While Houston’s proposed move to the American League is being called an MLB-imposed condition of the franchise’s sale from Drayton McLane to Jim Crane, there’s hardly unanimous approval for the switch, particularly where Astros alumni are concerned. From the Houston Chronicle’s Steve Campbell :
“The team that should be in the American League is Milwaukee,” said former All-Star outfielder Jim Wynn, who played for the Astros from 1963-1973. “Milwaukee came from the American League. The National League team is the Houston Astros. If they move to the American League, the fan base is going to get really mad.”
An informal Chronicle online poll last month showed 76 percent of the respondents opposing a league change, with 35 percent vowing to sever their allegiance if the Astros were to join the AL. Like Wynn, many fans wonder why NL Central rival Milwaukee, which was in the AL from 1970-1997, isn’t changing leagues. Bud Selig used to own the Brewers and still lives in Milwaukee — two facts that don’t sit well with many Astros loyalists.
“I live in Houston,” said former Astros player and general manager Bob Watson, who played in both leagues during a 19-year career. “Would I like to see the American League? No, but it’s not my call.”
Watson calls himself “a purist” and insists baseball “was designed to be a National League game.
“In the American League, if you’re lucky enough to have a really good club, you’re like a fan. You’re just sitting back watching,” said former Astros player and manager Art Howe, who has managed in both leagues. “You put up that lineup, and it’s, ‘Go get ’em, boys.’ The moves are strictly with your pitching staff. Does he have anything left? Should I bring this guy in? In the National League, you’re manipulating your players.”