THE ASTROS ARE
struggling—but not so their big-ticket free agent acquisition. Leftfielder
Carlos Lee signed up for six years and $100 million, then started doing what he
does best: rake. His 80 RBIs were third best in the National League through
Sunday. At 6'2" and 240 pounds, the Panama native isn't just a presence in
the batter's box. He's also a star in another Texas pastime. Meet baseball's
On his approach at
the plate in RBI situations
Hitting with runners in scoring position is different [than with nobody on]. I
try to hit the ball up the middle and cut down my swing to give myself a chance
to drive the guy in.
On the allure of
the short (315 feet) leftfield porch at Minute Maid Park for a righthanded
When I get to a ballpark, I try not to think about the walls. That can take me
away from my game [hitting to the gaps]. At the plate I'm trying to think as
little as possible.
On his earliest
I went to games to watch my dad. He was a centerfielder and an All-Star [in
Aguadulce, Panama]. I was always a batboy. All of us kids would play on the
field when there was a break in the action. Growing up in Latin countries, you
play a lot of sports. Basketball, soccer, football, volleyball. I played them
On his ranching
I've been working on a ranch since I was about five, in Aguadulce. My
grandfather raised cattle, and it's how I spent time with him. On my ranch in
[Wharton County,] Texas, I raise Brahman cattle. My three kids [Cassandra, 6;
Karla, 4; and Karlos, 2] get really excited about the ranches, running around,
spending the whole day with the animals.
I have nine ranches in Panama with different types of stock. In the off-season
I drive around and check them out pretty much every day. About half are
commercial cattle, and the others are for breeding. In Texas, I breed cattle
and export the embryos down to Panama. You can't transport live animals out of
the United States.
On co-owning Mr.
V8 960/5, the Grand Champion bull at the 2006 International Brahman Show in
When you win a livestock show, it's not about making money or winning a prize.
It's about the recognition that says you've got some good cattle.
On why he's not
concerned about handling livestock and has never had a mishap
Brahman is a docile breed. It's not a crazy cattle. When I see a difficult
situation, I stay outside [the fence]. I play it smart.
On a favorite
Calf roping [which he does only during the off-season]. It gets me away from
baseball. It gives me something that I can enjoy to escape from the game.
On what he'd be
doing if he hadn't become a baseball player
I always wanted to be an electrical engineer. I got involved with baseball and
went a different way, but I always liked science in school.