The Houston Astros are an American professional baseball team based in Houston, Texas. The Astros compete in Major League Baseball (MLB) as a member club of the American League (AL) West division, having moved to the division in 2013 after spending their first 51 seasons in the National League (NL). The Astros have played their home games at Minute Maid Park since 2000. The Astros were established as the Houston Colt .45s and entered the National League as an expansion team in 1962 along with the New York Mets. The current name—reflecting Houston's role as the control center of the U.S. crewed space program—was adopted three years later, when they moved into the Astrodome, the first domed sports stadium, and the so-called "eighth wonder of the world."
The Astros played in the NL from 1962 to 2012, first in the West Division from 1969 to 1993, followed by the Central Division from 1994 to 2012. The team was reclassified to the AL West from 2013 onward. While a member of the NL, the Houston Astros played in one World Series in 2005, losing in four games to the Chicago White Sox. In 2017, they became the first franchise in MLB history to have won a pennant in both the NL and the AL, when they defeated the New York Yankees in the ALCS. They won the 2017 World Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers, winning four games to three, earning the team, and the state of Texas, its first World Series title. Watch the Astros take the 2017 World Series Title below!
Orbit is the name given to MLB's Houston Astros mascot, a lime-green outer-space creature wearing an Astros jersey with antennae extending into baseballs. Orbit was the team's official mascot from the 1990 through the 1999 seasons, where Junction Jack was introduced as the team's mascot with the move from the Astrodome to then Enron Field in 2000. Orbit returned after 13-year hiatus on November 2, 2012 at the unveiling of the Astros new look for their 2013 debut in the American League. The name Orbit pays homage to Houston's association with NASA and nickname Space City. The Astros had been represented by a trio of rabbit mascots named Junction Jack, Jesse and Julie from 2000 through 2012.
In April 1977, the Houston Astros introduced their very first mascot, Chester Charge. Created by Ed Henderson, Chester Charge was a Texas cavalry soldier on a horse. Chester appeared on the field at the beginning of each home game, during the seventh inning stretch and then ran around the bases at the conclusion of each win. At the blast of a bugle, the scoreboard would light up and the audience would yell, "Charge!"
Cover image: "Postgame Handshakes" by Roy Luck, licensed under CC BY 2.0. Information courtesy of Wikipedia.