For Houston Astros fans cheering for a franchise with a terrible farm system, the MLB's worst regular season record and in the process of being sold, the 2005 World Series seems like a distant memory. However, two key contributors from Houston's past, Lance Berkman and Octavio Dotel, will have critical roles in the upcoming 2011 World Series for the St. Louis Cardinals, a long-time rival of the Astros.
Berkman, a fan favorite who played college ball at Rice University and was drafted by the Astros, went to five All-Star games in his time in Houston before being shipped to the New York Yankees at the trade deadline in 2010.
He rebounded with the Cardinals this season, making the All-Star team and winning the NL Comeback Player of the Year Award. He's been a crucial part of St. Louis' post-season line-up, hitting .237/.341/.342 in the clean-up spot between Albert Pujols and Matt Holliday.
Dotel, an excellent reliever in two separate stints with the Astros, is a critical part of a St. Louis bullpen that will likely be tested by the Texas Rangers deep line-up. He's pitched 6.2 innings of middle-relief this post-season with an ERA of only 1.35.