THAT'S A FIRST: 2013 was the Astros inaugural season as an American League club after spending the first 51 seasons in franchise history (1962-2012) in the National League. The Astros became the first team in Major League history to move from the NL to the AL.
AL DEBUT: In their debut as an AL club, the Astros defeated the visiting Texas Rangers, 8-2, on March 31 at Minute Maid Park, in a nationally-televised game that kicked off the 2013 season for all of MLB. Astros Opening Night starting pitcher Bud Norris' jersey is on display at the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown commemorating the club's first AL game.
4,000TH WIN: The Astros Opening Night, 8-2 win over the Rangers on March 31 was also the 4,000th win in franchise history.
THE 2013 SEASON: The Astros finished in 5th place in the AL Western Division with a 51-111 record (franchise record for losses). They were 24-57 at home and 27-54 on the road.
RYAN NAMED PRESIDENT: On May 17, the Astros named Reid Ryan as President of Business Operations. Ryan was previously the President and CEO of Ryan-Sanders Baseball, which owned and operated the Astros' Double A affiliate Corpus Christi Hooks and currently owns and operates the Rangers' Triple A affiliate Round Rock Express. Ryan is the son of former Astro and Hall of Fame pitcher Nolan Ryan.
CATCHING ON: Jason Castro had the finest offensive season by a catcher in franchise history in 2013, below are some highlights: *became the 1st Astros catcher named to the All-Star team since Craig Biggio in 1991. *became the 1st Astros player to win two Player of the Week awards in one season since Lance Berkman in 2008; first won the award for 5/20-26 (.579, 3 HR, 5 RBI) and then again for 8/19-25 (.529, 3 HR, 5 RBI, 1.913 OPS). *set club records for a catcher in several categories, including for HR (18), doubles (35), SLG (.485) and OPS (.835). *his 1.067 OPS for August ranked 3rd in the AL behind Miguel Cabrera (1.162) and Mike Trout (1.090). *selected as the club's MVP by the Houston chapter of the BBWAA. *career-high 12-game hit streak (7/31-8/14) was the longest by an Astros catcher since 2000 when Tony Eusebio hit in 24 straight. *finished 2nd among AL catchers in WAR (4.5) behind Joe Mauer (5.4). *in his final 29 games (7/31-9/7), hit .333 with eight doubles, six HR and 21 RBI with an ML-best 1.053 OPS in that span.
STANDING TALL: 2B Jose Altuve finished the season strong, leading the AL in batting avg. (.357) and the Majors in hits (41) in the month of September. His 41 hits in September were the 3rd highest total for the month in franchise history, trailing Richard Hidalgo (49 in 2000) and Cesar Cedeno (47 in 1977). Altuve had four, three-hit games and one, four-hit game in Sept.
SUCCESSFUL JOURNEY: From May 29-June 3, the Astros were 6-0 on a six-game road trip, going 2-0 at COL and 4-0 at LAA, respectively. This trip marked the first time an Astros club had gone 6-0 or better on a road trip since going 7-0, Sept. 3-9, 1999 (3-0 at MTL, 4-0 at PHI). Additionally, the Astros 6-game road win streak was their longest since winning six straight, July 18-22, 2005.
HISTORIC START: During his 10 starts while in the Astros starting rotation (7/12-9/9), rookie RHP Jarred Cosart's 1.95 ERA (13ER/60IP) was the lowest in the AL in that span. Additionally, his 1.95 ERA is the lowest in franchise history for any pitcher in his first 10 ML starts and earned the victory in what was his ML debut, hurling 8.0 shutout innings in a 2-1 win on 7/12 at TB. He also became the first pitcher in franchise history to throw 8.0 scoreless innings in his ML debut.
MO'S FAREWELL: On the last day of the season (9/29), the Astros recognized Yankees closer Mariano Rivera's standout career with a pregame ceremony prior to what was the final ML game of his storied career. Rivera's former manager Joe Torre and his former Yankees teammate Roger Clemens took part in the ceremony along with Astros President Reid Ryan and General Manager Jeff Luhnow. The Astros presented Rivera with a specially-commissioned painting done by renowned baseball artist Opie Otterstad.
NEW COACHES: In October, the Astros made the following changes to the Major League coaching staff: Brent Strom (pitching coach), Pat Listach (first base coach), Craig Bjornson (bullpen coach) and Ralph Dickenson (assistant hitting coach). Dave Trembley will return as the club's new bench coach, Eduardo Perez will return as the new third base coach and Dan Radison has been named a special assignment coach.