The Astros are set to unveil the team’s new logo at a launch party on Friday. Except that, probably, it isn’t all that “new.” Leaked images suggest that the design will draw heavily on the team’s original logo, a block letter “H” set on top of a star. The Astros used some version of that logo for the better part of 30 years.
Images of the apparently brand new logo have leaked out three times since August: first, enterprising superfan Chris Creamer used Photoshop on a shadowy photo promoting the logo’s launch party to predict a return to the team’s original cap insignia. Then, on October 26, an Academy store in Houston mistakenly put some shirts bearing the new logo on sale. And finally, on Tuesday, Major League Baseball displayed pictures of the logo on the team’s website (and then blamed the leak on Hurricane Sandy!)
This prompted Yahoo! Sports blogger Kevin Kaduk to declare at Big League Stew that “[t]he Houston Astros’ new logo for 2013 and beyond may have officially just moved from baseball’s ‘worst-kept secret’ to ‘common knowledge.’”
Astros owner Jim Crane has been dropping hints about the new look for months. In August, he said the uniforms will “borrow elements from their past designs but with a modern twist,” according to Creamer.
If the rumors are true, the new logo will conjure fond memories of the orange-and-blue Astros of days gone by. The TM Daily Post is not immune to this tug of nostalgia. In that spirit, here’s a look back at the Astros’ uniforms throughout the years.
1965 was a big year for the Astros. They moved into the then-brand new Astrodome, and they changed names from the Houston Colt .45s. Owner Judge Roy Hofheinz renamed the team to honor the burgeoning space program taking root in Houston. The Astros’ inaugural uniform retained the Colt .45s’ orange and navy color scheme, swapping out pistols for a navy star with orange streaks representing flight. The navy caps were adorned with the iconic white “H” over an orange star, which the team would use in some variation for the next three decades. Above, infielder Dennis Menke in March 1968 . ( AP Photo/Jim Kerlin)
In 1970, the team inverted the color scheme, making orange the dominant hue. The caps were orange and the stars a lighter shade of blue. These new uniforms were cut from a new fabric, polyester, instead of the traditional flannel. They also featured other modern tweaks: elastic and zippers replaced belts and buttons. Player names were also added to the backs of jerseys. Above, second baseman Joe Morgan in April 1971 ( AP Photo/Houston Astros)
The mid-’70s saw the team pushing the limits of baseball fashion. The moderate star-and-streaks emblem was replaced with a rainbow of red, orange, yellow, and hot pink covering the midsection, plus a large navy star. The “rainbow” uniforms, which debuted in April 1975, are still attracting scorn to this day. In 2011, they landed on Business Insider
of the “15 Ugliest Uniforms in Sports History.” The list’s author, Corey Nachman, griped “[t]hese colors have been used by every fast food chain in the country. They’re baseball players, not Burger King employees! The vintage Astros uniform has become popular in some circles, but where are the buttons? Baseball uniforms are supposed to have buttons,” he wrote. Above, legendary pitcher Joe Niekro in June 1985
The Astros uniforms became more subdued in the next decade. In 1980, the team began donning road uniforms that swapped out the large stripes on the chest for a smaller rainbow stripe down the sleeves. By 1987 the team had adopted this as a full-time look. The orange hats were replaced by navy ones. This design lasted 14 years, the longest of any Astros uniform. These were the duds in the days of Nolan Ryan and Yogi Berra. In the view of the TM Daily Post , this is the classic Astros look, and (hopefully) an inspiration for the team’s upcoming redesign. Above, bench coach Yogi Berra (right) and first baseman Harry Spilman in September 1989 ( AP Photo/Tim Johnson)
The Astros bid farewell to orange and navy in the 1990s. In 1994, the colors were switched to midnight blue and metallic gold. The caps were also overhauled, with an open-sided “flying star” replacing the block “H” logo. Some observers felt the new look was awfully similar to a certain Dallas football team. This look lasted only six seasons. Above, right fielder Derek Bell in March 1996 ( AP Photo/Charles Krupa)
The team packed their bags and moved out of their long-time home in 2000. To match their new digs, the Astros uniforms received yet another makeover. A new red-and-black color scheme replaced the blue and gold, but the flying star remained. Pinstripes were adopted for home games and the team logo was written in script. Above, first baseman/outfielder Lance Berkman in May 2002 ( AP Photo/Pat Sullivan)
The Astros uniform has also included alternate versions of red, black, or white since 2000. Above, 20-year Astros veteran Craig Biggio in June 2002 ( AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
For a detailed history of the team’s uniforms over the years, click here. To see iterations of the team’s logos over the years, visit this page.