It’s no secret the Astros don’t have a storied baseball past. They’ve been a good team at times and have seen a reasonable amount of post season action. This season marks the 11th time in team history the Astros have seen the post season. 11 times in 55 seasons is not great but it’s not terrible either. There are a lot worse franchises to be a fan of but there’s a lot better. That’s assuming you’re an actual baseball fan and didn’t just buy a t-shirt for a winning team in the last 10 years.
Through those 55 seasons there’s one clear great game in Astros history but most fans can’t name it. They really can’t. Baseball is a team sport where the main focus should be on winning a World Series. Because of that there’s one clear greatest game in Astros history but everyone has forgotten about it. Astros fan’s memories tend to focus on the negatives.
Ask them the memory of their worst Astros game and they’ll immediately bring up Albert Pujols or if they’ve been a fan long enough they’ll tell you about Game 6 of the 1986 NLCS against the Mets. That game truly hurt if you’ve been an Astros fan long enough. It was 16 innings of back and forth baseball with a trip to the World Series on the line. Mike Scott was waiting to dominate Game 7. Every fan watching knew Game 6 was basically the final game. Mike Scott wouldn’t have lost Game 7. No way. Some fans may even mention the Braves in the late 90s who were a playoff nemesis.
Ask an Astros fans the greatest game in team history and I bet they give pause. If they’re old enough they’ll probably mention Mike Scott’s no hitter to clinch the 1986 West division title. While an amazing moment in Astros history it’s not the greatest game ever. The greatest game ever is obvious but everyone has forgotten because they can’t shake the game before it. The greatest game in Astros history came 48 hours after Albert Pujols put that indelible mark in Astros fan’s brains. The greatest game in Astros history is Game 6 of the 2005 NLCS.
That game sent the Astros to their first ever World Series. The only time the Astros have ever been to the World Series. The game that launched the Astros to their one and only World Series has to be the greatest game ever. Most fans forget Roy Oswalt put the entire franchise on his back for 7 innings. After Pujols hit that mammoth shot to win Game 5 the majority of Astros fans assumed they’d lose both games in St. Louis. For 2 days everyone talked with a defeated attitude because every Astros fan assumed the Astros stood no chance in St. Louis after the Pujols blast.
Everyone forgot Roy O was taking the mound in Game 6 and everyone forgets about him now. Roy O didn’t care about the Pujols home run in Game 5. It meant nothing to him. He simply took the ball and dominated the Cardinals for 7 innings. He gave up 3 hits and 1 run over 7 innings. He struck out 6 and only walked 1 over those 7 innings. Sure, it wasn’t a no-hitter or even a complete game shutout but if you watched the game you saw Roy O dominating from the start. When the Astros got 2 runs in the top of the 3rd inning you had an easy feeling. It felt different. It really felt like the Astros were going to do it. Roy O was a bulldog that game working both sides of the plate. He even came inside on Pujols causing him to dance in the box. Roy O wasn’t backing down from anyone. That was his game. For 7 innings he put the entire Astros franchise on his back.
He handed the ball off to Chad Qualls and Dan Wheeler to close the last 2 innings with no runs. When Jason Lane caught the final out in right field the Astros had finally won their first National League pennant in 44 years of existence. 44 years is a long damn time. Game 6 of the 2005 NLCS ended that drought. The World Series finally came to Texas. Roy O put an entire franchise on his back and made it happen after one of the worst moments in franchise history.
The next time you think about the Pujols homerun think about the game 48 hours later instead. Think about how for 7 innings Roy O wasn’t going to let the Astros lose. He just wasn’t. In the grand scheme the Pujols homerun actually meant nothing. Roy O made sure of that. He took the mound and put on one of the greatest pitching performances in Astros history. Not the greatest pitching performance but considering what was on the line it was the gutsiest. Most fans didn’t believe it would happen going in but Roy O made sure of it coming out.
There’s no doubt the greatest game in Astros history is that game. Let’s all hope that game is replaced this season with a World Series title. Let’s hope this year’s team channels their inner Roy Oswalt. This franchise is due to win it all and it’s time for someone to be the Roy O in a World Series clinching game. Let’s earn it.
If you need a reminder to smile just watch this and remember where you were: