CINCINNATI -- More than 25 years after having his All-Star career derailed with a Mike Torrez fastball to the eye, Dickie Thon's offensive prowess hasn't been forgotten by Astros fans.
Thon, who hit .286 with 20 homers, 89 RBIs and 34 stolen bases in 154 games in 1983 before his frightening injury early in the '84 season, is the leading vote-getter among Astros' shortstops in the All-Time 9s voting. He leads by fewer than 300 votes over Denis Menke, who hit .304 with 13 homers and 92 RBIs in 1970.
More than 4.1 million votes have been cast since the 9/9/09 debut of the "All-Time 9s," a platform for fans to debate the greatest single-season performances for all 30 Major League franchises. The voting marks the start of MLB.com's Lineup Card campaign, a gathering place for the posting and never-ending discussion of the greatest past and present lineups.
Here's a look at how the Astros' closest races are shaping up:
Morgan Ensberg, an All-Star in 2005 when he hit 36 homers with 101 RBIs, and the late Ken Caminiti are battling neck-and-neck for the lead at third base, with Ensberg leading by about 700 votes. Caminiti hit .283 with 18 homers and 75 RBIs in 1994.
Mike Hampton's swing has given him the lead at pitcher over Joe Niekro. Hampton hit .311 with 10 RBIs for the Astros in 1999 -- the season he won 22 games -- and Niekro, the Astros' all-time leader in wins, hit .275 with 10 RBIs en route to leading the Astros to the National League West title in 1980.
In the outfield, Moises Alou, Lance Berkman and Richard Hidalgo are paving the way, leaving All-Star outfielders Carlos Lee and Hunter Pence in need of some votes. Alou hit .355 with 30 homers and 114 RBIs in 2000, Berkman hit .331 with 34 homers and 136 RBIs in '01, and Hidalgo slugged his way to a .314 average, 44 homers and 122 RBIs in '00.
Brian McTaggart is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.