HOUSTON -- Fifty-seven seasons in the making, the Astros cut the ribbon on their very own Hall of Fame on Monday afternoon at Minute Maid Park before an exhibition game against the Pirates.
Among the players honored in the first class: Hall of Famers Jeff Bagwell, Craig Biggio and Nolan Ryan, as well as franchise icons Jose Cruz, Larry Dierker and Bob Aspromonte.
“I love the history of baseball,” Astros president Reid Ryan said. “I love the history of the Houston Astros. People are going to be able to walk down these halls and see people who made this organization what it is.”
The Astros transformed a long corridor beyond the left-field wall that had been known as Home Run Alley into a series of exhibits honoring the franchise’s best players. Plaques will be unveiled in August, but Monday’s opening gave fans an early look at the exhibits and photos.
“Each one of these players are part of somebody’s life,” Ryan said. “If you were a kid or a fan, they drew you in and made you be an Astros fan. We look forward to honoring those guys, and honoring future players like Jose Altuve or Justin Verlander or Carlos Correa.”
Bagwell and Cruz attended the ribbon cutting and expressed their gratitude for the honor.
“I’ll be a Houston Astro forever,” said Bagwell, who was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 2017. “It’s a chance for fans to see the history of this organization. To showcase the guys who came before, it’s great for the fans to see -- the personalities and people that made this organization what it is.”
Cruz stood in front of his personal exhibit, complete with a large photograph and jersey.
“Honestly, it’s a dream come true,” he said. “I’m so proud to be part of this franchise. Someday, my grandkids can come here and show their friends, and tell them something about me.”