A leap into the future The Astrodome meant the local baseball team required a futuristic moniker as well. The Astros were formed, replacing the Colt.45s name that had been used by the expansion National League team for its first three seasons and ushering in a new era in Houston baseball history.
In the decades afterward, logos, colors, uniforms, ballparks, and even leagues have changed, but the Astros moniker, which dates back to before the 1965 season, is still the oldest in the history of Houston professional sports organizations. It’s also the most recognizable, with apologies to the NBA’s Rockets and the NFL’s Texans.
Why Was The Team Name Changed From Colt.45s To Houston Astros
On Dec. 1, 1964, Judge Roy Hofheinz, who owned the expansion baseball team and was the driving force behind the Astrodome, stated that the Colt.45s would be renamed the Astros in connection with their move to the Astrodome, the world’s first domed stadium, for the start of the 1965 season.
“We believed the space theme was more reasonable because the ballclub is in Houston — Space City, USA,” Hofheinz said at the time. “Our Spring Training headquarters is in Cocoa Beach, Fla., near Cape Kennedy — Launching Pad, USA.” “The name and emblem will assist to eliminate the image of Texas as a land of cowboys and Indians, and it is incumbent on every person in this area to draw attention to the twentieth-century characteristics of Texas and Houston.”
Why The Name Houston Astros
In 1964, Hofheinz commissioned an artist to draw fresh designs while pondering a name change (the Colt Firearms Company wanted a piece of the team’s earnings), and he sketched them while attending around two dozen games at Colt Stadium. The ideas were reduced down to Astros and Stars, and Hofheinz sought input from astronaut Alan Shepard, a personal friend.
Shepard had a soft spot for Astros, which was short for Astronauts and was a tribute to NASA and the Johnson Space Center in Houston. The city was paving the way for new space frontiers, and Hofheinz thought his new baseball club would follow suit.
The Astros unveiled a logo with baseballs orbiting the Astrodome not long after revealing the team’s name. The team had a variant of that emblem until 1993 when the orange and rainbow designs on its uniform were replaced with a blue and gold appearance.
Jim Crane, who bought the Astros before the 2012 season, considered altering the team’s name to coincide with the team’s transfer to the American League in 2013, but he ultimately concluded that the Astros had too much history. The Astros would stay, and before the 2013 season, they returned to their old blue and orange colors.