Calif., halfway between San Diego and Los Angeles, with his wife, Vicki. They have two grown daughters whom they visit often, and when they're not traveling, Scott can usually be found on the golf course.
while he prefers the west coast, Scott is not surprised how many of his former teammates are still in Houston and working with the club in some capacity. Deshaies and Alan Ashby are broadcasters. Jose Cruz coaches first base. Ryan recently began honoring a five-year personal services position with the Astros.
"It's a great place to live," Scott said. "I grew up in California, and I like it there, but there are a lot of people who didn't grow up here that stay here. It's just a great town. It's a little warm to play golf in the summer, but there's great restaurants, the downtown is really nice, the ballpark's great. I'm partial to California, but I would have no problem living here."
|Mike Scott signs autographs for fans at the 2004 All-Star FanFest in Houston on Friday.|
Alyson Footer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.