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The Houston Astros began as a National League expansion team in 1962. For
their first three years, they were known as the Colt .45's. During that
time they played in the temporary Colt Stadium while they watched the
Astrodome rise from the parking lot.
The Astrodome was a pitcher's park, and the Astros routinely led the
league in pitching, while lagging in hitting. Since 2000, the team has
played in a new retractable roof ballpark which favors hitters. However,
there are still great pitchers in Houston to go with their big hitters.
The Astros have never made it to a World Series, but they have fielded
some mighty teams. During the 1990s, the Astros were a fixture near or at
the top of the National League Central. Unfortunately, they often came up
against the Atlanta Braves in the post season.
The Astros promise to give the Cardinals a run for their money.
It's been a tough stretch for the Houston Astros these past few years. They finished below .500 in 2010 and in the middle of the NL central, and so far in 2011, they have been struggling badly, and are stuck in last place with one of the worst records in baseball.
The team hasn't always made the best decisions with their players lately. Some stars leave the team, while the team locked up others to long-term, expensive contracts which never really worked out. The former face of the franchise and ace Roy Oswalt was finally dealt last season, and is now part of the Phillies rotation instead of being in Houston.
Things might be bleak but they aren't all bad for Houston. The bright spots all start with homegrown outfield phenom Hunter Pence, who is finally living up to his potential in 2011. He's having a breakout season, continuing to hit for power while also improving his batting average and OBP.
Plus, speedy Michael Bourn is a stolen base machine, and is basically a lock for 50 or 60 SB every season. Young first baseman Brett Wallace has been having a great start to 2011 and could be an anchor of the team for quite some time to come.
It can only go up from here for the Astros. So pick up a few Astros tickets and enjoy a game, see these young stars in the making in action, and then wait for the team to make its move in upcoming seasons.
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The Houston Astros play their home games at Minute Maid Park