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The Houston Astros will try to make a push in the National League Central Division in 2008. If the off-season acquisition of Miguel Tejada pays off, they could be a serious contender in the weak National League.
On October 17, 1960, Judge Roy Hofheinz and the existing Continental League ownership group from Houston was awarded a franchise in the ten-team National League The team was to be named the Houston Colt .45s.
On April 10, 1962 the Colt .45's get off to a successful start winning their first game 11-2 over the Chicago Cubs.
On April 9, 1965, the Houston Colt .45s became the Houston Astros and inaugurated indoor baseball in the Astrodome. The Sporting News Official Baseball Guide for 1965 had this to say about why the team was renamed: "Late in the year 1964 the Harris County Domed Stadium was officially named the Astrodome after the Houston club changed its nickname, December 1, from Colt .45s to Astros. The move resulted from objections by the Colt's Manufacturing Company|Colt Firearms Company to the club's sales of novelties bearing the old nickname."
In 1965, The newly renamed Astros open up the Astrodome, and become the first professional team to play indoors. The Astros chose to play indoors because of unbearably hot summers in Texas, which in the past caused games to be held up until after sunset.
In 1972, the Astros would have their best season since they began. Under three different managers - including legendary manager Leo Durocher, the Astros finished the 1972 season 84-69, and in second place in the NL West.
In 1975, former Astros pitcher Don Wilson, who had pitched two no-hitters for them committed suicide. Wilson's jersey, number 40, was retired by the Astros, and a patch with his number would be worn on the team jerseys during 1975.
After three seasons hovering around .500, the Astros would be involved in their first real pennant race in 1979. The Astros to lead the National League West for much of the season, leading the division by 10 games at the All-star break. Yet they were unable to hold off the Cincinnati Reds, who edged the Astros on the last weekend for the National League West title, ultimately winning the division by 1.5 games.
Following the 1979 season, Nolan Ryan signed with the Astros as a free agent, agreeing to MLB's first million-dollar per year salary.
In 1980, Houston claims its first title as the Astros win the NL West with a 93-70 record, defeating Los Angeles in a one-game playoff. In the NLCS the Astros would take 2 of the first 3 games from the Philadelphia Phillies to put themselves one game away from a trip to the World Series. However the Astros could not hold leads in the final 2 games and would end up losing the series with a heartbreaking 10-inning loss in Game 5.
In 1986, the Astros made the NLCS, where their opponents were the Mets. The 1986 National League Championship Series was noted for great drama and is considered one of the best postseason series ever. 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.
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, the Astros would blow the lead, and eventually lose in 16 innings ending their season.
In 1987,the Astros finished the season with the third-highest attendance total in baseball (1,909,902). Nolan Ryan led the majors in strikeouts with 270 and ties for the lead in ERA with a 2.76 mark.
1989 would mark the rookie season of Craig Biggio, who would set team records in many offensive categories. Biggio started his career as a catcher, but was moved to second base so as to take full advantage of his speed and other offensive talents. At the trading deadline in 1990, The Boston Red Sox, in a tight race for the American League East title, needed relief pitching help. The Astros gave the Red Sox journeyman Larry Andersen in exchange for minor-leaguer Jeff Bagwell.
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.
In 2000, the new state of the art Enron Field opens up as an Astros record 3,056,139 fans passed through the turnstiles. However, the Astros would struggle with their new surroundings, finishing with a 72-90 record.
In 2001, the Astros won another NL Central title, but were again eliminated from the playoffs in the first round by the Braves.
In 2004, the Astros compiled a 46-26 record in the second half of the season to capture the National League's Wild Card. They would go on to win their first playoff series in eight attempts, beating the Braves in five games of the National League Division Series to advance to the National League Championship Series for the third time. However, they would lose to the St. Louis Cardinals in seven games, most dramatically on a walk-off home run by Jim Edmonds in the twelfth inning of Game 6.
In 2005, the Astros finally reached the World Series, winning the National League Division Series against the Atlanta Braves in four games, and the St. Louis Cardinals in the NLCS in 7 games. They were swept by the Chicago White Sox in the World Series, 4-0.
- 5 Jeff Bagwell
- 24 Jimmy Wynn
- 25 Jose Cruz
- 32 Jim Umbricht
- 33 Mike Scott
- 34 Nolan Ryan
- 40 Don Wilson
- 49 Larry Dierker
- Dave Clark 2009-
- Cecil Cooper 2007-2009
- Phil Garner 2004-2007
- Jimy Williams 2002-2004
- Larry Dierker 1997-2001
- Terry Collins 1994-96
- Art Howe 1989-1993
- Hal Lanier 1986-88
- Bob Lillis 1982-85
- Bill Virdon 1975-82
- Preston Gomez 1974-75
- Leo Durocher 1972-73
- Salty Parker 1972
- Harry Walker 1968-72
- Grady Hatton 1966-68
- Luman Harris 1964-65
- Harry Craft 1962-64
- Jeff Bagwell (1994)
Rookie Of The Year
- Jeff Bagwell (1991)
All-Time Team Leaders & Stats
- Home Runs: Jeff Bagwell 449
- Runs Batted In: Jeff Bagwell 1529
- Batting Average (minimum 1,000 plate appearances): Lance Berkman .302
- Batting Average (minimum 2,000 plate appearances): Lance Berkman .302
- Batting Average (minimum 3,000 plate appearances): Lance Berkman .302
- Batting Average (minimum 4,000 plate appearances): Jeff Bagwell .297
- Hits: Craig Biggio 3060
- Runs: Craig Biggio 1844
- Doubles: Craig Biggio 668
- Triples: Jose Cruz 80
- Stolen Bases: Cesar Cedeno 487
- Walks: Jeff Bagwell 1401
- Wins: Joe Niekro 144
- Saves: Billy Wagner 225
- Strikeouts: Nolan Ryan 1866
- Earned Run Average: Joe Sambito 2.42
Single Season Records
- Home Runs: Jeff Bagwell 47, 2000
- Runs Batted In: Jeff Bagwell 135, 1997
- Batting Average: Jeff Bagwell .367, 1994
- Hits: Craig Biggio 210, 1998
- Runs: Jeff Bagwell 152, 2000
- Doubles: Craig Biggio 56, 1999
- Triples: Roger Metzger 14, 1973
- Stolen Bases: Gerald Young 65, 1988
- Hitting Streak:
- Walks: Jeff Bagwell 149, 1999
- Wins: Mike Hampton 22, 1999
- Saves: Billy Wagner 44, 2003
- Strikeouts: J.R. Richard 313, 1979
- Earned Run Average: Roger Clemens 1.87, 2005
Record Per Season
Minor League Teams
- AAA: Round Rock Express - Pacific Coast League
- AA: Corpus Christi Hooks - Texas League
- Advanced A: Salem Avalanche - Carolina League
- A: Lexington Legends - South Atlantic League
- Short A: Tri-City ValleyCats - New York - Penn League
- Rookie: Greeneville Astros - Appalachian League