Happy 50th birthday to the Houston Astros. Formerly the Houston Colt .45s, the Astros played their first official game as “Astros” on April 12, 1965. The team is celebrating this milestone with a commemorative sleeve patch this season, and will also be wearing a few select uniforms from the team’s very colorful history along the way.In addition to the 1965 Astros uniforms on 4/18 the Angels will also wear throwbacks. All will be authenticated. pic.twitter.com/Jd9VUgIwCp— Mike Acosta (@AstrosTalk) February 17, 2015The Astros, of course, were so named in honor of the Astrodome, the world’s first multi-purpose, domed sports stadium. How and why they became “Astros” requires some explanation. MORE: Best opening day ticket stubs in photos | The flags of Wrigley FieldIn a nutshell, the name change was precipitated by a licensing dispute between the ballclub and the Colt Firearms Company. An Associated Press story from Oct. 21, 1964, stated that:“It was understood that the Colt Firearms Co. has no objection to the baseball club using its name, but is objecting to the baseball club sub-licensing to manufacturers the right to use the name on novelties and souvenirs sold at baseball parks.”The team announced that it would be something other than “Colts” on Oct. 1, 1964.The clock was now ticking on a completely new identity — a new name, new uniforms and a new logo.Team owner Judge Roy Hofheinz went on record as favoring “Stars,” a reference to Houston’s expanding role in the space program. The public did not react well,  the thought being that “Stars” was a pretentious moniker for a ninth-place ballclub.The judge and the team had something very big to sell, and they needed to start selling it. The Harris County Domed Stadium — soon to be known as the Astrodome — was built with what was described as “one-third of a mile of private clubs,” renting for $75,000 to $90,000 a pop, with a five-year minimum commitment.On Dec. 1, 1964, Hofheinz announced that the Colt .45s would henceforth be known as the Astros and that the stadium would be called the Astrodome. Looking forward, he said that the space designation was appropriate, given the fact that Houston was Space City USA and that the team trained in Cocoa, Fla. — home to Cape Kennedy. He went on to say that “the name and insignia will help dispel the image of Texas as a land of cowboys and it behooves every citizen in this area to call attention to the 20th century aspects of Texas and Houston.” https://images.daznservices.com/di/library/sporting_news/4c/ff/colt-45s-name-change_gkn7hws3c5e81gaffkp6pkjlv.jpg?t=-1088459364&w=500&quality=80 The new logo was unveiled soon afterward. Retaining the Colts’ colors of blue and orange, the Astros’ insignia put the Astrodome front and center, accompanied by orbiting baseballs.Next came the new uniforms. Although multiple cap variations were worn during spring training, the Astros took the field that season wearing what are now known as the “shooting star” jerseys — the same ones that the team will be sporting on April 18. https://images.daznservices.com/di/library/sporting_news/de/5f/astros-logoastrodome_1i4xiwuawcgdk1jpuxvrk5o5h5.jpg?t=-1088426764&w=500&quality=80 If the Astros really dig deep and get the details right, they will also be wearing stirrups with orange stars, as worn by the club 50 years ago. This feature was not particula

rly well received, at least not by the players.From an article in the April 3, 1965 Sporting News:“Part of the new Astro getup is an embroidered orange star, some two inches across, on the outside of each uniform stocking. The players have petitioned management to discard this touch. There is also a large orange star on the cap, and a white star on the Texas flag-patch on the left sleeve.‘We have stars all over the place,’ comments one realistic Astro, ‘except on the field!’”