Altuve's just the ninth player in MLB history to accomplish the feat in a postseason game, according to MLB.com's David Adler: Verlander had barely touched down with his new team when he was talking with Dallas Keuchel in the dugout before a game early one afternoon, a couple of Cy Young Award winners strengthening their acquaintance. And later, during a quiet moment amid the din of what could be stamped this month as the greatest season in team history, Keuchel laid out what regularly echoes throughout the clubhouse when you spend time with the Astros."The more you get to know him, the greater you think he is," Keuchel tells B/R. He loves music; he's always singing and dancing."You hear about his tryout in Venezuela. To see the perseverance and work ethic he put into this game, into his job..see a bunch of guys float toward that.""I feel proud to have him as a friend," says teammate Marwin Gonzalez, Altuve's frequent carpool partner to Minute Maid Park and friend since they were 17 back home in their native Venezuela.As Altuve walked by, he made a point to stop."Hey, Justin," Altuve said. Adds Chris Devenski, Houston's All-Star reliever: "It's an honor to be in his presence. For him to have the heart and determination to follow his dream and not listen to doubters..."At 5'6", Altuve is the shortest player in the majors since the 5'5" Freddie Patek, who retired after the 1981 season.They started texting for ages and some of the messages ended up getting quite saucy. He was a fan of her gym selfies and thought that she had an amazing body.“Olly was getting in shape at the time and Mel really loved his new fit bod.
And Verlander's love for Altuve grew even more on Thursday, as he flexed his MVP muscle with an incredible three home runs in ALDS Game 1 against the Boston Red Sox—putting Verlander in line for a big postseason win. You're second."Another pause."You're tied with everyone else."Verlander and Keuchel roared with laughter, then continued their conversation as Altuve sauntered off toward whatever was next on his to-do list that afternoon. He's a guy who can make you laugh at any point in time.Now in his second season as Houston's assistant hitting coach, Alonzo Powell won consecutive Japanese Central League batting titles from 1994-96 at the same time Ichiro Suzuki was winning batting titles in the Japanese Pacific League."I know Ichiro well," Powell says. Altuve had more hits (1,250 in 982 games) than Pete Rose did (1,204) at the same stage of their careers. Altuve was a teenage minor leaguer, and Biggio, already a legend headed for Cooperstown, was conducting an on-field seminar on baserunning. He figured maybe Pedrique could see something beyond 5'5". As he watched, Pedrique, impressed, turned to Ramos."Does he play like this every game? ON THE LAST Sunday in August, their city under water from Hurricane Harvey and their families stranded at home without them, the Astros finished a game in Anaheim, California, and then flew into a holding pattern in Dallas."And I never thought I'd say that I would see a better hitter than Ichiro."But three months into the season last year, I made that concession."Ichiro, Wade Boggs, Tony Gwynn..in the United States and abroad, Powell has seen and played against several Hall of Famers and legends, and he says Altuve is the best he's ever seen. They were discussing leads and breaks and angles and, when the group session ended, Altuve jogged over and shook Biggio's hand."Thank you very much," he said before trotting off to the morning's next drill. Maybe he could see hustle and heart, desire and determination. They could not get home; MLB was still unsure of the location of their next game.The idea, floated in some circles, that he was so little that the Astros sent him home because they didn't believe he had reached the legal tryout age of 16 is pure hogwash."This is what happened," Altuve tells B/R, beginning an inspirational yarn for the ages. For a time, the working plan was this: Once their off day came on Monday in Dallas, they would rent cars and drive as far as they could until they reached the point where the roads were flooded.There were a bunch of scouts gathered on that day, and they absolutely knew how old he was because clubs do thorough and exhaustive research. And they decide to let me go."There were maybe 50 or 60 players there, Altuve recalls, and the Astros invited roughly 20 back. This was not the first time baseball had thrown a fastball by him. Then, they would secure boats and take those as far as they could.