Doubleheader another chapter in Astros’ history with weather events


    Tuesday’s Angels-Astros doubleheader, the second in Minute Maid Park’s 21 seasons, added another chapter to the short but memorable list of weather-influenced events in Houston’s baseball history.

    Major League Baseball moved Thursday’s scheduled game to Tuesday as part of a seven-inning doubleheader as Hurricane Laura approached the Gulf Coast. MLB also moved up the Wednesday game to a noon start before announcing its postponement as the storm strengthened.

    It will be made up as part of a doubleheader Saturday, Sept. 5, in Anaheim, Calif. The Astros will be designated as the home team for the second game of that doubleheader.

    Three years ago, the Astros and Mets played two games Saturday, Sept. 2, the team’s first games at home since Hurricane Harvey brought record-setting rain to Southeast Texas.

    Sept. 1 was a day off that allowed both teams to participate in storm-related relief appearances, and the Astros swept the twinbill by scores of 12-8 and 4-1 before a sparse crowd that included evacuees, volunteer relief workers and first responders.

    Those games featured the debut of the “Houston Strong” uniform patch that the Astros wore throughout their run to the 2017 World Series championship.

    Prior to their return, the Astros and Rangers played three games scheduled for Houston in Tampa, Fla., where Houston lost two of three in a series that still prompts ill feelings among some Astros fans because of the Rangers’ refusal to switch the Astros’ home games with a scheduled three-game series in Arlington in late September.

    The Astros, for the record, swept the three games in Arlington in late September by a combined score of 37-7.

    In 2008, Hurricane Ike forced the postponement of two games between the Astros and Cubs that were moved to Milwaukee, the hometown of Major League Baseball commissioner Bud Selig, less than 100 from Chicago.

    The Astros were no-hit by Cubs pitcher Carlos Zambrano on Sept. 14 at Miller Park, losing 5-0, and were held to one hit Sept. 15 in a 6-1 loss. They lost five of their next seven to fall out of contention for a wild-card playoff berth.

    Prior to Ike’s arrival, on Sept. 11, 2008, Astros righthander Roy Oswalt pitched a complete game, 6-0 shutout that required only two hours and nine minutes and allowed the Pirates a quick exit from Houston as the storm approached.

    Despite its roof, Minute Maid Park is not waterproof, as rain occasionally finds its way around the baffles that are located between the retractable roof sections.

    On May 9, 2019, as most of Houston was soaked by more than three inches of rain, drenched fans fled for cover in some portions of the right field view deck as rain poured into the ballpark.

    The most uniquely Houston of all weather-related incidents, however, occurred on June 15, 1976, when a game between the Astros and Pirates was postponed because fans, security officers, concession workers and the umpires were unable to make it through flooded streets to the Astrodome.

    Players and some team employees made it to the ballpark and shared a meal on the field after the game was postponed, according to Astros historian Mike Acosta.

    “Concession workers set up a buffet and tables behind second base, and both teams ate dinner on the field together,” Acosta said in 2009. “The players were in their uniforms, but some of them were wearing shower flip-flops on their feet. The Astrodome staff ate with the players, too.”

    David Barron reports on sports media, college football and Olympic sports for the Houston Chronicle. He joined the Houston Chronicle in 1990 after stints at the Dallas bureau of United Press International (1984-90), the Waco Tribune-Herald (1978-84) and the Tyler Morning Telegraph (1975-78). He has been a contributor to Dave Campbell’s Texas Football since 1980, serving as high school editor from 1984 through 2000 and as Managing Editor from 1990 through 2004. A native of Tyler, he is a graduate of John Tyler High School, Tyler Junior College and The University of Texas at Austin.


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