Vintage Teams: Houston Colt .45s
Before you knew them as the Houston Astros, baseball fans in Houston were heading out to watch the Colt .45s play ball against the rest of the National League. The existence of this team out of southeast Texas was short-lived – they would only carry the name of the Colt Firearms Company’s most famous gun from 1962 to 1965.
What happened during this three-year stretch? How did they get their name? Were there any Hall of Famers on the roster? Continue reading to learn more about the team that started every game with a bang, the Houston Colt .45s.
Where Did They Come From? Where Did They Go?
The Colt .45s were a National League expansion team founded in 1960 by an ownership group led by Judge Roy Hofheinz. They played their first major league game against the Chicago Cubs on April 10, 1962 â€“ beating the Cubbies 11-2. The team stayed in Houston but was eventually renamed the Astros.
As the name Colt .45s faded in memory, so did the three losing seasons. While the team hasn’t won a World Series since the name change, they have made it to the postseason 10 times, most recently in 2015. The Astros lost the divisional series 3-2 to the Kansas City Royals, making way for KC to win it all 4-1.
What Did Their Logo Look Like?
How did the name of a handgun become a sports team’s name? Well, there was a contest to allow citizens to help name the team. The winner, William Irving Neder, suggested Colt .45, as it was the “gun that won the West” Hofheinz made the name change just three years later, citing a need “in keeping with the times” Due to Houston’s involvement with NASA, the owners selected the name Astros.
The logo used orange and featured the iconic pistol prominently. The team’s name surrounded it.
Who Were Their Stars?
Turk Farrell, the right-handed starting pitcher, won 35 decisions as a pitcher for the Colt .45s. He was also a five-time All-Star over the course of his 14-year career, and two of these honors happened as a Colt .45s in 1962 and 1964.
Another renowned pitcher for the Colt .45s was Hal Woodeshick, who played in Houston all three years under the team’s original name. In the 1964 season, he recorded 23 saves, pitching less than 80 innings.
Not Just a Name
While the name was short-lived, Major League Baseball has been a part of Houston since the early 1960s. If you were a fan of the Houston Colt .45s before they were the Astros or just learned something new about your favorite team, make sure to get the best officially licensed merchandise and apparel at Fanatics.