Houston Astros Team Spirit  


What's new with the Houston Astros? That's what this page is all about.

The Team Spirit Extra Innings website begins where the Team Spirit books end.

That's because baseball never stands still … And I can never squeeze everything I want into 48 pages!

Take a look at some of the Astros collectibles I have in my home.

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Houston Astros

(Houston Astros)


Houston Astros

(Houston Astros)


Season Recap: Four years after moving from the NL to the AL, the Astros won the pennant and defeated the Los Angeles Dodgers in the World Series, 4 games to 3. Houston built a powerful batting order around players who had “grown up” together, including George Springer, Carlos Correa, Dallas Keuchel, Alex Bregman, and superstar Jose Altuve. Veteran stars Justin Verlander, Brian McCann, Josh Reddick, Charlie Morton, and Carlos Beltran gave the team experienced leadership. The championship was the first for the team, which played its first season in 1962.

October 1, 2017: Jose Altuve finished the year as the AL leader in hits for the fourth season in a row. He also won his third batting title in four seasons.

August 28, 2017: In the wake of Hurricane Harvey, the Astros announced that they would play their home series against the Texas Rangers at Tropicana Field, the home of the Tampa Bay Rays.

August 3, 2017: Infielder Yulieski Gurriel was named AL Rookie of the Month for July, breaking a three-month streak by Aaron Judge of the Yankees. Jose Altuve was named AL Player of the Month for July after batting .485 in 23 games.

June 1, 2017: Carlos Correa was named AL Player of the Month for May and Lance McCullers Jr. was named AL Pitcher of the Month for May.

November 1, 2016: The young Astros took a small step backwards in 2016, with 84 wins and a third-place finish. Jose Altuve had an MVP-quality year, winning his second batting championship and leading the league in hits for the third year in a row. The big problem was the bullpen, which was not dependable in close games.

October 4, 2015: Carlos Correia broke Lance Berkman’s team record for home runs by a rookie, with 22.

September 27, 2015: Dallas Keuchel became the first pitcher in history to go 15–0 in his home ballpark.

April 5, 2015: Houston has been rebuilding for several seasons. Is this the year that it all comes together? Young George Springer became a star in 2014. If two or three more rookies can earn starting jobs, the Astros could make trouble for the other clubs in the AL West.

November 1, 2014: Houston continued with its plan to stockpile young talent in 2014, and some of its future stars began to display their talents. George Springer, Jonathan Singleton, Jason Castro, Matt Domingez and Jake Marisnick got regular playing time, while veterans Jose Altuve and Chris Carter had big years at the plate. Houston's pitching was led by Dallas Keuchel and Collin McHugh.

September 16, 2014: Jose Altuve broke Craig Biggio's team record of 210 hits in a season set in 1998. He finished the year with 225 hits and was the leading batter in the American League, with a .341 average. Altuve also led the AL with 56 stolen bases.

May 29, 2014: Rookie George Springer belted his seventh home run in seven games. The only other rookie to hit seven homers in seven games was Rudy York of the Tigers 81 years earlier.

March 31, 2014: Houston fans have waited a long time for their young Astros to be competitive, and this looks like it's finally the year. Although they won't be pennant contenders, they have the talent to play a spoiler role in the AL Central. Newcomer Dexter Fowler joins second baseman Jose Altuve as the offensive stars in a lineup that could soon get help from prospects Jonathan Singleton and George Springer.

October 1, 2013: As expected, the Astros stumbled through another rebuilding year during their first season in the American League. The club set new standards for strikeouts (by batters, not pitchers), and lost 11 games. On the bright side, Houston got good seasons from rising stars Matt Dominguez, Jason Castro, Jose Altuve and Chris Carter.

September 14, 2013: Houston set a new record for strikeouts by a team during a season with two weeks to go in 2013. The record had been set just one year earlier by the Oakland A's.

March 30, 2013: After 51 seasons in the National League, the Astros moved to the AL in 2013. After watching many aging stars struggle through disappointing seasons, Houston fans will get a glimpse of the future, as the club has given many of its top prospects everyday jobs—including Matt Dominguez, Chris Carter, and Jordan Lyles.

October 3, 2012: It was a long season for the Astros and their fans. The team let its young players get valuable experience, but the result was 107 losses. It was the team's 51st season in the NL, ad also their last. The team will move to the AL in 2013, led by Jose Altuve, J.D. Martinez, Matt Dominguez, Jordan Lyles, and Lucas Harrell.

April, 2012: The Astros traded their best relief pitcher, Mark Melancon, for Boston shortstop Jed Lowrie. So the question is, who will become the team's closer in the bullpen? The candidates include Brandon Lyon, Wilton Lopez, Juan Abreu, Fernando Rodriguez, and anyone else who can throw strikes under pressure.

Joe Morgan
Joe Morgan was amazing when he played for the Astros. He refused to swing at a pitch unless it was exactly where he wanted it. That is really unusual for a young player on a so-so team. (Topps, Inc.)


Jose Cruz

Jose Cruz's son, Jose Jr., grew up in Houston and ended up playing for Rice University. Jose Jr. was in the same college outfield as Lance Berkman and Mark Quinn. All three made it to the big leagues. (Houston Astros)


Kevin Bass
When Kevin Bass got on one of his hot streaks, he was one scary dude. (Topps, Inc.)


Glenn Davis
For many years, Donruss put paintings of the year's top players on trading cards and called them Diamond Kings—like this one of Glenn Davis. I don't think the cards ever really caught on. (Donruss/Panini)

Rusty Staub — Outfielder
Born: 4/1/1944
Played for Team: 1963 to 1968
Rusty Staub was just 19 when he joined Houston, but he soon became the team's best hitter. Staub led the NL in doubles in 1967 and played in two All-Star Games as an Astro.

Joe Morgan — Second Baseman
Born: 9/19/1943
Played for Team: 1963 to 1971 & 1980
Joe Morgan was one of baseball's most patient hitters. He led the NL in walks his first full year with the team. Morgan later became one of the game's best basestealers. He was an All-Star twice for the Astros.

Joe Niekro — Pitcher
Born: 11/7/1944
Died: 10/27/2006
Played for Team: 1975 to 1985
Joe Niekro spent half of his 22 big-league seasons with the Astros. He had one of baseball's greatest knuckleballs. Niekro won 20 games twice for Houston and was runner-up to Bruce Sutter in the 1979 NL Cy Young Award voting.

Jose Cruz — Outfielder
Born: 8/8/1947
Played for Team: 1975 to 1987
Jose Cruz was the team's best clutch hitter for many years. He was one of three brothers who played in the major leagues, and his son, Jose Jr., also was a big leaguer.

Terry Puhl — Outfielder
Born: 7/8/1956
Played for Team: 1977 to 1990
Terry Puhl was a swift runner, a great clutch hitter and a very good outfielder. His finest moment came in a losing cause during the 1980 playoffs. He batted .526 against the Philadelphia Phillies in the National League Championship Series, which was a record at the time.

Kevin Bass — Outfielder
Born: 5/22/1959
Played for Team: 1982 to 1989 & 1993 to 1994
When the Astros traded Don Sutton to get Kevin Bass, Houston fans thought they were crazy. Bass turned out to be a bargain—he gave the lineup excellent power and speed. In 1987, Bass became the 15th switch-hitter to belt homers from both sides of the plate in the same game.

Bill Doran — Second Baseman
Born: 5/28/1958
Played for Team: 1982 to 1990
Bill Doran was the player who sparked the Houston offense in the 1980s. He was good at getting on base and very aggressive on the basepaths. Doran could also hit the ball over the fence if a pitcher made a mistake.

Mike Scott — Pitcher
Born: 4/26/1955
Played for Team: 1983 to 1991
Mike Scott threw a fastball that dipped sharply as it neared home plate. When he had command of this pitch, he was practically unhittable. In 1986, Scott struck out 303 batters and threw a no-hitter. He was an easy pick for the NL Cy Young Award that season.

Glenn Davis — First Baseman
Born: 3/28/1961
Played for Team: 1984 to 1990
Glenn Davis was one of the league's best power hitters during the 1980s. In 1986, he was runner-up to MIke Schmidt in the NL MVP voting. Davis hit 20 or more homers for the Astros six years in a row.

Nellie Fox
Whoa! Nellie Fix looks like my grandfather on this card. (Topps, Inc.)


Jim Umbricht
This was the last card for Jim Umbricht before he passed away. (Topps, Inc.)

Houston fans got to see some of the biggest stars of the 1950s in the team's early years, including Nellie Fox, Robin Roberts, Pete Runnels, Bobby Shantz, Billy Goodman, Don Larsen, and Frank Thomas. Unfortunately, it was the 1960s—and all were in the final years of their careers.

In 1974, Mike Schmidt of the Philadelphia Phillies smashed a long drive that was heading over the fence when it hit a speaker on the Astrodome ceiling, 117 feet above the field. Instead of a home run, Schmidt had to settle for a single.

In 2000, catcher Tony Eusebio set a team record with a 24-game hitting streak. Because Eusebio did not play every day, the streak lasted 51 days.

In 2005, Craig Biggio was hit by a pitch ball for the 268th time in his career. He became the owner of baseball's most painful record that day—no one in the modern era had ever been "plunked" more often. Biggio retired in 2007 with 285 HBP's to his credit.

In the years before the baseball draft, teams had to compete to sign young players. Houston wanted Rusty Staub so badly that they gave him a $50,000 bonus—plus they signed his brother and gave his father a job!

IIn 1963, doctors told Houston pitcher Jim Umbricht that he was dying of cancer. He underwent an operation and pitched the entire season. Umbricht won four games and had a 2.61 ERA. He passed away the following spring. Today, no Astro is allowed to wear his number (32), and the Jim Umbricht Award is given to the team's MVP.

Jeff Bagwell

In the 1990s, we saw Jeff Bagwell and his wife eating in a Houston restaurant. My 2-year-old daughter walked up to their table and just stared at his beard for like 5 minutes. (Black Book Partners)


Roy Oswalt

Roy Oswalt relaxes in the dugout during his days as an Astro. My friend John Klein took some amazing shots of players sitting back and watching their teammates, and this is one of them. (Black Book Partners/John Klein)


Home Runs
No Astro has led the league in home runs.

Batting Average
2014 — Jose Altuve — .341
2016 — Jose Altuve —.338
2017 — Jose Altuve —.346

Runs Batted In
1994 — Jeff Bagwell — 116
2002 — Lance Berkman — 128

Stolen Bases
1994 — Craig Biggio — 39
2009 — Michael Bourn — 61
2010 — Michael Bourn — 52
2011 — Michael Bourn — 61*
2014 — Jose Altuve — 56
2015 — Jose Altuve — 38

* Bourn also played for the Atlanta Braves in 2011.

1979 — Joe Niekro — 21
1989 — Mike Scott — 20
1999 — Mike Hampton — 22
2004 — Roy Oswalt — 20
2015 — Dallas Keuchel — 20

1978 — J.R. Richard — 303
1979 — J.R. Richard — 313
1986 — Mike Scott — 306
1987 — Nolan Ryan — 270
1988 — Nolan Ryan — 228

Earned Run Average
1979 — J.R. Richard — 2.71
1981 — Nolan Ryan — 1.69
1986 — Mike Scott — 2.22
1987 — Nolan Ryan — 2.76
1990 — Danny Darwin — 2.21
2005 — Roger Clemens — 1.87
2006 — Roy Oswalt — 2.98

2005 Chicago White Sox Lost 4–0
2017 Los Angeles Dogers Won 4–3
© 2012-17 by Norwood House Press. Team Spirit® is a registered trademark of Norwood House Press.