How we became Astros fans

I looked for this, so my apologies if I duplicated a topic.

I have a great story that I will enter as soon as I have time.

I would like to read your stories.

I hope others have interest also.

After our house burned down when I was a child, my family moved into the Best Western Cocoa Inn, I. Cocoa, Florida.

My mom worked there so the owner let us stay.

It was the spring training hotel of the Astros at the time and during February and March of 1979 and 1980 it was full of players and their families.

My younger sister and I played with the kids and went to the ballpark when we could, especially during spring break.

The players were friendly and would play catch briefly or hand me a ball once in a while.

Julio Gonzalez gave me my first box of baseball cards.

Joe Niekro and Joe Sambito were especially friendly, I remember.

Niekro’s daughter Natalie and my little sister skated all over that hotel property inside and out.

J.R. Richard was the biggest man I had ever seen and his hand engulfed mine when he shook it.

I was instantly hooked and have been a fan ever since.

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Jim, I am thankful you had Astros players & families, as well as baseball and other fun memories to buffer some of the memories of losing your home. I can’t imagine meeting the players and their families in person, Amazing!

Thank you for sharing your story and starting this thread.

I lived an hour south of Houston but did not see many games. Mainly, Loel Passe was my eyes and ears.

The new Colt .45s player write-ups from the Post/Chronicle comics section was saved. I read everything I could find about them, but that was enough. Like you, I was hooked.

Thanks again, Jim.

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I was a Brooklyn Dodgers fan until they left for LA. When they jilted the fans in Brooklyn in 1958, they jilted me too. I switched my allegiance to the Pirates, in large part because of Elroy Face. I was a pitcher, and his 18-1 season in relief in 1959, which was 17-0 at one time, captured me. I was a Pirates fan every day of the magical 1960 season, and that 1960 Pirates team was my favorite team of all time until the 2017 Astros won the WS.

When Houston came into the league in 1962, I switched my fandom from the Pirates to the Colt .45s simply because I finally had a MLB team from Texas to root for. I have been a Houston fan ever since.

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I grew up in Colorado and Wyoming during the 60’s, which meant there was no local allegiance. My mother had grown up in Chicago and was a Cubs fan, and my father grew up in Iowa, Illinois, and Minnesota and was a Cards fan. In Colorado we would often listen to St Louis games on the radio in the evening.

We moved to the Chicago area when I was in high school, and my friends were a mix of Cubs and White Sox fans. I followed them, but they never set a hook in me.

I moved to Houston for college, and it didn’t take long to adopt the Astros. We would eat dinner and then race down South Main to the Dome, buy some tickets for the gold level and then wander around until we found seats we liked. It was impossible not to fall in love with a team with Cabell, Cedeno, Cruz, Watson, Dierker, Richard, and all the rest. 45+ years and still going.

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This is the greatest such stoys I have ever read- the screenplay writes itself. I’m happy you were all okay and happy the Astros have seemingly fulfilled your fan needs.

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My story is almost as interesting: family moved to Houston when I was 2 and the 1980 Astros a few years later is the first baseball season I remember

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My father was a semi-pro 2b, and followed local hs players. Rusty Staub was one of them, and followed the Astros from the getgo. I signed on in 1968, never left.

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Rusty Staubs nephew served with me in the Air Force. He deployed to turkey where i was stationed and then the Turkish military tried to overthrow the government. That was one helluva weird and crazy time.

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I was born in Houston.

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I grew up in Houston, too, which, after a few moments of reflection, I realize is also relevant.

Both of these data points may be regrettable, but they are unchangeable, so here we are.

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Mine is pretty much the exact same story.

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I’ve just been sorting through the users here by whatever metric the system allows, and among the top 30, 40, 50 frequent posters, the only other person I could find that might possibly have been born in Houston, or at least the only person I do not know for a fact was born elsewhere, is Vauthrin.

Now, obviously, I don’t consider having been born in Houston some sort of badge of honor or point of privilege. So I’m plainly not trying to set up some sort of us versus them kind of thing (I will make exceptions for the Oklahoma natives).

I just find it remarkable that an organization like the Astros, not a marquee organization, not an organization that has enjoyed overwhelming success over most of our lifetimes, I find it remarkable and interesting that our jerky little group would be comprised of so many people who seemingly would have had other and presumably more attractive options.

And I apologize in advance to all the Houston natives whom I’ve missed.

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Growing up in Alabama, and being 7 years old in 1974, Hank Aaron captured my imagination. Over the years, I had favorite players that were on other teams, but the Braves were my team. In fact that one game I saw in Houston was because I was passing through in 1993 and the Braves happened to be in town. I was able to talk my wife in to getting tickets and we cheered as the Braves beat the Astros in the Dome.

We moved to Greeneville, TN in 2002 and the Astros rookie team moved there in 2004. During that first year, some magical things happened. My son was 4 at the time. He and my wife were at a fast food place for lunch and some young guys were there. My son told my wife that he thought they were Astros players. She let him go ask. They were and talked to him for a bit.

That night, I took my son to the game. As we were walking on the concourse, a young man tapped my shoulder and said “Excuse me, is this the kid that was at McDonalds today?” I said “Yes” and he said “Meet me at the field after the game and I will give him a ball”. That summer, we had that kid and some other players over to the house. They got a home cooked meal and then went to the yard to play wifle ball with a little boy.

That year, the G-stros won the Appy League title, and the Astros played the Braves in the playoffs. I found myself cheering for the Astros more than the Braves that year. It has been that way ever since.

That off season, I was looking for news about those players and found OWA and the minor league section. So that is both how I became and Astros fan and found this place.

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Galveston close enough?

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Great story, Steve. You are in the lead on my scorecard. Tied with Jim Sheridan for the best.

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We moved to Houston when I was 4. I don’t know when I became aware of baseball but the Astros were always the team. Well, technically, the Colt 45’s too. I was 6 in 62. I remember going to a few games at Colt Stadium.

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Thank you all. I love the stories.

On a side note, I wanted to say that my oldest son recently moved to Spokane, Washington so my wife and I are planning a trip to see the Astros in Seattle next season.

My M.I.L. lives between S.D. and L. A. so we are planning a trip next season to see them play the Angels.

A trip to Houston may need to wait till 2023 but it is on the docket.

I have seen dozens, maybe even hundreds of spring training and minor league games, but in all these years I have never seen a live MLB game.

Living hundreds of miles from any MLB stadiums and just life in general has always gotten in the way.

I grew up in Florida, before there were any MLB teams and before there were games on TV every night. Folks had their own way of picking their favorite team. If you were a recent transplant, or had family in some arctic hell like Cleveland, Chicago, or Buffalo, perhaps you followed the team for your birth city or the one your dad followed. But for us 8th generation Floridans (notice there is only one “i”), perhaps you rooted for a team with a local minor league affiliate, or trained in your town. For example, my grandparents lived in Lakeland, where the Tigers have trained for many years, so she was a Tigers fan. That’s who the local paper covered every spring, and perhaps who you’d even get a chance to see play in March. The Reds both trained in and had a minor league affiliate n Tampa, so a lot of the guys I knew were Reds fans. They also happened to have some pretty good teams during the 70s, so they were often one of the teams you got to see on the Game of the Week. I always liked the Astros, and would occasionally get to see them play. Houston was like some far away paradise where the streets were paved in gold…or at least paved, but that was about the extent of it. If you wanted to follow a team on a day to day basis, that meant radio, and the team we got consistently on radio was the Braves. Later came cable television and WTBS, so being a Braves fan came naturally. I eventually moved to Houston in the 80s, and found out that while the streets were generally paved, it wasn’t with gold and they were full of potholes. Still, I finally got to see a Big League game in person, and I think it was Nolan Ryan pitching. So I just instinctively became an Astros fan. I died a little in ‘86, but I was in college so there was plenty of beer. I moved to North Carolina in ‘96 and eventually discovered the internet. I found Astrosconnection as a way to keep up with the goings on. I’ve been the resident asshole, apparently, ever since.

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I don’t have near the story as the rest of you but I’ll share anyway. Born and raised in southwest Georgia and have never left. Being from Georgia my dad loved the Braves. Me, not so much. My first memory of really watching baseball on tv was the 1980 Astros team. Honestly, the rainbow uniforms is probably what first got my attention. Loved them back then at 11 years old and still love and miss them now. The few times I caught that team on tv in my area, I was mesmerized by Ryan, Richard, Sambito, Cruz and Puhl. The latter two probably my favorite Astros of all time. The Phillies broke my heart in the playoffs that year but the Astros franchise was deeply ingrained at that point in my heart and soul. My parents got me a rainbow jersey, hat and a subscription at some point to Astro Sports newspaper/newsletter thru the mail that if I remember correctly came once a month.

My dad took me and a friend to my one and only trip to the Astrodome back in 1984. I’ve never been back to Houston but do intend to go sometime soon and see MMP. So, I have no ties to the city but I’ve followed this team faithfully every year since 1980.

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