Houston Astros

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Posted by pompos 03/23/2009 @ 20:07

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News headlines
Bourn steals home to help Astros triumph - Philadelphia Daily News
Bourn took off on a double steal and became the latest player to swipe home, leading the visiting Houston Astros to a 5-3 win over the Colorado Rockies. He joined Boston's Jacoby Ellsbury and the Phillies' Jayson Werth as players who have stolen home...
Astros' Geary Placed on Disabled List - MyFox Houston
HOUSTON - The Houston Astros have placed RHP Geoff Geary on the 15-day disabled list with right biceps tendonitis, the ballclub announced Thursday. Geary said that he has been experiencing discomfort in his arm for the past week to 10 days,...
Houston Astros at Chicago Cubs - Chicago Tribune
Milton Bradley is hitting .320 with a .600 slugging percentage in his last seven games. Astros outfielder Michael Bourn was 17-for-49 in May (.347) entering Thursday. Who's not: Derrek Lee is 0-for-7 since returning from his neck injury....
Astros-Cubs Odds Preview - Offshore Insiders
The Chicago Cubs will be trying to extend a winning streak on Friday when they take on the Houston Astros at Wrigley Field. Brian Moehler will be the starting pitcher for the Astros on this day. Righthander Moehler is 0-2 this season with a 8.44 ERA....
Houston Astros re-sign infielder Jason Smith - The Canadian Press
HOUSTON — The Houston Astros re-signed second baseman Jason Smith, four days after he was designated for assignment. General manager Ed Wade announced the move Sunday before the Astros played host to the San Diego Padres. Smith was designated for...
Soriano leads Cubs over Astros 8-5 - Yahoo! Sports
By KRISTIE RIEKEN, AP Sports Writer May 8, 12:27 am EDT HOUSTON (AP)—Alfonso Soriano(notes) wasn't happy with his one-hit, three-strikeout performance in the Chicago Cubs' first game against the Houston Astros. He made up for it in the second game of...
Astros owner urges business leaders to be visionaries - Houston Chronicle
Astros owner Drayton McLane is encouraging Houston's business leaders to be visionaries, much like the men behind the Houston Ship Channel and the Texas Medical Center. “I believe it's our turn to create new ideas,” said McLane, the keynote speaker at...
Boone makes 1st visit to park since heart surgery - The Associated Press
HOUSTON (AP) — Aaron Boone returned to the ballpark Wednesday for the first time since open heart surgery, still waiting to decide whether he'll resume his playing career. "You want to see my scar?" the Houston Astros infielder said, greeting reporters...
Dick Monfort throws support behind Hurdle - MLB.com
By Bobbie Dittmeier / MLB.com Rockies manager Clint Hurdle, whose team is 13-18 and 7 1/2 games out in the National League West, received the support of Rockies vice chairman Dick Monfort prior to Tuesday's 12-1 win over the Astros. "We're all in this....
Nats-Astros Game To Be Continued - Washington Post
Following a rain delay that lasted 1 hour 16 minutes, yesterday's game between the Nationals and the Houston Astros was suspended with one out in the bottom of the 11th inning and the score tied at 10. The contest will be completed on July 9 at Houston...

Houston Astros

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The Houston Astros are a professional baseball team based in Houston, Texas. The Astros are a member of the Central Division of Major League Baseball's National League. From 2000 to the present, the Astros have played their home games at Minute Maid Park. The Astros joined MLB under the name Colt .45s along with the New York Mets in 1962. The Astros' current owner is Drayton McLane, Jr.

The Astros have had one World Series appearance in their history, losing in 2005 against the Chicago White Sox. They have made the postseason nine times (four as Central Division champs, two as Western Division champs, and twice as the wild card).

Prior to Major League Baseball expansion Houston's connection to MLB was the Houston Buffaloes or Buffs. The Buffs were the minor league team for the St. Louis Cardinals from 1921–1958.

Houston had been making efforts to bring a Major League franchise to the city before the expansion in 1962. There were four men chiefly responsible for bringing Major League Baseball to Houston: George Kirksey and Craig Cullinan, who had led a futile attempt to purchase the St. Louis Cardinals in 1952; R.E. "Bob" Smith, a prominent oilman and real estate magnate in Houston who 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 formed the Houston Sports Association as their vehicle for attaining a big league franchise for the city of Houston.

Given Major League Baseball's refusal to consider expanding, 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. Houston won a franchise in the National League to begin play in 1962. The Continental League folded before it ever started. But if its real object was to secure Houston a Major League franchise, it clearly succeeded.

The new Houston team was named the Colt .45s after a "Name The Team" contest was held. The name "Colt .45s" won out, as the Colt .45 was well-known as "the gun that won the west." The colors selected were navy blue and orange. The first team was a collection of cast-offs culled mostly through an expansion draft held after the 1961 season. The Colt .45s and the other expansion team the New York Mets, took turns choosing players left unprotected by the other National League franchises.

The Colt .45s would play ball at Colt Stadium. Colt Stadium however was just a temporary field until Judge Hofheinz could build his indoor stadium. Hofheinz had convinced the National League owners that the sweltering Houston summers would not be a problem as he would build an indoor baseball stadium based loosely on the Coliseum in Rome. Bonds were passed and construction began but, until it was ready, the team played on some reclaimed marshland south of town. Colt Stadium was built on the same land that would eventually hold its famous successor. It was built on the cheap with little to protect fans from the weather or other hazards. True baseball fans hardly cared. Houston had become a "major league" city.

The Colt .45s started their inaugural season on April 10, 1962 against the Chicago Cubs. Harry Craft was named Houston's first manager. The Colt .45s finished eighth among the National League's ten teams. To get an idea of how the first season was for Houston, look at the team's best pitcher, Richard "Turk" Farrell. A starter for the Colt .45s, he was primarily a relief pitcher when he was with the Los Angeles Dodgers and Philadelphia Phillies. Turk lost 20 games in 1962, but had an ERA of 3.02. Turk was selected to both All-Star games that year.

There was a bright spot in the line up in 1962. Román Mejías, who was acquired from the Pittsburgh Pirates in the expansion draft, was named the Colt .45s starting right fielder. It was in Houston that Mejías would play the best season of his career. While he played better the first half of the season, an injury slowed him the second half of the season. However he still finished with a .286 batting average, 24 home runs, and 76 RBIs. His modesty and his hard play made him a fan favorite that year. Despite his good year Mejías was traded to the Boston Red Sox in the fall of 1962.

1963 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. Still, the results in the win–lose department did not change much. In fact, 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. Craft had plenty of rookies to play and on September 27 he fielded an all rookie team versus the New York Mets. Houston lost 10–3 but it was a glimpse of what was to come in the next few seasons.

The 1964 campaign began on a sad note. Pitcher Jim Umbricht died of cancer just before opening day. Umbricht was the only Colt .45s pitcher to post winning records in the Colt .45s first two seasons. So well liked by players and fans the Colt .45 retired his Jersey number 32 in 1965. Umbricht was 33 years old. On the field the 1964 Colt .45s got off to a quick start, but it would not last. Manager Harry Craft was fired presumably for wanting to play more experienced players, while the front office wanted to showcase the young up and coming talent. Craft was replaced by one of the Colt .45s coaches, Luman Harris. Some of that up and coming talent the front office wanted to showcase was a young pitcher by the name of Larry Dierker. He started versus the San Francisco Giants on his eighteenth birthday. He lost the game but it was the beginning of a long relationship with the Houston organization.

Just on the horizon the structure of the new domed stadium was more prevalent and the way baseball was watched in Houston, and around the league, was about to change.

With Judge Roy Hofheinz now the sole owner of the franchise and his vision of a domed stadium to play ball indoors complete, the Colt .45s moved into their new domed stadium in 1965. The judge called the new domed stadium the Astrodome. The name was in honor of Houston's importance to the country's space program and to match with the meaning of the name, the Colt .45s were renamed the Astros. The new park, coined as the "Eighth Wonder of the World" did little to help the play 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 accomplishments, but because people came from miles around to see the Astrodome.

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 team to miss routine pop flies. A new artificial turf was created called "AstroTurf" and once again Houston would be involved in yet another change in the way the game was played.

With new manager Grady Hatton the Astros got hot right away. By May they were in second place in the National League West and looked like a team that could contend. Joe Morgan and Sonny Jackson appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated, an Astros first, and Morgan was named as a starter on the All-Star Team. The Astros cooled as quickly as they got hot. They lost Jimmy Wynn for the season after he crashed into an outfield fence in Philadelphia and Morgan had broken his knee cap. There were some good notes however. Sonny Jackson set a league record with 49 steals, and led the Astros with a .292 batting average. The Astros were a young team full of talent that was not yet refined and the inconsistencies of their youth was viewed on the field.

1967 saw third baseman Eddie Mathews join the Astros. Mathews, however, would play first base. 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, Fathers Day, against the Braves. It was the first no hit, shut out, pitched in team history and in the Astrodome. Jimmy 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 for the distance of the home runs. Wynn set club records with 37 home runs, and 107 RBIs He also had a pinch hit single in the All-Star game that year; another Astros first. As the season came to a close the Astros found themselves once again in ninth place and a winning percentage below .500. The team looked good on paper, but could not seem to make it work on the field.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr's assassination delayed the start to the 1968 season. When Robert F. Kennedy was killed two months later, Major League Baseball let teams decide if they would postpone games or not. Astros management decided to not postpone games. Rusty Staub and Bob Aspromonte sat out in protest. Both were traded at season's end.

April 15 saw a pitching duel that was one for the ages. Mets pitcher Tom Seaver and Don Wilson faced each other in a pitching duel that lasted six hours. Seaver went ten frames allowing no walks and just two hits. Wilson went nine innings and allowed five hits and three walks. After the starters pitched eleven relievers, seven for the New York Mets and four for the Astros tried to end the game. The game finally ended when Aspromonte hit a shot toward Mets shortstop Al Weis. Weis had been perfect all night at short, but he was not the same player he was six hours earlier. Weis was not quick enough to make the play and the ball zipped into left field allowing Norm Miller to score. Houston hosted the All-Star game in 1968 and as expected in the "Year of the Pitcher" the game was a low scoring match that saw the National league winning 1–0. Grady Hatton was fired as manager on June 18 and Harry Walker replaced him. Walker had been fired from Pittsburgh the year before The Astros ended the season in last place.

With baseball expansion and trades the Astros had dramatically changed in 1969. Gone were Aspromonte, Cuellar, and Staub, just to name a few. Added to the team were catcher Johnny Edwards, outfielder Jesus Alou, infielder Denis Menke and pitcher Denny Lemaster. Who would help the Astros finish better than they had since they started playing ball in 1962. Wilson continued pitching great and on May 1 threw the second no hitter of his career. 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 and six days later the Astros tied a major league record by turning seven double plays. By May's end the Astros had put together a ten game winning streak. The Astros infield tandem of Menke and Joe Morgan continued to improve and provided 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/Morgam punch was beginning to come alive.

On September 10, the Astros were tied for fourth and only two games out of first, but fell to the Atlanta Braves three days later. Larry Dierker had no hit the Braves and was one out away from ending it when Felix Millan broke it up with a single. The Astros scored two runs in the thirteenth, but ex-teammates Aspromonte and Jackson led a three-run Braves comeback. It seemed to be the turning point for the Astros as they slid into fifth place and Atlanta went on to win the division. The series against the Braves gave the Astros, and the fans, a taste of a race. It was also the first time in the team's history that they did not finish the season below .500. 1969 saw both the 1962 expansion teams improve, but it was the New York Mets that climbed to the top winning the World Series.

In 1970 the Astros were expected to be a serious threat in the National League West. The year started with a bang when Doug Rader clobbered a shot into the upper reserve (gold) seats in left field during an exhibition game on April 3. Nine days later Jimmy Wynn knocked one into the purple seats (just below the gold) proving that the unreachable area of the dome was reachable. The seats were repainted marking this feat. No other Astro ever hit a home run into that part of the Astrodome.

In June, 19-year-old Cesar Cedeno was called up and immediately showed signs of being a superstar. The Dominican outfielder was often compared to Willie Mays and Roberto Clemente. Cedeno batted .310 after being called up from the minors. Not to be outdone Denis Menke batted .304 and Jesus Alou batted .306. The Astros' batting average was up by 19 points compared to the season before. The team looked good, but the Astros' ERA was up. Larry Dierker and Don Wilson had winning records, but the pitching staff as a whole had an off season. Houston finish in fourth place in 1970 and saw the Reds take the division title, something that would become common in the 1970s.

The fashion trends of the 1960s had started taking root in baseball. Long hair and loud colors were starting to appear on teams 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 blue 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. 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 buttons. The uniforms became popular with fans but would only last for four season. The Astros would shock baseball and the fashion world four years later.

The uniforms were about the only thing that did change in 1971. That and the acquisition of Roger Metzger from the Chicago Cubs in the off-season. This 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. Don Wilson took his place and pitched two scoreless innings. Cesar Cedeno 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. J.R. Richard made his debut in September of the 1971 season against the Giants. The 6 ft 8 in Richard struck out 15 to tie the debut record of Karl Spooner set in 1954. Richards won the game 5–3. The city of Houston saw they had the talent for a winning team and were growing tired of finishing in the middle of the pack. The Astros were about to pull off on of the most controversial trades in team history in the off season.

Lee May added more power to the lineup in 1972. An All-Star in 1970 and 1971 May return to the All-Star game in 1972 this time as an Astro. May, Wynn, Rader and Cedeno all had 20 or more home runs and Watson hit 16. Cedeno also lead the Astros with a .320 batting average, 55 stolen bases and made spectacular plays on the field. Cedeno made his first All-Star game in 1972 and became the first Astros in team history to hit for the cycle in August versus the Reds.

Houston lead the league with 708 runs and were playing the first winning season in team history, but the Reds were hot and pulling away fast. Despite having a winning season, the Astros fired manager Harry Walker and replace him with Leo Durocher. The skipper of the 1951 New York Giants had his best seasons behind him and the Astros finish 16–15 with Durocher as manager. Still, it was the best season the Astros had to date with a strike shortened season at 84–69. A distant second to the Cincinnati Reds. It would be as close as they would get to winning a title for several more season.

Astros fans had hoped for more of the same in 1973 as they had in 1972, but it was not to be. The Astros run production was down to the season before even though the same five sluggers the year before were still punching the ball out of the park. Lee May lead the Astros with 28 home runs and Cesar Cedeno 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. Wynn's 20 came despite a season long slump.

Where the Astros were hurting was in their pitching. Larry Dierker and Tom Griffin sat out for long periods of time due to injuries and Don Wilson had a bad year and spent time in the bullpen. Pitchers Dave Roberts and Jerry Russ did manage to win 16 or more games each, with little help from the bullpen. The Astros bullpen was in bad shape with nobody having more than six saves.

Leo Durocher decided to retire at seasons end after taking ill in mid season. Durocher took the Astros to an 82–80 finish and the Astros finished in fourth place.

The Astros didn't fair much better in 1974, but did finish with a .500 average under new manager Preston Gomez. The Astros again finish in fourth place in the National League West. The Astros were in need of rebuilding both on and off the field. Owner Roy Hofheinz empire was beginning to fall apart and he would soon have to sell. The Astrodomain had accumulated a $38 million debt and the Judge, due to illness, was in no position to try and rebuild. 1975 would see many new changes in the Astros system.

With the $38 million debit of the Astrodomain, control was passed from Judge Roy Hofheinz to GE Credit and Ford Motor Credit. This included the Astros. 1975 proved to be a bad year for the Astros. The creditors were just interested in preserving asset value of the team so any money spent management had to find or save somewhere else. Tal Smith returned to the Astros from the New York Yankees to 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. Cause of death was asphyxiation by carbon monoxide. Wilson was 29 years old. Wilson's 5-year-old son Alex also died as his room was connected to the garage. Wilson's number was retired on April 13, 1975.

The 1975 season was the introduction of the Astros new-look uniforms. Many teams were going away from the traditional uniform and the Astros were no exception. The uniforms had multishade stripes of orange, red and yellow in front and in back behind a large dark blue star over the midsection. The same stripes run 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 the 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.

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. Cabell, played primarily behind Baltimore third baseman Brooks Robinson when he arrived in Houston he took advantage of his opportunity and became the everyday third baseman for Houston. Cabell would go on to become a big part of the team's success in later years. Bob Watson moved to first base with May gone and was a bright spot in the line up batting .324 and 85 RBIs.

The two biggest moves the Astros did in the off season were the acquisition 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 and saved four and had an ERA of 3.07.

José Cruz was also a steal, in retrospect, from the Cardinals. The Cards were in a position where they had too many outfielders and Cruz was having a hard time breaking in. He showed promise in 1973, but only had a batting average of .227. Not wanting to give up on Cruz he was given the chance to prove himself again 1974. Cruz improved but lost his job to rookie Bake McBride. He was sold to the Astros for 25,000. Cruz's role in Astros history would go on to see his number retired as an Astro.

The 1975 season was the worst the team had ever seen in their history. Their record was 64–97, far worse than the expansion Colt .45's. It was the worst record in baseball and manager Preston Gomez was fired late in the season and replaced by Bill Virdon. Virdon had managed the Yankees and Pirates before joining Houston. The Astros played .500 ball under Virdon in the last 34 games of the season.

With Bill Virdon as the manager the Astros improved greatly in 1976 finishing in third place with a 80–82 record. A healthy Cesar Cedeno was a key reason for the Astros bouncing back in 1976. Bob Watson continued to show consistency and led the club with a .313 average and 102 RBIs. José Cruz became Houston's everyday left fielder and hit .303 with 28 stolen bases.

1976 saw the end of Larry Dierker's career as an Astro, but before it was all over he would throw a no-hitter and win the 1,000 game in the Astrodome. He was dealt to St Louis in the off-season, but would return to Houston and be a big part of the organization.

The Astros finished in third place again in 1977 with a record improved at just one more win than the season before at 81–81. The Astros were still in need of consistent players at key positions. The middle infield was a trouble spot that saw different player playing second and short on any given night. One such player was Art Howe. Howe who almost gave up on baseball before getting a chance in Houston was willing to play anywhere just to get playing time. Howe would hit .264 with 58 RBIs while playing at second, short, and third. Howe, like Larry Dierker would also become part of the Astros future.

While J.R. Richard, Joe Niekro and Joaquin Andujar had winning seasons the pitching was still in need of help. The Astros did not have a dominant lefty in the rotation. Floyd Bannister was thought to be that dominant lefty, but the rookie pitcher was inconsistent and went 8–9 with an ERA of 4.03. It would be a long time before the Astros had a dominant left hand pitcher.

One of the big problems the Astros had was 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 they were not going to spend money on better players. Most of the talent the Astros had was either farm grown or bought on the cheap. 1978 saw the Astros slip to fifth place with a 74–88 record.

While money issues hurt the Astros so did injuries. Cedeno was out most of the season due to a knee injury and Howe dealt with a broken finger. José Cruz really started to shine as an Astro and led the team with a .315 average with 83 RBIs and 37 steals. J.R. Richard was the only Astros pitcher that had a stellar year. He threw two shut games, back to back, in May, had 303 strikeouts for the season and won 18.

It may have been an off year for the Astros, but they were building for the future. Players like Denny Walling and Rafael Landestoy were proving to be talented reserves. The starting pitching was looking good with J.R. Richard, Ken Forsch and Joe Niekro. And relief pitcher Joe Sambito was settling in as the closer. The foundation was being laid for making a serious ran at winning their first pennant.

1979 would prove to be a big turn around in Astros history and during the off season the Astros made an effort 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 a much needed fix.

The 1979 season started with a huge boost from pitcher Ken Forsch, who no-hit the Braves on the second game of the season. This would only be the beginning of the excitement that was to come in 1979.

Houston also learned in May that Dr. John McMullen had agreed to buy the Astros. Now with an owner and not Ford Motor Credit in charge the Astros would be able to compete in the free agent market.

In July, the Astros went to Cincinnati leading the National League West, something the Reds were accustomed to doing. July 4 fireworks erupted when, tired of the Reds taunting pitcher Joaquin Andujar, a fight broke out involving Cesar Cedeno and Ray Knight. Houston went on to win the game and had a ten-game lead in the NL west. But holding on to the lead would prove to be a challenge for the Astros who now felt the pressure of being on top of the division.

The other team that was not too happy seeing the Astros on top in the west was the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Dodgers had challenged and won the division over the Big Red Machine and won the division in 1977 and 1978. At the end of July the Dodgers came to the Astrodome to play in a game that saw Forsch give up only three hits to the Dodgers. The game turn out to be more than an outstanding pitching performance by Forsch. The Dodgers taunted Cedeno causing the aggregated Cedeno to throw a hard fastball in the Dodgers dugout. Later that inning Enos Cabell was hit by a pitch and this time the benches did empty. Houston's lead in the division was shrinking and the heat of the Houston summer was only matched by the Astros tempers.

The Astros were playing great ball. 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.

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. And that would be how it would end. The Astros finished with their best record to that point at 89–73 and 1½ games behind the NL winner Reds. The Astros proved they were contenders and they were ready to show Major League Baseball how serious a contender they were.

With Dr. John 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, which started when Judge Roy Hofheinz Astrodomain started to crumble, had been stopped and the Astros were now able to compete in the free agent market. Something GE Credit and Ford Motor Credit were not able or willing to do. McMullen showed the city of Houston that he too wanted a winning team by signing nearby Alvin, Texas native Nolan Ryan to the first million dollar a year deal. Ryan had four no-hitters and struck out 383 in one season. Win or lose Ryan would fill the seats.

Joe Morgan returned to the Astros in 1980. When Morgan left Houston he was a good player that became a great player with the Reds. Morgan had always regretted leaving the Astros but his destiny was with the Reds. Now back in Houston, his two MVP awards and three World Series rings with him; Morgan wanted to help make the Astros a pennant winner.

1980 saw one of the best pitching line ups the Astros ever had. Ryan with his fastball, Joe Niekro with his knuckle ball that frustrated hitters and J.R. Richard with his imposing 6 ft 8 in frame and terrifying pitches. Teams felt lucky to face Ken Forsch who was a double digit game winner in the previous two seasons. Richard became the first Astros pitcher to start an All-Star game. He pitched two inning striking out three, including Reggie Jackson. Three days later after a medical examination Richard was told to rest his arm. During a work out in the Astrodome on July 30 Richard collapsed. He had suffered a stroke and was taken to the hospital. A blood clot that had made his arm feel tired had moved to his neck and cut off blood flow to the brain. Surgery was done to save his life. The Astros had lost their ace pitcher after a 10–4 start with a stingy 1.89 ERA. Although he attempted to come back, Richard would never again pitch a big league game.

The loss of J.R. Richard hit the Astros hard and the team had a hard time scoring runs. The Astros slipped to third place in the division behind the Dodgers and the Reds, the Astros bounced back with a ten game winning streak that put the team back in first place in the division. The Dodgers regained the lead by two games as they came to Houston on September 9. The Astros showed the Dodgers how serious they were by winning the first two games of the series to put both clubs tied for first in the division. By seasons end the Astros held a three game lead over the Dodgers with three games left in the season against the Dodgers. The Dodgers swept all three games thus making the two teams have to square off in a one game playoff the next day to see who would be division champ.

The Astros season had come down to a one game playoff in L.A.. The Astros had faced the Dodgers three best pitchers the three previous days and would now face Dave Goltz who held the hopes of the Dodgers in his hand. The Astros would make the most of facing Goltz. Terry Puhl scored on a fielders choice in the first to give the Astros a 2–0 early lead. In the third Art Howe knocked one out to give the Astros a 4–0 lead. Howe would deliver the final blow to the Dodgers in the fourth to give the Astros 7. The frustrated Dodgers showed third discontent when Ashby, trying to score more another run for the Astros, slid into home where Joe Ferguson, who did not hold the ball when Puhl scored, was waiting with ball in hand to tag Ashby out. He then gave Ashby a knee to the ribs causing a benches to clear. The Dodger faithful began tossing food at the Astros players and on the field forcing the game to be stopped until order was restored. The Astros went on to clinch the division for the first time in team history. While excited by the victory the team would have to fly cross country to face the Phillies the next day for game one of the NLCS.

1981 was the year of the player strike that started on June 12 and ended on August 10. The strike may have helped the Astros get into the playoffs as Major league baseball decided to take the winners of each “half” seasons and set up a best of five divisional playoff. While the Reds won more games than any other team in the National League, they did not win either “half” of the strike seasons division play. The Astros finished 61-49 overall. If the two halves made one complete season, the Astros would have finished third that year behind the Reds and the Dodgers. This flaw allowed Houston its chance in the post season. The Astros had won the west the year, but that was not to happen. Injuries and age worked against the Astros. They made several trades, some good and some not so good, trying to get back the dominate team they were in 1980. Joe Morgan left the team for the Giants and the Astros sent Enos Cabell to the Giants for left-handed pitcher Bob Knepper. With plenty of pitching the Astros sent Ken Forsch to the Angels for infielder Dickie Thon. , 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 1.89 ERA. Knepper would finish with an ERA of 2.18. The division series against first half winner Los Angeles started great as Houston won the first two games at home, but the Dodgers took the next three in LA to win the series and advance to the World Series. Fans saw many players come and go in 1981 and would see more faces that are new in the next few years. 1982 saw a team mush different from the team that was just six outs away from the World Series in 1980. Only four players and three starting pitchers remained from the 1980 squad. The Astros also had three pitchers over the age 35. Knepper was the only starter under the age of thirty. It was clear by mid August the Astros were out of the race and the Astros decided to make some moves that would help them in the near future. Bill Virdon was fired as head coach and Bob Lilliis and original Colt .45 took over. When Don Sutton asked to be traded the Astros obliged and sent him to Before the 1983 season the Astros traded Danny Heep to the Mets for pitcher Mike Scott; Scott had been struggling with the Mets, but the Astros were in need of young pitching and were willing to take a chance on the 28 year old Scott. Art Howe would sit out the ’83 season with an injury, forcing Phil Garner to third and Ray Knight to first. Bill Doran would take over at second becoming the everyday second baseman for the next seven seasons. The Astros would finish third in the NL west, but minor league prospects and key trades would move the Astros closer to the top of the division. The 1984 season started of bad for the Astros. Shortstop Dickie Thon was hit in the head by a rising fastball from Mets pitcher Mike Torrez. Thon suffered a shattered bone above his left eye. Surgery was performed and Thon suffered from blurry vision for the next several months and was lost for the season. Craig Reynolds would take over at his former position for Thon. Enos Cabell would return to the Astros to replace the slumping Ray Knight who was traded to the Mets in August. In September the Astros called up rookie Glenn Davis who was putting up impressive numbers in AAA Tucson. The Astros hoped that Davis would be the slugger that they needed and the everyday first baseman. The Astros finish in second place tied with Atlanta. In 1985 Mike Scott found himself coming off a 5-11 record. The Astros unwilling to give up on him sent him to former Houston pitching coach Roger Craig to learn a new pitch he was calling the “split-finger” fastball. The pitch looked like a normal fastball, but moved sharply downward at the last moment. Scott, who looked like he would be nothing more than a journeyman, had found his new pitch and would become one of Houston’s most celebrated pitchers. In June 1985 Glenn Davis was called up to play first and add much needed power to the Astros line-up. In September Joe Niekro was traded to the Yankees for two minor league pitchers and lefty Jim Deshaies. Niekro left with the most franchise victories. The Astros finished in forth place in 1985. The talent was there, but the leadership to punch the team to the next level was not working. Changes in the off-season would see the Astros make it big in 1986.

Many people consider the best trade the Astros ever made to be their deal for Jeff Bagwell 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 Bagwell, who would win the 1990 Eastern League MVP award for the AA New Britain Red Sox. With Mo Vaughn in their system, the Red Sox reasoned that Bagwell was expendable, and while Andersen did help the Red Sox to the divisional title, Bagwell went on to become the Astros' all-time home run leader and, in most people's minds, the second best overall player in Astros history, behind the great Craig Biggio. The trade was so lopsided that it appears on virtually any list of the best/worst trades in MLB history, and "Larry Andersen" became a popular phrase in Boston to describe the futility of the Red Sox front office during the 86-year "Curse of the Bambino." However, after the 1991 season, the Astros made one of the worst trades in franchise history, sending speedy outfielder Kenny Lofton to the Cleveland Indians for catcher Eddie Taubensee. Lofton would prove to be one of the best center fielders of the 1990s, earning five AL stolen base titles, six All-Star appearances, and four Gold Gloves.

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 Houston Oilers, 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.

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 Guts" 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 fans.

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 responded positively via a stadium referendum and the Astros stayed put.

In the 14 years since Drayton McLane has taken ownership of the Houston Astros, they have had the fourth best record in all of Major League Baseball. Only the Yankees, Red Sox, and Braves have done better overall.

After years at the outdated Astrodome, the Astros moved into their new stadium in 2000. Originally called Enron Field, the stadium was one of the first to feature a functional retractable roof, considered a necessity in Houston. Additionally the ballpark featured more intimate surroundings than the cavernous Astrodome. It is believed by some that the departure of the NFL's Houston Oilers, after Houston refused to build them a new stadium, contributed to the construction of Enron Field.

The ballpark features a train theme, since the ball park was built on the grounds of the old Union Station. The locomotive also pays homage to the history of Houston, where by 1860, 11 different railroad companies had lines running through the city. This is also represented in the city of Houston's official seal. A train whistle sounds, and a locomotive transverses a wall above the outfield after Astros hit a home run. The ballpark also contains quirks such as "Tal's Hill", which is a hill in deep center field on which a flagpole stands, all in fair territory. This was modeled after a similar feature that was located in Crosley Field, former home of the Cincinnati Reds. The terrace at Crosley Field was sloped at 15 degrees in left field, while Tal's Hill is sloped at 30 degrees in straightaway center. Over the years, many highlight reel catches have been made by center fielders running up the hill to make catches.

Perhaps most significantly, with its short left field fence (only slightly longer to left field than Fenway Park), overall shorter dimensions, and exposure to the elements, including the humid Texas air, Enron Field played like a hitters' park. This was a dramatic difference from the Astrodome, which was considered to be an extreme pitchers' park. In a challenge to home run hitters, owner Drayton McLane's office windows, located in the old Union Station above left field, are made of glass and marked as 442' from home plate.

With the change in location also came a change in attire. Gone were the blue and gold uniforms of the 1990s in favor a more "retro" look with pinstripes, a traditional baseball font, and the colors of brick red, sand and black. The "shooting star" logo was modified but still retained its definitive look.

After two fairly successful seasons without a playoff appearance, at midseason in 2004 the Astros were floundering. Before the season, the Astros had added star pitchers Andy Pettitte and Roger Clemens to a team that already included stars like Lance Berkman and Jeff Kent as well as the nucleus of Bagwell and Biggio. They were quickly anointed one of the favorites to win the National League. However, at the All-Star Break, they were 44–44 largely due to an inability to score runs, and a poor record in 1-run games. After being booed at the 2004 All-Star Game held at Minute Maid Park while serving as a coach for the National League, Williams was fired and replaced by Phil Garner, who had been a star for the Astros' second division winner in 1986. Though many people were highly skeptical of Garner, who had a mediocre track record in his prior managerial stints in Milwaukee and Detroit, with only one winning season at either stop (in 1992), the team responded to Garner, who led the team to a 46–26 record in the second half and 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.

The Astros' 2004 success had much to do with the postponed retirement of star pitcher Roger Clemens (a Houston resident), who ended 2004 with a record seventh Cy Young Award (his first in the NL). Clemens had previously announced that he was retiring after the 2003 season from the New York Yankees. However, after the Astros signed his former Yankee teammate Andy Pettitte and offered Clemens a number of perquisites (including the option to stay home with his family for certain road trips when he wasn't scheduled to pitch), Clemens reconsidered and signed a one-year deal with the Astros.

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 rumblings in July and August that the Astros might flip him to another contender, Beltrán would prove instrumental to the Astros' hopes, hitting eight home runs in the postseason. Following the season, after initially asserting a desire to remain with the Astros, Beltrán signed a long term contract with the New York Mets on January 9, 2005.

In 2005, the Astros got off to a poor start, dropping to 15 games below .500 (15–30) in late May before becoming nearly unbeatable. From that low point until the end of July, Houston went 42–17 and found themselves in the lead for the NL Wild Card. The hitting, largely absent in April and May, was suddenly there, with even the pitchers contributing.

The Astros had also developed an excellent pitching staff, anchored by Roy Oswalt, Andy Pettitte, Roger Clemens (who had a league-low ERA of only 1.87), and Brandon Backe. Rookie starters Ezequiel Astacio and Wandy Rodríguez were also successful.

The Astros won their National League Division Series against the Atlanta Braves in four games. The fourth game set a record for a post-season game with most innings (18), most players used by a single team (T-23), most grand slams (2), and longest game time (5 hours and 50 minutes). Chris Burke hit a home run to win the game by a score of 7–6. Another notable performance was had by Roger Clemens who appeared from the bullpen for only the second time in his career as a reliever with three shutout innings and the win. After winning in the first round, the Astros picked up where they left off in the previous year, facing a rematch against the St. Louis Cardinals.

It is also notable that both the grand slam Lance Berkman hit in the 8th inning and the solo shot hit by Chris Burke in the 18th inning to win three hours later were caught by the same fan, Shaun Dean, in the left field Crawford Boxes. Dean, a 25-year-old comptroller for a construction company, donated the balls to the Hall of Fame and he and his son were rewarded with gifts from the Astros and the Baseball Hall of Fame as well as playoff tickets behind home plate.

The National League Championship Series (NLCS) featured a rematch of the 2004 NLCS. The Astros lost the first game in St. Louis, but would win the next three games with one in St. Louis and the next two in Houston. The Astros were poised to close-out the series in Houston, but the Cardinals managed to score three runs in the top of the 9th with a monstrous 3-run home run by Albert Pujols off Brad Lidge with two outs. The stunned crowd was silenced in disbelief. This would take the series back to St. Louis, where the Astros won the final game of the NLCS and the final game played at Busch Stadium.

Current honorary National League President William Y. Giles presented the Astros the Warren C. Giles Trophy, which is awarded to the National League Champion. It was Warren Giles, father of William and President of the National League from 1951 to 1969, who in October 1960 awarded the city of Houston the Major League franchise that would become the Houston Astros. Roy Oswalt, who went 2–0 and had an ERA of 1.29, won the NLCS MVP.

The Astros' opponent in their first ever World Series was the Chicago White Sox. Games 1 and 2 were held at U.S. Cellular Field in Chicago, while Games 3 and 4 were played at Minute Maid Park. Game 3 also marked the first Fall Classic game to be played in the state of Texas, and was the longest game in World Series history, lasting 14 innings. Early conventional wisdom held that the White Sox were a slight favorite, but that Houston would be an even match. However, the Astros' situational hitting continued to plague them throughout the World Series. The White Sox swept the Astros in the best-of-seven series with a run differential of only six.

After losing the World Series the Astros prepared for the offseason by signing Preston Wilson and moving Lance Berkman to first base, ending the long tenure by Jeff Bagwell. The Astros resigned pitcher Roger Clemens and traded two minor league prospects to the Tampa Bay Devil Rays for left-handed hitter Aubrey Huff and cash. In August 2006, Preston Wilson said that he wasn't getting enough playing time since Luke Scott returned from AAA ball with the Round Rock Express. In response the Astros released Wilson and the division rival Cardinals signed him for the rest of the season. After a dramatic last two weeks of the season, including a four game sweep of the Cardinals, the Astros did not get to the playoffs losing their last game to the Braves, 3–1. The Astros had managed to win 10 of their last 12 games of the season, and all but erased what had been an 8 1/2 game lead by the front running St. Louis Cardinals. The Astros were within a 1/2 game of the Cardinals on Thursday September 28, but that is as close as the 2005 NL Champions would get.

On October 1 Astros were the last remaining team that still had a chance to reach the 2006 postseason; consequently they were the final MLB team to be officially eliminated from playoff contention.

On October 31, the Astros declined option on Jeff Bagwell's contract for 2007, subsequently ending his 15-year tenure as an Astro. Bagwell left his name well-known in the Astros history books. On November 11, Bagwell files for free agency. Finally to end his amazing career, Bagwell announced his retirement on December 15.

On November 6, Roger Clemens and Andy Pettitte filed for free agency on Monday, five days before the Nov. 11 deadline.

On the complete opposite end of the spectrum, November 10, the Astros made a one-year deal with Craig Biggio worth $5.15 million to continue his march into the history books as he eyes 70 more hits to reach 3,000. This will mark Biggio's 20th season as an Astro.

On November 24, the Astros Signed outfielder Carlos Lee to a 6-year contract for $100 million, a franchise record. They also signed pitcher Woody Williams.

On December 8, Andy Pettitte, who signed with the Astros in 2003, announced that he will be returning to the Yankees accepting a 1 year $16 million contract with player option year also worth $16 million if picked up. "It shocked me that would not continue to go up, when the Yankees continued to push and push and pursue and they really didn't do much," Pettitte said. "It was a full-court press by the Yankees. I've talked to the guys, and obviously they wanted me to come back up there." The Astros reportedly offered a one-year $12 million contract but would not offer a player option for another year.

On December 8, frustrated by the Pettitte negotiations, the Astros were on the verge of acquiring right-hander Jon Garland from the Chicago White Sox in return for Willy Taveras, Taylor Buchholz, and Jason Hirsh but the deal was nixed by the White Sox because right-hander Taylor Buchholz reportedly failed a physical.

On December 12, the Astros traded 3 for 2 when they traded Willy Taveras, Taylor Buchholz, and Jason Hirsh to the Colorado Rockies for Rockies pitchers Jason Jennings and Miguel Asencio. This trade turned out terribly for the Astros by the end of the 2007 season, as Taveras continued to develop, Hirsh had a strong rookie campaign, and Jennings was oft-injured and generally ineffective.

On April 28, the Astros purchased the contract of Hunter Pence, the organization's top prospect from Triple-A affiliate, and made his debut that night where he got his first career hit and run scored.

By May 2007, the Astros had suffered one of their worst losing streaks since the 1995 season with 10 losses in a row, losing 4–3 to the Cincinnati Reds on May 30. The Astros were just one loss shy of tying their worst skid in franchise history, before snapping that streak the next day, also against the Reds.

On June 12, the Astros beat the Oakland Athletics for the first time in team history.

On June 28, second baseman Craig Biggio became the 27th player to accrue 3000 career hits. On the same night in the bottom of the 11th inning Carlos Lee hit a towering walk-off grand slam to win the game for the Astros.

On July 24, Craig Biggio announced that he would be retiring at the end of the 2007 season, his 20th season with the club (and a franchise record). He hit a grand slam in that night's game which broke a 3–3 tie and led to an Astros win.

On July 28, the Astros traded RHP Dan Wheeler to Tampa Bay for right-handed slugger 3B Ty Wigginton and cash considerations. He is now signed through 2009. On July 29, long time and former All-Star third baseman Morgan Ensberg was designated for assignment to make room for newly acquired Wigginton.

On August 26, former first baseman Jeff Bagwell's number 5 was officially retired after a 15 year career with the Astros.

On August 27, manager Phil Garner and General Manager Tim Purpura were relieved of their duties. Cecil Cooper and Tal Smith were named as interim replacements, respectively.

On September 17, in a 6–0 loss to the Brewers the Astros were officially eliminated from the 2007 playoffs.

On September 20, Ed Wade was named as the new General Manager of the Astros. He made his first move as GM by trading Jason Lane to the Padres on September 24.

On September 30, Craig Biggio retired, ending a 20-year career with the Astros.

On November 7, 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. Also utility player Mark Loretta accepts Houston's salary arbitration.

On November 30, the Astros and 2B Kazuo Matsui finalized a $16.5 million, three-year contract.

On December 12, the Astros trade 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, the Astros trade INF Chris Burke, RHP Juan Gutierrez, RHP Chad Qualls to the Arizona Diamondbacks for RHP Jose Valverde.

On December 27, the Astros came to terms on a deal with All-star, Gold Glove winner Darin Erstad.

On January 11, the Astros started off 2008 by signing Brandon Backe to a one-year deal. During the rest of the month they also signed Ty Wigginton and Dave Borkowski to one-year deals.

In February the Astros signed Shawn Chacon to a one-year contract.

The Astros started off their Spring Training campaign with a loss to Cleveland on the 28th. Spring Training ended with a loss to the Detroit Tigers at Minute Maid before the Stros went on to face the Padres. Manager Cecil Cooper and General Manager Ed Wade had a tough decision to make before the trip. Astros pitcher Woody Williams had a bad spring going 0–4 throughout the stay in Florida. They released him on March 30 with which he retired.

The Astros also announced their starting pitching rotation. As usual Roy Oswalt was given the ball on opening day. With Jason Jennings in Texas and Woody retired, the Astros named Brandon Backe to the second spot. Wandy Rodriguez would get the ball in the third spot with Shawn Chacon and Chris Sampson following them in the #4 and 5 spots.

The Astros opened up their season in San Diego without second baseman Kazuo Matsui. Matsui, who had been injured in Spring Training was completing a Minor League rehab assignment. The game that day was bad for Houston because Roy Oswalt gave up four runs in six innings of work. The final was 4–0, Padres. Also the Astros lost the second game of the series with Mark Loretta and Geoff Blum also starting.

On Rodríguez's start, the Astros won their first game with a 9–6 victory over the Padres. Berkman hit a game-winning three-run home run in the 9th. In the final game of the series of the series Shawn Chacon pitched a good game but the Astros lost after Chacon exited with the score tied 2–2.

In May, the Astros have made some roster moves by sending rookie catcher J.R. Towles to the Triple A Round Rock Express and calling up center fielder Reggie Abercrombie. Dave Borkowski was sent down earlier in the month and Chris Sampson was moved to the bullpen and Brian Moheler moving into the starting rotation.

On June 25, Shawn Chacon was suspended indefinitely for insubordination. The next day the Astros placed him on waivers.

On June 28, the Astros beat the Boston Red Sox for the first time in team history. They have played Boston previously in 2003, but they were swept when they played in Fenway Park.

On September 14, the Astros lost a no hitter to the Chicago Cubs while playing in Milwaukee due to Hurricane Ike.

Los Caballitos, are a group of devoted Carlos Lee fans that attend every Astros home game, usually standing in a balcony above the Crawford boxes near the Home Run Pump. Their name in Spanish means "The little horses," a name that pays homage to Carlos Lee's nickname El Caballo, meaning "the horse." This is due to his speed and large build. They traditionally have wood-stick horses that they hold as they cheer. They are often dressed as Mexican cowboys, complete with sombreros. This is another homage to Lee, as one of his life interests is ranching.

The Little Pumas formed during the 2008 season when Lance Berkman was among the league leaders in many offensive categories, due to a hot-hitting month of May. The name of the group pays tribute to Berkman's nickname, "Big Puma", which, in a tongue-in-cheek remark during a radio interview, he coined due to his fierce yet quick style of play. as well as his dislike towards his other nickname, "Fat Elvis". At games they can be found cheering on the "Conoco Home Run Porch", dressed up as none other than "little" pumas.

The O's Bros are a group of fans who attend every Roy Oswalt home game (some road games as well). Created in May 2002, the O's Bros would hang "O's" instead of the traditional "K" for every strikeout Oswalt would get, along with performing a strikeout dance. They originally had two signs they would hang, one saying "Wizard of O's" and the second saying "O's Bros". In 2004, the Bros revealed a new and improved O's Bros sign. Section 337 of the Upper Deck at Minute Maid Park was the home of the O's Bros for 5 plus years, but has recently relocated to section 255 of the Mezzanine due to obstructed viewing in the upper deck. The O's Bros are always looking for new members and joining is simple: just show up.

The Killer Bs were a group of players that played for Houston that all had names starting with the letter "B" and performing commendably. The original Killer Bs were nicknamed in the '90s, and consisted of Craig Biggio, Derek Bell, Jeff Bagwell, and Sean Berry. Other players have been added and some have been dropped as they have left the Astros. Other players of mention are Lance Berkman, Carlos Beltrán, Chris Burke, Brandon Backe, and Eric Bruntlett.

While there has yet to be an Astros player to go into the Hall of Fame as an Astro, there are two announcers that have been inducted.

As of 2008, the Astros' flagship radio station is KTRH, 740AM. Milo Hamilton, a veteran voice who was on the call for Hank Aaron's 715th career home run in 1974, is the current play-by-play announcer for home games. Dave Raymond and Brett Dolan share play-by play duty for road games, while Raymond additionally works as Hamilton's color analyst.

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.

Television coverage is mainly on FSN Houston (a subfeed of FSN Southwest), although some games are on My Network TV affiliate KTXH, with the games produced by FSN Houston. Bill Brown and Jim Deshaies compose the broadcast team on TV.

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1968 Houston Astros season

The Houston Astros' 1968 season was a season in American baseball. It involved the Astros finishing in tenth place in the National League, with a record of 72-90, 25 games behind the St. Louis Cardinals. The Astros also hosted the 1968 MLB All-Star Game at the Astrodome, with the NL defeating the AL, 1-0.

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2004 Houston Astros season

The Houston Astros' 2004 season was a season in which the Astros endured various changes. The biggest change was at the managerial level. Despite a 44-44 record, Jimy Williams was replaced by Phil Garner. Roger Clemens would win the NL Cy Young Award and become the fourth pitcher to win the Cy Young Award in both leauges. Clemens would also become the first pitcher to win seven Cy Young Awards.

The 2004 Major League Baseball All-Star Game was the 75th playing of the midseason exhibition baseball game between the all-stars of the American League (AL) and National League (NL). The game was held on July 13, 2004 at Minute Maid Park in Houston, Texas, the home of the Houston Astros of the National League. The last All-Star Game held in Houston was in 1986. Three members of the Astros were in the starting lineup; Roger Clemens (who played in the 1986 All-Star Game) was the starting pitcher, Jeff Kent was at second base, and Lance Berkman was one of the three outfielders starting in the game. Carlos Beltran was added to the team as a reserve. The game had an attendance of 41,886 and boxing legend Muhammad Ali threw the ceremonial first pitch of the game. The final result was the American League defeating the National League 9-4, thus awarding an AL team (which would eventually be the Boston Red Sox) home-field advantage in the 2004 World Series.

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2005 Houston Astros season

National League Championship Logo

The Houston Astros' 2005 season was a season in which the Houston Astros qualified for the postseason for the second consecutive season. The Astros made it to their first World Series appearance in franchise history.

The annual interleague games between the Houston Astros and the Texas Rangers were played in June and July. They are known as the Lone Star Series.

Houston wins series, 3-1.

Playing in their first World Series home game since 1959, the White Sox took an early lead with a home run from Jermaine Dye in the first inning. The Sox scored two more in the second when Juan Uribe doubled in A.J. Pierzynski after Carl Everett had already scored on a groudout earlier in the inning. The Astros responded again in the next inning when Lance Berkman hit a double, driving in Adam Everett and Craig Biggio. In the White Sox half of the fourth, Joe Crede hit what turned out to be the game winning home run. In the bottom of the eighth, Scott Podsednik hit a triple with Pierzynski on second. Roger Clemens recorded his shortest World Series start, leaving after the second inning with 53 pitches including 35 for strikes, due to a sore hamstring that he had previously injured (and caused him to miss his last regular season start) as the loss went to Wandy Rodríguez. José Contreras pitched seven innings, allowing three runs on six hits for the win, and Bobby Jenks earned the save to give the White Sox a 1-0 lead in the series. When Neal Cotts entered the game in the top of the 8th it marked the first time in 5 games that the White Sox had gone to their bullpen.

On a miserably cold (51 degrees) and rainy evening, Morgan Ensberg's first-pitch home run off starter Mark Buehrle put the Astros on top in the second inning. The White Sox answered in the bottom of the second with two runs of their own off Andy Pettitte. Lance Berkman drove in three runs in the game, two of them on a go-ahead double in the top of the fifth. In the seventh inning, Dan Wheeler loaded the bases with a double to Juan Uribe, a walk to Tadahito Iguchi, and home plate umpire Jeff Nelson's ruling that Jermaine Dye was hit by a pitched ball. The ruling was considered questionable, as television replays showed that the ball hit Dye's bat (which would have made the pitch a foul ball rather than a HBP). The Astros brought in Chad Qualls, who promptly served up a grand slam to Paul Konerko on the very first pitch he threw, the eighteenth grand slam in the annals of the Fall Classic. In the top of the ninth, White Sox closer Bobby Jenks blew the save when he gave up a two-run game-tying pinch hit single to José Vizcaíno. In the bottom half of the ninth, Astros closer Brad Lidge gave up a one-out, walk-off home run — the fourteenth in Series history — to Scott Podsednik, giving Lidge his second loss in as many post-season appearances (his previous appearance was in Game 5 of 2005 National League Championship Series). Podsednik had not hit a single homer in the regular season, and this was his second of the postseason. The Series moved to Houston with the White Sox leading 2-0.

Game 3 was the first ever World Series game played in the state of Texas. Before the game, it was ruled by Commissioner Bud Selig that the retractable roof would be open at Minute Maid Park, weather permitting. The Astros objected, citing that their record in games with the roof closed was better than with the retractable roof open. Selig's office claimed that the ruling was based on the rules established by Houston and were consistent with how the Astros organization treated the situation all year long, as well as the weather forecasts for that period of time.

In the game – the longest World Series game in length of time (five hours and forty-one minutes) and tied for the longest in number of innings (fourteen, tied with Game 2 of the 1916 World Series) – Lance Berkman singled with one out after a Craig Biggio lead-off double in the bottom of the first as the Astros struck early. The White Sox had a rally snuffed in the top of the second inning; after Paul Konerko hit a lead-off double and A.J. Pierzynski walked, Aaron Rowand hit into a line-drive double play. Adam Everett caught the ball and then doubled Konerko off second by flipping the ball to Biggio, who stepped on the bag. Houston scored in the bottom of the third when Everett led off with a walk. Everett got caught in a rundown and got hit by the ball on a Juan Uribe throwing error that hit Everett. A Roy Oswalt sacrifice bunt and a Biggio single sent Everett home. Berkman singled again with two out, sending Biggio to third. Then Morgan Ensberg singled Biggio home for the third run of the game. Jason Lane led off the Astros' fourth with a home run to left-center field. It was later shown in replays that the ball should not have been ruled a home run, hitting the left side of the yellow line on the unusual wall in left-center field.

The White Sox rallied in the top of the fifth, true to their "Win Or Die Trying" mantra of 2005, starting with a Joe Crede lead-off homer. Uribe, on first after hitting a single, scored on a Tadahito Iguchi base hit with one out, followed by Scott Podsednik coming home on a duck-snort single by Jermaine Dye. Pierzynski hit a two-out double to Tal's Hill, driving in two runs, scoring Iguchi and Dye giving the White Sox the lead. The Astros rallied in the last of the eighth with two outs when Lane's double scored Ensberg with the tying run after back-to-back walks by Ensberg and Mike Lamb, giving Dustin Hermanson a blown save. Houston tried to rally to win in the ninth, but stranded Chris Burke at third, after he had walked, reached second on an error and stolen third.

The Astros tried again in the tenth as well as in the eleventh, but failed each time. In the top of the fourteenth, after the Sox hit into a spectacular double play started by Ensberg, Geoff Blum (a former Astro) homered to right with two outs off Ezequiel Astacio. After two infield singles by Rowand and Crede that went a total of 150 feet according to McCarver, Uribe walked, and then Chris Widger walked thanks to Astacio's sudden wildness. The Astros tried to rally with the tying runs on first and third and two outs after a Uribe error, but Game 2 starter Mark Buehrle earned the save for winning pitcher Dámaso Marte when Everett popped out, bringing the White Sox one game closer to their first World Championship in eighty-eight years. Buehrle became the first pitcher ever to start a game in the Series, and save the next one.

Many records were set or tied in the game besides time and innings: The teams combined to use seventeen pitchers (nine for the White Sox, eight for the Astros), throwing a total of 482 pitches, and walking twenty-one batters combined (a dozen by Chicago, nine by Houston); forty-three players were used (the White Sox used twenty-two and the Astros used twenty-one), and thirty men were left on base (fifteen for each team), all new high-water marks in their categories in Fall Classic history. Scott Podsednik set a new all-time record with eight official-at-bats in this game. One record that was tied was most double plays turned, with six (four by the Astros, two by the White Sox).

Before the game, Major League Baseball unveiled its Latino Legends Team.

The fourth game was the pitchers' duel that had been promised throughout the series. Both Houston starter Brandon Backe and Chicago starter Freddy Garcia put zeros on the scoreboard through seven innings, the longest since Game 7 of the 1991 World Series. Scott Podsednik had a two-out triple in the top of the third, but Tadahito Iguchi grounded out to second, thus snuffing that threat. The Astros had the best chance of scoring in the sixth, but Jason Lane struck out with the bases loaded to end that rally. The White Sox had a chance in the top of the seventh with runners at second and third and two out, but shortstop Juan Uribe struck out to snuff the rally. The White Sox were able to break through in the next inning against embattled Houston closer Brad Lidge. Willie Harris hit a pinch-hit single. Podsednik moved Harris to second with a sacrifice bunt. Carl Everett pinch-hit for Iguchi and grounded out to the right side to allow Harris to move over to third. Jermaine Dye, the Most Valuable Player of the series, had the game-winning single, driving in Harris.

Things got a little sticky for the Sox in the Astros half of the eighth when reliever Cliff Politte hit Willy Taveras, threw a wild pitch, sending Taveras to second, and walked Lance Berkman. After Morgan Ensberg flew out to center, ChiSox manager Ozzie Guillén brought in Neal Cotts to finish the inning. Cotts induced pinch-hitter José Vizcaíno into a ground out to Uribe. Bobby Jenks, the 24-year-old fireballer, started the ninth inning. He allowed a single to Jason Lane and a sacrifice bunt to Brad Ausmus. Chris Burke came in to pinch-hit; he fouled one off to the left side, but Uribe made an amazing catch in the stands to retire Burke.

The game ended when Orlando Palmeiro grounded to Uribe. It was a bang-bang play as Paul Konerko caught the ball from Uribe at 11:01 p.m. CDT to begin the biggest celebration in Chicago since the sixth NBA championship by the Bulls in 1998, and end the second-longest period without a World Series title (the cross-town Chicago Cubs still own the longest such streak, as they have not won it since 1908). The 1-0 shutout was the first 1-run game to end a World Series since the 1995 World Series, in which Game 6 was won by the Atlanta Braves over the Cleveland Indians, and the first 1-0 game in any Series game since Game 5 of the 1996 World Series when the New York Yankees shut out the Braves in the last game ever played at Atlanta Fulton County Stadium.

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2000 Houston Astros season

The Houston Astros' 2000 season was a season in American baseball. It involved the Houston Astros attempting to win the National League Central.

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1994 Houston Astros season

The Houston Astros' 1994 season was a season in American baseball. It involved the Houston Astros attempting to win the National League Central.

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Source : Wikipedia