|Corpus Christi Hooks
Founded in 1968 in Memphis, Tennessee
Based in Corpus Christi, Texas since 2005
|Minor league affiliations|
|League||Texas League (2005-present)|
|Major league affiliations|
|Current||Houston Astros (1991-present)|
|Previous||New York Mets (1968-1990)|
|Minor league titles|
|Nickname||Corpus Christi Hooks (2005-present)|
|Ballpark||Whataburger Field (2005-present)|
|General Manager||Wes Weigle|
The Corpus Christi Hooks are a minor league baseball team of the Texas League, and are the Double-A affiliate of the Houston Astros. They are located in Corpus Christi, Texas, and are named for the city's association with fishing. The team's ownership group is headed by Baseball Hall of Famer Nolan Ryan; the team's CEO, Reid Ryan, is Nolan's oldest son. The Hooks play their home games at Whataburger Field, which opened in 2005 and is located on Corpus Christi's waterfront.
The history of the Hooks' franchise dates back to 1968, when it got its start in the Texas League as the Memphis Blues. That club won the league crown twice, in 1969 and 1973. In 1974, the franchise moved to Victoria, Texas and played in Toro Stadium, where it captured the league title in its lone season as the Toros. The following year, the club moved to Jackson, Mississippi where it would remain for the next 25 seasons, first as the Mets (1975-1990), then as the Generals (1991-1999). The franchise qualified for the playoffs 13 times and won the TL championship on five occasions (1981, 1984, 1985, 1993 and 1996). During the years 1980-1987, Jackson dominated the league, making it to eight consecutive post-seasons.
Hall of Famer Nolan Ryan and his group acquired the franchise following the 1998 season and moved it from Jackson to Round Rock in time for the 2000 season. The Round Rock Express, led by Morgan Ensberg and Roy Oswalt, powered their way to the Texas League title in that first season at The Dell Diamond. The Express, which shattered league attendance records throughout their five-year run, also qualified for post-season play in four of those five seasons.
The move of the franchise from Round Rock to Corpus Christi following the 2004 season was made possible when the owners of the Express, Ryan Sanders Baseball, acquired the Triple-A franchise in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada and announced their intention to move the club to Round Rock. That paved the way for the Double-A franchise to relocate to the Gulf Coast of Texas. In 2004 the organization held a "Name the Team" contest that sought suggestions from the community for a new name for the team. The contest was won by Corpus Christi resident, Michael Braly. The team's new name, Corpus Christi Hooks was born. The team's colors are navy blue and light blue, representing the ocean and sky of the popular South Texas fishing area. The team mascots are Sammy the Seagull and Rusty Hook. The Hooks have played every home game since the move to Corpus Christi at Whataburger Field.
One of the most exciting moments in the team's history was an appearance by Roger Clemens on June 11, 2006, as he prepared for his return to the Astros. Clemens' start attracted nationwide attention and a record crowd of 9,022. Clemens struck out 11 batters in 6 innings on his way to the victory. Tickets were being sold on Ebay for up to $230.
On September 14, 2006, in a wild 5 hour 14 inning marathon, the Corpus Christi Hooks eclipsed the Wichita Wranglers, 8-7, clinching the third and decisive game to defeat Wichita 3 games to 1 in the best of five series to win the 2006 Texas League Championship. This marked the first time a Corpus Christi franchise has won the TL Championship since the 1958 Corpus Christi Giants. Manager Dave Clark was named 2006 Texas League Manager of The Year and pitcher Matt Albers was named 2006 Texas League Pitcher of the Year.
On June 25, 2007, Whataburger Field played host to the 2007 installment of the Texas League All-Star Game. Seven Hooks players were invited to play on the squad. From 2005 to 2010, the Hooks have graduated 29 players to the major leagues and have had another 31 players with big-league experience wear the Corpus Christi uniform. From 2005 to 2010, a total of 163 men have played for the Hooks.
A number of Hooks players have been called up to the major leagues since the team has been in Corpus Christi. These include Charlton Jimerson, Héctor Giménez and J. R. House, Matt Albers, Fernando Nieve, Chris Sampson, Jason Hirsh, Hunter Pence, Jason Castro, Chris Johnson, José Altuve, Fernando Abad, Arcenio León, J. D. Martinez, Dallas Keuchel, Josh Zeid, Carlos Correa, Philip Barzilla, Alex Bregman, J. D. Davis, and George Springer.
Since the Hooks inaugural season they have been the chief rivals of the San Antonio Missions. The main point of the rivalry is to determine who is the better team of South Texas. Recently the Hooks have stated on their website that they are the "Baseball Capital of South Texas". The Corpus Christi Hooks' parent club is Texas' own Houston Astros, while The Missions' parent club is California's San Diego Padres.