We re only a couple of weeks from Opening Day, so it s time to start previewing the season. Inspired by an old feature on The Black Table, we re going team-by-team and distributing Four Things You Don t Know about them. If you have suggested oddities on your team, send them to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Today: The Houston Astros.
• 1. They Had the Worst Uniforms Known to Man. Ah yes, remember the rainbow jerseys? Sometimes called Rainbow Guts, the Astros in 1975 debuted orange, yellow and red striped jerseys that would be around in some form through 1993. Originally made by Sand-Knit, they were inexplicably popular with fans and began a fashion trend which spread to recreational softball teams, high schools and colleges — notably Seton Hall, Tulane and Louisiana Tech.
• 2. They Are Smarter Than Your Team. Infielder Eric Bruntlett scored a 1560 on the SAT and attended Stanford. Catcher Brad Ausmus attended Dartmouth. Brad Lidge attended Notre Dame.
• 3. Oh Wandy, Well, You Came And You Gave Without Taking ... When the Astros called pitcher Eny Cabreja to spring training in 2003, they were told there was no such person. The guy who showed up was Wandy Rodriguez, who said that he had been using the name Eny Cabreja in the Dominican Summer League and in the minors, but that it wasn't his real name. He refused to elaborate. He still pitches for the Astros today. There is no evidence that Wandy he has ever met Whammy Douglas.
• 4. They Don't Know a Good Thing When They Have It. In 1963, when the team was known as the Colts, third-baseman Bob Aspromonte befriended an Arkansan Little Leaguer who had been blinded when struck by lightning. According to Astros Daily, the kid asked Aspromonte to hit him a home run on three separate occasions. Aspromonte, who hit only eight home runs that entire year, came through all three times, with two grand slams. But the Astros then allowed the kid to slip into anonymity (he reportedly regained his eysight), and Aspromonte went on to hit only 60 homers in a 13-year career.
(Monday: The Chicago White Sox)