Houston is a football town, but since the relatively new Houston Texans have been rather punchless since their inception, sports fans are drawn to the venerable (by this city’s standards) Houston Astros. In 1965, the Astros became the primary occupants of the then-futuristic Astrodome, referred to as the Eighth Wonder of the World. Indeed, it was a sight to behold, and an especially welcome respite from Houston’s horrendous humidity.
The Astros assembled some worthy teams in the 1980s, most notably with hometown hero Nolan Ryan, and two decades later, they attained similar success with another local legend at the helm, Roger Clemens, and a powerhouse offense featuring the “Killer Bs”—Craig Biggio, Jeff Bagwell, and Lance Berkman. By this time, the Astros had fled the Eighth Wonder for the comfy confines of the downtown Minute Maid Park, a classic urban ball field with a modern retractable roof.
For Astros ticket and schedule information, contact www.houston.astros.mlb.com or 713/259-8000.
Once home to the storied Houston Oilers football franchise (before they bolted for Tennessee and became the Titans), the city is now the semi-proud home of the NFL’s Houston Texans. As an expansion team, the Texans have been slow to gain their footing in the NFL, and despite passing on hometown hero and University of Texas standout quarterback Vince Young with their number-one draft pick in 2006, the Texans are building a formidable franchise that, regardless of their spot in the standings, continues to draw substantial crowds to Reliant Stadium. For Texans ticket and schedule information, contact www.houstontexans.com or 832/667-2000.
Basketball isn’t as big a draw in Texas as other sports, but the Houston Rockets have always had a considerable following. Their successful 1990s teams, featuring top-notch talent such as Clyde “The Glide” Drexler and Hakeem “The Dream” Olajuwon were the talk of the NBA during their glory years, when they won the NBA title in 1993 and ’94. Though they’ve been less threatening lately, they boast Yao Ming, a 7-foot-6-inch-tall superstar from China, who draws a sizable international fan base. For Rockets ticket and schedule information, contact www.nba.com/rockets or 713/627-3865.
© Andy Rhodes from Moon Texas, 6th Edition