Major League Baseball Demands that the Houston Astros Rewrite Their Past

Posted on Categories Public, Sports & Law

The 2012 season will mark the 50th anniversary of Houston’s National League team.  (Somewhat ironically, this happens just before the team is shifted to the American League.)  To commemorate this milestone, the Astros have scheduled a number of “throwback” games during the 2012 season.  In honor of the team’s entry into major league baseball as an expansion team in 1962, players on the team will wear uniforms from that inaugural season.

As many baseball fans know, the Astros was not the team’s original name.  That name was adopted only in 1965 when the team moved into its new park, the Houston Astrodome, then billed as the 8th Wonder of the World.  Prior to that, the team was known as the Houston Colt .45s, a name that made reference to the famous handgun associated with the “winning” of the American west.

Logically, in the “turn back the clock” games scheduled to honor the original Colts (as they were usually called), the current Astros will be wearing facsimiles of the original uniforms that featured the word “Colts” and a drawing of the famous handgun on the front of the jersey.  (See the accompanying photo.)

However, Major League Baseball has apparently refused to authorize the use of the original uniform design unless the Astros agree to remove the picture of the pistol from the jersey.  Under current operating rules, MLB apparently has the power to veto uniform modifications, and the Astros have indicated that they plan to comply with the request.

For the past several decades, the people who run MLB have claimed to have a deep respect for the game’s history.  This is certainly an odd way to show respect, and one has to wonder what will be next.   Perhaps ballpark walls will soon feature doctored photographs showing black players participating in major league games in the 1920’s and 1930’s.

3 thoughts on “Major League Baseball Demands that the Houston Astros Rewrite Their Past”

  1. The Astros have announced that they will wear replica Colt .45 jerseys, sans the Colt .45, for two games in April. The jersey will be identical to the one above, but with the picture of the pistol removed.

  2. Apparently criticisms of Major League Baseball’s objection to the original Houston jerseys voiced in the above post and elsewhere have had an effect.

    The Houston Astros have just announced that MLB has withdrawn its objections to the image of the Colt revolver on the proposed Houston throwback uniforms. The modern day Astros will wear the original uniforms of the Houston Colt .45s in games scheduled for April 10 and April 20.

  3. The conventional story is that the Houston team changed its name from Colt .45s to Astros in 1965 to mark the opening of the team’s new home–the Astrodome (which commemorated the relocation of part of NASA’s space program to Houston). Now it appears that the motive was more complicated.

    Apparently, the name Colt .45s was used from 1962-1964 without securing the approval of the Colt Manufacturing Company. The story is that during the winter of 1964-65, the people at Colt started making noise about demanding a license fee for the use of the name.

    Faced with the prospect of paying for the use of the name, or at least a lawsuit on that issue, team owner Roy Hofheinz decided to change the name to Astros.

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