José Carlos Altuve was born and spent his childhood in Maracay, Venezuela. He is the shortest active MLB player at 5’6” and the 2017 American League MVP.
When he was 16, Altuve attended a Houston Astros’ tryout camp but was not allowed to participate due to his height and team scouts believing he was lying about his age. However, Altuve soon returned to the camp with his birth certificate and was allowed to compete. After impressing team officials with his play, the Houston Astros signed him to a contract on March 6, 2007, with a $15,000 bonus.
In 2008, Altuve moved to the United States and played for the Greeneville Astros in the Rookie-level Appalachian League and hit .284 in 40 games. The following year he batted .324 with 21 stolen bases in just 45 games, earning him a spot on the league’s All-Star team. In 2011, he was promoted to the major leagues.
Altuve represented the Astros in the 2012 All-Star Game. He broke Craig Biggio’s franchise single-season hit record of 210 hits in 2014, finishing the season at 225 hits and named the American League’s best hitting second baseman, winning the Silver Slugger award. In 2015, Altuve was awarded his the Rawlings Gold Glove Award, for being the American League’s best fielding second basemen. He also received his second consecutive Silver Slugger Award.
Altuve became a World Series champion in 2017 when the Houston Astros defeated the National League Champion Los Angeles Dodgers. For the season, Altuve was named the AL Most Valuable Player, becoming the second Astro to win the award. Also during 2017, Altuve was a co-winner of the Sports Illustrated Sportsperson of the Year Award for his efforts in leading the Astros to their first World Series title and aiding in the recovery of the Greater Houston area in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey.
To date, Altuve has appeared in 5 All-Star games, won 4 Silver Sluggers, been the American League batting champion 3 times, and been the American League stolen base leader twice. He has also won a Gold Glove, the Hank Aaron award, an American League MVP award, and a World Series ring.