Top Opening Day moments in Astros history

March 31st, 2021

HOUSTON -- Here are the top five Opening Day moments in Astros history:

1. Springer leads off in style
March 29, 2018
The Astros opened defense of their 2017 World Series title behind a leadoff homer by World Series MVP and six scoreless innings from to beat the Rangers, 4-1, at Globe Life Park. Springer became the first player in Major League history to hit leadoff home runs on Opening Day in consecutive seasons.

"It's weird, it's cool," Springer said. "I'm happy to set the tone right there for our team."

also homered for the Astros. Verlander, making his first Opening Day start with the Astros after being traded from Detroit the previous August, struck out five, walked two and allowed only four singles.

2. Undefeated
April 10, 1962
The expansion Colt .45s, playing in makeshift Colt Stadium in what would become the parking lot of the Astrodome, entered the National League by beating the Cubs, 11-2, in their first game. The franchise’s debut came on the 50th birthday of franchise owner and founder Roy Hofheinz.

Bobby Shantz threw a complete game, and got the first hit and scored the first run in franchise history. Roman Mejias hit two homers. The Colt .45s began by sweeping three games against the Cubs and finished the season 64-96, putting them eighth in the 10-team NL.

3. A new league
March 31, 2013
The Astros made their American League debut in a Sunday night game at Minute Maid Park that was aired nationally on ESPN. came off the bench and blasted a three-run home run in the sixth inning -- the first by an Astros player in the AL -- that proved to be the knockout blow in the Astros' scintillating 8-2 win over the division-rival Rangers that was not only the franchise's 4,000th win, but its first Opening Day win since 2006.

The Astros even had new uniforms for the occasion, getting rid of the brick red pinstriped uniforms in favor of a more traditional orange and blue look from the team’s past. If the move to the AL was met with initial distaste from fans, the new uniforms wound up being a huge hit. The team, however, wasn’t. During a rebuild and with a payroll of $20 million, the Astros suffered a franchise-record 111 losses.

4. The Eighth Wonder
April 12, 1965
Three days after Mickey Mantle hit the first homer at the Astrodome in an exhibition game against the Yankees, the Astros (formerly Colt .45s) made their debut with the first official game in the Eighth Wonder of the World. Houston lost to the Phillies, 2-0. Those in attendance included Commissioner Ford Frick, National League president Warren Giles and two dozen NASA astronauts, who threw out the first pitch.

Phillies pitcher Chris Short threw a four-hit shutout, and Dick Allen hit the first official home run in the history of the Astrodome, a two-run shot off Astros pitcher Bob Bruce. The players had trouble seeing fly balls because the Astrodome’s 4,596 skylights were too bright. They were painted over a week later, which caused the grass to die and eventually led to the birth of AstroTurf.

5. A new era dawns
April 5, 2004
The excitement for the 2004 season was at a fever pitch in Houston following the offseason signings of and away from the Yankees. They joined an already stacked club that included future Hall of Famers and , along with and .

Still, it was who got the Opening Day start. He allowed four runs and nine hits in 7 1/3 innings against the Giants. Barry Bonds hit a three-run homer off Oswalt in the eighth inning to help beat the Astros, 5-4, at Minute Maid Park. Still, the excitement of the season was well-founded as the Astros secured their first playoff series win and fell a game shy of reaching the World Series.