HOUSTON -- When your team has a player inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame, pulls off a stunning trade, wins the World Series and produces a Most Valuable Player Award winner in the same year, there are enough highlights to fill Minute Maid Park.If you've followed the Astros all
HOUSTON -- When your team has a player inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame, pulls off a stunning trade, wins the World Series and produces a Most Valuable Player Award winner in the same year, there are enough highlights to fill Minute Maid Park.
If you've followed the Astros all the season, you're probably no stranger to the high points and have probably re-lived them as much as you can since the Astros beat the Dodgers in the Fall Classic. But it's never too late to do it again.
So fasten your seatbelts and get ready to smile all over again. We may have given some of them away already, but here are the Astros' top storylines from an unforgettable 2017.
1. Astros win the World Series. In the franchise's 56th year of existence, the Astros won their first World Series title, taking down the Dodgers in seven games in the Fall Classic. Outfielder George Springer -- the World Series Most Valuable Player -- belted a two-run homer in the second inning of Game 7 off Yu Darvish to give the Astros a 5-0 lead, and Charlie Morton threw the final four innings to get the win. When Corey Seager grounded out to Jose Altuve to end the 5-1 victory, the Astros mobbed each other at Dodger Stadium while fans in Houston cheered and cried. The Astros finally had their championship.
2. Jose Altuve named AL MVP. Altuve, who joined Jeff Bagwell as the only MVP Award winners in the franchise's 56-year history, received 27 of 30 first-place votes in balloting by the Baseball Writers' Association of America. Altuve made his fifth All-Star team in 2017 and won his third career and second consecutive batting title while leading the Majors with a .346 batting average. He also led the AL in hits (204) and became the first player in Major League history to be the outright leader in hits in his league in four consecutive seasons.
3. Astros overcome Hurricane Harvey. The category 4 hurricane made landfall in Rockport, Texas, in late August and had been downgraded to a tropical storm by the time it stalled over southeast Texas and dumped 50 inches of rain on the Houston area. The Astros were forced to relocate a series against the Rangers to St. Petersburg, Fla., before returning home to face the Mets and help rally a suffering city. When the team finally returned home, manager A.J. Hinch led the players to a shelter in Houston to assist those who were displaced. Before the next day's game at Minute Maid Park -- the first in Houston since Hurricane Harvey -- he took the microphone and addressed the crowd and thanked the fans for their resilience.
4. Justin Verlander joins the Astros. Verlander, the former AL Cy Young winner and AL MVP Award winner with the Tigers, joined the Astros on Aug. 31 in a blockbuster deal with the Tigers. He went 5-0 with a 1.06 ERA to end the regular season and was named the MVP of the AL Championship Series. As great of a season as the Astros were having before Verlander arrived in Houston, they probably don't win the World Series without him.
5. Bagwell inducted into the Hall of Fame. In his seventh time on the ballot, the former Astros slugger received 86.2 percent of the vote in balloting by the BBWAA and joined Craig Biggio as the only players in the Hall of Fame with Astros caps on their plaques. The 1991 National League Rookie of the Year Award winner and '94 NL MVP Award winner, Bagwell hit .297 with 2,314 hits, 449 homers, 1,529 RBIs, 1,517 runs scored and a .408 on-base percentage in 15 seasons in Houston (1991-2005).
Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter.