Astros go retro in St. Petersburg

Astros go retro in St. Petersburg

TAMPA BAY -- The Tampa Bay Rays have been around for only a decade, but that doesn't mean they're exempt from hosting retro nights at their ballpark.

Saturday was "Turn Back the Clock" Night at Tropicana Field, where the Rays honored the St. Petersburg Pelicans, the only team to win a championship during the short-lived era of the Senior Professional Baseball Association. Members of that team were recognized prior to the game, and the current Rays team wore the replica home pinstripe uniform that the Pelicans wore during the 1989 and 1990 seasons.

In turn, the Astros also wore a retro uniform from the 1980s, breaking out the old rainbow jerseys that they wore from 1975-86. First base coach Jose Cruz has quite a familiarity with those uniforms, considering that was all he wore during his Astros playing career which spanned from 1975-87.

"I look a lot better than these guys here," Cruz joked. "I already saw Darin [Erstad]. He doesn't look too good in his uniform. I look good."

Across the clubhouse, Chris Sampson expressed his excitement to wear the old rainbow jersey for a night. The 30-year-old right-hander grew up in Houston and watched dozens of games at the old Astrodome and he distinctly remembers cheering for Cruz.

"Every time they'd announce Jose Cruz coming up to the plate, I had to yell at the top of my lungs, 'Cruuuuuuuuuz,'" Sampson said. "I remember watching Nolan Ryan pitch. Being able to wear these uniforms like they did, it brings back a lot of memories. It's pretty special to me."

Alyson Footer is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.