HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- He's 5'6" and can hit a baseball like the Incredible Hulk.
Houston Astros 2B Jose Altuve has proven to be the leader of a baseball team that has seen the pit of the Majors and now on the verge of the championship summit.
Altuve, who is the shortest active player in Major League Baseball, tried out for the Astros in his native Venezuela in 2007. He was cut from contention, though, because he was considered too small.
Altuve persisted, impressing scouts enough to garner a $15,000 contract at age 17.
After working his way up the Astros farm system, Altuve made his debut in the Majors in July 2011. The very next season, Altuve made his first All-Star team.
In 2013, his play impressed management enough to draw a four-year contract extension.
While his stature is no secret, Altuve's size has drawn a humorous tribute in the form of "How Many Altuves?" The online calculator equates home run distance with Altuve's height.
Thanks to dependable slugging and base running, Altuve has constantly been in the conversation for MVP. In 2016, during a year that the Astros were far from playoff contention, Altuve finished third for the AL MVP race.
In 2017, with the Astros winning their division, Altuve not only won the batting title, he opened the team's playoff run with three home runs. He became only the 9th ballplayer in MLB history to hit three round-trippers in a single playoff game.
At home, Altuve and his wife Nina are parents of a girl Melanie Andrea, who was born in November 2016.
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