The ownership group from Houston, headed by Judge Roy Hofheinz, attended the annual Major League Baseball owners meetings in Chicago. On October 17, 1960, Houston was awarded a franchise in the ten-team National League.
The Houston Colt .45s play their first Major League game on April 10, defeating the Chicago Cubs 11-2.
Bob Bruce one-hits the Cincinnati Reds on April 26...Don Nottebart no-hits the Phillies on May 7.
Ken Johnson becomes the first major leaguer to lose a nine-inning no-hitter on April 23 with a 1-0 loss to the Cincinnati Reds.
The Houston Colt .45s become the Houston Astros and inaugurate indoor baseball with a 2-1 exhibition win over the New York Yankees on April 9 in the Astrodome...rookie Joe Morgan sets club marks for at-bats, runs, hits and triples.
Mike Cuellar sets a club mark with a 2.22 ERA...home attendance mark which stood for 22 years set on June 22 as 50,908 watch Sandy Koufax and the Dodgers down Houston 5-2.
Don Wilson fires a no-hitter vs. the Atlanta Braves, 2-0 on June 18, striking out Hank Aaron for final out...Jimmy Wynn sets club records with 37 home runs and 107 RBI.
Don Wilson strikes out 18 Cincinnati Reds in 6-1 win on July 14...four Houston hurlers win 10-or-more games: Don Wilson (13), Larry Dierker (12) Dave Guisti (11) and Denny LeMaster (10)...the Astros down the Mets 1-0 in 24 innings on April 15.
Cincinnati's Jim Maloney no-hits the Astros on April 30 and the next night, May 1, Don Wilson returns the favor by no-hitting the Reds 4-0...Larry Dierker becomes Houston's first 20-game winner...the club records its first .500 season (81-81).
1975 was a good year for future Astros management. Former General Manager Bob Watson leads the Astros with a .324 average, 157 hits and 85 RBIs, while former manager Larry Dierker leads the staff with 14 wins.
Fred Gladding appears in 63 games, setting a club mark for pitchers...three Astros hit over .300 (Cesar Cedeno, .310; Jesus Alou, .306; Denis Menke, .304).
Cesar Cedeno leads the league with 40 doubles and Roger Metzger and Joe Morgan share the league lead with 11 triples each...during the 1971 winter meetings, Houston acquires Lee May, Tommy Helms and Jimmy Stewart from the Reds for Joe Morgan, Jack Billingham, Denis Menke, Cesar Geronimo and Ed Armbrister.
Astros finish in second place with their best record ever (84-69)...Jerry Reuss and Larry Dierker hurl back-to-back one hitters on June 18 against Philadelphia and June 19 vs. New York, respectively...Cesar Cedeno hits for the cycle on August 2 vs. the Reds.
Cesar Cedeno becomes the first player in history to steal 50 bases and hit 20 home runs in successive seasons...Roger Metzger leads the league with 14 triples...Lee May hits safely in a club record 21 straight games.
Rookie Greg Gross leads the club with a .314 average, and sets club mark with 185 hits...Ken Forsch appears in a then-club record 70 games...Cliff Johnson has five pinch-hit home runs.
A good year for future Astros management. Former General Manager Bob Watson leads the Astros with a .324 average, 157 hits and 85 RBI, while former manager Larry Dierker leads the staff with 14 wins.
J.R. Richard becomes Houston's second 20-game winner...Cesar Cedeno sets a club mark with 58 stolen bases and earns his fifth-straight Gold Glove.
Three Astros steal 40 bases (Cesar Cedeno, 61; Jose Cruz, 44; Enos Cabell, 42)...Watson sets a new club record with 110 RBI.
J.R. Richard strikes out 303 to become the first National League righthander to strike out 300 batters in a season...Cabell sets club marks for at-bats (660), games (162) and hits (195).
Houston finishes in second place, just a game-and-a-half behind the Reds...J.R. Richard improves upon his 1978 strikeout total by fanning 313...Joe Niekro sets a club mark with 21 wins...Ken Forsch no-hits the Braves on April 7...Bill Virdon is named Manager of the Year.
Houston claimed its first NL West title in 1980 with a 93-70 record after defeating Los Angeles in a one-game playoff in the 163rd game of the regular season.
Houston claims its first title as the Astros win the NL West with a 93-70 record, defeating Los Angeles in a one-game playoff...Niekro wins 20 games again...Joe Morgan returns to Houston to add leadership in the Astros pennant drive.
Houston gets off to a slow start, but takes advantage of the split season created by the player's strike to win the "second season" with a 33-20 mark, earning a spot in the playoffs...Nolan Ryan hurls his major league record fifth no-hitter, blanking the Dodgers on September 26...Ryan also leads the league with a 1.69 ERA...Art Howe establishes a club record with a 23-game hitting streak.
Ray Knight, an off-season acquisition from Cincinnati for Cesar Cedeno, remains among the league leaders in hitting for most of the season, finishing with a .294 mark...Bob Lillis takes over as interim manager on August 10 and Astros finish 28-23 under Lillis.
After struggling to an 0-9 start, the Astros rebound with one of their finest seasons...Houston finishes at 85-77, the third-highest win total in club history...Jose Cruz battles for NL batting title to last day and finishes third...Nolan Ryan surpasses Walter Johnson's all-time strikeout mark.
The Astros bounce back from another slow start, finishing second in the NL West...1983 All-Star Dickie Thon is lost for the season in the fifth game after being hit in the head by a pitch from the Mets' Mike Torrez...Cruz repeats as the club MVP by posting a .312 average and a career-high 95 RBI.
The Astros celebrate the Astrodome's 20th Anniversary with a 2-1 opening day victory over the Dodgers in front of 42,876 fans...Niekro becomes Houston's all-time winningest pitcher with his 5-0 shutout of San Francisco on June 9th...Ryan becomes first player to record 4,000 strikeouts in a career when he fans Danny Heep on July 11 at the Astrodome...Cruz reaches the 2,000 hit plateau on September 15.
A Silver Anniversary season turns golden as the Astros win their second NL West title...Rookie skipper Hal Lanier guides the team to a club-record 96 regular season wins...Lanier earns Manager of the Year notice from four different press associations after the season...righthander Mike Scott becomes Houston's first ever Cy Young award winner, leading the league in ERA (2.22) and strikeouts (306), and winning 18 games for the second straight year.
Houston finishes the season with the third-highest attendance total in baseball (1,909,902)...Nolan Ryan leads the majors in strikeouts with 270 and ties for the lead in ERA with a 2.76 mark...Mike Scott is named the NL starter for the All-Star game and throws two scoreless innings.
Houston wins its 2,000th game 6-3 over San Diego on opening night...Mike Scott comes within one out of his second career no-hitter on June 12 vs. Atlanta...Bob Knepper tosses a one-hitter on September 21 vs. the Braves.
Mike Scott becomes the fourth Houston pitcher to win 20 games and wins his second Astros MVP award...the Astros win 10 straight on the road from May 7-31 to set a club record...their 10-game winning streak from May 26 to June 4 tied another club mark...Glenn Davis hits a career-high 34 homers.
After winning their first ever National League Central crown in 1997, the Astros prepare to take the field against the Braves for their first postseason game in 11 years.
Danny Darwin had a league-leading 2.21 ERA, becoming the third Houston pitcher in five years to lead the NL in ERA...Franklin Stubbs sets a club mark for lefthanders with 23 home runs...Houston ties a league record by playing in 27 extra-inning games...on May 17, Eric Anthony becomes the first Astros batter to hit an upper deck home run since 1970.
Jeff Bagwell becomes the Astros' first BBWAA Rookie of the Year after hitting .294 with 15 homers and club rookie record of 82 RBI...Craig Biggio leads the club in hitting for the second straight year (.295) and joins Pete Harnisch on the NL All-Star team.
Despite a grueling 26-day road trip made necessary when the Astrodome played host to the Republican National Convention, the Astros rallied in the second half to post the club's first non-losing season since 1989...Craig Biggio became the first player ever to make the All-Star team at both catcher (1991) and second base (1992)...Doug Jones was also named to the All-Star team and set the club single-season record with 36 saves.
The Astros established franchise records in several offensive categories, including batting average (.267), home runs (138) and doubles (288)...paced by Craig Biggio's career-high 21 round-trippers, seven Houston players totaled double figures in homers for the first time in club history...Mark Portugal set a club record by winning his final 12 decisions...Darryl Kile posted a nine-game win streak, and tosses the ninth no-hitter in Astros history on September 8 against New York.
Jeff Bagwell became the first Houston player ever to win the NL Most Valuable Player award...Bagwell was a unanimous selection for only the third time in league history after batting .368 and setting club records with 73 extra base hits, 39 homers and 116 RBI...Bagwell earns All-Star honors along with Craig Biggio, Ken Caminiti, Doug Drabek and rookie John Hudek...Rookie skipper Terry Collins guided the club to a 66-49 mark, one-half game behind Cincinnati, before a players' strike ended the season on August 12.
The Astros took the the chase for the NL's first-ever Wild Card playoff berth to the final day of the season before finishing one game behind Colorado...Craig Biggio was voted the league's starting second baseman in the All-Star Game and slugged a solo home run...he was later voted team MVP and picked up his second consecutive Gold Glove award.
A two-and-a-half game lead at the end of August slipped away and denied Houston a shot at the NL Central title...the Astros suffered through an 8-17 September, which included a nine-game losing streak, to fall out of the playoff chase...Jeff Bagwell slugged 31 homers and set single season record with 48 doubles and 120 RBI...Derek Bell knocked in 113 runs, marking the first time ever the club had two, 100-plus RBI players in the same season...Craig Biggio collected his third consecutive Rawlings Gold Glove Award...Shane Reynolds won 16 games, while he and Darryl Kile each topped the 200-mark in strikeouts.
The Astros captured their first-ever NL Central title and their first division title in 11 years...Jeff Bagwell banged 43 homers and swiped 31 bases to become Houston's first "30-30" man...Bagwell set new single-season club records in homers (43), RBI (135), total bases (335) and extra-base hits (85)...Craig Biggio became the first player in major league history to have not grounded into a double play in a 162-game season...fans selected Bagwell and Biggio to represent the Astros in the 1997 All-Star Game, marking the first time that two Astros position players were selected to start in the Mid-Summer classic...Darryl Kile won a team-high 19 games and was also selected to the All-Star Team...Larry Dierker became one of only six skippers in major league history who won a division title in his first year as manager.
The Astros won their second consecutive NL Central title en route to a franchise-best 102-win season...the club drew a record 2.45 million fans and drew ten crowds of 50,000 or more ...Larry Dierker was voted NL Manager of the Year by the BBWAA and Baseball America...General Manager Gerry Hunsicker was voted The Sporting News Executive of the Year...Craig Biggio joined Tris Speaker as the only two players in the century who have hit 50 doubles and stolen 50 bases in the same season...Biggio and Moises Alou were selected to represent the Astros in the 1998 All-Star Game in Denver...Biggio broke Cesar Cedeno's record for the most runs scored by an Astro...he and Alou each received Silver Slugger Awards for their offensive contributions and both finished in the top five in NL MVP voting...five Astros starting pitchers, including Randy Johnson who was acquired just minutes before the July 31 non-waiver trading deadline, finished the season with double-figures in wins.
The Astros bid adieu to the Astrodome in dramatic fashion, clinching their third straight NL Central title on the final day of the regular season before a sold out crowd... standing-room only crowds were commonplace during the last year of baseball in the Dome as a record 2.7 million fans flocked to the Eighth Wonder of the World...despite an injury-riddled year that landed 14 players on the DL and sidelined three members of the coaching staff for significant periods of time, Houston won 97 games, only five victories fewer than its record-setting 102-win season of 1998...the pitching staff produced two 20-game winners for the first time in club history in Mike Hampton (22-4) and Jose Lima (21-10)...Hampton and Jeff Bagwell were recognized as the best offensive players at their respective positions as each was a recipient of the Silver Slugger Award...four Astros were selected to represent the National League in the 70th annual All-Star Game (Bagwell, Hampton, Lima, Billy Wagner)...Wagner was the recipient of the 1999 Rolaids Relief Man Award.
Enron Field opens on March 30, 2000 before an exhibition game with the New York Yankees...a record 3,056,139 fans passed through the turnstiles during the Astros' inaugural season at this new ballpark.
History was made as the doors of sparkling-new Enron Field opened for the first time on March 30 before an exhibition game with the New York Yankees...a record 3,056,139 fans passed through the turnstiles during the Astros' inaugural season at their new ballpark...Houston finished the season at 72-90 to mark the club's first sub-.500 season since 1991...Jeff Bagwell set single-season franchise records with 47 homers and 152 runs scored...Bagwell ended the 2000 season having logged 310 career homers and became only the 87th major leaguer to reach the 300-homer plateau...the Astros set franchise records with 249 homers, 900 RBI and 938 runs scored...Tony Eusebio set a franchise record with a 24-game hitting streak that lasted nearly two months...Shane Reynolds was named to the All-Star team, marking his first career selection to the Mid-Summer Classic.
The 2001 season went right down to the wire as the Astros clinched their fourth division title in five years with a 9-2 win over the Cardinals on October 7 in St. Louis...Craig Biggio became the first player in franchise history to log 2,000 hits and enters the 2002 season with 2,149 hits during his 14-year career...after toiling around the .500 mark with a 33-33 record on June 17, went on to finish the year at a 59-36 (.621) clip to edge the Cardinals for the division title...Major League Baseball announced that the Astros were awarded the 2004 All-Star Game...Moises Alou, Billy Wagner and Lance Berkman represented the Astros at the 72nd Mid-Summer Classic...Jeff Bagwell became the sixth player in MLB history to have 30 homers, 100 RBI and 100 runs scored in six straight seasons...after being swept by Atlanta in the NLDS, manager Larry Dierker resigned and was replaced by former Red Sox skipper Jimy Williams...upon the conclusion of the season, utility infielder Bill Spiers announced his retirement...the Astros were named Organization of the Year by SportsTicker, Topps, Baseball America and Baseball Weekly...Brad Ausmus received a Gold Glove award for defensive excellence at his position.
By Houston standards, the 2002 season was a disappointment after the Astros finished with an 84-78 record, good for only second place in the NL Central division, behind the St. Louis Cardinals. Despite staying in the division race until the final two weeks of the season, the Astros wound up 13 games behind the Cardinals. However, that season was anything but forgettable. The Wade Miller-Roy Oswalt arsenal combined to go 34-13 on the year while stringing together 12 and nine-game winning streaks, respectively. ...Astros hurlers threw 10 shutouts in Houston to contribute to a 47-34 home record. ...on April 8, Craig Biggio hit for the cyle in Colorado, becoming the fifth player in franchise history to accomplish the feat. ...in May, the Astros retired Larry Dierker's No. 49 in a pregame ceremony. ....Lance Berkman represented the Astros at the 2002 All-Star game. ...Houston 's downtown ballpark was renamed Minute Maid Park when the Astros announced an agreement with the local beverage giant for naming rights on June 5. ...Berkman finished third in MVP voting and led the NL in RBIs. ...Brad Ausmus won his second consecutive Gold Glove award.
The Astros were favorites to win the NL Central title to start the season behind young aces Wade Miller and Roy Oswalt and new acquisition Jeff Kent. But injuries intervened and Houston ended the season in second place, one game behind the Chicago Cubs. ...Craig Biggio made his second career position move and served as the club's primary center fielder. ...on June 11 at Yankee Stadium, six Astros pitchers combined to no-hit the Yankees for the 8-0 win: Roy Oswalt, Pete Munro, Kirk Saarloos, Brad Lidge, Octavio Dotel and Billy Wanger. ...it was the first time in Major League history that a team used five or more pitchers in a no-hitter. ...Biggio recorded his club-record 500th double on July 10 ....Wagner recorded a careeer-high and franchise record 44 saves and represented the team at the All-Star Game. ...Jeriome Robertson set the franchise record for a rookie with 15 wins, the most of all ML rookies. ...Richard Hidalgo was named team MVP and led the Majors with 22 outfield assists.
The 2004 campaign began and ended with great expectations, with plenty of trying times in between. A season that started with so much promise turned into a mediocre effort that resulted in a .500 record at the All-Star break, leading to the dismissal of manager Jimy Williams. Three weeks after Phil Garner took over the managerial duties, the Astros began an unprecedented 36-10 run that leapfrogged them over five teams en route to the National League Wild Card. The Astros won their first postseason series in franchise history when they topped the Atlanta Braves, three games to two, in the Division Series. Despite being decimated by injuries that left them with only two proven starters -- Roy Oswalt and Roger Clemens (who won his seventh Cy Young Award) -- the Astros received valiant efforts from a slew of players who helped lead the team to the seventh game of the National League Championship Series. The Astros' historic run ended with a 5-2 Game 7 loss to the Cardinals, one game shy of their first-ever World Series berth.
The Astros began the year with a list of problems that suggested this was going to be a long, and likely unsuccessful, season. Lance Berkman was out for a month following offseason knee surgery. Jeff Bagwell struggled through a painful first month before deciding it was time to go on the disabled list. Nearly one-third of the roster was hit with everything from the flu to pneumonia to upper respiratory infections that swept through the Astros' clubhouse. But the Astros recovered from their abysmal start to go 74-43 the rest of the year -- a .632 winning percentage over four months.
The Astros advanced to the World Series for the first time in franchise history after defeating the Cardinals four games to two in a rematch of the 2004 NLCS. The White Sox went on to sweep the Astros in four games to claim their first World Series since 1917. The Astros won the Wild Card for the second season in a row, finishing in second place in the NL Central division with a record of 89-73. The club started the season with a 2-21 record on the road, and overcame a 15-30 start on May 24 to become the first team since the 1914 Boston Braves to make the postseason after falling to 15 games below .500.
In a thrilling finish to the season, the Astros spent the final two weeks chasing first-place St. Louis by winning 10 of the last 12 games. The club finished 82-80, in second place, 1 1/2 games behind the eventual World Champions, giving Houston its sixth consecutive winning season. Trailing the Cardinals by 8 1/2 games on Sept. 20, the Astros picked up eight game in eight days and moved to within a half-game of first place with three to play. But Houston would lose two out of three in Atlanta and miss the playoffs for the first time since 2003. The end of the season was similar to the club's hot start n April. The Astros won 19 of the first 28 games, which represents the best start in franchise history.
Lance Berkman made his fourth All-Star appearance and set the single-season franchise record with 136 RBIs. Roger Clemens returned for a third season on June 22 and finished 7-6 with a 2.30 ERA. Willy Taveras logged a 30-game hitting streak from July 27-Aug. 27, eclipsing Jeff Kent's franchise-best 25-game hitting streak in 2004. Roy Oswalt won the ERA crown with a 2.98 mark, while winning 15 games. He was the runner-up in the NL Cy Young Award voting. Adam Everett recorded the fourth-best fielding percentage by a shortstop in Major League history, holding down a .990 mark at the position.
The club finished 73-89, in fourth place in the NL Central, 12.0 games behind division-winning Chicago. The Astros ended the season winning their last two games, five of six, eight of 11 and 10 of 15. The Astros finished 42-39 at home, marking the seventh consecutive season for the club to finish with a winning record at Minute Maid Park.
On September 20, the Astros named Ed Wade the 11th general manager in franchise history. In Wade, the Astros hired a man with prior GM experience (1998-2005, Philadelphia). On September 28, Houston named five-time Major League All-Star Cecil Cooper manager of the team, removing the interim designation from his title. Cooper is the 16th manager in Astros franchise history.
Houston finished the season with two 30-homer sluggers for the first time since 2002 (Berkman, Lee). Lee, in his first year with the Astros, drove in a career-high 119 runs after signing a six-year contract with the club. Rookie outfielder Hunter Pence hit 17 home runs for Houston, the third highest rookie total in club history.
Craig Biggio became the 27th player in Major League history to join the 3000-hit club on June 28 against the Colorado Rockies. Biggio, the only player to ever earn All-Star status as a catcher and second baseman, retired with 3,060 hits, the 20th highest total in Major League history. Biggio also finished his career with 285 hit-by-pitches, the most of any player in modern baseball history.
The club finished 86-75, in third place in the NL Central, 11.0 games behind division-champion Chicago. Houston finished 3.5 games behind Milwaukee in the NL Wild Card race and was not eliminated from playoff contention until the season's 159th game. Houston's 42-24 second-half record led National League teams and was the second best in the Majors (Angels, 43-24). At 208-153, the Astros own baseball's fourth-best second-half record since 2004. The club won 12 of their last 20 games, as well as 20 of 29. Houston won a season-best 21 games in August and enjoyed season-high winning streaks of eight games, twice (8/7-14, 8/27-9/3).
Jose Valverde, acquired from Arizona on December 14, 2007, led the National League with 44 saves and tied Billy Wagner's franchise single-season saves record, previously set in 2003. Roy Oswalt went 17-10 and set the franchise record for consecutive scoreless innings pitched (32.1). Oswalt won 10 of his last 12 starts and has compiled a career Post-All-Star Break winning percentage of .770 (67-20), second best in MLB history (min. 50 wins). Houston pitchers compiled 13 shutouts, leading National League staffs. LaTroy Hawkins compiled a 0.43 ERA (21.0IP) after being acquired from the Yankees on July 30.
Lance Berkman enjoyed a 50-at-bat span in which he batted .620 (31x50). Berkman led the league with a .345 average with runners in scoring position and tied for the league lead with 46 doubles.
The Astros committed 67 errors, the fewest errors for any team in National League history (non-strike season). Shortstop Miguel Tejada, acquired from Baltimore on December 12, 2007, anchored the infield defense and committed a career-low 11 errors.
The Astros finished 74-88 and in fifth place in the National League Central for their lowest division finish since coming in sixth place in the NL West in 1991. Houston was 19-29 and in last place on May 30, but went on a 30-27 run to get within one game of first place after completing a sweep of the St. Louis Cardinals on July 22. Cecil Cooper was dismissed as manager with 13 games remaining and replaced on an interim bases by third-base coach Dave Clark. The Astros named Boston Red Sox bench coach Brad Mills as their full-time manager on Oct. 27 and later overhauled their coaching staff. Houston went 44-37 at home, giving them nine consecutive winning seasons at Minute Maid Park, which celebrated its 10th season. They went 456-351 at home during those 10 seasons, which was the fifth-best home record in the NL over that span. In a fan poll conducted by the Astros, Craig Biggios 3,000th career hit on June 28, 2007, was voted as the greatest moment in Minute Maid Park history.
The Astros became the first team in Major League history to have three players hit their 300th home run in the same season Ivan Rodriguez on May 17 at Wrigley Field, Lance Berkman on June 13 at Arizona and Carlos Lee on Aug. 8 at Minute Maid Park. Rodriguez also set a Major League record by catching his 2,227th career game on June 17 at Texas, and Tejada reached 2,000 hits on June 13. Center fielder Michael Bourn became the second Astros outfielder to win a Rawlings Gold Glove (Cesar Cedeno). He was named the teams Most Valuable Player by the Houston Chapter of the Baseball Writers Association of American after leading the NL with 61 stolen bases and hitting .285 with a .354 on-base percentage and hitting .353 with runners in scoring position.
Under first-year manager Brad Mills, the Astros finished 76-86 and in fourth place in the National League Central, one game behind third-place Milwaukee. Mills lost his first eight games as manager and had another eight-game losing streak early in the season before the Astros rallied to go 59-52 over the final four months, which was the second-best record in the NL Central in that span. The Astros went 42-39 at home, marking their 18th home winning record in their last 19 seasons. Houston called up youngsters Jason Castro (catcher) and Chris Johnson (third base) from the Minor Leagues on June 22 and thrust them into the starting lineup. The dramatic roster changing continued when icons Roy Oswalt (to the Phillies) and Lance Berkman (to the Yankees) were both traded in a span of 48 hours at the Trade Deadline, signifying the end of an era and beginning the youth movement in earnest. Hitting coach Sean Berry was let go at the All-Star break and replaced with slugger Jeff Bagwell.
Center fielder Michael Bourn was selected to his first All-Star team and became the first Houston player to lead the league in steals two years in a row despite missing the final 13 games with an oblique strain. Hunter Pence overcame a slow start to post team Most Valuable Player honors by hitting .282 with 25 homers and a team-high 91 RBIs. It was his third consecutive year with 25 homers. Newcomer Brett Myers threw at least six innings in his first 32 starts, setting a club record en route to team Pitcher of the Year honors. Johnson hit .316 with 11 homers and 44 RBIs after the All-Star break. Brandon Lyon (20 saves) and Matt Lindstrom (23) became the fifth set of teammates in Major League history to record at least 20 saves in the same year. Wandy Rodriguez went 8-2 with an NL-best 2.03 ERA in his final 18 starts. Bagwell declined an offer to remain hitting coach following the season, and the Astros promoted Mike Barnett to the job after he had served as Minor League hitting coordinator for two years.
The 2011 season was a season of transition for the Astros, who continued in their rebuilding process and wound up finishing in sixth place in the National League Central. The team, which dealt away All-Star outfielders Hunter Pence and Michael Bourn at the Trade Deadline in exchange for prospects, finished with a club-record 106 losses but saw a whopping 20 rookies get playing time at some point. In the second half of the season, many of those youngsters were playing key roles.
Veteran outfielder Carlos Lee led the team with 94 RBIs and starting pitcher Wandy Rodriguez posted an 11-11 record, but it was the newcomers who made the most memorable impact. Outfielder J.D. Martinez, second baseman Jose Altuve, third baseman Jimmy Paredes and pitcher Jordan Lyles came up from the Minor Leagues and settled into starting roles and showed promise for the future. Martinez drove in 28 runs in August, and Altuve got hits in his first seven big league games.
Former first-round pick Brian Bogusevic finally showed some promise as an outfielder, including a walk-off grand slam to beat the Cubs, and Matt Downs established himself as a threat off the bench with a Major League-leading 15 pinch-hit RBIs. And the transitions on the field gave way to transitions off the field, too, when the team was sold to Houston businessman Jim Crane in November -- with the announcement the 2012 season would be the Astros' last in the NL -- and Jeff Luhnow took over as general manager in December.
The Astros celebrated their 50th anniversary by playing their final season in the National League, setting a franchise record with 107 losses despite a strong finish in the final month of the season. The Astros finished 15-15 in their final 30 games. In 51 seasons as a NL club, Houston posted a 3,999-4,134 (.492) record, which ranked 8th in NL in that span, while qualifying for the postseason nine times and winning the NL Pennant in 2005.
Bo Porter was named as the teams 17th manager on Sept. 27, with Tony DeFrancesco serving as interim manager for the final 41 games of the regular season after Brad Mills was dismissed on Aug. 18. Porter, a Houston resident, had served as the third-base coach for the Nationals.
Astros second baseman Jose Altuve was the second-youngest member of the NL All-Star team at 22 years old. He was also the second-youngest All-Star in Astros history behind Cesar Cedeno and wound up being named the teams Most Valuable Player after leading all NL second baseman in steals (33), ranking second in hits (166) and third in batting average (.290).
Right-hander Lucas Harrell came out of nowhere to win 11 games in his rookie season, leading the team. He ranked second among all Major League rookies with 193 2/3 innings pitched the third-highest total ever for an Astros rookie. He was the only NL rookie to throw a shutout.
The Astros became just the second team since 1991 to throw three consecutive shutouts by blanking the Brewers on Sept. 30 and the Cubs on Oct. 1 and Oct. 2. They didnt allow more than four hits in any of those three games.
For the majority of the 2012 season, the Astros had the youngest roster in the NL. They used a club-record 50 different players, including 25 pitchers.
The Astros first season in the American League had its ups and downs for the Astros, who dropped their final 15 games of the season to finish with a club-record 111 losses. For the fourth year in a row, the Astros traded away veteran players in July pitchers Jose Veras and Bud Norris in exchange for prospects as they continued to build their Minor League system into one of the best in baseball.
First-year manager Bo Porter said much of 2013 was spent identifying players who could make an impact for the club down the road. No player had a bigger breakout season than catcher Jason Castro, who made the AL All-Star team and was twice named Player of the Week and wound up hitting .276 with 18 homers and 56 RBIs in only 120 games.
Second baseman Jose Altuve was again one of the teams top offensive performers, hitting .284 with 52 RBIs while stealing 35 bases. The Astros got a big lift from third baseman Matt Dominguez, who was second on the team behind Chris Carter with 21 homers and 77 RBIs while playing a terrific defensive third base. Youngsters like L.J. Hoes (outfield), Brandon Barnes (outfield), Robbie Grossman (outfield) and Jonathan Villar (shortstop) got their feet wet.
By the end of the season, the Astros youth was very apparent in their starting rotation, where Dallas Keuchel (25), Jordan Lyles (22), Brad Peacock (25), Brett Oberholtzer (23), and Jarred Cosart (23) provided hope for the future. Young arms like Josh Zeid, Josh Fields, Kevin Chapman and Chia-Jen Lo made good impressions in the bullpen, too.
The Astros took a huge step forward on the field by going 70-92 in their second year in the American League, which was a 19-game improvement from 2013. While the starting rotation showed promise, the Astros improved across the board offensively thanks to big seasons from second baseman Jose Altuve and designated hitter Chris Carter and the arrival of highly touted rookie George Springer.
Altuve made his second All-Star team in three years - first in the AL - and enjoyed a breakout season in which he led the Major Leagues in batting (.341) to become the first Astros player to win a batting title. He led the Majors with 225 hits, smashing Craig Biggio's previous team record of 210 set in 1998. Altuve also led the AL in stolen bases (56) and the Majors in multi-hit games.
Springer, one of the club's top prospects, made his debut in April and was named AL Rookie of the Month for May, during which he hit seven homers in a seven-game span. A quad injury cost him the final two months of the season, but he still hit 20 homers and drove in 51 runs in only 78 games.
Carter, meanwhile, finished tied for second in the Majors with 37 homers, 23 of which came in a 52-game span between July 4 and Sept. 5. He batted .296 and led the Majors in slugging (.678), homers and RBIs (55) in that stretch.
On the mound, rookie Collin McHugh, a waiver pickup, went 11-9 with a 2.74 ERA in 25 starts, falling 7 1/3 innings shy of qualifying for league leaders in ERA. Lefty Dallas Keuchel did finish seventh in the AL in ERA (2.93) and led the league in complete games (five) while going 12-9 in 200 innings. Keuchel also won a Gold Glove.
Tom Lawless, a Minor League instructor, managed the club in September after manager Bo Porter and bench coach Dave Trembley were dismissed.
Under first-year manager A.J. Hinch and only two years removed from losing 111 games, the Astros broke through for their first playoff appearance in 10 years by winning the second American League Wild Card, going 86-76. The Astros surprised the baseball world and jumped out to an 18-7 start and wound up spending 139 days in first place in the AL West.
The Astros beat the Yankees behind a gem by starting pitcher Dallas Keuchel to win the AL Wild Card at Yankee Stadium before losing in five games to the eventual World Series champion Kansas City Royals in the AL Division Series. The Astros led in all five games and were six outs away from eliminating the Royals in Game 4 before squandering a four-run lead in the eighth inning.
Keuchel went 20-8 with a 2.48 ERA in 33 starts and became the third Astros pitcher to win the Cy Young Award. He also won the MLBPA Players Choice Award for the AL Most Outstanding Pitcher, the Warren Spahn Award, which is given to the top left-handed pitcher in Major League Baseball, and his second consecutive Gold Glove Award.
Top prospect, shortstop Carlos Correa, made his long-awaited debut on June 8 and wound up winning the AL Rookie of the Year award after hitting .279 with 22 homers and 68 RBIs, setting a club rookie record for homers and a team single-season record for homers by a shortstop. Meanwhile, Jose Altuve became the first Astros player in history to have multiple 200-hit seasons, hitting .313 with 15 homers, 66 RBIs and a league-high 38 steals in addition to winning his first Gold Glove.
The Astros finished second in the Major Leagues in home runs and had a Major League-record-tying 11 players reach double-digit homers, led by designated hitter Evan Gattis (27), third baseman Luis Valbuena (25), outfielder Colby Rasmus (25), first baseman Chris Carter (24) and Correa. They turned a rare triple play on May 23 against the Tigers and on Aug. 21 saw pitcher Mike Fiers throw the team's 11th no-hitter in franchise history, against the Dodgers.