Strange Magic: Superstition and the Houston Astros

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Aug 16, 2014; Houston, TX, USA; General view of the exterior of NRG Stadium (left) and Houston Astrodome before the NFL game between the Atlanta Falcons against the Houston Texans. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Astrodome – this tale sounds like an oft-repeated urban legend. It’s fun nonetheless. According to some people, the Astrodome may have been built on Native American burial grounds. From The Pecan Park Eagle blog:

"The belief behind this one is that the Astrodome was built on land that once served as a Karankawa or Comanche Indian Burial Ground. I remember discussing this theory with former Astros pitcher Vern Ruble back in the early 1980s, when we were all still recovering from that tough loss in the NLCS to the Phillies at the “Dome. Vern had not heard the legend previously, but his eyes lit up when I told him about it. “That’s it,” Ruhle exclaimed, “That’s got to be it! Otherwise, there is no other good way to explain how we lost to the Phillies in 1980!”"

One Twitter account called “Amazing True Facts” still circulated the Native American burial ground story as recently as 2012.

From a myth, to a real occurrence, here’s a true tidbit from an Astros game in 1982:

Nolan Ryan and the Houston Astros had just been stomped in their season opener to the St. Louis Cardinals, 14-3. About an hour after the game was over, a black cat appeared from the direction of the Cardinals dugout, strode across the field, and walked across the path to the Houston batter’s box. It was obviously too late to affect the team at that point, but it makes one wonder what kind of voodoo was going on when The Ryan Express gets tagged for six runs (including one homerun) over three innings.

Perhaps the feline was one of the feral cats that roamed the grounds of the Astrodome in order to keep rodents away.


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