History Of The Houston Astros
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.
Read more about History Of The Houston Astros: 1962–1964: The Colt .45s Era, 1965–1970: The Great Indoors: The Move Into The Astrodome, 1971–1974: The Boys in Orange, 1975–1979: The Rainbow Era, 1980: Here Come The Astros, The 1980 NLCS - A Hard-fought Battle, 1981-85: The Chinese Water Torture Offense and Tough Times, 1986 Season, 1987–99: Rebuild, New Owner, A New Look, and A New Success, 2000s: New Stadium; First Pennant
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