In the nineties and into the early part of this century, the lowly Houston Astros had a trio of players called the Killer Bees, all players whose surname began with a B. Most people can name the first two and most prominent of the three, Craig Biggio and Jeff Bagwell, but have trouble with the third.
There were a number of players whose name began with a B in this era. The first was Derek Bell, who played with the Astros from 1995 to 1999. He was an outfielder and the first of the number three Killer Bees. The most prominent and the player most thought of when thinking of the Killer Bees is Lance Berkman.
From 1999 until 2005, these three played together on the Astros. Biggio who came up as a catcher in 1988, mostly played the outfield and second base and was elected to the Hall of Fame this year. He had a career batting average of .281 in his 20 year career with the Astros and accumulated 3,060 hits.
Bagwell, a first baseman for his entire career, played with the Astros from 1991-2005. He had a career batting average of .298 and hit 449 home runs, had 1,529 RBI’s and 2,314 hits for Houston.
Unlike the other two, Berkman did not play his entire career with the Astros. He was an Astro from 1999-2010 and hit .296 with them with 326 homers and 1,090 RBI’s. He went on to play with the Yankees, Rangers and Cardinals hitting an additional 40 homers to total 366 for his career.
In case you were wondering why their fans affectionately called them the Killer Bees, the three of them hit a grand total of 1,066 home runs for the Astros and drove in 3,794 runs.
Those Killer Bees are long gone but there is a new group of Killer Bees making their presence felt in the Major Leagues. Xander Bogaerts, Mookie Betts and Jackie Bradley are quickly becoming the Red Sox version of the Killer Bees.
If you haven’t looked lately, Betts just hit in his 16th consecutive game last night and has raised his average to .285 with 14 homers and an impressive 70 RBI’s out of the lead off slot. Bogaerts got three more hits last night and raised his average to .321, second highest in the American League, with 169 hits, also second in the league. Bradley, who was hitting .174 on August 14, is now hitting .293 after going 32 for 81 since then, for a .395 average.
The three are all locked in long term to the Sox with Bogaerts and Bradley not becoming eligible for Free Agency until 2020 and Betts until 2021. These are not the only young Sox who make the future look bright for the Boston Red Sox but these new Killer Bees could form the nucleus of many successful Red Sox teams for the near future.