This is the fifth 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.
Tequila shoulders: 1980-1993
The longest running uniform design in Astros history started out as a road alternative to the full-blown tequila sunrise look in 1980, their first full season under owner John McMullen, relegating the latter jersey to home games. This new look brought back the navy cap with an orange star, which would replace the orange cap at home as well in 1983, and limited the tequila-sunrise pattern to five stripes running down the sleeves of an otherwise white uniform and outlined in navy. The only color elsewhere on the uniform was navy in the form of a single navy stripe down the sides and legs, navy stripes on the waistband, navy stirrups (which had returned, sans-star, in 1975), a larger version of the “Astros” wordmark, and a smaller navy star on the left abdomen, both in navy. By 1987, this uniform had replaced the tequila sunrise look at home, as well, and was thereafter both the home and road look for the Astros through 1993. The only variation during its 14 years of service was the return to belt and buttons in 1989 and the occasional sleeve patch.
Even without extra credit for his contributions to Scott’s 1986 campaign, Doran compiled the most bWAR in this uniform, totaling 28.6 wins above replacement, just slipping past Cruz’s 27.8. However, the players most associated with this uniform are the two best pitchers to wear it: Nolan Ryan, 23.9 bWAR, and Mike Scott, 22.9. We’ve already seen the best individual seasons in this set, those being Scott’s 1986 and Thon’s 1983. As for the most valuable players during the years that the Astros wore this uniform both at home and on the road, well, there’s Scott again, leading pitchers with 13.7 bWAR and a single-season high of 5.6 bWAR in 1987, but the hitters point to the next era of Astros baseball, with catcher and second baseman Craig Biggio leading hitters with 17.8 bWAR and center fielder Steve Finley posting the best single season with 5.5 bWAR in 1992.