Huston Street is from my current hometown of Austin, Texas. He graduated from the same high school my children. His Dad is somewhat of a local legend, because he was the QB of the 1969 National Championship Texas football team and also pitched for the Longhorns in the College World Series. As an undersized Texas 5A high school football player, Huston gutted out 17 tackles in a losing effort at the state championship game, most of them against future NFL running back Cedric Benson.
As a college baseball player at Texas, Huston Street is widely regarded as one of the best collegiate closers of all time. Street helped his team earn a trip to Omaha and the College World Series (winning the title in 2002) and was named as an All-American every season he was at Texas. His freshman season he set a CWS record for the most saves and won the CWS Most Outstanding Player honors for his amazing work as a closer.
Drafted in the first round by Billy Beane and the Oakland A's, Street only spent a few months in the minor leagues. At the start of the 2005 season, less than a year after being drafted, he became Oakland's closer when incumbent Octavio Dotel went down in May with an elbow injury. He went on to become the AL's Rookie of the Year.
Like most stoppers, He has had some infamous moments: In 2006 he gave up a walk-off three-run home run to Magglio Ordonez of the Detroit Tigers in Game 4 of the 2006 ALCS that ended the A's postseason. In 2009, as a member of the Colorado Rockies In Game 4 of the NLDS, he lost a 4–2 lead, allowing three runs for a Phillies 5–4 win and a series victory.
During this off-season he was traded to the San Diego Padres, where he hopefully will fall into the long line of great Padres closers... Heath Bell, Trevor Hoffman, Rich Gossage, and Rollie Fingers.
Personally, I've had the pleasure of watching and photographing Huston since he was a freshman at Texas. I've also had the opportunity to meet and talk with him many times. On each occasion, he has been nothing but a humble and respectful kid that clearly understands and appreciates how blessed his life has been. Want proof? Read this quote from a 2005 ESPN Magazine article about him:
"People talk about a grind, but I don't get it," he says. "This is my favorite place to be in the whole world. I love the game. I love baseball. How lucky am I, that I get to come out and run around a big field of green, perfectly cut grass? I get to shag balls, I get to play catch, then I get to go in and eat as much food as I want to eat. I mean, people say this job is pressure? The way I see it, I've got nothing to worry about."
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