The starting catcher for the Houston Astros, Ausmus is a two-time National League Gold Glove winning catcher, a Darthmouth graduate, and a 1999 All-Star. In mid-February 2003, Ausmus and the Astros signed a mutual option that will keep him with the team through this season. Houston GM Gerry Hunsicker said, ďItís really important that we sign and keep Brad Ausmus. Heís a very important part of our team, especially in developing our young pitching. We need him.Ē
In 2003, Brad played well for the Astros as he appeared in 143 games; he had an almost flawless though typical for him .997 fielding percentage, having made only three errors.
Brad seems to be the object of a strange mutual regard between Detroit and Houston. He was first traded from Detroit to Houston, then back to Detroit, then back to Houston. A superior defensive backstop, Ausmus not only calls an outstanding game, he is also a fine all-around athlete. He has reached double digits in steals five times during his career.
Ausmus was originally selected by the New York Yankees in the 47th round of the 1987 draft. When Brad initially refused to sign, the Yanks allowed him to attend classes at Dartmouth while playing in the minors. In 1992, he moved to the Colorado Rockies organization in the expansion draft, and finally broke into the majors the following year with the San Diego Padres.
Pressed into regular duty in his rookie season, Ausmus was the Padres started for three seasons. In the middle of the 1996 season, Brad was traded to the Detroit Tigers. He then became a part of a ten-player trade after the 1996 season between the Tigers and the Astros.
Despite his good play, Ausmus was traded back to the Tigers before the 1999 season. During 1999, Brad committed only two errors in 124 games, and led the league with a .097 fielding percentage. Ausmus was chosen as the Tigerís lone representative at the All-Star game.
In 2000, Brad appeared in 150 games, started 140, which was the most ever by a Detroit catcher. That year, he threw out 30 of 74 base runners attempting to steal (43.2%), leading the Al in that category. The Astros regretted having ever traded him (their catcher had thrown out only 22% of base stealers in 2000) and tried to pry him back from the Tigers. On December 12, 2000, Ausmus was traded from Detroit back to Houston. Itís no coincidence that Houstonís stretch of four postseason appearances in five years, began during Bradís first tour of duty with the club, and resumed upon his return.
Ausmus, who shuts down an opponentís running game, had the second best caught-stealing percentage (40%) in the majors in 2001. His worth is more accurately reflected by his celebrated leadership and defense; when he plays the team tends to win. Ausmus played in 130 games in í02 and had a .997 fielding percentage Ė he committed only three errors in 1,010 total chances. The Astros finished with a record of 84-78 and in second place in the NE Central.
A native of Cheshire, CT, Brad was the area high school player of the year in his senor season and was a teammate of NHL defenseman Brian Leetch on the í84 baseball team that won the CT High School Championship.