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Houston Astros

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Houston Astros
2022 Houston Astros season
Houston-Astros-Logo.svgHouston Astros cap logo.svg
Team logoCap insignia
Major league affiliations
Current uniform
MLB-ALW-HOU-Uniform.png
Retired numbers
Colors
  • Dark blue, orange, white[a][2][3]
         
Name
  • Houston Astros (1965–present)
  • Houston Colt .45s (19621964)
Other nicknames
Ballpark
Major league titles
World Series titles (2)
AL Pennants (4)
NL Pennants (1)2005
AL West Division titles (5)
NL Central Division titles (4)
NL West Division titles (3)
Wild card berths (4)
Front office
Principal owner(s)Jim Crane
General managerBill Firkus (interim)
ManagerDusty Baker

The Houston Astros are an American professional baseball team based in Houston, Texas. The Astros compete in Major League Baseball (MLB) as a member club of the American League (AL) West division, having moved to the division in 2013 after spending their first 51 seasons in the National League (NL).[4][5]

The Astros were established as the Houston Colt .45s and entered the National League as an expansion team in 1962 along with the New York Mets. The current name, reflecting Houston's role as the host of the Johnson Space Center, was adopted three years later, when they moved into the Astrodome, the first domed sports stadium and the so-called "Eighth Wonder of the World." The Astros moved to a new stadium called Minute Maid Park in 2000.[6] The Astros played in the NL West division from 1969 to 1993, then the NL Central division from 1994 to 2012, before being moved to the AL West as part of a MLB realignment in 2013.

The Astros posted their first winning record in 1972 and made the playoffs for the first time in 1980. Spearheaded by the Killer B's, a collection of prominent hitters that included the Astros' only Hall of Fame members Craig Biggio and Jeff Bagwell, the Astros began reaching major prominence in the early 2000s, culminating in their first World Series appearance in 2005 but were swept by the AL’s Chicago White Sox. After a major slump throughout the next decade, the team was purchased by business owner Jim Crane in 2011 for $680 million. Under Crane's ownership, the Astros embraced sabermetrics and pioneered new analytical technologies in their transition to the American League, and by the mid-2010s has transformed from a poor franchise into one of MLB's most dominant and successful clubs in the midst of a golden era, winning over 100 games in three straight seasons. During this time, the Astros won the 2017 World Series, their first championship, against the Los Angeles Dodgers in seven games in the wake of Hurricane Harvey; they made later appearances in 2019 against the Washington Nationals, 2021 against the Atlanta Braves, and 2022 against the Philadelphia Phillies, winning their second title in the latter series. They are the only team to win a postseason series in six straight seasons.

During the 2019–2020 off-season, the Astros became the prime suspect in a MLB-wide sign stealing scandal that took place during the 2017 and 2018 seasons, resulting in the suspensions of manager A. J. Hinch and general manager Jeff Luhnow; Crane later fired and replaced them with Dusty Baker and James Click respectively. The Astros' roles in the scandal, as well as what were believed to be minimal punishments for its players, have caused the Astros to become one of the most hated baseball teams in the modern age.[7][8] Despite this, the Astros have continued to be successful, appearing in a record six consecutive American League Championship Series and winning four of the last six American League pennants. Their fifth pennant in 2022 made them the second team created in the expansion era to win five league pennants (after the New York Mets), and they are the fifth expansion team to have won two World championships. Because of this success, the Astros are widely considered to be a modern sports dynasty.[9][10]

From 1962 through the end of the 2022 season, the Astros' all-time record is 4,831-4,820 (.501). In addition to having the most postseason appearances by an expansion team, they are the only expansion era team with an all-time winning record.[11]

Discover more about Houston Astros related topics

American League

American League

The American League of Professional Baseball Clubs, known simply as the American League (AL), is one of two leagues that make up Major League Baseball (MLB) in the United States and Canada. It developed from the Western League, a minor league based in the Great Lakes states, which eventually aspired to major league status. It is sometimes called the Junior Circuit because it claimed Major League status for the 1901 season, 25 years after the formation of the National League.

American League West

American League West

The American League West is one of Major League Baseball's six divisions. The division has five teams as of the 2013 season, but had four teams from 1994 to 2012, and had as many as seven teams before the 1994 realignment. Although its teams currently only reside along the west coast and in Texas, historically the division has had teams as far east as Chicago. From 1998 to 2012, the AL West was the only MLB division with four teams. The current champion of this division is the Houston Astros. In 2013, the Houston Astros went from the National League Central to the AL West. That move gives all six MLB divisions an equal five teams and both leagues an equal 15 teams each.

1962 Major League Baseball season

1962 Major League Baseball season

The 1962 Major League Baseball season was contested from April 9 to October 16, 1962. The National League (NL) added two teams via expansion, the Houston Colt .45s and New York Mets. This marked the return of the NL to New York City after a four-year absence, although the Mets would lose 120 games and finish in last place. All major league teams now played 162-game schedules, which had been adopted by the American League (AL) the prior season, with each team facing the nine other clubs in the same league 18 times during the season.

Astrodome

Astrodome

The NRG Astrodome, also known as the Houston Astrodome or simply the Astrodome, is the world's first multi-purpose, domed sports stadium, located in Houston, Texas. It was financed and assisted in development by Roy Hofheinz, mayor of Houston and known for pioneering modern stadiums. Construction on the stadium began in 1962, and it officially opened in 1965. It served as home to the Houston Astros of Major League Baseball (MLB) from its opening until 1999, and the home to the Houston Oilers of the National Football League (NFL) from 1968 until 1996, and also the part-time home of the Houston Rockets of the National Basketball Association (NBA) from 1971 until 1975. Additionally, the Astrodome was the primary venue of the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo from 1966 until 2002. When opened, it was named the Harris County Domed Stadium and was nicknamed the "Eighth Wonder of the World".

2000 Major League Baseball season

2000 Major League Baseball season

The 2000 Major League Baseball season ended with the New York Yankees defeating the New York Mets in five games, for their third consecutive World Series title. The 2000 World Series was known as the Subway Series because both fans and the two teams could take the subway to and from every game of the series.

2005 World Series

2005 World Series

The 2005 World Series was the championship series of Major League Baseball's (MLB) 2005 season. The 101st edition of the World Series, it was a best-of-seven playoff between the American League (AL) champion Chicago White Sox and the National League (NL) champion Houston Astros. The White Sox swept the Astros in four games, winning their third World Series championship and their first in 88 years. The series was played between October 22–26, 2005.

2017 World Series

2017 World Series

The 2017 World Series was the championship series of Major League Baseball's (MLB) 2017 season. The 113th edition of the World Series, it was a best-of-seven playoff played between the National League (NL) champion Los Angeles Dodgers and the American League (AL) champion Houston Astros. The series was played between October 24 and November 1.

2019 World Series

2019 World Series

The 2019 World Series was the championship series of Major League Baseball's (MLB) 2019 season. The 115th edition of the World Series, it was a best-of-seven playoff between the American League champion Houston Astros and the National League champion Washington Nationals. The series was played from October 22 to October 30. The Nationals won the series, four games to three, to secure their first title in franchise history and first in the capital city since the 1924 series. Washington pitcher Stephen Strasburg was named the World Series Most Valuable Player (MVP) after earning two wins in the series.

2021 World Series

2021 World Series

The 2021 World Series was the championship series of Major League Baseball's (MLB) 2021 season. The 117th World Series was a best-of-seven playoff between the National League (NL) champion Atlanta Braves and the American League (AL) champion Houston Astros. The series began on October 26 and concluded on November 2.

2022 World Series

2022 World Series

The 2022 World Series was the championship series of Major League Baseball's (MLB) 2022 season. The 118th edition of the World Series, it was a best-of-seven playoff between the American League (AL) champion Houston Astros and the National League (NL) champion Philadelphia Phillies. The Astros defeated the Phillies in six games to earn their second championship. The series was broadcast in the United States on Fox television and ESPN Radio.

A. J. Hinch

A. J. Hinch

Andrew Jay Hinch is an American professional baseball coach and former player who is the manager of the Detroit Tigers of Major League Baseball (MLB). Hinch played catcher for the Oakland Athletics (1998–2000), Kansas City Royals (2001–2002), Detroit Tigers (2003), and Philadelphia Phillies (2004).

American League Championship Series

American League Championship Series

The American League Championship Series (ALCS) is a best-of-seven playoff and one of two League Championship Series comprising the penultimate round of Major League Baseball's (MLB) postseason. It is contested by the two winners of the American League (AL) Division Series. The winner of the ALCS wins the AL pennant and advances to the World Series, MLB's championship series, to play the winner of the National League's (NL) Championship Series. The ALCS began in 1969 as a best-of-five playoff and used this format until 1985, when it changed to its current best-of-seven format.

Franchise history

Major League Baseball comes to Texas

1905 Houston Buffaloes team photo
1905 Houston Buffaloes team photo

From 1888 until 1961, Houston's professional baseball club was the minor league Houston Buffaloes. Although expansion from the National League eventually brought an MLB team to Texas in 1962, Houston officials had been making efforts to do so for years prior, with a group effort led in 1952 to buy the St. Louis Cardinals for $4.25 million, but local owners were instead chosen.[12][13] There were four men chiefly responsible for bringing Major League Baseball to Houston: journalist/promoter George Kirksey, Craig Cullinan Jr., R.E. "Bob" Smith, a prominent oilman and real estate magnate in Houston who like Cullinan was brought in for his financial resources, and Judge Roy Hofheinz, a former Mayor of Houston and Harris County Judge who was recruited for his salesmanship and political style. They founded the Houston Sports Association as their vehicle for attaining a big league franchise for the city of Houston.[14]

Given MLB's refusal to consider expansion, Kirksey, Cullinan, Smith, and Hofheinz joined forces with would-be owners from other cities and announced the formation of a new league to compete with the established National and American Leagues. They called the new league the Continental League. Wanting to protect potential new markets, both existing leagues chose to expand from eight teams to ten. However, plans eventually fell through for the Houston franchise after the Houston Buffaloes owner, Marty Marion, could not come to an agreement with the HSA to sell the team.[15] To make matters worse, the Continental League as a whole folded in August 1960.

However, on October 17, 1960, the National League granted an expansion franchise to the Houston Sports Association for them to begin play in the 1962 season. According to the Major League Baseball Constitution, the Houston Sports Association was required to obtain territorial rights from the Houston Buffaloes in order to play in the Houston area, resulting in the HSA revisiting negotiations.[16][17] Eventually, the Houston Sports Association succeeded in purchasing the Houston Buffaloes, which were at this point majority-owned by William Hopkins, on January 17, 1961.[18] The Buffs played one last minor league season as the top farm team of the Chicago Cubs in 1961 before being succeeded by the city's NL club.

The new Houston team was named the Colt .45s after a "Name the Team" contest was won by William Irving Neder. The Colt .45 was well known as "the gun that won the west."[19] The colors selected were navy and orange. The first team was formed mostly through an expansion draft after the 1961 season. The Colt .45s and their expansion cousins, the New York Mets, took turns choosing players left unprotected by the other National League franchises.

Many players and staff associated with the Houston Buffaloes organization continued in the major leagues. Manager Harry Craft, who had joined Houston in 1961, remained in the same position for the team until the end of the 1964 season. General manager Spec Richardson also continued with the organization as business manager but was later promoted back to GM for the Astros from 1967 until 1975. Although most players for the major league franchise were obtained through the 1961 Major League Baseball expansion draft, Buffs players J.C. Hartman, Pidge Browne, Jim Campbell, Ron Davis, Dave Giusti, and Dave Roberts were chosen to continue as major league ball players.

Similarly, the radio broadcasting team remained with the new Houston major league franchise. Loel Passe worked alongside Gene Elston as a color commentator until he retired from broadcasting in 1976. Elston continued with the Astros until 1986.

The Colt .45s began their existence playing at Colt Stadium, a temporary venue built just north of the construction site of their permanent home, a domed stadium. Hofheinz and his partners believed a domed stadium was a must for MLB to be viable in Houston, given the area's oppressive humidity.

1962–1964: The Colt .45s

Colt .45s uniform
Colt .45s uniform

The Colt .45s started their inaugural season on April 10, 1962, against the Chicago Cubs with Harry Craft as the Colt .45s' manager. Bob Aspromonte scored the first run for the Colt .45s on an Al Spangler triple in the first inning.[20] They started the season with a three-game sweep of the Cubs but eventually finished eighth among the National League's ten teams. The team's best pitcher, Richard "Turk" Farrell, lost 20 games despite an ERA of 3.02. A starter for the Colt .45s, Farrell was primarily a relief pitcher prior to playing for Houston. He was selected to both All-Star Games in 1962.

The 1963 season saw more young talent mixed with seasoned veterans. Jimmy Wynn, Rusty Staub, and Joe Morgan all made their major league debuts in the 1963 season. However, Houston's position in the standings did not improve, as the Colt .45s finished in ninth place with a 66–96 record. The team was still building, trying to find that perfect mix to compete.[14] The 1964 campaign began on a sad note, as relief pitcher Jim Umbricht died of cancer at the age of 33 on April 8, just before Opening Day.[21] Umbricht was the only Colt .45s pitcher to post a winning record in Houston's first two seasons. He was so well liked by players and fans that the team retired his jersey number, 32, in 1965.[22]

Just on the horizon, the structure of the new domed stadium was more prevalent and it would soon change the way that baseball was watched in Houston and around the league. On December 1, 1964, the team announced the name change from the Colt .45s to the "Astros."[23][24][25]

1965–1970: The Great Indoors

With Judge Roy Hofheinz now the sole owner of the franchise and the new venue complete, the renamed Astros moved into their new domed stadium, the Astrodome, in 1965. The name honored Houston's position as the center of the nation's space program- NASA's new Manned Spacecraft Center had recently opened southeast of the city. The Astrodome, coined the "Eighth Wonder of the World", did little to improve the home team's results on the field. While several "indoor" firsts were accomplished, the team still finished ninth in the standings. The attendance was high not because of the team's accomplishments, but because people came from miles around to see the Astrodome.

Houston Astrodome Scoreboard pictured during a June 7, 1969 game between the Astros and Cardinals
Houston Astrodome Scoreboard pictured during a June 7, 1969 game between the Astros and Cardinals
The Astrodome in 1965
The Astrodome in 1965

Just as the excitement was settling down over the Astrodome, the 1966 season found something new to put the domed stadium in the spotlight once again – the field. Grass would not grow in the new park, since the roof panels had been painted to reduce the glare that was causing players on both the Astros and the visiting teams to miss routine pop flies. A new artificial turf was created called "AstroTurf" and Houston would be involved in yet another change in the way the game was played.[26]

With new manager Grady Hatton, the Astros started the 1966 season strong. By May they were in second place in the National League and looked like a team that could contend. Joe Morgan was named as a starter on the All-Star Team. The success did not last as they lost Jimmy Wynn for the season after he crashed into an outfield fence in Philadelphia and Morgan had broken his knee cap.[14] The 1967 season saw first baseman Eddie Mathews join the Astros. The slugger hit his 500th home run while in Houston. He would be traded late in the season and Doug Rader would be promoted to the big leagues. Rookie Don Wilson pitched a no-hitter on June 18. Wynn also provided some enthusiasm in 1967. The 5 ft 9 in Wynn was becoming known not only for how often he hit home runs, but also for how far he hit them. Wynn set club records with 37 home runs, and 107 RBIs. It was also in 1967 that Wynn hit his famous home run onto Interstate 75 in Cincinnati.[27] As the season came to a close, the Astros found themselves again in ninth place and with a winning percentage below .500. The team looked good on paper, but could not make it work on the field.

April 15, 1968, saw a pitching duel for the ages. The Astros' Don Wilson and the Mets' Tom Seaver faced each other in a battle that lasted six hours. Seaver went ten innings, allowing no walks and just two hits. Wilson went nine innings, allowing five hits and three walks. After the starters exited, eleven relievers (seven for the Mets and four for the Astros) tried to end the game. The game finally ended in the 24th inning when Aspromonte hit a shot toward Mets shortstop Al Weis. Weis had been perfect all night at short, but he was not quick enough to make the play. The ball zipped into left field, allowing Norm Miller to score.[28]

With baseball expansion and trades, the Astros had dramatically changed in 1969. Aspromonte was sent to the Braves and Staub was traded to the expansion Montreal Expos, in exchange for outfielder Jesús Alou and first baseman Donn Clendenon. However, Clendenon refused to report to Houston, electing to retire and take job with a pen manufacturing company. The Astros asked Commissioner Bowie Kuhn to void the trade, but he refused. Instead, he awarded Jack Billingham and a left-handed relief pitcher to the Astros to complete the trade. Cuellar was traded to the Baltimore Orioles for Curt Blefary. Other new players included catcher Johnny Edwards, infielder Denis Menke and pitcher Denny Lemaster. Wilson continued to pitch brilliantly and on May 1 threw the second no-hitter of his career. In that game, he struck out 18 batters, tying what was then the all-time single-game mark. He was just 24 years of age and was second to only Sandy Koufax for career no-hit wins. Wilson's no-hitter lit the Astros' fire after a miserable month of April, and six days later the team tied a major league record by turning seven double plays in a game. By May's end, the Astros had put together a ten-game winning streak. The Houston infield tandem of Menke and Joe Morgan continued to improve, providing power at the plate and great defense. Morgan had 15 homers and stole 49 bases while Menke led the Astros with 90 RBIs. The Menke/Morgan punch was beginning to come alive, and the team was responding to Walker's management style. The Astros dominated the season series against their expansion twins, the New York Mets. In one game at New York, Denis Menke and Jimmy Wynn hit grand slams in the same inning, against a Mets team that would go on to win the World Series that same year. The Astros finished the 1969 season with a record of 81 wins, 81 losses, marking their first season of .500 ball.

In 1970, the Astros were expected to be a serious threat in the National League West. In June, 19-year-old César Cedeño was called up and immediately showed signs of being a superstar. The Dominican outfielder batted .310 after being called up. Not to be outdone, Menke batted .304 and Jesús Alou batted .306. The Astros' batting average was up by 19 points compared to the season before.[27][29] The team looked good, but the Astros' ERA was up. Larry Dierker and Wilson had winning records, but the pitching staff as a whole had an off season. Houston finished in fourth place in 1970.

1971–1974: The boys in orange

The fashion trends of the 1970s had started taking root in baseball. Long hair and loud colors were starting to appear on team uniforms, including the Astros'. In 1971 the Astros made some changes to their uniform: they kept the same style they had in previous seasons, but inverted the colors. What was navy was now orange and what was orange was now a lighter shade of blue. The players' last names were added to the back of the jerseys. In 1972, the uniform fabric was also changed to what was at the time revolutionizing the industry – polyester. Belts were replaced by elastic waistbands, and jerseys zipped up instead of having buttons. The uniforms became popular with fans, but would last only until 1975, when the Astros would shock baseball and the fashion world.[30]

The uniforms were about the only thing that did change in 1971. The acquisition of Roger Metzger from the Chicago Cubs in the off-season moved Menke to first base and Bob Watson to the outfield. The Astros got off to a slow start and the pitching and hitting averages were down. Larry Dierker was selected to the All-Star Game in 1971, but due to an arm injury he could not make it. César Cedeño led the club with 81 RBIs and the league with 40 doubles, but batted just .264 and had 102 strikeouts in his second season with the Astros.[31] Pitcher J. R. Richard made his debut in September of the 1971 season against the Giants.

The Big Trade

Hall of Famer Joe Morgan (1963–1971, 1980) was traded to Cincinnati following the 1971 season
Hall of Famer Joe Morgan (1963–1971, 1980) was traded to Cincinnati following the 1971 season

In November 1971 the Astros and Cincinnati Reds made one of the biggest blockbuster trades in the history of the sport,[32] and helped create The Big Red Machine of the 1970s,[33] with the Reds getting the better end of the deal. Houston sent second baseman Joe Morgan, infielder Denis Menke, pitcher Jack Billingham, outfielder César Gerónimo and prospect Ed Armbrister to Cincinnati for first baseman Lee May, second baseman Tommy Helms and infielder Jimmy Stewart. The trade left Astros fans and the baseball world scratching their heads as to why general manager Spec Richardson would give up so much for so little. The Reds, on the other hand, would shore up many problems. They had an off year in 1971, but were the National League Pennant winner in 1972.[32]

The Astros' acquisition of Lee May added more power to the lineup in 1972. May, Wynn, Rader and Cedeño all had 20 or more home runs and Watson hit 16. Cedeño also led the Astros with a .320 batting average, 55 stolen bases and made spectacular plays on the field. Cedeño made his first All-Star game in 1972 and became the first Astros player in team history to hit for the cycle in August versus the Reds. The Astros finished the strike-shortened season at 84–69, their first winning season.[14]

Astros fans had hoped for more of the same in 1973, but it was not to be. The Astros run production was down, even though the same five sluggers the year before were still punching the ball out of the park. Lee May led the Astros with 28 home runs and Cesar Cedeño batted .320 with 25 home runs. Bob Watson hit the .312 mark and drove in 94 runs. Doug Rader and Jimmy Wynn both had 20 or more home runs. However, injuries to their pitching staff limited the Astros to an 82–80 fourth-place finish. The Astros again finished in fourth place the next year under new manager Preston Gómez.[14][34]

1975–1979: Cautious corporate ownership

With the $38 million deficit of the Astrodome, control of the Astrodomain (including the Astros)[35] was passed from Roy Hofheinz to GE Credit and Ford Motor Credit. The creditors were just interested in preserving asset value of the team, so any money spent had to be found or saved somewhere else.[36] Tal Smith returned to the Astros from the New York Yankees to find a team that needed a lot of work and did not have a lot of money. However, there would be some bright spots that would prove to be good investments in the near future.

The year started on a sad note. Pitcher Don Wilson was found dead in the passenger seat of his car on January 5, 1975; the cause of death was asphyxiation by carbon monoxide. Wilson was 29 years old. Wilson's number 40 was retired on April 13, 1975.[30]

The 1975 season saw the introduction of the Astros' new uniforms. Many teams were going away from the traditional uniform and the Astros were no exception. From the chest down, the uniform was a solid block of yellow, orange, and red stripes.[37] There was also a large dark blue star over the midsection. The same multi-colored stripes ran down the pant legs. Players' numbers not only appeared on the back of the jersey, but also on the pant leg. The bright stripes were meant to appear as a fiery trail like a rocket sweeping across the heavens. The uniforms were panned by critics, but the public liked them and versions started appearing at the high school and little league level. The uniform was so different from what other teams wore that the Astros wore it both at home and on the road until 1980.[30]

Cesar Cedeno (1970–1981) is the franchise's all-time leader with 487 steals
Cesar Cedeno (1970–1981) is the franchise's all-time leader with 487 steals

Besides the bright new uniforms there were some other changes. Lee May was traded to Baltimore for much talked about rookie second baseman Rob Andrews and utility player Enos Cabell. In Baltimore, Cabell was stuck behind third baseman Brooks Robinson, but he took advantage of his opportunity in Houston and became their everyday third baseman.[38] Cabell would go on to become a big part of the team's success in later years. With May gone, Bob Watson was able to move to first base and was a bright spot in the line up, batting .324 with 85 RBI.

The two biggest moves the Astros made in the offseason were the acquisitions of Joe Niekro and José Cruz. The Astros bought Niekro from the Braves for almost nothing. Niekro had bounced around the big leagues with minimal success. His older brother Phil Niekro had started teaching Joe how to throw his knuckleball and Joe was just starting to use it when he came to the Astros. Niekro won six games, saved four games and had an ERA of 3.07.[39] Acquiring José Cruz from the Cardinals was another big win.[40] Cruz became a fixture in the Astros' outfield for several years and would eventually have his number 25 retired.

Despite high expectations, 1975 was among the Astros' worst in franchise history. Their record of 64–97 was far worse than even the expansion Colt .45's and would remain the worst record in franchise history until 2011. It was the worst record in baseball and manager Preston Gómez was fired late in the season and replaced by Bill Virdon. The Astros played .500 ball under Virdon in the last 34 games of the season.[30] With Virdon as the manager the Astros improved greatly in 1976 finishing in third place with an 80–82 record. A healthy César Cedeño was a key reason for the Astros' success in 1976. Bob Watson continued to show consistency and led the club with a .313 average and 102 RBI. José Cruz became Houston's everyday left fielder and hit .303 with 28 stolen bases.[41][42] 1976 saw the end of Larry Dierker's playing career as an Astro, but before it was all over he would throw a no-hitter and win the 1,000th game in the Astrodome.[43] The Astros finished in third place again in 1977 with a record of 81–81.[30]

One of the big problems the Astros had in the late 1970s was that they were unable to compete in the free-agent market. Ford Motor Credit Company was still in control of the team and was looking to sell the Astros, but would not spend money on better players. Most of the talent was either farm grown or bought cheaply.

The 1979 season would prove to be a big turnaround in Astros history. During the offseason, the Astros attempted to fix some of their problem areas. They traded Floyd Bannister to Seattle for shortstop Craig Reynolds and acquired catcher Alan Ashby from Toronto for pitcher Mark Lemongello. Reynolds and Ashby were both solid in their positions and gave Houston some much-needed consistency.[44] The season started with a boost from pitcher Ken Forsch, who threw a no-hitter against the Braves the second game of the season.[30] In May 1979, New Jersey shipping tycoon John McMullen had agreed to buy the Astros. Now with an investor in charge, the Astros would be more likely to compete in the free-agent market.[45]

The Astros were playing great baseball throughout the season. José Cruz and Enos Cabell both stole 30 bases. Joe Niekro had a great year with 21 wins and 3.00 ERA. J. R. Richard won 18 games and set a new personal strikeout record at 313. Joe Sambito came into his own with 22 saves as the Astros closer. Things were going as they should for a team that could win the west.[30] The Astros and Reds battled the final month of the season. The Reds pulled ahead of the Astros by a game and a half. Later that month they split a pair and the Reds kept the lead. The Astros finished with their best record to that point at 89–73 and 1+12 games behind the NL winner Reds.[30]

With Dr. McMullen as sole owner of the Astros, the team would now benefit in ways a corporation could not give them. The rumors of the Astros moving out of Houston started to crumble and the Astros were now able to compete in the free-agent market. McMullen showed the city of Houston that he too wanted a winning team, signing nearby Alvin, Texas native Nolan Ryan to the first million-dollar-a-year deal. Ryan had four career no-hitters already and had struck out 383 in one season.[30]

1980–1985: More rainbow, and seasons on the brink

José Cruz (1975–1987), his #25 was retired by Houston
José Cruz (1975–1987), his #25 was retired by Houston

Joe Morgan returned in 1980. The 1980 pitching staff was one of the best Houston ever had, with the fastball of Ryan, the knuckleball of Joe Niekro and the terrifying 6 ft 8 in frame of J. R. Richard. Teams felt lucky to face Ken Forsch, who was a double-digit winner in the previous two seasons. Richard became the first Astros pitcher to start an All-Star game. Three days later, Richard was told to rest his arm after a medical examination and on July 30 he collapsed during a workout. He had suffered a stroke after a blood clot in the arm apparently moved to his neck and cut off blood flow to the brain. Surgery was done to save his life, but the Astros had lost their ace pitcher after a 10–4 start with a stingy 1.89 ERA. Richard attempted a comeback, but would never again pitch a big league game.[30][46]

After the loss of Richard and some offensive struggles, the Astros slipped to third place in the division behind the Dodgers and the Reds. They bounced back to first with a ten-game winning streak, but the Dodgers regained a two-game lead before arriving in Houston on September 9. The Astros won the first two games of the series to tie the Dodgers for the division lead. The Astros went on to win a third game and take the lead- with three games against the Dodgers left. The Dodgers swept the next series, forcing a one-game playoff the next day.[47] The Astros won the playoff game 7–1, and advanced to their first post-season.

The team would face the Philadelphia Phillies in the 1980 National League Championship Series. The Phillies sent out Steve Carlton in game one of the NLCS.[30][48] The Phillies would win the opener after the Astros got out to a 1–0 third-inning lead. Ken Forsch pitched particularly strong fourth and fifth innings, but Greg Luzinski hit a sixth-inning two-run bomb to the 300 level seats of Veterans Stadium. The Phillies added an insurance run on the way to a 3–1 win.[14] Houston bounced back to win games two and three. Game four went into extra innings, with the Phillies taking the lead and the win in the tenth inning. Pete Rose started a rally with a one-out single, then Luzinski doubled off the left-field wall and Rose bowled over catcher Bruce Bochy to score the go-ahead run. The Phillies got an insurance run on the way to tying the series.[14]

Rookie Phillies pitcher Marty Bystrom was sent out by Philadelphia manager Dallas Green to face veteran Nolan Ryan in Game Five. The rookie gave up a run in the first inning, then held the Astros at bay until the sixth inning. An Astros lead was lost when Bob Boone hit a two-out single in the second, but the Astros tied the game in the sixth with an Alan Ashby single scoring Denny Walling. Houston took a 5–2 lead in the seventh; however, the Phillies came back with five runs in the inning. The Astros came back against Tug McGraw with four singles and two two-out runs. Now in extra innings, Garry Maddox doubled in Del Unser with one out to give the Phillies an 8–7 lead. The Astros failed to score in the bottom of the tenth.[14][49]

Astros starting pitcher Nolan Ryan in 1983
Astros starting pitcher Nolan Ryan in 1983

A 1981 player strike ran between June 12 and August 10. Ultimately, the strike would help the Astros get into the playoffs. Nolan Ryan and Bob Knepper picked up steam in the second half of the season. Ryan threw his fifth no-hitter on September 26 and finished the season with a 1.69 ERA. Knepper finished with an ERA of 2.18.[14] In the wake of the strike, Major League Baseball took the winners of each "half" season and set up a best-of-five divisional playoff. The Reds won more games than any other team in the National League, but they won neither half of the strike-divided season. The Astros finished 61–49 overall, which would have been third in the division behind the Reds and the Dodgers. Advancing to the playoffs as winners of the second half, Houston beat Los Angeles in their first two playoff games at home, but the Dodgers took the next three in Los Angeles to advance to the NLCS.

By 1982, only four players and three starting pitchers remained from the 1980 squad. The Astros were out of pennant contention by August and began rebuilding for the near future. Bill Virdon was fired as manager and replaced by original Colt .45 Bob Lillis. Don Sutton asked to be traded and was sent to the Milwaukee Brewers for cash and the team gained three new prospects, including Kevin Bass. Minor league player Bill Doran was called up in September. The Astros finished fourth in the west, but new talent was starting to appear.[14]

Before the 1983 season, the Astros traded Danny Heep to the Mets for pitcher Mike Scott, a 28-year-old who had struggled with New York. Art Howe sat out the 1983 season with an injury, forcing Phil Garner to third and Ray Knight to first. Doran took over at second, becoming the everyday second baseman for the next seven seasons.[50] The Astros finished third in the National League West.[14] The 1984 season started off badly when shortstop Dickie Thon was hit in the head by a pitch and was lost for the season. In September, the Astros called up rookie Glenn Davis after he posted impressive numbers in AAA. The Astros finished in second place. In 1985, Mike Scott learned a new pitch, the split-finger fastball. Scott, who was coming off of a 5–11 season, had found his new pitch and would become one of Houston's most celebrated hurlers. In June, Davis made the starting lineup at first base, adding power to the team. In September, Joe Niekro was traded to the Yankees for two minor league pitchers and lefty Jim Deshaies. The Astros finished in fourth place in 1985.[14]

1986–1990: A deep run, and building for the future

After finishing fourth in 1985, the Astros fired general manager Al Rosen and manager Bob Lillis. The former was supplanted by Dick Wagner, the man whose Reds defeated the Astros to win the 1979 NL West title. The latter was replaced by Hal Lanier who, like his manager mentor in St. Louis, Whitey Herzog, had a hard-nosed approach to managing and espoused a playing style that focused on pitching, defense, and speed rather than home runs to win games. This style of baseball, known as Whiteyball, took advantage of stadiums with deep fences and artificial turf, both of which were characteristics of the Astrodome. Lanier's style of baseball took Houston by storm. Before Lanier took over, fans were accustomed to Houston's occasional slow starts, but with Lanier leading the way, Houston got off to a hot start, winning 13 of their first 19 contests.[14][51][52]

Prior to the start of the season the Astros acquired outfielder Billy Hatcher from the Cubs for Jerry Mumphrey. Lainer also made a change in the pitching staff, going with a three-man rotation to start the season. This allowed Lanier to keep his three starters (Nolan Ryan, Bob Knepper, and Mike Scott) sharp and to slowly work in rookie hurler Jim Deshaies. Bill Doran and Glenn Davis held down the right side of the field but Lainer rotated the left side. Denny Walling and Craig Reynolds faced the right-handed pitchers while Phil Garner and Dickie Thon batted against left-handers. Lainer knew the Astros had talent and he put it to work.[14][53]

Mike Scott won the 1986 NL Cy Young Award and NLCS MVP
Mike Scott won the 1986 NL Cy Young Award and NLCS MVP

The Astrodome was host to the 1986 All-Star Game in which Astros Mike Scott, Kevin Bass, Glenn Davis, and Dave Smith represented the host field. The Astros kept pace with the NL West after the All-Star break. They went on a streak of five straight come-from-behind wins. Houston swept a key 3-game series over the San Francisco Giants in late September to clinch the division title. Mike Scott took the mound in the final game of the series and pitched a no-hitter – the only time in MLB history that any division was clinched via a no-hitter. Scott would finish the season with an 18–10 record and a Cy Young Award.[14][54][55]

The 1986 National League Championship Series against the New York Mets was noted for its drama and is considered to be one of the greatest postseason series. In Game 3, the Astros were ahead at Shea Stadium, 5–4, in the bottom of the 9th when closer Dave Smith gave up a two-run home run to Lenny Dykstra, giving the Mets a dramatic 6–5 win.

However, the signature game of the series was Game 6. Needing a win to get to Mike Scott (who had been dominant in the series) in Game 7, the Astros jumped off to a 3–0 lead in the first inning but neither team would score again until the 9th inning. In the 9th, starting pitcher Bob Knepper would give up two runs, and once again the Astros would look to Dave Smith to close it out. However, Smith would walk Gary Carter and Darryl Strawberry, giving up a sacrifice fly to Ray Knight, tying the game. Despite having the go-ahead runs on base, Smith was able to escape the inning without any further damage.

There was no scoring until the 14th inning when the Mets would take the lead on a Wally Backman single and an error by left fielder Billy Hatcher. The Astros would get the run back in the bottom of the 14th when Hatcher (in a classic goat-to-hero-conversion-moment) hit one of the most dramatic home runs in NLCS history, off the left-field foul pole. In the 16th inning, Darryl Strawberry doubled to lead off the inning and Ray Knight drove him home in the next at-bat. The Mets would score a total of three runs in the inning to take what appeared an insurmountable 7–4 lead. With their season on the line, the Astros would nonetheless rally for two runs to come to within 7–6. Kevin Bass came up with the tying and winning runs on base; however Jesse Orosco would strike him out, ending the game. At the time the 16-inning game held the record for the longest in MLB postseason history. The Mets won the series, 4–2.

After the 1986 season, the team had difficulty finding success again. Several changes occurred. The "rainbow" uniforms were phased out, the team electing to keep a five-stripe "rainbow" design on the sleeves. Team favorites Nolan Ryan and José Cruz[56] moved on and the team entered a rebuilding phase. Craig Biggio debuted in June 1988, joining new prospects Ken Caminiti and Gerald Young. Biggio would become the everyday catcher by 1990. A trade acquiring Jeff Bagwell in exchange for Larry Andersen would become one of the biggest deals in Astros history. Glenn Davis was traded to Baltimore for Curt Schilling, Pete Harnisch and Steve Finley in 1990.

1991–1999: Fine tuning and first rebranding

The early 1990s were marked by the Astros' growing discontent with their home, the Astrodome. After the Astrodome was renovated for the primary benefit of the NFL's Houston Oilers (who shared the Astrodome with the Astros since the 1960s), the Astros began to grow increasingly disenchanted with the facility. Faced with declining attendance at the Astrodome and the inability of management to obtain a new stadium, in the 1991 off-season Astros management announced its intention to sell the team and move the franchise to the Washington, D.C. area. However, the move was not approved by other National League owners, thus compelling the Astros to remain in Houston. Shortly thereafter, McMullen (who also owned the NHL's New Jersey Devils) sold the team to Texas businessman Drayton McLane in 1993, who committed to keeping the team in Houston.

Shortly after McLane's arrival, which coincided with the maturation of Bagwell and Biggio, the Astros began to show signs of consistent success. After finishing second in their division in 1994 (in a strike year), 1995, and 1996, the Astros won consecutive division titles in 1997, 1998, and 1999. In the 1998 season, the Astros set a team record with 102 victories. However, each of these titles was followed by a first-round playoff elimination, in 1998 by the San Diego Padres and in 1997 and 1999 against the Atlanta Braves. The manager of these title teams was Larry Dierker, who had previously been a broadcaster and pitcher for the Astros. During this period, Bagwell, Biggio, Derek Bell, and Sean Berry earned the collective nickname "The Killer Bs". In later seasons, the name came to include other Astros, especially Lance Berkman.[57]

Coinciding with the change in ownership, the team switched uniforms and team colors after the 1993 season in order to go for a new, more serious image. The team's trademark rainbow uniforms were retired, and the team's colors changed to midnight blue and metallic gold. The "Astros" font on the team logo was changed to a more aggressive one, and the team's traditional star logo was changed to a stylized, "flying" star with an open left end. It marked the first time since the team's inception that orange was not part of the team's colors. Despite general agreement that the rainbow uniforms identified with the team had become tired (and looked too much like a minor league team according to the new owners), the new uniforms and caps were never especially popular with many Astros fans.

Final Astros regular season game in the Astrodome on October 3, 1999
Final Astros regular season game in the Astrodome on October 3, 1999

Off the field, in 1994, the Astros hired one of the first African American general managers, former franchise player Bob Watson. Watson would leave the Astros after the 1995 season to become general manager of the New York Yankees and helped to lead the Yankees to a World Championship in 1996. He would be replaced by Gerry Hunsicker, who until 2004 would continue to oversee the building of the Astros into one of the better and most consistent organizations in the Major Leagues.

However, in 1996, the Astros again nearly left Houston. By the mid-1990s, McLane (like McMullen before him) wanted his team out of the Astrodome and was asking the city to build the Astros a new stadium. When things did not progress quickly toward that end, he put the team up for sale. He had nearly finalized a deal to sell the team to businessman William Collins, who planned to move them to Northern Virginia. However, Collins was having difficulty finding a site for a stadium himself, so Major League owners stepped in and forced McLane to give Houston another chance to grant his stadium wish. Houston voters, having already lost the Houston Oilers in a similar situation, responded positively via a stadium referendum and the Astros stayed put.

2000–2004: New ballpark and second rebranding

The 2000 season saw a move to a new stadium. Originally to be named The Ballpark at Union Station due to being located on the site of Union Station, it was renamed Enron Field by the season opening after the naming rights were sold to energy corporation Enron. The stadium was to feature a retractable roof, a particularly useful feature with unpredictable Houston weather. The ballpark also featured more intimate surroundings than the Astrodome. In 2002, naming rights were purchased by Houston-based Minute Maid, after Enron went bankrupt. The park was built on the grounds of the old Union Station. A locomotive moves across the outfield and whistles after home runs, paying homage to a Houston history which had 11 railroad company lines running through the city by 1860. The ballpark previously contained quirks such as "Tal's Hill", which was a hill in deep center field on which a flagpole stood, all in fair territory. Over the years, many highlight reel catches have been made by center fielders running up the hill to make catches. Tal's Hill was removed in the 2016–2017 offseason and the center field wall was moved in to 409 feet (125 m), which the team hoped would generate more home runs.

With the change in location also came a change in attire. Gone were the blue and gold uniforms of the 1990s in favor of a more "retro" look with pinstripes, a traditional baseball font, and the colors of brick red, sand and black. These colors were chosen because ownership originally wanted to rename the team the Houston Diesels.[58] The "shooting star" logo was modified but still retained its definitive look.

The Astros moved into Minute Maid Park in 2000
The Astros moved into Minute Maid Park in 2000

After two fairly successful seasons without a playoff appearance, the Astros were early favorites to win the 2004 NL pennant. They added star pitcher Andy Pettitte to a roster that already included standouts like Lance Berkman and Jeff Kent as well as veterans Bagwell and Biggio. Roger Clemens, who had retired after the 2003 season with the New York Yankees, agreed to join former teammate Pettitte on the Astros for 2004. The one-year deal included unique conditions, such as the option for Clemens to stay home in Houston on select road trips when he wasn't scheduled to pitch. Despite the early predictions for success, the Astros had a mediocre 44–44 record at the All-Star break. A lack of run production and a poor record in close games were major issues. After being booed at the 2004 All-Star Game held in Houston, manager Jimy Williams was fired and replaced by Phil Garner, a star on the division-winning 1986 Astros. The Astros enjoyed a 46–26 record in the second half of the season under Garner and earned the NL wild-card spot. The Astros defeated the Braves 3–2 in the Division Series, but would lose the National League Championship Series to the St. Louis Cardinals in seven games. Clemens earned a record seventh Cy Young Award in 2004. Additionally, the mid-season addition of Carlos Beltrán in a trade with the Kansas City Royals helped the Astros tremendously in their playoff run. Despite midseason trade rumors, Beltrán would prove instrumental to the team's hopes, hitting eight home runs in the postseason. Though he had asserted a desire to remain with the Astros, Beltrán signed a long-term contract with the New York Mets on January 9, 2005.

2005: First World Series played in Texas

In 2005, the Astros started poorly and found themselves with a 15–30 record in late May. The Houston Chronicle had written them off with a tombstone emblazoned with "RIP 2005 Astros". However, from that low point until the end of July, Houston went 42–17 and found themselves in the lead for an NL wild card spot. July saw the best single-month record in the club's history at 22–7. Offensive production had increased greatly after a slow start in the first two months. The Astros had also developed an excellent pitching staff, anchored by Roy Oswalt (20–12, 2.94), Andy Pettitte (17–9, 2.39), and Roger Clemens (13–8 with a league-low ERA of only 1.87). The contributions of the other starters—Brandon Backe (10–8, 4.76) and rookie starters Ezequiel Astacio (3–6, 5.67) and Wandy Rodríguez (10–10, 5.53)—were less remarkable, but enough to push the Astros into position for a playoff run. The Astros won a wild card berth on the final day of the regular season, becoming the first team since the world champion 1914 Boston Braves to qualify for the postseason after being 15 games under .500.[59]

2005 National League championship banner at Minute Maid Park
2005 National League championship banner at Minute Maid Park

The Astros won the National League Division Series against the Atlanta Braves, 3–1, with a game four that set postseason records for most innings (18), most players used by a single team (23), and longest game time (5 hours and 50 minutes). Trailing by a score of 6–1, Lance Berkman hit an eighth-inning grand slam to narrow the score to 6–5. In the bottom of the ninth, catcher Brad Ausmus hit a game-tying home run that allowed the game to continue in extra innings. In the bottom of the tenth inning, Luke Scott hit a blast to left field that had home run distance, but was inches foul. This game remained scoreless for the next eight innings. In the top of the 15th inning, Roger Clemens made only his second career relief appearance, pitching three shutout innings, notably striking out Julio Franco, at the time the oldest player in the MLB at 47 years old; Clemens was himself 43. In the bottom of the eighteenth inning, Clemens came to bat again, indicating that he would be pitching in the nineteenth inning, if it came to that. Clemens struck out, but the next batter, Chris Burke, hit a home run to left field to send the Astros to a 7–6 victory. The National League Championship Series featured a rematch of the 2004 NLCS. The Astros lost the first game in St. Louis, but would win the next three games. Though the Astros were poised to close out the series in Game Five in Houston, Brad Lidge gave up a monstrous two-out three-run home run to Albert Pujols, forcing the series to a sixth game in St. Louis, where the Astros clinched a World Series appearance. Roy Oswalt was named NLCS MVP, having gone 2–0 with a 1.29 ERA in the series. Honorary National League President Bill Giles presented the league champion Astros with the Warren C. Giles Trophy (named for his father) for winning the series; the younger Giles had been one of the founders of the original Colt 45 team in 1962, while his father Warren had been president of the National League from 1951 to 1969.[60]

The Astros faced the Chicago White Sox in the World Series. Chicago had been considered the slight favorite but would win all four games, the first two at U.S. Cellular Field in Chicago and the final two in Houston. Game 3 marked the first World Series game held in the state of Texas, and was the longest game in World Series history, lasting 5 hours and 41 minutes.

This World Series was marked by a controversy involving the Minute Maid Park roof. MLB and Commissioner Bud Selig insisted that the Astros must play with the roof open, which mitigated the intensity and enthusiasm of the cheering Astros fans.[61]

2006–2009: The decline

In the 2006 offseason, the team signed Preston Wilson and moved Berkman to first base, ending the long tenure of Jeff Bagwell. The Astros renewed the contract with Clemens and traded two minor league prospects to the Tampa Bay Devil Rays for left-handed hitter Aubrey Huff. By August, Preston Wilson complained about his playing time after the return of Luke Scott from AAA Round Rock. The Astros released Wilson and he was signed by St. Louis. A dramatic season end included wins in 10 of their last 12 games, but the Astros missed a playoff appearance when they lost the final game of the season to the Atlanta Braves.

On October 31, the Astros declined a contract option on Jeff Bagwell for 2007, ending his 15-year Astros career and leading to his retirement. Roger Clemens and Andy Pettitte filed for free agency. On December 12, the Astros traded Willy Taveras, Taylor Buchholz, and Jason Hirsh to the Colorado Rockies for Rockies pitchers Jason Jennings and Miguel Asencio. A trade with the White Sox, involving the same three Astros in exchange for Jon Garland, had been nixed a few days earlier when Buchholz reportedly failed a physical. In the end, Taveras continued to develop and Hirsh had a strong 2007 rookie campaign, while Jennings was often injured and generally ineffective.

Astros' outfielder Orlando Palmeiro, 2007
Astros' outfielder Orlando Palmeiro, 2007

On April 28, 2007, the Astros purchased the contract of top minor league prospect Hunter Pence. He debuted that night, getting a hit and scoring a run. By May 2007, the Astros had suffered one of their worst losing streaks (10 games). On June 28, second baseman Craig Biggio became the 27th MLB player to accrue 3,000 career hits. Biggio needed three hits to reach 3,000 and ended the night with a total of five hits. That night, Carlos Lee hit a towering walk-off grand slam in the 11th inning. Lee later quipped to the media that "he had hit a walk-off grand slam and he got second billing", considering Biggio's achievement. On July 24, Biggio announced that he would retire at the end of the season. He hit a grand slam in that night's game which broke a 3–3 tie and led to an Astros win. In Biggio's last at bat, he grounded out to Chipper Jones of the Atlanta Braves.

On September 20, Ed Wade was named general manager. In his first move, he traded Jason Lane to the Padres on September 24. On September 30, Craig Biggio retired after twenty years with the team. In November, the Astros traded RHP Brad Lidge and SS Eric Bruntlett to the Philadelphia Phillies for OF Michael Bourn, RHP Geoff Geary, and minor leaguer Mike Costanzo. Utility player Mark Loretta accepted Houston's salary arbitration and Kazuo Matsui finalized a $16.5 million, three-year contract with the team. In December, the Astros traded OF Luke Scott, RHP Matt Albers, RHP Dennis Sarfate, LHP Troy Patton, and minor-league 3B Mike Costanzo, to the Baltimore Orioles for SS Miguel Tejada. On December 14, they sent infielder Chris Burke, RHP Juan Gutiérrez, and RHP Chad Qualls to the Arizona Diamondbacks for RHP José Valverde. On December 27, the Astros came to terms on a deal with All-Star, Gold Glove winner Darin Erstad.

In January and February 2008, the Astros signed Brandon Backe, Ty Wigginton, Dave Borkowski and Shawn Chacón to one-year deals. The starting rotation would feature Roy Oswalt and Brandon Backe as numbers one and two. Wandy Rodríguez, Chacón and Chris Sampson rounded out the bottom three slots in the rotation. Woody Williams had retired after a 0–4 spring training and Jason Jennings was now with Texas. On the other side of the roster, the Astros would start without Kazuo Matsui, who was on a minor league rehab assignment after a spring training injury.

The Astros regressed in 2008 and 2009, finishing with records of 86–75 and 74–88, respectively. Manager Cecil Cooper was fired after the 2009 season. At the lowest point of the regression, child admission was free.

2010–2014: Last years in the NL and move to the AL West

The 2010 season was the first season as Astros manager for Brad Mills, who was previously the bench coach of the Boston Red Sox. The Astros struggled throughout a season that was marked by trade-deadline deals that sent longtime Astros to other teams. On July 29, the Astros' ace starting pitcher, Roy Oswalt, was dealt to the Philadelphia Phillies for J. A. Happ and two minor league players.[62][63] On July 31, outfielder Lance Berkman was traded to the New York Yankees for minor leaguers Jimmy Paredes and Mark Melancon.[64][65] The Astros finished with a record of 76–86.

On July 30, 2011, the Astros traded OF Hunter Pence, the team's 2010 leader in home runs, to the Philadelphia Phillies. On July 31, they traded OF Michael Bourn to the Atlanta Braves. On September 17, the Astros recorded their first 100-loss season in franchise history, ending the season eleven days later with an 8–0 home loss to the St. Louis Cardinals. Cardinals pitcher Chris Carpenter pitched a two-hit complete game shutout. The Cardinals would go on to win the National League Wild Card, before beating the Texas Rangers in the World Series. Lance Berkman, who was now a Cardinal, was a key player in their championship victory. The Astros finished with a record of 56–106, the worst single-season record in franchise history (a record which would be broken the following season).

In November 2010, Drayton McLane announced that the Astros were being put up for sale. McLane stated that because the Astros were one of the few franchises in Major League Baseball with only one family as the owners, he was planning his estate. McLane was 75 years old as of November 2011.[66] In March 2011, local Houston businessman Jim Crane emerged as the front-runner to purchase the franchise. In the 1980s, Crane founded an air freight business which later merged with CEVA Logistics, and later founded Crane Capital Group. McLane and Crane had a previous handshake agreement for the franchise in 2008, but Crane abruptly changed his mind and broke off discussions. Crane also attempted to buy the Chicago Cubs in 2008 and the Texas Rangers during their 2010 bankruptcy auction.[67] Crane came under scrutiny because of previous allegations of discriminatory hiring practices regarding women and minorities, among other issues. This delayed MLB's approval process. In the summer of 2011, Crane claimed those issues had been resolved, and suggested that the delays were baseball's attempt to move the Astros to the American League.[68] In October later that year, Crane met personally with MLB Commissioner Bud Selig, in a meeting that was described as "constructive".[69]

On November 15, 2011, it was announced that Crane had agreed to move the franchise to the American League for the 2013 season. The move was part of an overall divisional realignment of MLB, with the National and American leagues each having 15 teams in three geographically balanced divisions. Crane was given a $70 million concession by MLB for agreeing to the switch; the move was a condition for the sale to the new ownership group.[70] Two days later, the Astros were officially sold to Crane for $615 million after the other owners unanimously voted in favor of the sale.[4] It was also announced that 2012 would be the last season for the Astros in the NL.[71] After over fifty years of the Astros being a part of the National League, this move was unpopular with many Astros fans.[72][73] In December 2011, Jeff Luhnow was named General Manager.

Astros second baseman José Altuve in 2014
Astros second baseman José Altuve in 2014

In 2012, the Astros were eliminated from the playoffs before September 5. On September 27, the Astros named Bo Porter to be the manager for the 2013 season.

On October 3, the Astros ended over 50 years of NL play with a 5–4 loss to the Chicago Cubs and began to look ahead to join the American League. Winning only 20 road games during the entire season, the Astros finished with a 55–107 record, the worst record in all of Major League Baseball for the 2012 season, and surpassing the 2011 season for the worst record in Astros history.

On November 2, 2012, the Astros unveiled their new look in preparation for their move to the American League for the 2013 season. The navy and orange uniform returned to the original 1960s team colors, and debuted a new version of the classic navy hat with a white "H" over an orange star.[74]

On November 6, 2012, the Astros hired former Cleveland Indians director of baseball operations David Stearns as the team's new assistant general manager.[75]

The Houston Astros played their first game as an American League team on March 31, 2013, where they were victorious over their in-state division competitor, the Texas Rangers, with a score of 8–2.

On May 17, Reid Ryan, son of Nolan Ryan was introduced as president of operations.[76][77]

On September 29, the Astros completed their first year in the American League, losing 5–1 in a 14-inning game to the New York Yankees. The Astros finished the season with a 51–111 record (a franchise-worst) with a season-ending 15-game losing streak, again surpassing their worst record from the previous season. The team finished 45 games behind the division winner Oakland Athletics, further adding to their futility. This marked three consecutive years that the Astros had lost more than 100 games in a single season. They also became the first team to have the first overall pick in the draft three years in a row.

In February 2014, Nolan Ryan rejoined the Astros front office as assistant to owner Jim Crane, GM Jeff Luhnow and president of business operations Reid Ryan. From 2004 through 2008 he worked as a special assistant to the GM. [78]

For the 2014 season the team went 70–92, finishing 28 games back of the division winner Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, and placing fourth in the AL West over the Texas Rangers.

A. J. Hinch was named manager on September 29, replacing Bo Porter, who was fired on September 1.[79]

2015–2019: Return to success, first World Series title and scandal

In 2015, Dallas Keuchel led the AL with 20 victories, going 15–0 at home, an MLB record. Key additions to the team included Scott Kazmir and SS Carlos Correa who hit 22 home runs after being called up in June 2015. Second baseman José Altuve remained the star of the Astros' offense. On July 30, the Astros picked up Mike Fiers and Carlos Gómez from the Milwaukee Brewers. Fiers threw the 11th no-hitter in Astros history on August 21 against the Los Angeles Dodgers. Houston got the final AL playoff spot and faced the Yankees in the Wild Card Game on October 6 at New York. They defeated the Yankees 3–0, but lost to the Kansas City Royals in the American League Division Series.

The Astros split the first two games of the ALDS best-of-five series in Kansas City. The Astros won the first game at Minute Maid to take a 2–1 lead in the ALDS. In Game 4, after 7 innings, the Astros had a 6–2 lead. In the top half of the eighth inning, which took about 45 minutes to end, the Royals had taken a 7–6 lead with a series of consecutive base hits. The Astros suffered a 9–6 loss and the ALDS was tied at 2–2. Then the series went back to Kansas City, where the Royals clinched the series in the fifth game, 7–2.

The Astros entered the 2016 season as the favorites to win the AL West after a promising 2015 season. After a bad start to their season, going just 7–17 in April, the Astros bounced back and went on to have a winning record in their next four months, including an 18–8 record in June. But after going 12–15 in September, the Astros were eliminated from playoff contention. They finished in third place in the American League West Division with a final record of 84–78.

The season was marked by the Astros 4–15 record against their in-state division rival (and eventual division winner) Texas Rangers. The Astros finished the 2016 season 11 games behind the Rangers.

Many buildings in the skyline of Downtown Houston participated in cheering for the Astros during the 2017 World Series.
Many buildings in the skyline of Downtown Houston participated in cheering for the Astros during the 2017 World Series.

In 2014, Sports Illustrated predicted the Astros would win the 2017 World Series through their strategic rebuilding process.[80][81] As of June 9, 2017 the Astros were 41–16, which gave them a 13.5-game lead over the rest of their division and comfortable possession of the best record in the entire league. This was the best start in the Astros' 55-year history. The Astros entered the All-Star Break with an American League-best 60–29 record, a 16-game lead in the division, and one game shy of the best record in MLB, which had just barely slipped to the Dodgers right before the All-Star Break.

The Houston Astros began wearing this patch during the 2017 season as the Houston area recovered from the destruction caused by Hurricane Harvey.
The Houston Astros began wearing this patch during the 2017 season as the Houston area recovered from the destruction caused by Hurricane Harvey.

With Hurricane Harvey causing massive flooding throughout Houston and southeast Texas, the Astros' three-game series against the Texas Rangers for August 29–31, was relocated to Tropicana Field (home of the Tampa Bay Rays), in St. Petersburg, Florida.[82] As the area recovered from the hurricane, many residents rallied around the Astros, who adopted the mantra "Houston Strong." They wore a patch on their jerseys with the mantra for the remainder of the season.[83][84]

2017 World Series MVP - George Springer
2017 World Series MVP - George Springer

At the August 31 waiver-trade deadline GM Jeff Luhnow acquired veteran starting pitcher and Cy Young Award winner Justin Verlander to bolster the starting rotation.[85] Verlander won each of his 5 regular season starts with the Astros, yielding only 4 runs over this stretch. He carried his success into the playoffs, posting a record of 4–1 in his 6 starts, and throwing a complete game in Game 2 of the ALCS. Verlander was named the 2017 ALCS MVP.[86]

The Astros clinched their first division title as a member of the American League West division, and first division title overall since 2001. They also became the first team in Major League history to win three different divisions: National League West in 1980 and 1986, National League Central from 1997 to 1999 and 2001, and American League West in 2017.[87] On September 29, the Astros won their 100th game of the season, the second time the Astros finished a season with over 100 wins, the first being in 1998. They finished 101–61, with a 21-game lead in the division, and faced the Red Sox in the first round of the AL playoffs. The Astros defeated the Red Sox three games to one, and advanced to the American League Championship Series against the New York Yankees. The Astros won the ALCS four games to three, and advanced to the World Series to play against the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Astros defeated the Dodgers in the deciding seventh game of the World Series, winning the first championship in franchise history.[88]

The victory was especially meaningful for the Houston area, which was rebuilding after Hurricane Harvey.[89] The city of Houston celebrated the team's accomplishment with a parade on the afternoon of November 3, 2017. Houston police chief Art Acevedo estimated at least 750,000 people attended the parade.[90]

On November 16, 2017, José Altuve was named the American League Most Valuable Player, capping off a season in which he accumulated 200 hits for the fourth consecutive season, led the majors with a .346 BA, and was the unquestioned clubhouse leader of the World Series champions.

The 2017 team at the White House with President Donald Trump, March 2018
The 2017 team at the White House with President Donald Trump, March 2018

On September 26, 2018, the Astros' second consecutive AL West division championship was clinched with a victory by the Seattle Mariners over the Oakland A's. For the third time in franchise history, and second consecutive season, the team won over 100 games; they finished the regular season 103–59 (a new franchise record) by sweeping a double-header against the Baltimore Orioles on September 29, 2018. The Astros swept the Cleveland Indians in the ALDS to advance to the ALCS to face the league-leading Boston Red Sox (who finished the season 108–54.) After a 7–2 victory in Game 1 of the ALCS, the Astros dropped the next four games, and Boston advanced to the World Series.

Justin Verlander, 2019 AL Cy Young Award winner
Justin Verlander, 2019 AL Cy Young Award winner

In the offseason, the Astros signed veteran outfielder Michael Brantley, and catcher Robinson Chirinos. At the trade deadline on July 31, 2019, Houston acquired another veteran starting pitcher and Cy Young award winner Zack Greinke to bolster the starting rotation.[91] On September 22, the Astros clinched their third consecutive AL West division title. They finished the season with a record of 107–55, the best in franchise history, and the best record in MLB. They became the first team since the 2002–2004 New York Yankees to have 3 consecutive 100-win seasons. They also became the first team in MLB history to have three consecutive 100-loss seasons and three consecutive 100-win seasons in the same decade.

Entering the playoffs as the top-seeded team in both leagues, they defeated the AL Wild Card winner Tampa Bay Rays in five games in the ALDS, advancing to the ALCS for the third year in a row to face the New York Yankees. In Game 6 at Minute Maid Park, Jose Altuve hit a walk-off home run to win the pennant and send the team to its third World Series appearance. However, they lost the 2019 World Series to the Washington Nationals in seven games, taking three games in Washington but losing all four of their games at home.

On November 12, 2019, Ken Rosenthal and Evan Drellich wrote an article in The Athletic detailing allegations that the Astros had used cameras to engage in potentially illicit sign stealing against opponents, relying on allegations from former Astros pitcher Mike Fiers as a public source and other allegations from unnamed sources.[92] The Astros were alleged to have used scouts watching catchers' signs in real time behind the dugout at Minute Maid Park to crack the signs and banging a trash can loudly to indicate what kind of pitch was coming. The scandal rippled through the baseball world as videos that appeared to clearly show the scheme were published.[93] Further allegations regarding other means of relaying signs, such as whistling, surfaced in subsequent weeks.[94] MLB and Commissioner Rob Manfred announced a sweeping investigation into the allegations.[95]

On January 13, 2020, MLB announced that its investigation found that the Astros did use cameras and video monitors to steal signs of opposing catchers and signal to hitters throughout the 2017 regular season and postseason, and at least part of the 2018 season.[96] The investigation found no evidence of sign stealing in their pennant-winning 2019 season.[97] The report said that Alex Cora, then the Astros bench coach, Carlos Beltrán, and other unnamed players were involved in developing the scheme. It said Hinch "neither devised the banging scheme nor participated in it," but did not stop it or tell Cora he disapproved of it.[97]

Manfred announced that manager A. J. Hinch and general manager Jeff Luhnow were suspended for one year, the team would be fined $5 million (the maximum allowed under MLB rules), and the team would lose its top two draft picks in both the 2020 and 2021 MLB Drafts.[96] About an hour after MLB's announcement, Astros owner Jim Crane announced he had terminated both Hinch and Luhnow, saying he was unaware of the scheme and "extraordinarily troubled and upset", and concluded, "We need to move forward with a clean slate. [We] will not have this happen again on my watch."[98] In a statement, Luhnow denied knowledge of the scheme. Hinch issued a statement saying, "While the evidence consistently showed I didn’t endorse or participate in the sign stealing practices, I failed to stop them and I am deeply sorry."[99]

The scandal had repercussions around baseball. Cora was implicated in the report but Manfred withheld a decision on his punishment until the completion of a separate investigation into electronic sign stealing in 2018, when Cora was manager of the Red Sox.[100] However, the report led the Red Sox to dismiss Cora two days after it was published,[101] and the Mets did the same with Beltran, who had been hired as manager shortly before the original story.[102]

2020–present: Second World Series title

On January 29, 2020, the Astros announced they hired Dusty Baker as their new manager to replace Hinch.[103][104] James Click was hired to replace Lunhow as general manager on February 2.[105]

Expectations for a full 2020 season would be dashed by the COVID-19 pandemic, which forced Major League Baseball to play a 60 game season that would take place from July to September with no fans in attendance (which was later changed for the NLCS and World Series). The Astros would be hampered by injuries to players such as Justin Verlander, Yordan Alvarez, and Roberto Osuna, who each would suffer season-ending injuries. As such, the Astros would have to rely a plethora of young arms such as Cristian Javier to go alongside veterans in Lance McCullers Jr. and Zack Greinke to accompany an offense that would have just one .300 batter in Michael Brantley. The Astros went 29–31, but finished second place in the AL West to qualify for the postseason as part of the decision by MLB to have eight postseason teams in each league for 2020 to accompany a shortened season. The Astros would go on to beat two division champions in the Minnesota Twins and Oakland Athletics to become the first team since the 1998–2001 New York Yankees to advance to the American League Championship Series four times in a row, as well as the first team with a losing regular season record to win a postseason series. In the ALCS, the Astros lost to the Tampa Bay Rays despite forcing a Game 7 after losing the first three games.

The 2021 season was the first to be played with fans in the stands for the regular season since the scandal broke. Rabid opposition for a number of fanbases went hand in hand with the challenge of replacing departed players George Springer and Josh Reddick. By the time of the break for the 2021 MLB All-Star Game, the Astros were 55–36 and contending for a top spot in the postseason, complete with four All-Star selections in Jose Altuve, Carlos Correa, Michael Brantley, and Ryan Pressly. On September 30, the Astros clinched their fourth AL West title in the span of five seasons (which was the first time they had won four division titles in five seasons since the 1998–2001 teams); the six playoff appearances in seven seasons is the best span in franchise history. Yuli Gurriel became the second Astro to win the batting title, doing so at the age of 37 with a batting average of .319.[106] The Astros beat the Chicago White Sox in the American League Division Series to advance to their fifth consecutive ALCS, a feat matched by only two teams in LCS history and the first since the Atlanta Braves of the 1990s (having made all eight contested NLCS from 1991 to 1999). Upon playing together in Game 3 of the 2021 American League Championship Series, Altuve, Correa, Gurriel, and Bregman set a new record for most games played together by four teammates at any position in MLB history, with that game being the 64th between the core four.[107] On October 22, the Astros prevailed 5–0 in Game 6 over the Boston Red Sox to win their third pennant in the last five seasons.[108] They went on to lose the 2021 World Series to the Atlanta Braves in six games.

On November 2, 2022, in Game 4 of the 2022 World Series against the Philadelphia Phillies at the Citizens Bank Park, the Astros became the first team to throw a combined no-hitter in postseason history, and the second team to throw a no-hitter in World Series history after Don Larsen's perfect game with the New York Yankees in 1956.[109][110] The Astros went on to defeat the Phillies in six games, earning their second World Series title.[111] Jeremy Peña won the Series MVP Award; the first rookie position player in MLB history to do so, and the first rookie shortstop in history to hit a home run in the World Series.[112]

Discover more about Franchise history related topics

Houston Buffaloes

Houston Buffaloes

The Houston Buffaloes, Houston Buffalos, or Buffs were an American minor league baseball team, and were the first minor league team to be affiliated with a Major League franchise, which was the St. Louis Cardinals. The club was founded in 1888, and played in the Texas League at various levels throughout the majority of its existence. Most recently, from 1959 through 1961, the team played in the Triple-A American Association as the top affiliate of the Chicago Cubs. The Buffaloes derived their nickname from Buffalo Bayou, the principal waterway through Houston to the Houston Ship Channel, outlet to the Gulf of Mexico. The team's last home was Buffalo Stadium, built in 1928. Before that, they played at West End Park from 1905–1928, and at Herald Park prior to that.

1962 Major League Baseball season

1962 Major League Baseball season

The 1962 Major League Baseball season was contested from April 9 to October 16, 1962. The National League (NL) added two teams via expansion, the Houston Colt .45s and New York Mets. This marked the return of the NL to New York City after a four-year absence, although the Mets would lose 120 games and finish in last place. All major league teams now played 162-game schedules, which had been adopted by the American League (AL) the prior season, with each team facing the nine other clubs in the same league 18 times during the season.

Craig F. Cullinan Jr.

Craig F. Cullinan Jr.

Craig Francis Cullinan Jr. was an American oilman from Texas and baseball executive. He served as Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Houston Sports Association, the founding group of thirty members that acquired the Houston Astros Major League Baseball franchise rights. Originally named the Houston Colt .45's, Cullinan Jr. served as the team's first president.

Continental League

Continental League

The Continental League of Professional Baseball Clubs was a proposed third major league for baseball in the United States and Canada. The league was announced in 1959 and scheduled to begin play in the 1961 season. Unlike predecessor competitors such as the Players' League and the Federal League, it sought membership within organized baseball's existing organization and acceptance within Major League Baseball. The league disbanded in August 1960 without playing a single game as a concession by William A. Shea as part of his negotiations with Major League Baseball to expand to incorporate at least eight new teams.

Marty Marion

Marty Marion

Martin Whiteford "Mr. Shortstop" Marion was an American Major League Baseball shortstop and manager. Marion played for the St. Louis Cardinals and the St. Louis Browns between 1940–1953. He was a defensive stalwart of the Cardinals' dynasty in the 1940s, which saw them win three World Series in a five year span, and was named the National League Most Valuable Player in 1944, the first shortstop in the history of the National League to win the award. Marion managed the Cardinals in 1951, the Browns from June 10, 1952, through 1953, and the Chicago White Sox from September 14, 1954 through 1956. During his career, he batted and threw right-handed, stood 6 feet 2 inches (1.88 m) tall and weighed 170 pounds (77 kg).

1962 Major League Baseball expansion

1962 Major League Baseball expansion

The 1962 Major League Baseball expansion was the formation of two new Major League Baseball (MLB) teams for the 1962 season. The Houston Colt .45s and the New York Mets were added to the National League (NL), becoming the 19th and 20th teams in MLB's two leagues. The Colt .45s were the first major league team in Houston while the Mets filled the void left when the New York Giants and Brooklyn Dodgers of the NL moved to California after the 1957 season.

Major League Baseball Constitution

Major League Baseball Constitution

The Major League Baseball Constitution is a document under which the day-to-day operation of Major League Baseball is conducted. It was originally drafted in 1903 as the Constitution of the National League and has since been amended several times, most recently in June 2005.

Chicago Cubs

Chicago Cubs

The Chicago Cubs are an American professional baseball team based in Chicago. The Cubs compete in Major League Baseball (MLB) as part of the National League (NL) Central division. The club plays its home games at Wrigley Field, which is located on Chicago's North Side. The Cubs are one of two major league teams based in Chicago; the other, the Chicago White Sox, is a member of the American League (AL) Central division. The Cubs, first known as the White Stockings, were a founding member of the NL in 1876, becoming the Chicago Cubs in 1903.

Colt Single Action Army

Colt Single Action Army

The Colt Single Action Army is a single-action revolver handgun. It was designed in 1872 for the U.S. government service revolver trials of 1872 by Colt's Patent Firearms Manufacturing Company and was adopted as the standard-issued pistol of the US Army in 1873 until 1892.

1961 Major League Baseball expansion draft

1961 Major League Baseball expansion draft

The 1961 MLB Expansion Draft was held by Major League Baseball on October 10, 1961, to fill the rosters of the New York Mets and the Houston Colt .45s, the new franchises which would enter the league in the 1962 season. The pool of players out of which they could select was limited to the existing National League ballclubs.

Harry Craft

Harry Craft

Harry Francis Craft was an American Major League Baseball player and manager. Born in Ellisville, Mississippi, he was a center fielder for the Cincinnati Reds from 1937 to 1942. Craft attended Mississippi College, threw and batted right-handed, stood 6 feet 1 inch (1.85 m) tall and weighed 185 pounds (84 kg).

1964 Houston Colt .45s season

1964 Houston Colt .45s season

The 1964 Houston Colt .45s season was the team's 3rd season in Major League Baseball. It involved the Houston Colt .45s finishing in ninth place in the National League with a record of 66–96, 27 games behind the eventual World Series champion St. Louis Cardinals. It was their final season for the team at Colt Stadium before relocating their games to the Astrodome in 1965, along with the accompanying name change to the "Astros" for the '65 season.

Uniforms

1962–1964: The Colt .45's

Houston's MLB franchise debuted as the Colt .45s in 1962, and the original home uniforms featured a navy pistol with orange smoke coming out of the barrel to form the "C" in "Colts". The road uniforms featured the city name written in navy block letters with orange trim, and the flag of Texas patch was placed on the left sleeve. Caps were all-navy featuring ".45s" in orange letters in front.[37]

1965–1974: Shooting stars

Renamed the Astros and moving to the Astrodome in 1965, they took to the field in home uniforms featuring the "shooting star" design. The uniforms initially featured "Astros" in navy with orange trim, and the cap now sported an orange star with "H" in block serif letters. The road uniforms remained the same save for the Astros logo replacing the Texas flag (the same logo was also applied on the home uniforms).[37]

In 1971 the Astros made some changes to their uniform: they kept the same style they had in previous seasons, but inverted the colors. What was navy was now orange and what was orange was now a lighter shade of blue. The players' last names were added to the back of the jerseys. In 1972, the uniform fabric was also changed to what was at the time revolutionizing the industry – polyester. Belts were replaced by elastic waistbands, and jerseys zipped up instead of having buttons. The uniforms became popular with fans, but would last only until 1975, when the Astros would shock baseball and the fashion world.[30]

1975–1986: Tequila sunrise/Orange rainbows

Joe Ferguson (left) wearing the original "rainbow" uniform. Hal Lanier (right) wearing the "rainbow shoulders" uniform.
Joe Ferguson (left) wearing the original "rainbow" uniform. Hal Lanier (right) wearing the "rainbow shoulders" uniform.
Joe Ferguson (left) wearing the original "rainbow" uniform. Hal Lanier (right) wearing the "rainbow shoulders" uniform.

The 1975 season saw the introduction of the Astros' new uniforms. Many teams were going away from the traditional uniform and the Astros were no exception. From the chest down, the uniform was a solid block of yellow, orange, and red stripes.[37] There was also a large dark blue star over the midsection. The same multi-colored stripes ran down the pant legs. Players' numbers not only appeared on the back of the jersey, but also on the pant leg. The bright stripes were meant to appear as a fiery trail like a rocket sweeping across the heavens. The uniforms were panned by critics, but the public liked them and versions started appearing at the high school and little league level. The uniform was so different from what other teams wore that the Astros wore it both at home and on the road until 1980, though it underwent a few minor modifications with the navy star and number style.[30]

1980–1993: Rainbow shoulders

Also in 1980, the Astros debuted a significantly cleaner uniform, relegating the rainbows to the sleeves. The design was initially worn on the road (with the original rainbow uniform relegated to home games), but in 1982 the rainbow shoulder look began appearing on select home games as well. In addition, the navy cap returned with this uniform and the orange cap was eventually retired in 1983. By 1987, this uniform became the Astros' primary look, retiring the original rainbow uniforms. The Astros never wore grey uniforms with this design, opting for white at home and cream on the road. Prior to the 1989 season, the pullover design was retired and buttons and belts returned to this uniform.[37][30]

1994–1999: Midnight blue and gold

Coinciding with the change in ownership, the team switched uniforms and team colors after the 1993 season in order to go for a new, more serious image. The team's trademark rainbow uniforms were retired, and the team's colors changed to midnight blue and metallic gold. The "Astros" font on the team logo was changed to a more aggressive one, and the team's traditional star logo was changed to a stylized, "flying" star with an open left end.

Both the home and road uniforms featured a star substituting for the penultimate letter "O" in both "Astros" (home) and "Houston" (road); the road uniform was later tweaked in 1997 with the star now affixed next to the word "Houston". The letters were written in a more futuristic manner. The Astros also wore midnight blue alternates with "Astros" in white with gold trim. The midnight blue cap featured the flying star logo. It also marked the first time since 1974 that the Astros wore grey uniforms on the road.[37][30]

2000–2012: Railroad design

Moving to Minute Maid Park (originally Enron Field) in 2000, the Astros took to the field wearing vintage-inspired uniforms. For the first time, navy was not part of the team's palette, and the Astros uniforms featured brick red, sand and black colors. The colors were inspired by the location of their new ballpark which formerly housed a railroad depot.

Primary home uniforms featured black pinstripes with "Astros" in black script letters and numbers in red. The road uniforms sported "Houston" in red script letters and black numbers. During this period the Astros also experimented with various alternate uniforms, wearing black, red and even non-pinstriped white uniforms. Black caps with the updated star in red became the primary cap while a red cap with the sand star was used as an alternate.[37][30]

Astros' "railroad" uniforms
Astros' "railroad" uniformsJosé Altuve in the primary home pinstriped uniform with black cap.Jordan Lyles in the road uniform with brick red cap.Roger Clemens in the road uniform with black cap.Tim Byrdak in the alternate white uniform with brick red cap.Mike Hampton in the alternate brick red road uniform with black cap.Roger Clemens in the alternate brick red home uniform with black cap.
José Altuve in the primary home pinstriped uniform with black cap.
Astros' "railroad" uniformsJosé Altuve in the primary home pinstriped uniform with black cap.Jordan Lyles in the road uniform with brick red cap.Roger Clemens in the road uniform with black cap.Tim Byrdak in the alternate white uniform with brick red cap.Mike Hampton in the alternate brick red road uniform with black cap.Roger Clemens in the alternate brick red home uniform with black cap.
Jordan Lyles in the road uniform with brick red cap.
Astros' "railroad" uniformsJosé Altuve in the primary home pinstriped uniform with black cap.Jordan Lyles in the road uniform with brick red cap.Roger Clemens in the road uniform with black cap.Tim Byrdak in the alternate white uniform with brick red cap.Mike Hampton in the alternate brick red road uniform with black cap.Roger Clemens in the alternate brick red home uniform with black cap.
Roger Clemens in the road uniform with black cap.
Astros' "railroad" uniformsJosé Altuve in the primary home pinstriped uniform with black cap.Jordan Lyles in the road uniform with brick red cap.Roger Clemens in the road uniform with black cap.Tim Byrdak in the alternate white uniform with brick red cap.Mike Hampton in the alternate brick red road uniform with black cap.Roger Clemens in the alternate brick red home uniform with black cap.
Tim Byrdak in the alternate white uniform with brick red cap.
Astros' "railroad" uniformsJosé Altuve in the primary home pinstriped uniform with black cap.Jordan Lyles in the road uniform with brick red cap.Roger Clemens in the road uniform with black cap.Tim Byrdak in the alternate white uniform with brick red cap.Mike Hampton in the alternate brick red road uniform with black cap.Roger Clemens in the alternate brick red home uniform with black cap.
Mike Hampton in the alternate brick red road uniform with black cap.
Astros' "railroad" uniformsJosé Altuve in the primary home pinstriped uniform with black cap.Jordan Lyles in the road uniform with brick red cap.Roger Clemens in the road uniform with black cap.Tim Byrdak in the alternate white uniform with brick red cap.Mike Hampton in the alternate brick red road uniform with black cap.Roger Clemens in the alternate brick red home uniform with black cap.
Roger Clemens in the alternate brick red home uniform with black cap.

2013–present: Return to navy and orange

In 2013, the Astros returned to the classic navy and orange look of previous eras. Both uniforms featured the city name (road) and team name (home) in block navy letters with orange trim, along with numbers on the left chest. Piping was also added in front. The orange alternate contained the team name and numbers in navy with white trim. The Astros also wore navy uniforms with the orange rainbow stripes along the side; the front originally featured the "H" star before replacing it with "Astros" in orange in 2016. Navy caps with the "H" and orange star returned, along with a road variation featuring an orange brim. Until 2015, the Astros also wore all-orange caps with the home uniforms, and from 2016 to 2018, the navy alternates were paired with an orange cap with navy brim.[37][30]

In 2022, the Astros were one of seven additional teams to wear Nike's "City Connect" uniforms. The predominantly navy uniform incorporated the "Space City" wordmark in homage to NASA's "worm" logo; the lettering and numbers also incorporated said style. The uniform also added various elements from the "Tequila Sunrise" uniforms of the 1970s, including numerals on the right leg and red/orange/yellow gradients on the piping and socks. The left sleeve patch has the modified Texas flag recolored to the Astros' navy and orange motif, with the "H-star" logo replacing the white star. All-navy caps feature the modified "H-star" logo incorporating a planet in orbit.[113]

Current Astros uniforms
Current Astros uniformsRonny Cedeño in the home uniform with navy accessories.Yordan Alvarez in the home "Los Astros" uniform with navy accessories.Alex Bregman in the road uniform with alternate navy cap and orange bill.Roberto Osuna in the road uniform with primary navy cap.Marwin González in the home uniform with orange accessories (no longer used).Lance McCullers Jr. in the alternate orange uniform with road pants.
Ronny Cedeño in the home uniform with navy accessories.
Current Astros uniformsRonny Cedeño in the home uniform with navy accessories.Yordan Alvarez in the home "Los Astros" uniform with navy accessories.Alex Bregman in the road uniform with alternate navy cap and orange bill.Roberto Osuna in the road uniform with primary navy cap.Marwin González in the home uniform with orange accessories (no longer used).Lance McCullers Jr. in the alternate orange uniform with road pants.
Yordan Alvarez in the home "Los Astros" uniform with navy accessories.
Current Astros uniformsRonny Cedeño in the home uniform with navy accessories.Yordan Alvarez in the home "Los Astros" uniform with navy accessories.Alex Bregman in the road uniform with alternate navy cap and orange bill.Roberto Osuna in the road uniform with primary navy cap.Marwin González in the home uniform with orange accessories (no longer used).Lance McCullers Jr. in the alternate orange uniform with road pants.
Alex Bregman in the road uniform with alternate navy cap and orange bill.
Current Astros uniformsRonny Cedeño in the home uniform with navy accessories.Yordan Alvarez in the home "Los Astros" uniform with navy accessories.Alex Bregman in the road uniform with alternate navy cap and orange bill.Roberto Osuna in the road uniform with primary navy cap.Marwin González in the home uniform with orange accessories (no longer used).Lance McCullers Jr. in the alternate orange uniform with road pants.
Roberto Osuna in the road uniform with primary navy cap.
Current Astros uniformsRonny Cedeño in the home uniform with navy accessories.Yordan Alvarez in the home "Los Astros" uniform with navy accessories.Alex Bregman in the road uniform with alternate navy cap and orange bill.Roberto Osuna in the road uniform with primary navy cap.Marwin González in the home uniform with orange accessories (no longer used).Lance McCullers Jr. in the alternate orange uniform with road pants.
Marwin González in the home uniform with orange accessories (no longer used).
Current Astros uniformsRonny Cedeño in the home uniform with navy accessories.Yordan Alvarez in the home "Los Astros" uniform with navy accessories.Alex Bregman in the road uniform with alternate navy cap and orange bill.Roberto Osuna in the road uniform with primary navy cap.Marwin González in the home uniform with orange accessories (no longer used).Lance McCullers Jr. in the alternate orange uniform with road pants.
Lance McCullers Jr. in the alternate orange uniform with road pants.

Discover more about Uniforms related topics

Flag of Texas

Flag of Texas

The flag of Texas is the official flag of the U.S. state of Texas. It is well known for its prominent single white star which gives the flag its commonly-used name: "Lone Star Flag". This lone star, in turn, gives rise to the state's nickname: "The Lone Star State". The flag, flown at homes and businesses statewide, is highly popular among Texans and is treated with a great degree of reverence and esteem within Texas. Along with the flag of Hawaii, it is one of two state flags to have previously served as a national flag of an independent country. In 2001, the North American Vexillological Association surveyed its members on the designs of the 72 U.S. state, territorial, and Canadian provincial flags and ranked the Texas flag second, behind New Mexico.

Joe Ferguson (baseball)

Joe Ferguson (baseball)

Joseph Vance Ferguson is an American former professional baseball player and coach. He played as a catcher in Major League Baseball from 1970 to 1983 for the Los Angeles Dodgers, St. Louis Cardinals, Houston Astros, and the California Angels. After his playing career, Ferguson became a coach and minor league manager.

Hal Lanier

Hal Lanier

Harold Clifton Lanier is a former infielder, coach and manager in Major League Baseball. From November 2014 through the end of his 2018 contract, Lanier, served as the first manager of the Ottawa Champions of the independent Can-Am League. From 1964 through 1973, Lanier played for the San Francisco Giants (1964–71) and New York Yankees (1972–73). He is the son of Max Lanier, a former MLB All-Star pitcher.

1993 in baseball

1993 in baseball

The following are the baseball events of the year 1993 throughout the world.

José Altuve

José Altuve

José Carlos Altuve is a Venezuelan professional baseball second baseman for the Houston Astros of Major League Baseball (MLB). The Astros signed Altuve as an amateur free agent in 2007, and he made his major league debut in 2011. A right-handed batter and thrower, as of 2017 he was the shortest active MLB player, at 5 feet 6 inches (1.68 m). His listed weight is 165 pounds (75 kg). From 2014 to 2017, Altuve recorded at least 200 hits each season and led the American League (AL) in the category. He won three batting championships in that span.

Jordan Lyles

Jordan Lyles

Jordan Horton Lyles is an American professional baseball pitcher who is currently a free agent. He previously played for the Houston Astros, Colorado Rockies, San Diego Padres, Pittsburgh Pirates, Milwaukee Brewers and Texas Rangers.

Mike Hampton

Mike Hampton

Michael William Hampton, Jr. is an American former professional baseball player. Hampton played in Major League Baseball (MLB) as a pitcher from 1993 through 2010. He pitched for the Seattle Mariners, Houston Astros, New York Mets, Colorado Rockies, Atlanta Braves and Arizona Diamondbacks. He was the bullpen coach for the Mariners before resigning on July 9, 2017.

Nike, Inc.

Nike, Inc.

Nike, Inc. is an American multinational corporation that is engaged in the design, development, manufacturing, and worldwide marketing and sales of footwear, apparel, equipment, accessories, and services. The company is headquartered near Beaverton, Oregon, in the Portland metropolitan area. It is the world's largest supplier of athletic shoes and apparel and a major manufacturer of sports equipment, with revenue in excess of US$37.4 billion in its fiscal year 2020. As of 2020, it employed 76,700 people worldwide. In 2020, the brand alone was valued in excess of $32 billion, making it the most valuable brand among sports businesses. Previously, in 2017, the Nike brand was valued at $29.6 billion. Nike ranked 89th in the 2018 Fortune 500 list of the largest United States corporations by total revenue.

Alex Bregman

Alex Bregman

Alexander David Bregman is an American professional baseball third baseman and shortstop for the Houston Astros of Major League Baseball (MLB).

Roberto Osuna

Roberto Osuna

Roberto Osuna Quintero Jr. is a Mexican professional baseball pitcher for the Chiba Lotte Marines of Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB). He has played in Major League Baseball (MLB) for the Toronto Blue Jays and Houston Astros.

Marwin González

Marwin González

Marwin Javier González is a Venezuelan professional baseball utility player who is a free agent. González was signed as an international free agent by the Chicago Cubs in 2005. He made his Major League Baseball (MLB) debut in 2012. He has played in MLB for the Houston Astros, Minnesota Twins, Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees. González has appeared at every position in MLB except for catcher.

Lance McCullers Jr.

Lance McCullers Jr.

Lance Graye McCullers Jr. is an American professional baseball pitcher for the Houston Astros of Major League Baseball (MLB). The Astros selected McCullers in the first round of the 2012 MLB draft. He made his MLB debut in 2015, and was an All-Star in 2017.

Achievements

Franchise record

As of the completion of the 2022 season
Team name Games Wins Losses Ties W-L%
Colt .45s (1962–1964) 486 196 288 2 .405
NL Astros (1965–2012) 7652 3803 3846 3 .497
AL Astros (2013–present) 1518 832 686 .548
Overall total 9651 4831 4820 5 .501
Playoff record 143 76 67 .531

Source:[114]

Awards

Darryl Kile Award

Two awards are presented each year, one to a Houston Astro and one to a St. Louis Cardinal, each of whom exemplifies Kile's virtues of being "a good teammate, a great friend, a fine father and a humble man." The winner is selected by each local chapter of the Baseball Writers' Association of America.[115]

Team captains

Team records

Retired numbers

5
Jeff
Bagwell

1B
Coach 
Retired August 26, 2007
7
Craig
Biggio

C, 2B
 
Retired August 17, 2008
24
Jimmy
Wynn

OF
 
Retired June 25, 2005
25
José
Cruz

OF
Coach 
Retired October 3, 1992
32
Jim
Umbricht

P
 
Retired April 12, 1965
33
Mike
Scott

P
 
Retired October 3, 1992
34
Nolan
Ryan

P
 
Retired September 29, 1996
40
Don
Wilson

P
 
Retired April 13, 1975
49
Larry
Dierker

P
Manager
Retired May 19, 2002
42
Jackie
Robinson

All MLB
 
Honored April 15, 1997

Source:[116]

While not officially retired, the Astros have not reissued number 57 since 2002, when former Astros pitcher Darryl Kile died as an active player with the St. Louis Cardinals. The number 42 is retired by Major League Baseball in honor of Jackie Robinson.

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Houston Astros award winners and league leaders

Houston Astros award winners and league leaders

This is a list of award winners and league leaders for the Houston Astros, an American professional baseball team based in Houston. The Astros compete in Major League Baseball (MLB) as a member club of the American League (AL), having moved to the league in 2013 after spending their first 51 seasons in the National League (NL).

Baseball Writers' Association of America

Baseball Writers' Association of America

The Baseball Writers' Association of America (BBWAA) is a professional association for journalists writing about Major League Baseball for daily newspapers, magazines and qualifying websites. The organization was founded in 1908, and is known for its annual awards and voting on membership in the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Enos Cabell

Enos Cabell

Enos Milton Cabell, is an American former professional baseball player. He played in Major League Baseball (MLB) as a first baseman and third baseman from 1972 to 1986, most prominently as a member of the Houston Astros team that won the franchise's first-ever National League Western Division title and postseason berth in 1980. He also played for the Baltimore Orioles, San Francisco Giants, Detroit Tigers, and Los Angeles Dodgers. After his playing career, Cabell served as a special assistant to the General Manager of the Houston Astros.

Jeff Bagwell

Jeff Bagwell

Jeffrey Robert Bagwell is an American former professional baseball first baseman and coach who spent his entire 15-year Major League Baseball (MLB) playing career with the Houston Astros.

Craig Biggio

Craig Biggio

Craig Alan Biggio is an American former second baseman, outfielder and catcher in Major League Baseball who played his entire career from 1988 through 2007 for the Houston Astros. A seven-time National League (NL) All-Star often regarded as the greatest all-around player in Astros history, he is the only player ever to be named an All-Star and to be awarded Silver Slugger Award at both catcher and second base. With longtime teammates Jeff Bagwell and Lance Berkman, he formed the core of the "Killer B's" who led Houston to six playoff appearances from 1997 to 2005, culminating in the franchise's first World Series appearance in 2005. At the end of his career, he ranked sixth in NL history in games played (2,850), fifth in at bats (10,876), 21st in hits (3,060), and seventh in runs scored (1,844). His 668 career doubles ranked sixth in major league history, and are the second-most ever by a right-handed hitter; his 56 doubles in 1999 were the most in the major leagues in 63 years.

Jimmy Wynn

Jimmy Wynn

James Sherman Wynn, nicknamed "The Toy Cannon", was an American professional baseball player. He played 15 seasons as a center fielder; he spent ten of his fifteen seasons with the Houston Colt .45s / Astros before playing for four other teams. Wynn was nicknamed "The Toy Cannon" because his bat was described as having a lot of "pop" for his small size at 5 ft 9 in (1.75 m) and 160 lb (73 kg).

José Cruz

José Cruz

José Cruz Dilan nicknamed Cheo, is a Puerto Rican former professional baseball player, coach and baseball front office executive. He played in Major League Baseball as an outfielder from 1970 to 1988, most prominently as a member of the Houston Astros.

Jim Umbricht

Jim Umbricht

James Umbricht was an American professional baseball player. A right-handed relief pitcher, he played Major League Baseball (MLB) between 1959 and 1963 for the Pittsburgh Pirates and Houston Colt .45s.

Don Wilson (baseball)

Don Wilson (baseball)

Donald Edward Wilson was a professional baseball pitcher. He played all or part of nine seasons in Major League Baseball with the Houston Astros.

Larry Dierker

Larry Dierker

Lawrence Edward Dierker is a former Major League Baseball pitcher, manager, and broadcaster. During a 14-year baseball career as a pitcher, he pitched from 1964 to 1977 for the Houston Colt .45s/Astros and the St. Louis Cardinals.

Jackie Robinson

Jackie Robinson

Jack Roosevelt Robinson was an American professional baseball player who became the first African American to play in Major League Baseball (MLB) in the modern era. Robinson broke the baseball color line when he started at first base for the Brooklyn Dodgers on April 15, 1947. When the Dodgers signed Robinson, it heralded the end of racial segregation in professional baseball that had relegated black players to the Negro leagues since the 1880s. Robinson was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1962.

Darryl Kile

Darryl Kile

Darryl Andrew Kile was an American professional baseball starting pitcher. He pitched from 1991 to 2002 for three Major League Baseball (MLB) teams, primarily for the Houston Astros. Kile was known for his sharp, big-breaking curveball. He died at the age of 33 of coronary artery disease in 2002 in Chicago, where he and the St. Louis Cardinals were staying for a weekend series against the Chicago Cubs. He was the first active major league player to die during the regular season since 1979, when the New York Yankees' Thurman Munson died in a plane crash.

Hall of Fame

Baseball Hall of Fame members

Houston Astros Hall of Famers
Affiliation according to the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum
Houston Colt .45s

Nellie Fox

Houston Astros

Jeff Bagwell *
Craig Biggio *

Leo Durocher
Randy Johnson

Eddie Mathews
Joe Morgan

Robin Roberts
Iván Rodríguez

Nolan Ryan
Don Sutton

  • Players and managers listed in bold are depicted on their Hall of Fame plaques wearing a Colt .45s or Astros cap insignia.
  • * Houston Astros listed as primary team according to the Hall of Fame

Ford C. Frick Award recipients

Houston Astros Ford C. Frick Award recipients
Affiliation according to the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum

Gene Elston

Milo Hamilton

Al Helfer

Harry Kalas

  • Names in bold received the award based primarily on their work as broadcasters for the Colt .45s or Astros.

Astros Hall of Fame

On January 26, 2019, the team announced plans for a team Hall of Fame along with an inaugural class of inductees (including all retired numbers and members of the 2012 Walk of Fame), complete with an orange jacket and renderings for each of the inductees. The Astros Hall of Fame (with sponsorship by Houston Methodist) is currently located in the former Home Run Alley area of the ballpark under the new name of Hall of Fame Alley, beginning in March that revealed a series of plaques on Hall of Fame weekend on August 2 and induction the next day.[117] A display was installed in the Union Station lobby on January 31 that included the jerseys and hats of the first class of inductees. The 2020 season belayed induction of the second group of Hall of Fame members until August 7 of the 2021 season.[118] While there was no class of 2021, the committee dedicated to electing a broad representation of Astros did elect a class of 2022 for August of the impending season, selecting Terry Puhl and Tal Smith as the next inductees into the Astros Hall.[119][120][121][122]

Jeff Bagwell (1991–2005), Hall of Famer
Jeff Bagwell (1991–2005), Hall of Famer
Craig Biggio (1988–2007), Hall of Famer
Craig Biggio (1988–2007), Hall of Famer
Key
Bold Member of the Baseball Hall of Fame
dagger
Member of the Baseball Hall of Fame as an Astro
Bold Recipient of the Hall of Fame's Ford C. Frick Award
Houston Astros Hall of Fame
Year No. Player Position Tenure
2019 14 Bob Aspromonte 3B 1962–1968
5 Jeff Bagwelldagger 1B 1991–2005
4, 7 Craig Biggiodagger 2B / C / OF 1988–2007
25 José Cruz OF 1975–1987
49 Larry Dierker P
Broadcaster
Manager
1964–1976
1979–1996
1997–2001
Gene Elston Broadcaster 1962–1986
Milo Hamilton Broadcaster 1985–2012
12, 35, 18, 8 Joe Morgan 2B 1963–1971, 1980
36 Joe Niekro P 1975–1985
38, 37 Shane Reynolds P 1992–2002
50 J.R. Richard P 1971–1980
34 Nolan Ryan P 1980–1988
33 Mike Scott P 1983–1991
45, 32 Jim Umbricht P 1962–1963
23, 40 Don Wilson P 1966–1974
18, 24 Jimmy Wynn OF 1963–1973
2020 22, 17 Lance Berkman OF/1B 1999–2010
28 César Cedeño CF 1970–1981
Roy Hofheinz Owner 1960–1975
44 Roy Oswalt P 2001–2010
13 Billy Wagner P 1995–2003
38, 11, 26, 27 Bob Watson 1B/LF
GM
1966–1979
1993–1995
2022 21 Terry Puhl OF 1977–1990
Tal Smith Executive 1960–1973
1975–1980
1994–2011

Texas Sports Hall of Fame

Lance Berkman (1999–2010)
Lance Berkman (1999–2010)
Astros in the Texas Sports Hall of Fame
No. Name Position Tenure Notes
Lee Ballanfant Scout 1961–1970 Born in Waco
3 Pete Runnels IF 1963–1964 Born in Lufkin
5 Jeff Bagwell 1B
Coach
1991–2005
2010
7 Craig Biggio 2B/C 1988–2007
8, 12, 18, 35 Joe Morgan 2B 1963–1971
1980
Played mainly with the Cincinnati Reds; born in Bonham
11 Eddie Mathews 3B 1967 Played mainly with the Boston/Milwaukee/Atlanta Braves; born in Texarkana
12, 77 Iván Rodríguez C 2009 Played mainly with the Texas Rangers
17 Lance Berkman OF/1B 1999–2010 Born in Waco, raised in New Braunfels, attended Rice University
21 Andy Pettitte P 2004–2006 Played mainly with the New York Yankees; grew up in Houston
22 Roger Clemens P 2004–2006 Played mainly with the Boston Red Sox; grew up in Houston, attended the University of Texas at Austin
34 Nolan Ryan P 1980–1988 Born in Refugio, grew up in Alvin
38 Robin Roberts P 1965–1966 Played mainly with the Philadelphia Phillies
49 Larry Dierker P
Manager
1964–1977
1997–2001

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Jeff Bagwell

Jeff Bagwell

Jeffrey Robert Bagwell is an American former professional baseball first baseman and coach who spent his entire 15-year Major League Baseball (MLB) playing career with the Houston Astros.

Craig Biggio

Craig Biggio

Craig Alan Biggio is an American former second baseman, outfielder and catcher in Major League Baseball who played his entire career from 1988 through 2007 for the Houston Astros. A seven-time National League (NL) All-Star often regarded as the greatest all-around player in Astros history, he is the only player ever to be named an All-Star and to be awarded Silver Slugger Award at both catcher and second base. With longtime teammates Jeff Bagwell and Lance Berkman, he formed the core of the "Killer B's" who led Houston to six playoff appearances from 1997 to 2005, culminating in the franchise's first World Series appearance in 2005. At the end of his career, he ranked sixth in NL history in games played (2,850), fifth in at bats (10,876), 21st in hits (3,060), and seventh in runs scored (1,844). His 668 career doubles ranked sixth in major league history, and are the second-most ever by a right-handed hitter; his 56 doubles in 1999 were the most in the major leagues in 63 years.

Leo Durocher

Leo Durocher

Leo Ernest Durocher, nicknamed Leo the Lip and Lippy, was an American professional baseball player, manager and coach. He played in Major League Baseball as an infielder. Upon his retirement, he ranked fifth all-time among managers with 2,008 career victories, second only to John McGraw in National League history. Durocher still ranks tenth in career wins by a manager. A controversial and outspoken character, Durocher had a stormy career dogged by clashes with authority, the baseball commissioner, the press, and umpires; his 95 career ejections as a manager trailed only McGraw when he retired, and still ranks fourth on the all-time list.

Eddie Mathews

Eddie Mathews

Edwin Lee Mathews was an American Major League Baseball (MLB) third baseman. He played 17 seasons for Boston / Milwaukee / Atlanta Braves (1952–1966); Houston Astros (1967) and Detroit Tigers (1967–68). Inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1978, he is the only player to have represented the Braves in the three American cities they have called home. He played 1,944 games for the Braves during their 13-season tenure in Milwaukee—the prime of Mathews' career.

Joe Morgan

Joe Morgan

Joe Leonard Morgan was an American professional baseball second baseman who played 22 seasons in Major League Baseball (MLB) for the Houston Colt .45s / Astros, Cincinnati Reds, San Francisco Giants, Philadelphia Phillies, and Oakland Athletics from 1963 to 1984. He won two World Series championships with the Reds in 1975 and 1976 and was also named the National League Most Valuable Player in each of those years. Considered one of the greatest second basemen of all time, Morgan was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1990.

Iván Rodríguez

Iván Rodríguez

Iván Rodríguez Torres, nicknamed "Pudge" and "I-Rod", is a Puerto Rican former Major League Baseball catcher. He played for the Texas Rangers, Florida Marlins, Detroit Tigers, New York Yankees, Houston Astros and Washington Nationals. Rodríguez was awarded the AL MVP award in 1999 and is widely regarded as one of the greatest catchers in MLB history.

Don Sutton

Don Sutton

Donald Howard Sutton was an American professional baseball pitcher. He played in Major League Baseball (MLB) for 23 seasons as a member of the Los Angeles Dodgers, Houston Astros, Milwaukee Brewers, Oakland Athletics, and California Angels. Sutton won a total of 324 games and pitched 58 shutouts including five one-hitters and ten two-hitters. He is seventh on baseball's all-time strikeout list with 3,574.

Ford C. Frick Award

Ford C. Frick Award

The Ford C. Frick Award is presented annually by the National Baseball Hall of Fame in the United States to a broadcaster for "major contributions to baseball". It is named for Ford C. Frick, former Commissioner of Major League Baseball. Before his career as an executive, Frick was a baseball writer; he gained fame as the ghostwriter for Babe Ruth in the 1920s. The award was created in 1978, and named in tribute to Frick following his death that year.

Gene Elston

Gene Elston

Robert Gene Elston was a Major League Baseball (MLB) broadcaster, primarily with the Houston Astros.

Milo Hamilton

Milo Hamilton

Leland Milo Hamilton was an American sportscaster, best known for calling play-by-play for seven different Major League Baseball teams from 1953 to 2015. He received the Ford C. Frick Award from the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1992.

Al Helfer

Al Helfer

George Alvin "Al" Helfer was an American radio sportscaster.

Harry Kalas

Harry Kalas

Harold Norbert Kalas was an American sportscaster, best known for his Ford C. Frick Award-winning role as lead play-by-play announcer for Major League Baseball's Philadelphia Phillies, a position he held from 1971 until his death in 2009.

Roster

40-man roster Non-roster invitees Coaches/Other

Pitchers

Catchers

Infielders

Outfielders

Designated hitters

Pitchers


Infielders



Manager

Coaches



36 active, 0 inactive, 2 non-roster invitees

Injury icon 2.svg 7-, 10-, or 15-day injured list
* Not on active roster
Suspended list
Roster, coaches, and NRIs updated November 28, 2022
Transactions Depth chart
All MLB rosters

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Houston Astros all-time roster

Houston Astros all-time roster

The following is a list of players, both past and current, who appeared at least in one game for the Houston Astros National League franchise (1965–2012) and current American League franchise (2013–present), also known previously as the Houston Colt .45's (1962–1964).

Bryan Abreu

Bryan Abreu

Bryan Enrique Abreu is a Dominican professional baseball pitcher for the Houston Astros of Major League Baseball (MLB). Abreu signed with the Astros as an international free agent in 2013, and made his major league debut in 2019.

Brandon Bielak

Brandon Bielak

Brandon Michael Bielak is an American professional baseball pitcher for the Houston Astros of Major League Baseball (MLB). He played college baseball at the University of Notre Dame. He was selected by the Astros in the 11th round of the 2017 MLB draft, and made his MLB debut in 2020.

Hunter Brown (baseball)

Hunter Brown (baseball)

Hunter Noah Brown is an American professional baseball pitcher for the Houston Astros of Major League Baseball (MLB). He played college baseball at Wayne State University. The Astros selected him in the fifth round of the 2019 MLB draft, and he made his MLB debut in 2022.

Luis García (pitcher, born 1996)

Luis García (pitcher, born 1996)

Luis Heibardo García is a Venezuelan professional baseball pitcher for the Houston Astros of Major League Baseball (MLB). García signed with the Astros as an international free agent in 2017, and made his MLB debut in 2020.

Cristian Javier

Cristian Javier

Cristian Javier is a Dominican professional baseball pitcher for the Houston Astros of Major League Baseball (MLB). Javier signed with the Astros as an international free agent in 2015 and made his MLB debut in 2020. During the Astros' World Series championship season in 2022, Javier was the starting pitcher of two combined no-hitters—including Game 4 of the World Series—the first player in MLB history to do so. The World Series no-hitter was just the second in baseball history, and the only combined no-hitter.

Lance McCullers Jr.

Lance McCullers Jr.

Lance Graye McCullers Jr. is an American professional baseball pitcher for the Houston Astros of Major League Baseball (MLB). The Astros selected McCullers in the first round of the 2012 MLB draft. He made his MLB debut in 2015, and was an All-Star in 2017.

Parker Mushinski

Parker Mushinski

Parker Allen Mushinski is an American professional baseball pitcher for the Houston Astros of Major League Baseball (MLB). He played college baseball for Texas Tech University. He made his MLB debut in 2022.

Héctor Neris

Héctor Neris

Héctor Neris is a Dominican professional baseball pitcher for the Houston Astros of Major League Baseball (MLB). He has previously played in MLB for the Philadelphia Phillies. He was signed as a free agent by the Phillies in 2010, and made his major league debut with them in 2014.

Enoli Paredes

Enoli Paredes

Enoli Norverto Paredes is a Dominican professional baseball pitcher for the Houston Astros of Major League Baseball (MLB). He made his MLB debut in 2020.

Blake Taylor

Blake Taylor

Blake Michael Taylor is an American professional baseball pitcher for the Houston Astros of Major League Baseball (MLB), and the Great Britain national team. Taylor was drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 2nd round of the 2013 MLB draft. He made his MLB debut in 2020 as a member of the Astros.

José Urquidy

José Urquidy

José Luis Hernández Urquidy is a Mexican professional baseball pitcher for the Houston Astros of Major League Baseball (MLB). Urquidy signed with the Astros as an international free agent in 2015 under the name of José Luis Hernández, as whom he was known until the start of the 2019 season. He made his MLB debut in 2019.

Spring training

The Astros have held their spring training at The Ballpark of the Palm Beaches in West Palm Beach, Florida since 2017. They share the stadium with the Washington Nationals.[123]

From 1985 to 2016, the Astros held spring training at Osceola Heritage Park in Kissimmee, Florida.[124]

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Spring training

Spring training

Spring training is the preseason in Major League Baseball (MLB), a series of practices and exhibition games preceding the start of the regular season. Spring training allows new players to try out for roster and position spots, and gives established players practice time prior to competitive play. Spring training has always attracted fan attention, drawing crowds who travel to the warm climates of Arizona and Florida to enjoy the weather and watch their favorite teams play, and spring training usually coincides with spring break for many US students.

West Palm Beach, Florida

West Palm Beach, Florida

West Palm Beach is a city in and the county seat of Palm Beach County, Florida, United States. It is located immediately to the west of the adjacent Palm Beach, which is situated on a barrier island across the Lake Worth Lagoon. The population was 117,415 at the 2020 census. West Palm Beach is a principal city of the Miami metropolitan area, which was home to 6,138,333 people in 2020. It is the oldest incorporated municipality in the South Florida area, incorporated as a city two years before Miami in November 1894. West Palm Beach is located approximately 68 miles (109 km) north of Downtown Miami.

Florida

Florida

Florida is a state located in the Southeastern region of the United States. Florida is bordered to the west by the Gulf of Mexico, to the northwest by Alabama, to the north by Georgia, to the east by the Bahamas and Atlantic Ocean, and to the south by the Straits of Florida and Cuba; it is the only state that borders both the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean. Spanning 65,758 square miles (170,310 km2), Florida ranks 22nd in area among the 50 states, and with a population of over 21 million, is the third-most populous. The state capital is Tallahassee and the most populous city is Jacksonville. The Miami metropolitan area, with a population of almost 6.2 million, is the most populous urban area in Florida and the ninth-most populous in the United States; other urban conurbations with over one million people are Tampa Bay, Orlando, and Jacksonville.

Washington Nationals

Washington Nationals

The Washington Nationals are an American professional baseball team based in Washington, D.C.. They compete in Major League Baseball (MLB) as a member of the National League (NL) East division. From 2005 to 2007, the team played in RFK Stadium while a new stadium was being built. In 2008, they moved in to Nationals Park, located on South Capitol Street in the Southeast quadrant of D.C., near the Anacostia River.

Osceola County Stadium

Osceola County Stadium

Osceola County Stadium is an outdoor sports venue located in Kissimmee, Florida, part of the wider Orlando City SC Training Ground at Osceola Heritage Park.

Kissimmee, Florida

Kissimmee, Florida

Kissimmee is the largest city and county seat of Osceola County, Florida, United States. As of the 2020 census, the population was 79,226. It is a Principal City of the Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford, Florida, Metropolitan Statistical Area, which had a 2010 population of 2,234,411.

Minor league affiliations

The Houston Astros farm system consists of seven minor league affiliates.[125]

Level Team League Location
Triple-A Sugar Land Space Cowboys Pacific Coast League Sugar Land, Texas
Double-A Corpus Christi Hooks Texas League Corpus Christi, Texas
High-A Asheville Tourists South Atlantic League Asheville, North Carolina
Single-A Fayetteville Woodpeckers Carolina League Fayetteville, North Carolina
Rookie FCL Astros Blue Florida Complex League West Palm Beach, Florida
FCL Astros Orange
DSL Astros Dominican Summer League Boca Chica, Santo Domingo

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List of Houston Astros minor league affiliates

List of Houston Astros minor league affiliates

The Houston Astros farm system consists of seven Minor League Baseball affiliates across the United States and in the Dominican Republic. Six teams are owned by the major league club, while the Asheville Tourists are independently owned.

Farm team

Farm team

In sports, a farm team, farm system, feeder team, feeder club, or nursery club is generally a team or club whose role is to provide experience and training for young players, with an agreement that any successful players can move on to a higher level at a given point, usually in an association with a major-level parent team. This system can be implemented in many ways, both formally and informally. It is not to be confused with a practice squad, which fulfills a similar developmental purpose but the players on the practice squad are members of the parent team.

Minor League Baseball

Minor League Baseball

Minor League Baseball (MiLB) is professional baseball below Major League Baseball (MLB), including teams affiliated with MLB clubs and independent baseball leagues consisting of unaffiliated teams.

Double-A (baseball)

Double-A (baseball)

Double-A is the second-highest level of play in Minor League Baseball in the United States since 1946, below only Triple-A. There are currently 30 teams classified at the Double-A level, one for each team in Major League Baseball, organized into three leagues: the Eastern League, the Southern League, and the Texas League.

Corpus Christi Hooks

Corpus Christi Hooks

The Corpus Christi Hooks are a Minor League Baseball team of the Texas League and the Double-A affiliate of the Houston Astros. They are located in Corpus Christi, Texas, and are named for the city's association with fishing. The team is owned by the Houston Astros. The Hooks play their home games at Whataburger Field, which opened in 2005 and is located on Corpus Christi's waterfront.

Corpus Christi, Texas

Corpus Christi, Texas

Corpus Christi is a coastal city in the South Texas region of the U.S. state of Texas and the county seat and largest city of Nueces County, it also extends into Aransas, Kleberg, and San Patricio Counties. It is 130 miles (210 km) southeast of San Antonio. Its political boundaries encompass Nueces Bay and Corpus Christi Bay. Its zoned boundaries include small land parcels or water inlets of three neighboring counties.

High-A

High-A

High-A is the third-highest level of play in Minor League Baseball in the United States and Canada, below Triple-A and Double-A, and above Single-A. There are 30 teams classified at the High-A level, one for each team in Major League Baseball (MLB), organized into three leagues: the Midwest League, Northwest League, and South Atlantic League.

Asheville Tourists

Asheville Tourists

The Asheville Tourists are a Minor League Baseball team of the South Atlantic League and the High-A affiliate of the Houston Astros. They are located in Asheville, North Carolina.

Asheville, North Carolina

Asheville, North Carolina

Asheville is a city in, and the county seat of, Buncombe County, North Carolina, United States. Located at the confluence of the French Broad and Swannanoa rivers, it is the largest city in Western North Carolina, and the state's 11th-most populous city. According to the 2020 United States Census, the city's population was 94,589, up from 83,393 in the 2010 census. It is the principal city in the four-county Asheville metropolitan area, which had a population of 424,858 in 2010, and of 469,015 in 2020.

Fayetteville Woodpeckers

Fayetteville Woodpeckers

The Fayetteville Woodpeckers are a Minor League Baseball team of the Carolina League and the Single-A affiliate of the Houston Astros. They are located in Fayetteville, North Carolina, and play their home games at Segra Stadium. From 2017 to 2018, the team was known as the Buies Creek Astros and played at Jim Perry Stadium on the campus of Campbell University in Buies Creek, North Carolina.

Carolina League

Carolina League

The Carolina League is a Minor League Baseball league which has operated along the Atlantic Coast of the United States since 1945. Having been classified at various levels throughout its existence, it operated at Class A-Advanced from 1990 until its demotion to Single-A following Major League Baseball's 2021 reorganization of the minor leagues. The league temporarily operated for the 2021 season as the Low-A East before reassuming its original moniker in 2022.

Fayetteville, North Carolina

Fayetteville, North Carolina

Fayetteville is a city in and the county seat of Cumberland County, North Carolina, United States. It is best known as the home of Fort Bragg, a major U.S. Army installation northwest of the city.

Radio and television

Since 2013, the Astros' flagship radio station is KBME, Sportstalk 790 AM (a Fox Sports Radio affiliate). Previously, the team had a partnership with KTRH (740 AM) which went from 1999 to 2012 (both stations are owned by iHeartMedia). This change suddenly made it difficult for listeners outside of Houston itself to hear the Astros, as KTRH runs 50 kilowatts of power day and night, and KBME runs only five kilowatts. As a result, KTRH is audible across much of Central, East, and South Texas, whereas KBME can only be heard in Houston, especially after dark. Milo Hamilton, a veteran voice who was on the call for Hank Aaron's 715th career home run in 1974, retired at the end of the 2012 season, after broadcasting play-by-play for the Astros since 1985. Dave Raymond and Brett Dolan shared play-by-play duty for road games, while Raymond additionally worked as Hamilton's color analyst (while Hamilton called home games only for the past few seasons before his retirement); they were not retained and instead brought in Robert Ford and Steve Sparks to begin broadcasting for the 2013 season.[126]

Spanish language radio play-by-play is handled by Francisco Romero, and his play-by-play partner is Alex Treviño, a former backup catcher for the club.

During the 2012 season Astros games on television were announced by Bill Brown and Jim Deshaies. In the seven seasons before then, Astros games were broadcast on television by Fox Sports Houston, with select games shown on broadcast TV by KTXH. As part of a ten-year, $1 billion deal with Comcast that includes a majority stake jointly held by the Astros and the Houston Rockets, Houston Astros games moved to the new Comcast SportsNet Houston at the beginning of the 2013 season.[127] On September 27, 2013 CSN Houston filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy and surprising the Astros who own the largest stake.[128] After being brought out of bankruptcy by DirecTV Sports Networks and AT&T, the channel's name was changed to Root Sports Southwest then later AT&T SportsNet Southwest.

The current television team consists of Todd Kalas and Geoff Blum.

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Houston Astros Radio Network

Houston Astros Radio Network

The Houston Astros Radio Network is an American broadcast network of radio affiliates in operation since 1962 that broadcast coverage of the Houston Astros before, during, and after that team's games. Radio content is broadcast in both the English and Spanish languages. It consists of 26 stations that span across three states with its English flagship station as KBME and its Spanish flagship station as K231CE, both in Houston. In addition to its affiliates, Houston Astros Radio Network content can be listened to on satellite radio via Sirius XM Radio and online using both MLB.tv and Sirius XM Internet Radio.

Fox Sports Radio

Fox Sports Radio

Fox Sports Radio is an American sports radio network. Based in Los Angeles, California, the network is operated and managed by Premiere Networks in a content partnership with Fox Corporation's Fox Sports division and iHeartMedia, parent company of Premiere Networks. With studios also in New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, Tampa, Phoenix, Tulsa, Cincinnati, and Las Vegas, Fox Sports Radio is broadcast on more than 400 stations, as well as FoxSports.com on MSN and iHeartRadio.

IHeartMedia

IHeartMedia

iHeartMedia, Inc., formerly CC Media Holdings, Inc., is an American mass media corporation headquartered in San Antonio, Texas. It is the holding company of iHeartCommunications, Inc., a company founded by Lowry Mays and B. J. "Red" McCombs in 1972, and later taken private by Bain Capital and Thomas H. Lee Partners through a leveraged buyout in 2008. As a result of this buyout, Clear Channel Communications, Inc., began to operate as a wholly owned subsidiary of CC Media Holdings, Inc. On September 16, 2014, CC Media Holdings, Inc. was rebranded iHeartMedia, Inc., and Clear Channel Communications, Inc., became iHeartCommunications, Inc.

Hank Aaron

Hank Aaron

Henry Louis Aaron, nicknamed "Hammer" or "Hammerin' Hank", was an American professional baseball right fielder who played 23 seasons in Major League Baseball (MLB), from 1954 through 1976. One of the greatest baseball players in history, he spent 21 seasons with the Milwaukee/Atlanta Braves in the National League (NL) and two seasons with the Milwaukee Brewers in the American League (AL). At the time of his retirement, Aaron held most of the game's key career power-hitting records. He broke the long-standing MLB record for home runs held by Babe Ruth and remained the career leader for 33 years. He hit 24 or more home runs every year from 1955 through 1973 and is one of only two players to hit 30 or more home runs in a season at least fifteen times.

Dave Raymond

Dave Raymond

Dave Raymond is an American sportscaster. He is the primary television play-by-play announcer for the Texas Rangers of Major League Baseball. He has also worked for the San Francisco Giants (2003), Baltimore Orioles (2005), and Houston Astros.

Alex Treviño

Alex Treviño

Alejandro Treviño Castro is a Mexican former professional baseball catcher. He is the younger brother of former Major League Baseball outfielder Bobby Treviño.

Bill Brown (sportscaster)

Bill Brown (sportscaster)

Bill Brown is an American former sportscaster. After spending several years calling play-by-play on Cincinnati Reds broadcasts, Brown worked for the Houston Astros from 1987 to 2016.

Jim Deshaies

Jim Deshaies

James Joseph Deshaies , also known as "JD", is an American former professional baseball left-handed starting pitcher, who played in Major League Baseball (MLB) for six teams, over the course of 12 big league seasons. He is currently a color commentator for broadcasts of Chicago Cubs games.

Fox Sports Houston

Fox Sports Houston

Fox Sports Houston was an American regional sports network that was owned by Fox Cable Networks, a unit of the Fox Entertainment Group subsidiary of News Corporation, and operated as an affiliate of Fox Sports Networks. The channel, which operated out of facilities based in downtown Houston, Texas, originally began in April 2005 as a sub-feed of sister network Fox Sports Southwest and became a separate 24-hour channel on January 12, 2009.

Comcast

Comcast

Comcast Corporation, headquartered in Philadelphia, is the largest American multinational telecommunications conglomerate. It is the second-largest broadcasting and cable television company in the world by revenue, the largest pay-TV company, the largest cable TV company and largest home Internet service provider in the United States, and the nation's third-largest home telephone service provider. It provides services to U.S. residential and commercial customers in 40 states and the District of Columbia. As the parent company of the international media company NBCUniversal since 2011, Comcast is a producer of feature films for theatrical exhibition, and over-the-air and cable television programming.

Houston Rockets

Houston Rockets

The Houston Rockets are an American professional basketball team based in Houston. The Rockets compete in the National Basketball Association (NBA) as a member team of the league's Western Conference Southwest Division. The team plays its home games at the Toyota Center, located in Downtown Houston. Throughout its history, Houston has won two NBA championships and four Western Conference titles. It was established in 1967 as the San Diego Rockets, an expansion team originally based in San Diego. In 1971, the Rockets relocated to Houston.

AT&T

AT&T

AT&T Inc. is an American multinational telecommunications holding company headquartered at Whitacre Tower in Downtown Dallas, Texas. It is the world's largest telecommunications company by revenue and the third largest provider of mobile telephone services in the U.S. As of 2022, AT&T was ranked 13th on the Fortune 500 rankings of the largest United States corporations, with revenues of $168.8 billion.

Mascots

In April 1977, the Houston Astros introduced their first mascot, Chester Charge. Created by Ed Henderson, Chester Charge was a Texas cavalry soldier on a horse. Chester appeared on the field at the beginning of each home game, during the seventh-inning stretch and then ran around the bases at the conclusion of each win. At the blast of a bugle, the scoreboard would light up and the audience would yell, "Charge!" [129]

Orbit, Houston Astros mascot from 1990 to 1999, 2013–present
Orbit, Houston Astros mascot from 1990 to 1999, 2013–present

The Astros’ current mascot is Orbit, a lime-green outer-space creature wearing an Astros jersey with antennae extending into baseballs. Orbit was the team's official mascot from the 1990 through the 1999 seasons. For the 2000 season, a rabbit named Junction Jack was introduced as the team's mascot with the move from the Astrodome to then Enron Field. (Junction Jack had two "relatives", Junction Julie and Junction Jesse, who were not official mascots). Orbit returned after a 13-year hiatus on November 2, 2012, at the unveiling of the Astros' new look for their 2013 debut in the American League. The name Orbit pays homage to Houston's association with NASA and nickname Space City.[130]

Source: "Houston Astros", Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, (2022, December 1st), https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Houston_Astros.

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Notes
  1. ^ The team's official colors are blue and orange, according to the team's mascot (Orbit)'s official website.[1]
References

General

  • A Six-Gun Salute: An Illustrated History of the Houston Colt .45s, by Robert Reed (Rowman-Littlefield Publishing, Boston, 1999)

Citations

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External links
Achievements
Preceded by World Series champions
Houston Astros

2017
Succeeded by
Preceded by World Series champions
Houston Astros

2022
Succeeded by
Incumbent
Preceded by National League champions
Houston Astros

2005
Succeeded by
Preceded by American League champions
Houston Astros

2017
Succeeded by
Preceded by American League champions
Houston Astros

2019
Succeeded by
Preceded by American League champions
Houston Astros

20212022
Succeeded by
Incumbent

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