Baseball in the Space Age
- Houston’s Role in the Initiation of Sunday Night Baseball
- Movies, Bullfights, and Baseball, Too: Astrodome Built for Spectacle First and Sports Second
The Houston Astros and Wooing Women Fans
Although the earliest of American baseball clubs were organized as exclusively male social organizations, spectators were soon drawn to their games, and plenty of women were among them. But by the early 1960s, teams began to notice declining attendance of women. Few franchises in baseball's westward expansion attempted to cater to female fans like the Houston Astros. Established in 1962 as the Colt .45s and led by eccentric owner Judge Roy Hofheinz, Houston’s entry in the National League employed a variety of marketing strategies to attract female fans to ballgames.
The Colt .45s and the 1961 Expansion Draft
On October 10, 1961, the National League held the expansion draft to provide players for the Houston Colt .45s and the New York Mets. The NL learned from the mistakes made in the AL expansion draft a year earlier, but both teams were hampered by a lack of quality players in the pool and financial restrictions.
- Dick “Turk” Farrell: Houston’s First All-Star
- The 1963 Pepsi Cola Colt .45s Baseball Card Set
- Almost Three Games in One: Astros 1, Mets 0 on April 15, 1968
The 1968 All-Star Game
The 1968 baseball season took place against a backdrop of racial violence. The late 1960s trembled with social and political turbulence, with the summer of 1968 at its epicenter. Given the tenor of the times, Houston was a good place for Major League Baseball to showcase its talent in the 1968 mid-summer classic.
The Saga of J.R. Richard’s Debut: Blowing Away 15 Sticks at Candlestick
When Houston Astros flamethrower J.R. Richard debuted against the San Francisco Giants at Candlestick Park on September 5, 1971, he did so in relative anonymity. He received no television coverage, and no radio broadcast beyond the clubs’ local markets. Willie Mays and baseball’s fourth-best offense awaited him. The rookie responded by striking out 15 Giants to tie a major league record.
- From the Gashouse to the Glasshouse: Leo Durocher and the 1972–73 Houston Astros
- There Used to be a Big Dome
- Don Wilson: Houston's Fallen Star
- Rainout in the Astrodome
- Catching Rainbows and Calling Stars: Alan Ashby and the Houston Astros
The Greatest Game Ever Played? October 15, 1986
On October 15, 1986, the New York Mets led the Houston Astros three games to two in the NLCS after an extra-inning victory in Game Five at Shea Stadium. Game Six was scheduled for Houston, and most in baseball, including many of the Mets players, assumed that the Astros would roll on to win Game Seven if they could somehow manage a victory in Game Six at home. It was a 16-inning classic.
- The Houston Astros Hall of Stats
Astrodome Proves to Be No Hitters Park
Long fences and “dead” indoor air gave Astrodome a reputation for being unfriendly to hitters. This analysis compares batting average, slugging percentage, and home run rate (home runs per 1,000 at-bats) for all Astros games at home (in the Dome) and on the road.
- Astrodome Attendance Below League Average
Get your copy of "Houston Baseball: The Early Years 1861-1961"
All SABR 44 convention attendees received a free copy of Houston Baseball: The Early Years 1861-1961, edited by Mike Vance and produced by SABR's Larry Dierker Chapter, as part of their registration goody bag. Learn more about the book here.
- Editor's note: Baseball in the Space Age
- Download the 2014 TNP e-book