I promise this isn't a politically motivated post. In fact, it has been on my calendar for months. Today is the 25 year anniversary of Ronald Reagan's speech at the 1992 GOP Convention in Houston. At 81 years old, it was one of the last public speeches he gave (he was born in 1911!).
What does this have to do with baseball? Well, the convention was held in the Astrodome, the home of the Astros from 1965-1999. The convention's main public proceedings took place from July 17-20, but the Astros were forced out of their home park for an entire month because of the three weeks it took to get the dome ready. From July 27 through August 23, the Astros played a total of 26 games in cities around the U.S.: Atlanta, Cincinnati, Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco, Chicago, St. Louis, and Philadelphia. They managed to go 12-14 in the stretch—including winning 8 of the final 12.
After the road trip, the Astros rebounded very well. They went 25-13 the rest of the season, including a 16-7 mark at home. After the month away from the Astrodome, the Astros returned for an nine-game home stand. The locals did not turn out to support their club, averaging only 9,911 fans per game in those nine. The 1992 Astros finished the season 81-81, 17 games back of the Braves in the NL West. The team was deep with good, young hitters: Jeff Bagwell (24), Craig Biggio (26), Luis Gonzalez (24), Steve Finley (27), and Ken Caminiti (29).
Of the 26 MLB teams, the Astros ranked last in attendance (14,955) in 1992. Things got better for the team in 1993, however, as that number grew to 25,698 (up 72%). And Bill Clinton became president after winning the '92 election over George H.W. Bush and Ross Perot.
The Houston Chronicle had a good piece on the trip last week.