No matter what Minute Maid Park looks like during baseball season, we know Bobby Dynamite will be there cheering on the Astros and conducting the old train perched atop the façade of archways 90 feet above left field. Ever since 2001, the year he started the gig, any time an Astro hits a home run, Dynamite—known to some as Bobby Vasquez—hops in the replica General 4-4-0 steam locomotive, loaded with plastic oranges in a nod to the stadium’s namesake, and helps take it down the track, activating those whistles, and causing a general uproar.
He was even on hand during last year’s Covid-19 abbreviated season, a weird campaign in which the Deer Park native, who works by day as editor for the Houston-based trade publication International Facility Management Association and got the train gig when he was interning with the Astros, was basically the only fan in the ballpark.
“Man, it was surreal,” says Dynamite. “The last time I was in the ballpark in 2019 for anything baseball related was the last game of the World Series. To go from that atmosphere to walking in and not hearing anything, that extreme was just really, really tough to deal with.”
He persevered. Ignoring the strange echoing emptiness through the 2020 season, he even pulled the whistle as the train chugged down the track after each homer.
This year we’re hoping he makes that trip plenty more times, and to honor the fan favorite, we’ve dug up some numbers about Bobby and the famed Minute Maid Park train.
Speed of train when a home run is hit, in mph
Weight of train, in pounds
Train track’s height from field level, in feet
Fake oranges in train car (approximate)
Length of the locomotive, in feet
Most train trips in one game (Sept. 9, 2019 vs Oakland)
Most home run-fueled train trips in one season (2019)
Home runs celebrated at Minute Maid Park in 2020
Total train trips ever, including playoffs (as of the end of the 2020 season)
Total number of games logged by Bobby Dynamite