World Series victory parade reveals 56 years of emotion for Astros
Houston had never experienced a World Series title until the Astros beat the Dodgers 5-1 in game seven on Wednesday. The fact it arrived on the heels of devastating Hurricane Harvey made it even more special.
"When the city needed a pickup, when the city needed someone to elevate us to another level the Houston Astros stepped in," Mayor Sylvester Turner said on MLB Network. "On the first Saturday immediately following the hurricane, the Astros came home, they played against the New York Mets on that Saturday, they won a double-header and they did not stop since."
The Astros never looked back after the hurricane. That was evident during the team's victory parade on Friday. They never slowed down after they acquired Justin Verlander on August 31, and they never backed down when put up against the three biggest markets, and biggest names in baseball during the postseason.
Which begged the question that Astros starting pitcher and 2015 American League Cy Young Award Winner Dallas Keuchel asked.
"What the hell took us so long to win a World Series?" he said to the amusement of the crowd.
Keuchel was an afterthought in the 2009 draft. He was a starting pitcher out of Arkansas that threw in the mid-80s and no one believed could succeed as a starter at MLB level. But thanks to what he called a complete shift in his style as a pitcher, he became a vital part of what the Astros were as a team over the last four years. With the addition of one other starting pitcher though it made him even more dangerous.
Verlander could not be in attendance for the parade as he is reportedly off getting married to Kate Upton, but Keuchel made sure to include his new best friend in the festivities.
"There's one member of our team not with us today, he hasn't really done much, so I want to give a little shout out, I want you guys to tell him how much Justin Verlander means to this team," Keuchel said, holding up his phone to film the reaction and it was raucous. The crowd went nuts for the man that was 9-1 as an Astros' starting pitcher in just two months. "Guys we love you, we weren't playing for you guys, we were all playing together, we won this World Series together, thank you guys."
It took a long time for Houston to win a World Series. After coming into being in 1962 the Astros did not exist. They were the Colt 45's then. They were owned by Roy Hofheinz, R.E. "Bob" Smith, Craig Cullinan, and George Kirksey and the name "Astros' was not even in their minds.
Houston have had a baseball franchise for 56 years now. They have had all-time greats like Nolan Ryan, Craig Biggio, J.R. Richard, Mike Scott, Roger Clemens and Jeff Bagwell on their rosters, but they had never claimed a world championship.
That was until Wednesday night when Charlie Morton got Dodgers shortstop Corey Seager to ground out to Jose Altuve. The Astros had their title and the city of Houston could finally celebrate. They could celebrate with a championship and they could see a team earn a title for the first time since the Rockets won back-to-back NBA titles in 1994 and 1995.
It was an emotional day for all Astros fans involved who had never seen a title before. But in only the way this team could, one player left all the fans with a lasting memory for their title run. That man was Josh Reddick who did his best to channel the infamous "Nature Boy" Ric Flair.
"Wooston, we don't have a problem. We have a championship," he said. "We're limousine-riding, jet-flying, kiss-stealing, wheeling-dealing son of a guns. Woo!"