HOUSTON — The Houston Astros announced their plans to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the franchise in 2012 during a media luncheon Thursday afternoon at Minute Maid Park.
Astros TV broadcasters Bill Brown and Jim Deshaies emceed the event, while franchise icons Craig Biggio, Jose Cruz, Larry Dierker and Jimmy Wynn were on hand to assist in unveiling the details
Longtime Astros owner Drayton McLane Jr, general manager Ed Wade, president of baseball operations Tal Smith, as well as president of business operations Pam Gardner, were also present.
Furthermore, Hall of Fame announcer Milo Hamilton, former Astros radio broadcaster Gene Elston and former Spanish radio and TV announcer Rene Cardenas participated in the event.
The Astros unveiled a 50th Anniversary logo and went into detail regarding a special partnership with The Methodist Hospital System.
Throughout the 2012 regular season, the Astros will feature commemorative 50th anniversary promotional items, with fans having an opportunity this weekend during the Rockies series to receive specialty, giveaway items that incorporate the 50th Anniversary Logo.
The first 10,000 fans on Friday will receive a 50th Anniversary cap (presented by Conn’s), while a 50th Anniversary blanket from AT&T (Saturday) and a 50th Anniversary shirt (Sunday), courtesy of BullShirts, will be presented to the first 10,000 fans.
During all 2012 Astros home games, the official lineup cards, base jewels and official game balls will each feature the 50th Anniversary logo.
Merchandise commemorating the 2012 season will be available for sale at the Astros Team Store, beginning in December 2011.
A 50th Anniversary documentary highlighting the significant moments in Astros franchise history, including never-before-scene footage, is scheduled for DVD release at some point next spring.
McLane takes pride in the historical aspect, especially how the Astros introduced the concept of a dome stadium to the sports world.
“The Astros have a great history,” McLane said. “You look at the players at the event today, starting with Jimmy Wynn. He was “The Toy Cannon,” which is one of the best nicknames I’ve ever heard. You see how he succeeded. At the other side of the table was Craig Biggio. He got 3,000 hits for us and has a great opportunity to go into the Hall of Fame. To me, I think the single biggest event is Houston and the Houston Astros inventing dome stadiums. No one team ever had a baseball or football stadium before of that magnitude. It changed athletics all over the world.”
Biggio feels honored to be part of 20 years of Astros history.
“It’s pretty cool,” Biggio said. “50 years is a long time and you consider the fact that I played in 20 of them. I did see a lot of great things happen during the time, from the Astrodome and moving here to Minute Maid Park. There were a lot of great times.
“I’m so glad to be part of it.”
The 2012 season kicks off at Minute Maid Park on April 6-8, with Houston hosting a three-game weekend series versus Colorado.
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