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Astros to play final game as NL Franchise today

HOUSTON, TX -- The 51-year history of the Houston Astros as a National League franchise will culminate today with the club’s final game of the 2012 season, a 1:20 p.m. CT matchup with the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field in Chicago. A victory today would give the Astros 4,000 wins in their 51 years of existence.

A win this afternoon would also give Houston a three-game sweep over Chicago, which was the same result of the very first three-game series in franchise history, which was also against the Cubs, April 10-12 of 1962 at Colt Stadium.

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The Astros will move to the American League in 2013, which was a mandatory requirement by Major League Baseball and is the first of its kind in MLB history. No team has ever moved from the National League to the American League. With the move, MLB was able to balance both leagues with 15 teams apiece.

Today’s game marks the end of an era that officially began on April 10, 1962, with an 11-2 Houston Colt .45s victory over the visiting Chicago Cubs. Today will be the 705th meeting between the two clubs and the Astros 8,138th as an NL franchise.

During their time in the NL, the Astros have made the playoffs in nine seasons, including five NLCS appearances and an appearance in the 2005 World Series. Houston has hosted three All-Star Games for the National League (1968, 1986, 2004), and have placed 95 total players onto the All-Star team, including 16 starters.

The Astros have 10 retired numbers, including Jackie Robinson’s No. 42, and have two former players on the upcoming ballot for the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Jeff Bagwell and Craig Biggio. Two of the club’s long-time broadcasters, Gene Elston and Milo Hamilton, are Hall of Famers, both having received the prestigious Ford C. Frick Award from the National Baseball Hall of Fame.

LOOKING AHEAD

While the Astros history has been as a National League franchise, many historic events await the upcoming season as Houston will enter the American League West division in 2013.

The intrastate and intradivisional rival Texas Rangers will be the first American League opponent in 2013, as Houston will host Texas on Opening Day, April 2. Texas will be one of 14 American League teams coming to Houston in 2013, meaning the Astros will have hosted games against every Major League team over a two-year span (2012-13).

When the Astros take the field next season, not only will the opponents be different, the Astros will also have a new look, as the club plans on unveiling new uniforms, logos, color schemes and a mascot for the 2013 season. These will be released to the public on Nov. 2 at a Launch Party on the field of Minute Maid Park.

TWITTER SWEEPSTAKES TOMORROW

To celebrate the club’s 50th Anniversary as a National League franchise, the Astros will be holding a Twitter sweepstakes tomorrow. The Astros are asking all fans to follow the Astros on Twitter (@astros) and submit their favorite Astros National League memory by using #AstrosNLmemories and mentioning @astros in their tweets. Four fans selected at random will win an authenticated jersey that the club will be unveiling on Nov. 2. Follow the Astros (@astros) for more information.

For more information on the Astros history, the future of the franchise and the current headlines, visit Astros.com.

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