“Houston-Then & Now”
I’ve been a fan of the game forever, whether I liked the teams or not.
It’s a product of being brought up in a baseball family, a father who was in the Philadelphia A’s system, an uncle who was a beat writer for the old Brooklyn Eagle, covering the Dodges.
I grew up collecting baseball cards. And then it was autographs. And it was watching the Yankees-Dodgers and Giants on black and white television, when they were all part of Gotham.
Big games, big-time teams, big trades, and following those clubs out of town.
And I bet the mermories are flooding back in the city that was devastated by the floods just a month ago.
Houston is celebrating the Astros World Series victory at this hour, saluting a spectacular team, with an array of talent, just as flashy as the ‘rainbow’ uniforms they used to wear.
You’d have to be a lifetime baseball fan to remember the original Houston Colt 45’s, with that gun logo on the front of the jerseys.
They played in an outdoor stadium in those early years, where the joke was the mosquitos on hot-humid nights, were as big as your dad’s old Buick.
It was an era of old time names stocking an expansion team roster beginning in 1962.
Dick ‘Turk’ Farrell, little Bobby Shanty, John Bateman and Bob Aspromonte.
They had good players early on, led by Rusty Staub, (Le Grande Orange), and the (Toy Cannon), Jimmy Wynn.
Spectacular pitching followed with the likes of JR Richard and Don Wilson.
It was the birth place of Little Joe Morgan, who went on to stardom years later with the Big Red Machine.
There was Larry Deirker and Mike Scott, the closer Dave Smith, and Roy Oswalt.
Oh there were some stars too, like the Killer Bs….Birkman, Biggio and Bagwell, now Hall of Fame eligible.
It was the launching point of all the great things that Ken Caminiti became.
Houston gave us Judge Roy Hofheinz, who gave us the Houston Astrodome, the so-called 8th wonder of the world.
It had spectacular leadership too in the Tal Smith era, and the current genius in Jeff Luhnow and his staff.
Today’s Astros stars earned this one. What a great team, what great talent. Altuve….Springer… Correa….Verlander and more,
But as I sat and watched the final outs, lots of names came flooding back.
Somewhere else, names like Don Nottebart and Hal Woodeshcik’s families, original Colt 45’s, must be feeling the elation of what those players in that victories clubhouse were feeling.
It’s a feel good story that took 55-years in the making. The 100-loss seasons were washed away as the champagne sprayed everywhere.
‘Houston-Strong’, so many meanings now, linked forever to Astros baseball.