Words By: Brittany Lopez
When you think of the Houston Astros, your mind might instantly drift to iconic players, dollar dogs, or the greatest ballpark of all time, Minute Maid Park. However, Premium Goods aims to highlight the members of the Astros family's significant roles in the team's history, the mascots.
With a team rich in storied history, the Astros have undergone numerous transitions, with substantial changes in venues, home stadiums, and identities.
Since his debut in 1990, Orbit has been the heart and soul of Astros' fan entertainment. With his distinctive green complexion and wacky antennae, Orbit embodies the spirit of fun and irreverence. He quickly became a beloved figure among fans, known for his zany antics and humorous personality, keeping the crowd of all ages entertained with his playful and mischievous nature.
While Orbit often takes the limelight, Junction Jack plays an integral role in the Astros' narrative. Since his debut in 2000, Junction Jack, with his amicable disposition and approachable persona as a rabbit mascot, stands as a symbol of Houston's deep connection to its historical roots. Dressed as a railroad engineer, Jack is more than just a mascot; he's a living testament to the Astros' deep appreciation of their origins.
Before Minute Maid Park transformed into a baseball stadium, the site was once home to Union Station, a former epicenter of the city's train transit system, with the ballpark constructed around the station's main lobby, which now serves as the stadium's grand entrance. In need of a conductor to steer this baseball journey, the Astros invited Junction Jack to take on the role. In 2012, Jack retired as a conductor/mascot, making way for Orbit to invade the field!
That same year, Orbit officially returned as the mascot, hailing from a place not on Earth. However, the mascot's roles go beyond the baseball diamond; they embody the spirit of the Astros and their bond with the community. Orbit's impact extends far beyond the ballpark, as he has become an iconic figure in promoting goodwill and charitable initiatives throughout the Houston area. This includes his involvement in visiting hospitals, supporting nonprofit organizations, participating in educational programs, championing mental health awareness, and engaging in a wide range of community events.
It's a fitting tribute to the mascots who have brought joy, laughter, and a sense of unity not only to Astros fans but also to the Houston community as a whole.