HOUSTON (AP) — The Houston Astros are leaving their old look behind as they prepare for their move to the American League in 2013.
But the new uniform design, unveiled on Friday night, ties in some of the history of the franchise founded in 1962.
The new look coincides with Houston’s move from the National League Central to the American League West for next season.
“I think it’s clean and tight,” team owner Jim Crane said. “It’s got a little history in it and it’s got some of the flashback stuff. I think it really looks good. I like the colors and we’re excited about it.”
Portions of the new design were leaked several different times in the past week, but Crane wasn’t too upset about that on Friday.
“It was a little frustrating, but it might have helped, who knows,” he said. “It got a little data out there in front and got a little excitement going. All publicity is good publicity, I guess.”
The new duds were introduced at a fashion show at Minute Maid Park where several Astros players and prospects in Houston’s minor league system modeled them.
“The colors are a lot of fun,” Houston outfielder Justin Maxwell said. “I think the fans will definitely like the new energy that the new uniforms and new league will bring this year.”
The color scheme is the same used from 1962-93. They’re also using the logo from that era — an orange star with a white `H’ in front of it. That logo in various color combinations will be on the hats.
All-Star second baseman Jose Altuve beamed as he showed off his new uniform.
“It’s kind of old with kind of new,” he said. “It’s a good combination and I really like it.”
There are four uniforms and three hats. Houston will wear white uniforms with orange piping at home, and gray ones with blue piping on the road. There’s an orange alternate jersey with blue piping that can be worn at home or on the road.
They also incorporated popular rainbow print, which was worn in variations from 1975-1993 in the new design. The Astros have a blue batting practice jersey with rainbow print down the side that will also be worn for Sunday games.
“There’s a good variety,” general manager Jeff Luhnow said. “The colors harken back to what we’re all about, the star and the H. It’s a great time to be unveiling a terrific concept.”
Players and fans seemed to like the rainbow design best. “A lot of our fans appreciate that,” Maxwell said. “You always see a lot of fans breaking those old rainbow colors out.”
Carlos Correa, a shortstop who was taken with the first overall pick in this year’s draft, was among the minor leaguers modeling the uniforms. “I’m really excited about being in this new uniform, and I hope to be playing in the big leagues soon,” he said.
Houston also shed its Junction Jack rabbit mascot and returned to a redesigned green space creature called Orbit. He was Houston’s mascot from 1990-99.
About 5,000 fans attended the event, which ended with a funny skit of Orbit crash landing and NASA people bringing him into the ballpark in an SUV with dark tinted windows.
The loudest applause of the night came when he ran through the crowd high-fiving fans.
Luhnow enjoyed the event, but was already looking ahead at ways to improve this team, which is coming off its second straight 100-loss season. “This is a great milestone for us, but we’ve got a lot of work to do,” he said.
Starting pitcher Lucas Harrell thinks the uniforms could be a good way to help the team move forward and put the last two tough seasons behind it. “It’s a fresh start,” he said. “The slate’s clean for everybody.”