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Topic: Brandon Backe

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Brandon Allen Backe (born April 5, 1978 in Galveston, Texas) is a starting pitcher in Major League Baseball for the Houston Astros. He joined the team in 2004, after two seasons with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. He was originally a position player, having played in the outfield as a minor leaguer, and having been originally drafted as a second baseman. Columnist Richard Justice described him as the "Robert Horry of baseball" due to his clutch performances. In his career, Backe boasts a 2.95 ERA in his seven postseason appearances, a mark that is almost two earned runs lower than his career ERA.

Backe starred for Ball High School in Galveston, Texas where he was a two-time team MVP in baseball and earned all-district honors. He was selected by the Milwaukee Brewers in the 36th round of the 1996 Major League Baseball Draft, but chose to stay close to home and played his collegiate baseball at Galveston College where he earned third-team All-America honors in 1998. Primarily an infielder, he pitched only 26 total innings for the Whitecaps. Other notable Whitecap players on Backe's team included Pete Orr and Seth Foreman.

Backe was selected by the Tampa Bay Devil Rays in the 18th round of the 1998 Major League Baseball Draft. During his first three seasons in the minor leagues, he played every infield and outfield position. In fact, the two innings that he pitched for the rookie league Princeton Devil Rays in 1998 were the only time he spent on the mound during that time. In spite of his steady glove and versatility, it was clear that a light-hitting utility player had a very small chance of making the major leagues. In 2001, he changed positions to pitcher and found immediate success. He rose through the ranks of the pitching-depleted Tampa Bay system climbing from Single-A to the major leagues in just a season and a half.

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