Nothing is forever, though, and on Sunday new Houston owner Jim Crane said the team will "likely" be getting new uniforms next season:
Major League Baseball has been working with the Astros on uniform designs, and Crane said he wants to get input from his staff and even get some fans involved before choosing the new threads. Crane said the team has to have its plans submitted to baseball by May 1, but nothing will be made public until after the season.
Presuming they go ahead with this, it will be the eighth different look for the franchise since it joined the major leagues in 1962. As you can imagine, that's near the top of the list of uniform switches; only the Padres, who have worn nine (ten if you count logo and uniform tweaks they're doing this year) different uniforms since they were created in 1969.
This isn't the case for every team. Here's the lowdown on how many different uniforms each franchise has had in the last 50 years. For this purpose I'm not counting road uniforms, alternate jerseys or minor logo tweaks.
Those are the classics; apart from the change to doubleknits from flannels and change from belts to beltless and back again, those teams have maintained their looks for decades.
The Rays changed their entire look (and name) in 2008; the Marlins are doing so this year. The Twins have had just two uniforms, and now they wear the original as an alternate on many occasions.
The Brewers are another team that goes back to the future by wearing an older uniform as an alternate.
The Blue Jays are returning to a modified version of their original look this season; most people applauded this move.
5: Reds, Pirates
8: White Sox, Indians, Rangers
Special cases: Phillies, who wore one design from 1962-69, another from 1970-91, then returned to the original in 1992, and Giants, who wore one design from 1962-76, another from 1977-82, a third from 1983-93, then returned to the original in 1994 (and changed its color slightly on moving to their new stadium in 2000.
The teams that have worn eight different uniforms over the last 50 years have had identity crises, and in some cases have worn truly awful things that should never have even been thought of, much less worn on a baseball field.
But what about the Astros and their (so far) seven different choices? Could we get any clues as to what they might do (or not do) with a redesign? Let's look back at all the old Houston uniforms.
Al Spangler models the original Houston Colt .45s uniform, worn from 1962 through '64. The Astros are going to wear this as a throwback this year -- without the pistol, per MLB edict. It's kind of pointless to wear a throwback if you change it.
You might have forgotten that everyone's favorite former ESPN announcer, Joe Morgan, once played for the Astros. Here he models the 1970 version of the uniform. Complete with shooting star! Trendy and modern!
The shooting star logo was different from most MLB teams at the time, but the navy blue primary color was somewhat understated. The change to orange caps, sleeves and star was an ominous sign that bad things were about to happen.
Some people really liked these rainbow shirts, which the Astros wore from 1975 through '86. Others (myself included) thought they were abominations. Oddly enough, as soon as they won their very first division title in 1986, they ditched them for these:
They still had the orange, yellow and red rainbow, only it had been exiled to the shoulders of the uniform, leaving the word "Astros" to stand out on a field of white. They had been wearing them as an alternate home uniform since 1983; these stuck around until 1993, just long enough for Jeff Bagwell to be photographed looking very young.
The late 1990s were not a good time for baseball uniforms; the 1996 version, modeled here by Bobby Abreu, was an excellent example. This card also serves to remind us that the Astros let Abreu go in the expansion draft to the then-Devil Rays in 1997. That wasn't even the worst move made with Abreu; Tampa Bay then traded him to the Phillies for Kevin Stocker, one of the worst deals ever.
Finally, here's the current Astros design, worn since the Astros moved into
Enron Field Minute Maid Park in 2000. It's a relatively clean design and the pinstripes give it a traditional look, although the Astros often wear an alternate jersey that makes them look much like the Diamondbacks.
So what can we glean from all of this? Not much, really; they've changed team colors at least four times through these uniform swaps. At least the Rangers and Indians kept their basic red-white-and-blue color scheme through their eight uniform switches over the last 50 years. The Astros could stick with their off-red colors, or maybe go to red-white-and-blue (like their citymates in the NFL, the Houston Texans).
Or what about adopting the colors of the NFL's former team in Houston, the Oilers? The city of Houston has a hockey team in the AHL, though I'm not sure anyone would really want this kind of logo or color scheme for a baseball team.
Whatever they do, here's a message for Bud Selig: step in here and let the Astros wear the gun on the throwback Colt .45s jersey. It's not really a throwback unless they do that.