MILWAUKEE -- Jason Lane was front and center for perhaps the biggest out in the history of the Astros. He was playing right field when he caught the final out of the 2005 National League Championship Series in St. Louis, clinching heretofore the Astros' only trip to the World Series.
Lane, who's in his first season as an assistant hitting coach with the Brewers, later hit a home run for the Astros in the World Series, but the promising start to his career didn't quite pan out. The Astros parted ways with him two years later, and Lane would play in only six big league games after leaving Houston.
A two-way player at USC, Lane spent the last seven years as a pitcher in the Minor Leagues and briefly reached the Majors with the Padres in 2014. He was 10-10 with a 5.71 ERA in 28 starts last year at Triple-A El Paso before retiring and being hired as a big league coach in Milwaukee.
"Just to be able to go right from playing in Triple-A to a Major League staff is a pretty incredible opportunity," Lane, 39, said. "I was very fortunate and very humbled to even be considered for that, and I'm excited about the opportunity to be able to share my experiences and perspectives on being on both on sides of the ball. It's been fun."
A sixth-round pick by the Astros in 1999, Lane had a decorated Minor League career in the Astros system before making his Major League debut in 2002 at the age of 25. He had his best season in '05 when he hit .267 with 26 homers and 78 RBIs for the NL champs.
"It was a grind," he said. "It was frustrating because I didn't achieve what I wanted to as a hitter in my time in Houston. I just loved it and was disappointed with how I finished up there, and then once I left there, it was tough. I didn't get back as a hitter, and it was a neat experience to go back to pitching and work my way back up and make it to the big leagues after seven seasons of not being up there. I would have never drawn it up that way, but that's the way it went. I'm content with it."
As far as his place in Astros history, he's content with that, too.
"Certainly the times I was there and what we were able to accomplish as a team and memories of those guys going back to the 2005 [reunion] ceremony last year, it was great to see a lot of those guys and kind of reflect on that experience," he said. "It's my best experience in professional baseball and will always be my best memory to this point."