This is the first in a series of articles describing the various uniforms of the Houston Astros, the performance of the team during each uniform era, and the best individual performers in each uniform. It was originally published by SB Nation in 2013 and written by Cliff Corcoran.
Colt .45’s: 1962-1964
The Astros began life in 1962 as an expansion team called the Colt .45s, after the iconic firearm of the old west. Their uniform, which was identical in all three seasons, was topped with a navy cap with “.45s” in orange block print. Their home jersey featured a navy Colt pistol pointed to the right with orange “smoke” rising out of the barrel to form the “C” in “Colts,” while their road jersey simply read “Houston” in navy block letters outlined in orange with the Texas flag on the left sleeve (those block letters have been revived for the 2013 uniform set, but the Rangers have claimed the flag).
Houston lost 96 games in all three of its three seasons as the Colts, and the best individual performance it received in those three seasons was that of right-hander Dick “Turk” Farrell in their debut season of 1962. Acquired from the Dodgers with the fourth pick in the expansion draft, Farrell started 29 games and relieved in 14 others in 1962 posting a 3.02 ERA (124 ERA+) across 241 2/3 innings while striking out 203 men and making both of that year’s All-Star games as the Astros’ sole representative. At 6.7 wins above replacement (per Baseball-Reference), Farrell was the second-best pitcher in the National League that season per bWAR (behind the Reds’ Bob Purkey and ahead of Cy Young award winner Don Drysdale), and his 13.7 bWAR in his first three seasons in Houston made him by far the most valuable player to wear a Colts uniform. By way of comparison, the Colts’ best hitter was third baseman Bob Aspromonte, who was worth just 2.6 bWAR over those three seasons.