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Orbit (mascot): Wikis

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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Orbit was the name given to Major League Baseball's Houston Astros former mascot, a lime-green outer-space creature wearing an Astros jersey with antennae extending into baseballs. Orbit was the teams official mascot from the 1990 through the 1999 seasons. For the 2000 season, Junction Jack was introduced as the team's mascot with the move from the Astrodome to then Enron Field. The name Orbit paid homage to Houston's association with NASA and nickname Space City.[1]

History

Chester Charge, 1977

In April of 1977 the Houston Astros introduced their very first mascot, Chester Charge. At that time there was only one other mascot in major league baseball, which was the San Diego Chicken. Chester Charge was a 45 pound costume of a cartoon Texas cavalry soldier on a horse. Chester appeared on the field at the beginning of each home game, during the seventh inning stretch and then ran around the bases at the conclusion of each win. At the blast of a bugle, the scoreboard would light up and the audience would yell, “Charge!” The first Chester Charge was played by Steve Ross who was then an 18-year-old Senior High School student. The creation of Chester Charge and the (incredible for its day) scoreboard graphics were created by Ed Henderson.

[2] Following a visit to then the AAA-Astros affiliate, the Tucson Toros in 1989, former team marketing Vice President Ted Haracz sought to bring the Toros' mascot, Tuffy to Houston to serve as the teams mascot.[3] Although Tuffy was not promoted from Tucson, Hal Katzman, who performed as Tuffy was invited by the team to serve as Orbit for the 1990 season. The development of a team mascot for the 1990 season was viewed by the team as an important piece in its community outreach programs, specifically with children.[3]

Both the naming and design of the mascot were established from suggestion from local, Houston-area schoolchildren. The design for Orbit was derived from more than 10,000 children's drawings submitted to the Astros, with the final design being a composite of the various drawings submitted.[3] The first public appearance of Orbit occurred in January 1990 at Heflin Elementary School.[3]

One of the more notable incidents involving Orbit occurred when umpire Gary Darling ejected the mascot from the game for arguing balls and strikes.[4] In addition to his role as the Astros' mascot, Orbit made a one-time appearance as "Marty the Mariner Martian" during a "Turn Ahead the Clock" promotion at a 1998 Seattle Mariners game.[5]

Orbit was replaced with Junction Jack beginning in the 2000 season, with the team's move from the Astrodome to then Enron Field.[6]

References

  1. ^ Kever, Jeannine (October 25, 1998). "The NASA Impact - Forty years ago the National Aeronautics and Space Administration was born, and Houston hasn't been the same since". The Houston Chronicle. p. 6.  
  2. ^ Tal Smith, President and Ed Wade, General Manager
  3. ^ a b c d Farrar, Foss (March 4, 1990). "Astros` Orbit more than just another major league mascot". The Houston Chronicle. p. C1.  
  4. ^ Duarte, Joseph (July 11, 1998). "Astros summary". The Houston Chronicle. p. C7.  
  5. ^ http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/page2/story?page=lukas/080718
  6. ^ Staff Reports (March 30, 2000). "Astros go to bat in new home". The Houston Chronicle. p. C7.  

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