Lone Star Series

Lone Star Series

The Lone Star Series is an annual Major League Baseball contest featuring Texas' two major league franchises, the Texas Rangers of the American League and the Houston Astros of the National League. It is an outgrowth of the "natural rivalry" established by MLB as part of interleague play.

The winner of the 6-game series is awarded the Silver Boot. A 30-inch tall display of a size-15 cowboy boot cast in silver, complete with a custom, hand-made spur. [ [http://news.galvestondailynews.com/story.lasso?ewcd=7969fe5e10eb987a The Galveston County Daily News ] ] If the series is split (3-to-3), the winner is the club which scored the most runs over the course of the series. Under the current rules, the designated hitter is used at the Rangers' home games but not at the Astros' home games.

Lone Star Series Results


The Rivalry

*According to Mike Lamb and Mark Teixeira, the Rangers-Astros "rivalry" is more for the fans of Texas than like a bitter rivalry (e.g. Windy City Series) [ [http://houston.astros.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20070517&content_id=1971221&vkey=news_hou&fext=.jsp&c_id=hou The Official Site of The Houston Astros: News: Lone Star Series kicks off in Houston ] ] .

*On 1 July 2006, Gary Matthews Jr. made an unbelievable catch by taking away a home run from Houston Astros first baseman Mike Lamb in the top of the 8th inning. [ [http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/recap?gameId=260701113 ESPN - Astros vs. Rangers - Recap - July 01, 2006 ] ] [ [http://www.usatoday.com/sports/baseball/al/rangers/2006-07-12-matthews-jr-focus_x.htm USATODAY.com - Matthews Jr. finally catching on ] ]

*While with the Astros for two years, Roger Clemens never pitched against the Rangers in twelve Lone Star Series matchups.

*Through 22 June 2007, Craig Biggio has led or is near the top of most offensive categories of a combined list of players from both teams since the Lone Star Shootout began in 2001 [ [http://plunkbiggio.blogspot.com/2007/06/lone-star-series-records.html Plunk Biggio: Lone Star Series records ] ] .

*The contrast between the Rangers and Astros in their ballpark histories, playoff histories, and uniform histories are very apparent. The Rangers, since 1972, have always played in open-air stadiums (Arlington Stadium and Rangers Ballpark in Arlington) while the Astros have mostly played in indoor stadiums (Astrodome and Minute Maid Park), leading some to believe in the Curse of the AstroTurf. The Rangers have had a lean postseason history with three appearances (1996, 1998, 1999, having never won a playoff series in their history) whereas the Astros have appeared in nine postseasons (1980, 1981, 1986, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2001, 2004, 2005) as well as one World Series in by|2005. While the Rangers have traditionally worn variations of red, white, and blue to represent the Lone Star flag, the Astros have changed color schemes (e.g. Shooting Star of the late 1960s, Rainbow Guts) and logos many times throughout their history.

*Other differences, not related to baseball, include the weather during the summer, population, cultural, and allegiance preferences between the different regions of Texas. Both Houston, TX and Arlington, TX have humid subtropical climates; however, the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex mostly has dry winds in the summer (and icy conditions in the winter, with some frost at night) compared to the severe relative humidity and minimal wind except near the coast (and milder winter conditions). The Metroplex is inland located in North Texas while Houston is in the face of the Gulf of Mexico in Southeast Texas. The Metroplex is larger by approximately a half million over the Greater Houston area; the Metroplex ranks 4th in metropolitan areas in the United States while Greater Houston ranks 6th. The city of Dallas has the 9th largest population in the United States and 3rd largest population in Texas; the city of Houston has the 4th largest population in the United States and largest population in Texas. West Texas, North Texas, and the Texas Panhandle regions make up Rangers Nation while South Texas, Central Texas, and Southeast Texas represent Astros Nation [ [http://www.encyclopediajr.com/wikiarticle/t/e/x/texas.php#Sports Texas - Encyclopedia Jr, free information reference for Kids ] ] . Rangers Nation roughly coincides with hisorically Anglo-influenced parts of Texas (West Texas, North Texas, and the Panhandle), and Astros Nation roughly coincides with parts of Texas that have historically stronger Hispanic (and other non-Anglo) influences (South Texas, Southeast Texas, and Central Texas)

*Since by|1993, both the Rangers and Astros have been consistently drawing a great number of fans on a regular basis to their ballparks. From 1993 until by|1999, the Rangers, with the opening of The Ballpark in Arlington replacing the outdated Arlington Stadium in 1994, drew the most fans between the two teams vs. the sterile atmosphere of the Astrodome. Since by|2000, with the opening of Minute Maid Park, the Astros have outdrawn the Rangers for nine consecutive seasons. The Astros' highest season attendance was in 2004 with 3,087,872; the Rangers' highest attendance was in by|1997 with 2,945,228. [ [http://houston.astros.mlb.com/hou/history/year_by_year_results.jsp The Official Site of The Houston Astros: History: Astros Year-by-year Results ] ] [ [http://texas.rangers.mlb.com/tex/history/year_by_year_results.jsp The Official Site of The Texas Rangers: History: Rangers Year-by-year Results ] ]

*On 6 February 2008, Nolan Ryan became the Rangers' team president after being the special assistant to general manager, scouting players, and holding pitching camps with the Astros for the past three seasons [ [http://cbs11tv.com/sports/Nolan.Ryan.Rangers.2.647336.html cbs11tv.com - Nolan Ryan Named Rangers Team President ] ] . (Nolan Ryan was also the only person to be named DHL Hometown Hero by two organizations, the Rangers and Astros, respectively.) [ [http://twins.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20061001&content_id=1694317&vkey=news_hou&fext=.jsp&c_id=hou The Official Site of The Houston Astros: News: Ryan elected Astros' Hometown Hero ] ] [ [http://www.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20060927&content_id=1686153&vkey=news_tex&fext=.jsp&c_id=tex The Official Site of The Texas Rangers: News: Ryan named Rangers Hometown Hero ] ]


19th Century: The Beginning of Baseball in Texas

The birth of baseball in Texas happened at the same time as the Civil War in 1861 with the formation of the Houston Base Ball Club to promote the game the same way Alexander Cartwright had during the 1840s with the Knickerbocker Base Ball Club in Manhattan. Baseball was played in Galveston and other Lone Star locations prior to the Civil War. [ [http://www.historynet.com/baseball-in-the-west.htm Baseball in the West » HistoryNet - From the World's Largest History Magazine Publisher ] ] The distribution of the game was interrupted by the Civil War but would pick up by the end of the war. [ [http://www.tbhof.org/features/feature-20051028.htm Texas Baseball Hall of Fame ] ] Baseball was played during the Civil War mostly by Yankees but occasionally by Confederates. A humorous story by Texas-based Union soldier George A. Putnam told of a baseball game interrupted by Confederate gunfire. Putnam stated:

On 21 April, 1867, the first occurrence of a baseball game was taken into account by the Houston Post. At the San Jacinto Battlegrounds near Houston, where General Sam Houston led Texas to triumph in the War of Independence from Mexico in 1836, a baseball game took place on the anniversary now celebrated as Texas Independence Day. The Houston Stonewalls defeated the Galveston Robert E. Lees, 35-2, that rivaled the result of what originally happened on the same site. [ [http://www.lsjunction.com/facts/tx_bball.htm Early Texas Baseball ] ]

Baseball spread throughout the state in the next two decades as a popular amateur game. The influence of what Houston had done in the early 1860s, those who acquired the nuances of the game from Civil War travels, and experience of immigrants who moved to Texas during the Reconstruction Era helped in organizing the sport and bringing more attention to the game in the state of Texas. Scarcely a generation after the state’s first recorded game in 1867, Texas fielded 100 minor league clubs—more than any other state. [ [http://www.baseballasamerica.org/houston.htm Baseball As America ] ]

The acceptance of baseball had expanded throughout Texas like a stampede of cattle by the end of the 19th century. Houston was the founding member of the Texas League in 1888 and also won their first league pennant the next year. The Houston ballclub went by the nicknames of Babies, Red Stockings, Mud Cats, Magnolias, and Wanderers [ [http://www.astrosdaily.com/history/before/ Before the Colt .45s ] ] before Buffaloes became permanent around the turn of the 20th century.

20th Century: Growth and Popularity of Baseball in Texas

The roots of the Lone Star Series started in the late 19th century and early 20th century in the Texas League. There were teams in Austin, Beaumont, Cleburne, Corsicana, Fort Worth, Galveston, Greenville, Paris, San Antonio, Sherman, Temple, Texarkana, Waco as well as Dallas and Houston. (Both the Rangers and Astros have teams in present-day Double A Texas League. The Rangers' affiliate is the Frisco Roughriders while the Astros' affiliate is the Corpus Christi Hooks.) Along with the Texas League, there have been many baseball leagues that briefly existed in Texas or included at least one team from the Lone Star State such as: Lone Star Colored League of Texas [http://blog.negroleaguebaseball.com/negro_league_blog/2006/08/negro_league_or.html] , Negro American League, Colored Texas League, Texas Negro League, Texas-Oklahoma Negro League, South Texas Negro League, West Texas Negro League, Mexican National League, Central Baseball League, American Association, All-American Association, South Central League, Arkansas State League, Cotton States League, Rio Grande Valley League, Rio Grande Association, Southwestern League, Panhandle-Pecos Valley League, Longhorn League, North Texas League, West Texas-New Mexico League, Sooner State League, Arizona-Texas League, Lone Star League, Big State League, Gulf States League, East Texas League, Texas Association, Arkansas-Texas League, West Texas League, South Texas League, Middle Texas League, Central Texas League, Texas-Southern League, Texas-Louisiana League, Texas Valley League, Texas-Oklahoma League, Southwest Texas League, West Dixie League, Gulf Coast League, Western Association, and Sophomore League and also including present-day Pacific Coast League, Texas Collegiate League, Continental Baseball League, United League Baseball, Texas Winter League, and American Association of Independent Professional Baseball.

Long before professional baseball came to Texas, college baseball also has been a staple of Texas culture. Outside of the Lone Star Shootout, college baseball in Texas is overwhelmingly popular and has some intense in-state rivalries such as the Battle of the Brazos between Texas A&M and Baylor University, Houston-Rice rivalry, the Holy War between Baylor and TCU, Battle of the Piney Woods between Sam Houston State and Stephen F. Austin University, and the Lone Star Showdown between the Texas Longhorns and Texas A&M Aggies. Other in-state rivalries include Texas-Rice, Texas State-Rice, Texas Tech-Baylor, Texas-Texas Tech, Texas Tech-Texas A&M, Texas-Baylor, Sam Houston State-Houston, Texas Southern-Prairie View A&M, St. Mary's-University of the Incarnate Word, Dallas Baptist-Houston Baptist as well as other esoteric rivalries. Tournaments, like the Southwest Diamond Classic in Frisco, TX, Whataburger College Classic in Corpus Christi, TX, and Houston College Classic played at Minute Maid Park, take place there in late February because of the more convenient, warmer weather. Texas collegiate baseball programs can be found throughout the different levels of the NCAA. 1-A conferences that include Texas collegiate baseball are the Big 12 Conference, Conference USA, and the Mountain West Conference. (TCU, Texas, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, Rice, Houston, and Baylor baseball programs once belonged together to the Southwest Conference before 1996; Clark Field and Buff Stadium were just some of the ballparks that played host to Southwest Conference baseball in their time.) Other conferences that include one or more Texas collegiate baseball programs are the Southland Conference, Southwestern Athletic Conference, Heartland Conference, Lone Star Conference, American Southwest Conference, Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference, Red River Athletic Conference, Sooner Athletic Conference, Southwest Junior College Conference., Texas Intercollegiate Athletic Association, Western Junior College Athletic Conference, and NAIA independent schools (University of Houston-Victoria).

The Lone Star Series was the consequence of many things that happened to Texas in the 1950s: population shift westward from metropolitan areas on the East Coast, the space program, more modernized higher education, and the formation of the brief Continental League resulting in expansion in Major League Baseball shortly thereafter.

Prior to 1962, there were no Major League Baseball teams in Texas until the of the National League. They played in Colt Stadium for the first three years of existence, fighting against hot and humid weather and outrageously large mosquitoes, which also had an effect on the fans [ [http://ballparkwatch.com/stadiums/past/colt_stadium.htm Ballparkwatch - Colt Stadium / Houston Colt .45s / 1962-1964 ] ] . Unbelievably, they did not play a Sunday night baseball game at home until 9 June 1963, which was also the major leagues' first Sunday night game [ [http://www.baseballlibrary.com/chronology/byyear.php?year=1963#June The Chronology - 1963 | BaseballLibrary.com ] ] . The Astros, as they came to be with the new all-weathered Harris County Domed Stadium, really did not have a strong rivalry with any team in the NL, except for the St. Louis Cardinals and later on the Atlanta Braves.

During the planning of the second wave of expansion in the big leagues in 1968, the National League considered putting a new team in the Dallas-Fort Worth area by an overwhelming majority of its owners. However, Judge Roy Hofheinz did not want it to happen or allow it because he owned all the television and radio rights in Texas for Astros ballgames. The other owners were in favor, except Hofheinz, of having a rivalry approaching the intensity of the Dodgers-Giants rivalry in the Senior Circuit. San Diego and Montreal were selected instead. [ [http://www.accessmylibrary.com/coms2/summary_0286-8331907_ITM Rangers, Astros to meet at last. | Fort Worth Star-Telegram (Fort Worth, Texas) (via Knight-Ridder/Tribune News Service) (, 2001) ] ] The Dallas-Fort Worth area would have to wait four more years for a team to arrive when the Senators (see below) moved to Arlington, TX. It would be another 32 years before there was a meeting between the Rangers and Astros.

Before they were the Texas Rangers, the team belonged to the Beltway as the second version of the Washington Senators where they played mediocre baseball most of the time for the first 11 years of existence. They replaced the old Washington Senators who had moved to Minnesota to become the Twins in 1961. The new Senators changed into the Texas Rangers in time for the 1972 season and so a rivalry was born. (At one time, the Kansas City Athletics were interested in moving to the Dallas/Fort Worth area in the early 1960s but were voted down, 9-1, by the other American League owners.) [ [http://www.baseballlibrary.com/baseballlibrary/ballplayers/K/Kansas_City_Athletics.stm Kansas City Athletics | BaseballLibrary.com ] ] [ [http://www.sportsecyclopedia.com/al/kcityas/kca_s.html Kansas City Athletics (1955-1967) ] ] The Astros have been in Texas ten years longer than the Rangers, but the Senators/Rangers franchise is one year older than the Astros. They met, starting in 1992, at the end of Spring Training with the Rangers winning 2-0 claiming the very first Silver Boot. The Rangers won the last two exhibition games, a 6-5 victory in Arlington in 1999 and a 9-3 victory at Houston in 2000, before the two teams met for the first time in regular season in 2001. [ [http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20080516&content_id=2712533&vkey=news_mlb&fext=.jsp&c_id=mlb The Official Site of Major League Baseball: News: As series evolved, so did Silver Boot ] ]

During the 1997 off-season, "radical" realignment plans were bandied around about possibly rearranging teams from one league to another, especially Houston and Texas. In order to cut down on traveling costs and align teams together based on geography, the MLB owners came up with many plans to put the Astros and Rangers in a more suitable placement together. However, the American League and National League would lose their respective identities in the process. [ [http://baseballforthought.blogspot.com/2006/05/proposal-for-mlb-realignment.html Baseball For Thought: A Proposal for MLB Realignment ] ] [ [http://www.armchairgm.com/CPCP's_MLB_Realignment CPCP's MLB Realignment - ArmchairGM - Sports Wiki Database ] ] [ [http://www.andromedan.com/linda/realign.htm Baseball diary, radical realignment, fans against realignment, major league baseball team addresses, NO radical realignment, Bud Selig, Plan A, realignment options ] ] (The only move was the Brewers from the AL Central to the NL Central.) One of the plans in 2000 even featured the Texas Rangers in a six-team AL Central so that they would be with other teams in the Central Time Zone while the fledging Arizona Diamondbacks would have had to leave the NL West for the AL West to replace the Rangers. [ [http://www.usatoday.com/sports/baseball/comment/sgcol04.htm A wealth of realignment possibilities ] ] In the 2005 off-season, the Florida Marlins were considering moving to San Antonio among other cities due to lack of funding for a new stadium. Another professional baseball team in Texas, whether by relocation or expansion, in either league would create greater rivalries, similar to the kind in the NBA with the Spurs, Mavericks, and Rockets, and possible realignment issues. [ [http://www.baseballmusings.com/archives/013259.php Baseball Musings: Deep in the Heart of Texas ] ]

Of course, the Lone Star Series wasn't conceived until by|2001, four years after Interleague Play began. It was only logical to have the Rangers and Astros matched together since they are the only MLB teams representing Texas. Since both play in two different "divisions" (AL West and NL Central respectively), Major League Baseball had to rectify the oversight even though Interleague Play wouldn't be rotated from division to division on a yearly basis until 2002.


*"Texas Almanac 2008-2009," "The Dallas Morning News", c.2008


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