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2015: Houston Sports

Houston sports illustration - by German Arellano

Houston Sports Illustration – by German Arellano

The Best of Houston Sports in 2015

The city of Houston is blessed with an abundance of highs and lows of sports performances. Here’s a quick look at some of the best – and most notable – moments of HOUSTON SPORTS this year.

HEAD OF THE CLASS: Former ASTROS second baseman CRAIG BIGGIOmade history as the first Astro in franchise history inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame. On July 27, the legend joined Randy Johnson, Pedro Martínez and John Smoltz, cementing their rightful place in Cooperstown, N.Y. Biggio played his entire 20-year career in Houston, during which he played for seven different managers.

TIME TO SHINE: HOUSTON TEXANS wide receiver DEANDRE HOPKINSbecame the first player in NFL history with at least nine catches and 145 receiving yards in three consecutive games (Weeks 4–6). Earlier this year, Hopkins passed former (and beloved) Texans wide receiver Andre Johnson for most receiving yards in a player’s first three seasons in franchise history.

A COMEBACK FOR THE AGES: The HOUSTON ROCKETS epic comeback in Game 6 of the Western Conference Semifinals is one of the top moments in NBA Playoff history, period. The Rockets (with James Harden on the bench) outscored the Clippers 40–15 in the final period, sending the series back to the Toyota Center for Game 7. Houston advanced to the Western Conference Finals for the first time since 1996–97.

NO REST FOR THE WEARY (OR THE ACE): ASTROS ace and American League Cy Young Award winner, DALLAS KEUCHEL, took the mound on just three days rest, in the AL Wild Card Game against the Yankees. Keuchel led the Astros to a 3–0 win, sending them to the playoffs, marking the Astros’ 10th postseason appearance (3rd as a Wild Card participant) in franchise history. Keuchel went 2–0 with a 0.69 ERA (1ER/13IP) in his 2 postseason starts.

NEW PLAYING FIELDS: Due to not being up to the team’s “historical standards” (and complaints from players around the League), the Texans switched from natural grass to an artificial turf.

A DECADE IN THE BOOKS: In 2015, the DYNAMO celebrated their tenth season. They averaged 20,658 fans per game, the club’s secondbest mark since BBVA Compass Stadium opened in 2012.

BIG WINS COME IN SMALL PACKAGES: PEARLAND LITTLE LEAGUE WEST finished 3rd in the world at the Little League World Series (LLWS). The Little Leaguers even garnered national attention, LIVE, on SportsCenter.

TWO WORDS – CARLI LLOYD: April 10 – Lloyd makes her HOUSTON DASHdebut after a trade last season. July 5 – Lloyd has a game for the ages with the entire world watching, a hat trick in the first 16 minutes of the Women’s World Cup Final in Vancouver, securing the USWNT’s third World Cup with a 5–2 win over Japan. July 29 – Lloyd continues her amazing summer with the winning goal over FC Kansas City, marking her seventh consecutive game with a goal.

ALL BUT ONE: ROCKETS guard JAMES HARDEN played and started all but one of a possible 82 games for the Rockets last season averaging 27.4 points, 7.0 assists, 5.7 rebounds and 1.9 steals. Harden was also runner- up for the NBA Most Valuable Player Award and named MVP by his peers in the inaugural NBPA Players’ Awards.

HOLY TOLEDO: Remembering MILO HAMILTON. After a storied and legendary career dating back to 1950, Hall of Fame Broadcaster Milo Hamilton died at the age of 88. Hamilton was a voice synonymous with the Houston Astros and during his career set an MLB record, broadcasting from 59 stadiums. Hamilton spent half his MLB career in Houston, and undoubtedly left a legacy with Houston fans.

BEHIND-THE-SCENES: The Houston Texans were the eighth team featured on HBO’s popular series Hard Knocks, which first debuted in 2001. From July 24–September 7, 115 NFL Films production staff members worked diligently to bring football fans rare and unseen training camp footage, sorting through more than 1,500 hours of film captured by 14 cameras.

AGE IS JUST A NUMBER: At 21 years and 20 days old in Game 4 of the ALDS, ASTRO CARLOS CORREA became the youngest player in American League history to post a multi-homer postseason game and the youngest to have a 4-hit game.

This article originally appeared in the print issue of Local Houston Magazine’s December 2015 issue. FREE issues can be found all throughout Houston. For the online/original version, click here