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White Sox deal Pena to Houston

August 14, 1997

CHICAGO (AP) _ Veteran catcher Tony Pena was traded from the Chicago White Sox to the Houston Astros on Thursday for minor league pitcher Julien Tucker.

Pena, 40, was hitting .164 with eight RBIs in 31 games for the White Sox. The five-time All-Star ranks fourth on baseball’s career games caught list with 1,942, trailing Carlton Fisk (2,226), Bob Boone (2,225) and Gary Carter (2,056).

Pena, who plans to retire at the end of the season, nearly quit upon hearing of the trade.

``The first thing that came to my mind was to say, `This is it,′ ″ Pena said. ``I know as a player, we’re soldiers. We have to be ready for anything. But I wasn’t ready for this one.″

Pena was talked into finishing the season with the first-place Astros by White Sox general manager Ron Schueler.

``I thought this was going to be the last uniform I was going to wear,″ Pena said of the White Sox. ``When I signed this year, I signed because of my association with the players here. They are great human beings. They treated me with a lot of respect.″

``He’s almost like an extra coach, involved with the pitchers,″ Schueler said. ``He’s going to be missed.″

Signed as a free agent by the White Sox in the offseason, Pena started his major league career in 1980 with Pittsburgh and also played for St. Louis, Boston and Cleveland. Pena, who entered the season with a .261 career batting average and 107 homers, played in the World Series in 1987 with St. Louis and in 1995 with Cleveland.

Tucker, 24, was 8-7 with a 5.22 ERA in 34 games at Class A Kissimmee of the Florida State League. The right-hander was 2-0 with a 0.84 ERA in August. He will report to the White Sox’s Class A Hickory team in the South Atlantic League.

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