Interview Date: June 19, 2015
Drayton McLane wanted to change things for the Astros and early advice told him that pitching was the key. To accomplish this, McLane decided to make his front three guys Doug Drabek, Pete Harnisch, and the big arm of Greg Swindell.
Swindell started his career in the Indians organization and quickly found himself pitching against major league players. "It was a dream come true. I never thought I would be called up after only three weeks. It was all a blur pitching for the Waco Pirates, Liberal BeeJays, and then the Indians." Swindell would quickly dominate the competition with 72 wins and an ERA of 3.60, which was fairly low for the Steroid Era.
Astros fans were excited to see the new owner seemingly dedicated to returning to a playoff-contending team. Swindell was equally excited to join the Astros. "Growing up in Houston and then playing for the home team was fun!" But fate had a different plan for Swindell. His ERA ballooned past 4.50 and suddenly he found himself battling an injury. "I wish I would have pitched better from a personal basis. We had really good teams, the start of what was to become a contender. I just couldn't get over the hump."
In 1996, giving up on Swindell, the Astros released him. It was a huge mistake. He would join a few other clubs before his luck changed. In 1999, joining many other former Astros, Greg Swindell was signed by the Arizona Diamondbacks. This crew of former Astros players would take a World Series victory out of the jaws of the Yankees and Swindell was almost perfect. "It was a dream come true. From start to finish, the chemistry was there. The ownership wanted to win. It was awesome." In typical Astros fashion, the team gave up on a pitcher right before they turned into one of the best in baseball.
Currently, Swindell is now working with the Longhorn Network. "I spend my time working for the Longhorn Network, baseball games, and loving Texas living my life at fifty years old." It is not his only passion. "My son is autistic and I just try to raise awareness about Autism and try to help families cope." If you are interested in donating in the name of Swindell's son, Autism Speaks does amazing work and every dollar helps!