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Let's Do the Time Warp: The Astros Age Gap

A lot of hoopla is made about the Houston Astros being the youngest team in baseball. How big of an age difference is there between the youngest team and the oldest? It's more than a payroll gap - it's a generational gap.

The elderly (27) of the Astros high fives the young (22).
The elderly (27) of the Astros high fives the young (22).
Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

A lot is made of the age of the Houston Astros roster. Television and radio announcers constantly refer to them as the "young" team. So just how young are they? Well, they’re currently the youngest team in baseball with an average age of 25.7 years (but last night’s starting lineup was even younger at 24.1years). In comparison, the oldest team in the majors is the New York Yankees whose team average age is 31.3 years (last night’s starting lineup was 31.2 years).

Think about that. Compare your 25 year old self to your 31 year old self. Yep, that’s a huge jump. I got curious…what was happening when the "average" Astro was born relative to when the "average" Yankee was born. Yea, I know, but it’s the kind of thought that keeps an Astros fan up at night.

Let’s start with the elderly, shall we? The team average New York Yankee would have been born in 1981. In 1981 Ronald Reagan became President of the United States, the Oakland Raiders won the Super Bowl and the Los Angeles Dodgers beat the New York Yankees in six games to take the World Series. It was the last World Series that a team won after losing the first two games on the road.

it’s more than payroll dollars separating teams right now…it’s a whole generation

1981 was also the year that Iran released 52 American hostages after holding them for 444 days. Researchers finally located the wreck of the Titanic. The first ever "test tube" baby was born and the AIDS virus was first identified. IBM launched its first PC in 1981 and it ran on MS DOS. 1981 was also the year the word "internet" was first used. MTV came on the air, the number one song on the radio was Bette Davis Eyes by Kim Carnes, and Raiders of the Lost Ark was a box office hit. And on television, Hill Street Blues debuted.

Fast forward 6 years to get to year the average Houston Astros player was born – 1987. The world was a different place, although Ronald Reagan still ran this country. The New York Giants won the Super Bowl and the Minnesota Twins beat the St. Louis Cardinals to win the World Series.

In October of 1987 the US Stock Market crashed, taking other markets around the world down with it. It was the year Alan Greenspan was named Chairman of the Federal Reserve and the year the FDA approved AZT – the first drug treatment for AIDS. Disposable contacts came onto the market and DNA was used to convict a criminal for the first time.

1987 was also the year of the Jim Baker scandal and the year Prozac hit pharmacy shelves. The year’s number one song was Walk Like An Egyptian by the Bangles and the hot box office film was Three Men and a Baby. In 1987 The Simpsons aired on the small screen for the first time. And guess what television show concluded its run? Hill Street Blues.

So the next time you wonder the difference between a young and an old team, remember that the Astros’ youngest player is 22 and the Yankee’s oldest is 43. So the oldest Yankee is old enough to have been the father of the youngest Astro. Of course, then there are the payrolls. For 2013 the Astros have $15.16M committed dollars, while the Yankees have $226.7M - yet another big gap.

As fans we get caught up in the play on the field, as well we should, but a quick look around the league tells us that it’s more than payroll dollars separating teams right now…it’s a whole generation.

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