HOUSTON -- From Colt Stadium to the Astrodome to Minute Maid Park, the Astros have had their share of comical moments -- and funny characters -- throughout the years. Here’s a look at some of the Astros’ most comical moments:
1. Morganna, the Kissing Bandit, greets Nolan Ryan
April 9, 1985
On Opening Night, celebrating the Astrodome’s 20th anniversary, Morganna Roberts, known as “Morganna, the Kissing Bandit,” raced from the stands and onto the turf to plant a kiss on Nolan Ryan, who dropped to his knees for the occasion. After kissing Ryan, she planted one on Astros shortstop Dickie Thon before heading toward the Dodgers' dugout, where she was arrested and charged with trespassing.
2. Lance Berkman eats a Twinkie thrown onto Wrigley Field
June 1, 2003
During a Sunday afternoon game at Wrigley Field, fans in the bleachers waved Twinkies at Astros outfielder Lance Berkman in an attempt to make fun of his physique. During a pitching change in the seventh, Berkman asked the fans to throw some of the Twinkies onto the field. He picked up one, unwrapped it and ate it while getting a loud ovation. He put another one in his pocket. Berkman clubbed a homer in the next inning and took the field in the eighth to chants of “Twinkie Power.”
3. “Break the Jinx” night
Sept. 3, 1962
In the franchise’s first year of existence, the then-Colt .45s were in danger of losing their entire season series to the Phillies, having dropped 15 in a row to Philadelphia. In the final three games against the Phils, which included a doubleheader, the Astros scheduled a “Break the Jinx Night.” The front office hired a fictitious witch doctor to hex the Phillies. He climbed a ladder during batting practice and performed a ceremonial dance. Fans were given half-price tickets if they brought jinx-breakers, such as horseshoes, four-leaf clovers and rabbits' feet. The Astros lost both games of the doubleheader, but they won the season finale against the Phils the following day.
4. Astros have funeral for Carlos Beltrán’s glove
July 17, 2017
The Astros held a memorial service in the outfield for the glove of Beltrán, an outfielder who had been limited to at-bats at designated hitter in the months leading up to the ceremony. George Springer took three foam headstones to center field before batting practice, and the team gathered around Brian McCann, who wore a robe while overseeing the ceremony in which the Astros pretended to bury Beltran’s glove.
5. Lance Berkman conquers Tal’s Hill
May 18, 2002
Berkman, an infielder who was forced to play outfield because of Jeff Bagwell being entrenched at first base, made an acrobatic catch on the incline on Tal’s Hill against the Pirates. Berkman meandered onto the hill and caught Rob Mackowiak's 430-foot fly ball over his shoulder before falling to the ground. Berkman couldn’t help but smile and laugh after the play, with his teammates laughing along with him in the dugout.
6. Steve Pearce and Wilton Lopez collide
Aug. 5, 2012
In the 11th inning against the Nationals, Pearce and Lopez converged to field a bunt and bumped into each other, with Pearce regrouping to pick up the ball. By that time, third baseman Matt Downs had converged on the play and had to perform an acrobatic maneuver to avoid getting hit by the throw. As a result, Pearce threw the ball wide of first and into right-field foul territory, with the runner scoring all the way from first with the winning run.
7. Astros walk off on bizarre play
July 10, 2018
With Houston tied at 5 in the 11th against the A's, Alex Bregman hit a dribbler that rolled a couple of feet into foul territory before rolling back fair. A’s catcher Jonathan Lucroy picked up the ball and tried to tag Bregman, who had only moved a couple of steps from the plate. Lucroy dropped the ball as he placed the tag on Bregman’s chest with his bare hand. Bregman took off for first base and Lucroy’s throw hit him in the helmet and ricocheted into foul territory. Kyle Tucker scored from second with the winning run.
8. The Great Escape
May 13, 2011
In a game against the Mets at Minute Maid Park, a fan ran onto the field and sprinted for center field, eluding police. He ran up Tal’s Hill and climbed over the center-field wall. The fan then scaled a pillar and landed onto a platform of fake ivy that formed the batter’s eye. With the crowd going nuts and police chasing him, he climbed over a wall and disappeared onto the center-field concourse. Before he could make it out the doors, however, police arrested him.
9. "Operation Hot Dog"
In the first year of the Astrodome, the luxurious Skybox seats included closed-circuit TV, a bar and a private members-only dining area on the ninth level. What they didn’t include, however, was hot dogs. So astronaut Alan Shepard installed his own hot-dog machine and was originally told it wasn’t allowed. Owner Roy Hofheinz relented and allowed the machine to stay, and soon Skybox customers were ordering the “Shepard Special” hot dogs.
10. Michael Bourn bats twice thanks to wrong lineup card
May 20, 2009
With the Astros drifting from a viable contender in the National League to a rebuilding club, manager Cecil Cooper bungled the lineup card in a game against the Brewers. Before the game, Cooper flip-flopped Kaz Matsui and Bourn, with Matsui leading off and Bourn batting second. He didn’t tell Bourn, who led off the game with a single. But Matsui was called out because it should have been his at-bat. Astros veteran Geoff Blum explained the situation to Bourn, who was sent back to the plate to hit again and drew a walk.