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Astros Uniforms Through History. Part VII

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Railroad Brick and Black

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This is the seventh 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.

Railroad brick and black: 2000-2012

In 2000, the Astros moved out of the Astrodome and into their current stadium, initially named Enron Field, prompting another complete uniform overhaul. The new ballpark, built on the site of Union Station, called attention to Houston’s history as a railroad hub in the mid-to-late 1800s (the city seal, which can be seen on the city flag, features a steam engine prominently below the lone star of Texas). The new uniforms thus replaced the navy and gold with a railroad-inspired brick-red and black scheme, though no railroad iconography actually appeared on the uniform.

The primary logo remained the open-sided “shooting” star, but it lost its italicized tilt and elongated left side (or right side from the perspective of the wearer) and now appeared in brick outlined in black and white on a black cap. The new home uniforms featured black pinstripes with “Astros” in an underlined script in black outlined in white and brick with a small uniform number in brick on the lower left abdomen. The road uniforms were grey with black piping down the pant legs and “Houston” in underlined script in brick outlined in white and black and the uniform number in black. Various alternate caps and jerseys would appear over the years with the brick color gaining more and more prominence, but the base home and away uniforms, color pallet, and overall design scheme would remain unaltered throughout these 13 seasons.

This was the uniform the Astros wore in their first World Series appearance in 2005, and the two biggest reasons for the teams’ success during this period were outfielder/first baseman Lance Berkman (45.5 bWAR) and starting pitcher Roy Oswalt (43.6), though I’d be remiss if I didn’t also mention Roger Clemens and Andy Pettitte, who combined with Oswalt in 2005 to form one of the best starting pitching trios in major league history. Clemens’ 7.6 bWAR that season was the best single-season Astros performance of this era, and Pettitte’s 6.5 bWAR that year ranks fourth. In between those two are the top seasons of Oswalt (6.7 bWAR in 2002) and Berkman (6.6 in 2008). Clemens’ 2005, which saw him post a 1.87 ERA (226 ERA+) in 211 1/3 innings at the age of 42, was also his last full season in the major leagues and one sadly tainted by subsequent allegations of performance enhancing drug use. Nonetheless, that season, he, Oswalt, and Pettitte combined to post a 2.43 ERA (roughly a 175 ERA+) in 675 1/3 combined innings.