Birth of the B’s
I get asked all the time where the Astros picked up the nickname "Killer B’s." The question has come up repeatedly in the playoffs as fans around the country want to know why Houston fans are dressed up in bee attire and the public-address system at Minute Maid Park blares a buzzing sound every time an Astro with the requisite consonant comes to the plate, like Craig Biggio, Lance Berkman, Chris Burke or Brad Ausmus.
The truth is former Houston general manager Gerry Hunsicker coined the phrase Killer B’s in December 1994 when he acquired Derek Bell, Doug Brocail, Ricky Gutierrez, Phil Plantier and Craig Shipley from San Diego for Ken Caminiti, Andujar Cedeno, Steve Finley, Roberto Petagine, Sean Fesh and Brian Williams.
Bell was key to the deal for the Astros. The outfielder would hit second behind leadoff man Biggio and ahead of Jeff Bagwell.
The killer bee scare was in the news in those days. Hunsicker, at the press conference to announce the deal, said Bell would "give the Astros a Killer B lineup," and he was proven right.
The Astros added third baseman Sean Berry in 1995 and shortstop Tim Bogar was a starter during the years the Astros won consecutive division crowns from 1997-99. Berkman joined the team in ’99 and, with Biggio and Bagwell, continues to form the nucleus of Houston’s Killer B hive. — Jim Molony / MLB.com