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Fashion folks call it "too much going on"

Updated on June 12, 2013

In 1975 the Houston Astros changed their uniforms to a truly outrageous combination of colors. Trying to describe the uniforms is no easy task. The front of the jersey has the name Astros in blue with a thin red stripe underneath followed by an orange stripe then a yellow then another orange followed by a thicker red stripe then a different shade of red followed by thicker yellow then thicker orange. The belly button down is covered in the original shade of red and on top of all these stripes is a large blue star. You're probably thinking "what drug induced trip produced this idea?" Sure they may have been a bit over the top but they were completely original and helped introduce the Astros to the rest of the baseball world through fashion before they ever were recognized as a good team.

In that same year Enos Cabell was acquired from the Baltimore Orioles, Jose Cruz from the St. Louis Cardinals, and Joe Niekro was bought from the Atlanta Braves. Despite the fact these players, along with Cesar Cedeno and JR Richard, would become synonomous with baseball in Houston the Astros still finished 1975 with the worst record in baseball. In 1976 the Astros showed marked improvement by adding pitcher Joe Sambito and infielder Art Howe. Terry Puhl came up from the minor leagues in 1977 and Nolan Ryan, Craig Reynolds, and Alan Ashby were all acquired in 1979. These 11 guys, along with the return of Joe Morgan, were the defining characters who turned baseball in Houston from mediocre to highly competitive. But just as important as the individuals were the uniforms on those individuals and how those uniforms gave the team an identity.The Astros finished 1980 with a 92-70 record and in a first place tie with the Los Angeles Dodgers. The tie was settled by a one game playoff won by the Astros. Houston then lost a heartbreaking 5 game series to the Philadelphia Phillies 3 games to 2. But that was the year when EVERYBODY now knew who the Houston Astros were. They of course had good players and a terrific team but the conversation about the team, outside of Houston anyway, was usually about their uniforms first and foremost.

In 1986 the Astros again won their division and again lost a heartbreaking NLCS this time to the New York Mets. But when the next 6 years failed to bring a division title the Astros decided to "change their image" in 1994. What a catastrophic mistake this was. It was no different to me than the Houston Oilers folding and years later a franchise returning to Houston called the Texans. There is no similarity between the team colors and uniforms and therefore no connection between the two teams. The Astros ceased existing after 1993. It was a different brand. What they should have done is simply taken out the two shades of red and gone with alternating orange and yellow stripes to go with their orange caps and helmets. this would have "toned down" the look but kept the "bright stripes" in tact. Then came a new stadium and another uniform change in 2000. The colors were now brick red, sand, and black. At this point YOU HAVE TO PICK A NEW NAME FOR THE TEAM. Nobody in town knows what the hell you are anymore. But the topper was the new home uniforms; white with black pinstripes and black caps. Did anyone not tell the Astros that somebody already had those uniforms; THEY'RE CALLED THE YANKEES. Four years later this team from Houston acquired two former Yankees(how appropriate) named Roger Clemens and Andy Pettite who finally got Houston to the World Series. Not the Houston Astros, the Houston Yankees. They lost that World Series and soon thereafter Clemens and Pettite. At the moment Houston has by far the worst team in baseball, no identifiable players, and 5 different uniforms all equally unimpressive. Bud Adams should buy the team and move them to Tennessee.


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