For Houston, A Long Journey Is Complete

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2005-2017 was rebuilding time for this team–a new owner, a new manager, new players, and a new league.

Courtesy: Baseball Classics Board Games

It all started in 1962 with MLB coming to Texas. The National League was awarded a brand-new team, the Houston Colt 45s. The team played three seasons at Colt Stadium until a new stadium was completed.

In 1965 the team moved to the Houston Astrodome, the world’s first domed stadium. The team became the Houston Astros to signify the city’s relationship with the space program.

The Astros had several competitive teams from 1965 to 1981 but never made it to the post-season. Finally–in 1981–the Astros made it to the NL Divisional playoffs. The opponent was the Los Angeles Dodgers. And even though Houston had a strong team with starting pitchers Nolan Ryan and Don Sutton, the Dodgers proved to be too much. The Astros lost the series, 3 games to 2.

The Astros kept on trying and, in 1986, they won the NL West and made it to the NL Championship series against the New York Mets. Although one step away from The World Series, the Astros couldn’t advance, losing the series 4 games to 2.

Jeff Bagwell, 1998 (photo, PicClick)

The 1990s brought competitive teams with competitive players, including Jeff Bagwell, Craig Biggio, and Ken Caminiti. But Houston was never championship caliber.

Things changed in the new millennium. In 2005 the Astros beat the St. Louis Cardinals to win the NL pennant and advanced to the World Series to take on the Chicago White Sox–a team that was the most dominant squad in baseball that year. And dominant they were. The Sox swept the Astros in four games.

For Astros fans, it was just more heartache.

After 2005 it was rebuilding time for the team–with a new look and feel–from a new owner (Jim Crane), to a new manager (AJ Hinch), to new players (Bagwell and Biggio retired and players like Jose Altuve and George Springer arrived), to a new league (moving from the NL to AL in 2013).

It all paid off in 2017. The Astros finished the regular season with a record of 101-61 and won the AL West Crown. After defeating the New York Yankees in the AL Championship series, the Astros returned to the World Series–it’s first in twelve years–to face the powerful Los Angeles Dodgers with their outstanding record of 104-58.

LA won the first game in LA, 3-1. The Astros took Games Two and Three (split between LA and Houston). Then the teams swapped victories: the Dodgers won Game 4, the Astros were victorious in the classic Game 5.

That gave Houston a one-game advantage–one game away from a Series win–as the team headed back to LA for Game 6 and Game 7 (if needed).

Courtesy: Fox News

The Dodgers settled the score with a Game 6 win. That meant we’d have a November 1 showdown in Game 7 for all the marbles.

History was made that day as the Houston Astros won the World Series — its first-ever in 56 years of operation.  George Springer was named World Series MVP.

Everybody who lives in Houston knows we all went through this together.

Congratulations, Houston Astros, 2017 World Series Champions!


About Matthew Paris

I grew up an avid Houston sports fan. After graduating from Texas Tech University in Theater and English Literature I worked as a marketing rep and coach for I9 Sports, coaching baseball, flag football, soccer, and basketball. I’m currently with Austin Sports Academy as a marketing coordinator, baseball and football coach, and coordinator of middle school and high school open play nights. I’ve written three short films for Looknow Productions and have also written articles on film marketing, producing, and directing. I really enjoy writing about sports and being an active contributor to The Sports Column.

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