Houston Colt .45's

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Ballpark: Colt Stadium (April 10, 1962-September 27, 1964) (30,010)

The Houston Colt .45's were an expansion franchise that began play in the National League in 1962. They played at Colt Stadium, once described by journalists as a "mosquito-infested swamp," and never finished higher than eighth place in three seasons. Mosquitoes were particularly a problem for night games, but this was better than the problem posed by the extreme heat in summer day games in the shadeless ballpark, which posed a health danger to fans and players alike. As a result, the Colts won a special dispensation from the National League to play night games on Sundays for the first time in major league history. The team became the Houston Astros when the team moved into the Astrodome in 1965.

The team's logo and uniforms featured a smoking pistol. This was not a big deal at the time, but with more politically correct times in later years, it became an issue when the Astros decided to celebrate their fiftieth anniversary in 2012 by having their players wear some of the franchise's historic uniforms on selected Fridays. There was controversy over whether they would wear the original Colt .45s uniform or a "sanitized" modern version, without the pistol, but also not conform to history. Major League Baseball washed its hands of the decision. After polling their fans, who were almost unanimously in favor of retaining the original pistol design, the Astros decided to go with historically accurate jersey.

Further Reading[edit]

  • Stephen D. Boren and Eric Thompson: "The Colt .45s and the 1961 Expansion Draft", in Cecilia Tan, ed.: Baseball in the Space Age: Houston since 1961, 'The National Pastime, SABR, 2014, pp. 28-33.
  • Bill McCurdy: "Houston's Role in the Initiation of Sunday Night Baseball", in Cecilia Tan, ed.: Baseball in the Space Age: Houston since 1961, 'The National Pastime, SABR, 2014, pp. 5-9.
  • Michael Shapiro: Bottom of the Ninth: Branch Rickey, Casey Stengel and daring scheme to save baseball from itself, Times Books, Macmillan, New York, NY, 2009.

See also[edit]


  • Peter Filichia: Green Cathedrals: The Ultimate Celebrations of All 273 Major League and Negro League Ballparks Past and Present, Addison Wesley Publishing Company (March 1993)