HOUSTON ASTROS INFORMATION:
Location: Houston, Texas
Stadium: Minute Maid Park
Conference: American League
Division: West Division
Rivals: St. Louis Cardinals, Atlanta Braves, Texas Rangers
Notable Players: Mike Scott, Nolan Ryan, Terry Puhl, Craig Biggio, Jeff Bagwell
Houston Astros World Series Title: 0 - Last World Series Appearance, 2005
Houston Astros NL Championships: 1 - Last NLCS Appearance, 2005
The city of Houston was one of the beneficiaries of Major League Baseball's expansion in 1962, and the team was originally called the Houston Colt .45s. The team played under this moniker for two years until they moved into their new stadium, the Astrodome in 1965 and changed their name to the Astros. The name paid tribute to Houston's vital role in the NASA space program and the squad became the first professional baseball team to play all of their home games indoors. Originally, the turf of the stadium consisted of natural grass that grew with the aid of sunlight-filtering tiles in the building's roof, but the added glare proved to be a major problem for players trying to track down a foul ball. The team came up with a compromise called Astroturf, a name that has become synonymous with artificial turf.
With their beautiful new ballpark in place, the Astros experienced growing pains in their early years, but began to put together an impressive group of talent in the late 1980s. The team would win its first division championship and make its first appearance in the National League Championship Series with help from the dominating pitching star Nolan Ryan. The Astros would take the first two games from the Philadelphia Phillies in the National League Championship Series, but they couldn't close it out and lost in a heartbreaking 10th inning in the fifth game.
The Astros would win another six division championships and two other appearances in the league championship series, but nothing could match the excitement of the team's 2005 run to their first appearance in the World Series. With the stellar pitching trio of Andy Pettite, Roger Clemens and Roy Oswalt, as well as the powerful bats of Jeff Bagwell and Lance Berkman, the Astros had one of the most talented rosters in their history.
The Astros would make quick work of the Atlanta Braves in the National League Divisional Series and would get revenge against the St. Louis Cardinals in the NLCS, who had knocked them out the year before. With a World Series appearance against the Chicago White Sox, the Astros became the first professional baseball team from Texas to play in the championship. Although the Astros came out of the gate with plenty of momentum, they couldn't overcome the tough White Sox batting order and were swept in four games.
The Astros are currently in the midst of a rebuilding project, and have been steadily assembling talent in their farm system to make a serious World Series run in the near future. The 2012 season saw the final games of the Astros franchise as a contender in the National League due to their move to the American League's West Division in 2013.
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