The Big Deal

Arrival of Verlander, Upton gave Astros star power and a World Series title

Arrival of Verlander, Upton gave Astros star power and a World Series

Astros Justin Verlander celebrates with Kate Upton after Game 7 of ALCS
The arrival of Justin Verlander (and Kate Upton) put the Astros over the top Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

The Astros won the World Series by two seconds.

That was how much time was left when they completed the deal to land Justin Verlander on August 31. And make no mistake, without Verlander, the Astros don’t even make — much less win — the World Series.

Verlander was near perfect as an Astro. He did not win a game in the Series, but his presence was huge.

He brought a Hall of Fame resume. He brought star power. And he brought Kate Upton.

When it mattered most, he helped bring Houston a championship.

It almost did not happen. The deal went down to the wire because Verlander was not sure he wanted to come to Houston. In reality, he wanted to go to LA, where he has a home. But the Dodgers did not want to take on his contract, and instead opted for Yu Darvish.

And Houston will be forever grateful.

The city was reeling from Hurricane Harvey. The Astros were faltering, losing the best record in the AL to the Indians. Players grumbled about the team not making any moves at the first trade deadline. A promising season was falling apart.

Then came August 31. The Astros worked out a deal, but had to wait for Verlander to approve it. Phone calls were made back and forth. Verlander and Upton debated, then decided. The paperwork went in two seconds before the deadline. Verlander’s arrival energized the city. The team. He was instantly embraced by both, and immediately made himself at home. By the end of the season, it felt like he had been here forever.

And the rest is history.

Astros history, as in the first World Series win in the franchise’s long, somewhat checkered past.

And make no mistake, it does not happen without the Verlander trade. 

The end result was a moment that was over 50 years in the making.

And it all came down to two seconds.

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This column originally appeared on SportsMap.