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
If I remember correctly and I worked at the Astrodome at the time the “Killer B’s” were born was the lineup, Bagwell, Biaggio, Bell. It was a formidable middle of the lineup and the Astros marketing department was looking for something to initiate interest in the team’s lagging attendance record.
On a personal note, I am glad for the Astros. This will be an exciting time for the city and the team. I spent about 5 years running aroung the hallowed halls of the Astrodome and I know alot of the “players” on the office side of the stadium/team will probably have some very bittersweet memories of our days there. I wonder where Logan,Sage,Tisch,Danny and the rest of the crew are these days? There are always alumni out there and to the new crew, the championship crew, well have a great time.
Yours in Astros alumni,
Growing up in Beaumont, Texas and eventually moving overseas has always kept the Astros in my heart. I spent 1997-2001 living in Singapore so MLB radio was my only hopes of keeping up with the ‘Stros during their torrid years under Larry Dierker. I still sleep under my Orange, Navy, Yellow, and White throw blanket at night, but the Killer B’s have always been part of the Houston Name.
As for the other B’s who might have slipped through the cracks: We have Billy Spiers (Inside the Park Homerun in the Dome), Pat Borders (he tried), Kevin Bass (an original B during the 80s), Paul Bako (Another Catching Prospect). I must admit, the Biggio, Bagwell, and Bell time frame was something special under Terry Collins as 1994 was spend in a whirlwind of strike turmoil, and the Expos threatening to become one of the best teams of the Modern Era. To the B’s of Old and New, congratulations for keeping the Bee Hive Humming.