Editor's note: Baseball in the Space Age

By Cecilia M. Tan

This article was published in the 2014 The National Pastime.

This issue of The National Pastime is dedicated to baseball in Houston since 1961. For the past several years, each annual issue of TNP has centered on the geographic area of SABR’s summer convention site. Since the convention moves around, that has given us great range: Philadelphia, Minnesota, Southern California have hosted recent conventions and corresponding issues of TNP have been produced. But this is the first one that will have a time-limited component as well as a geographic one. Why? SABR’s Houston chapter is releasing a book for the convention, too: Houston Baseball: The Early Years, 1861–1961. (Visit HoustonBaseball.org to order your copy of that book.)

Houston Baseball is a gorgeous hardcover book and will be given to each attendee of the convention. With the first hundred years of Houston baseball covered so thoroughly in that publication, it made sense to focus The National Pastime for this summer on the space age and the arrival of Major League Baseball in the region. So here we have a special issue centered almost entirely on the Houston Astros (née Colt .45s) and their two influential and iconic homes, short-lived Colt Stadium and the Astrodome.

The Houston MLB franchise has been around only slightly longer than I have, but the Colts/Astros have amassed more than their share of history in the five-plus decades since their launch. Friends in Texas always tell me that “everything is bigger in Texas,” and that certainly applies to the role of the Astrodome in pop culture, and to the outsize personality of team owner Roy Hofheinz, who was one part P.T. Barnum, two parts George Steinbrenner, and all Texan.

If you weren’t able to attend the convention in Houston, please enjoy reading this issue of The National Pastime as your virtual trip to “Space City” in the Lone Star State. Seventeen SABR members will be your tour guides. Happy reading!

CECILIA M. TAN is SABR's Publications Editor. She can be reached at ctan@sabr.org.