1963 - Season Recap
(c) Bob Hulsey
The second season brought plenty of changes as the team tried to find the right mix of veteran players while introducing raw young talent from the minors. The results hardly changed in the won-loss department. The Colts ended in ninth place with a 66-96 mark.
Turk Farrell led the club again with 14 victories while lefty Hal Woodeshick posted eleven wins and ten saves out of the bullpen. But the year's best pitching effort was turned in by Don Nottebart who tossed a no-hitter on May 17th in Colt Stadium against Philadelphia for a 4-1 triumph.
Houston became the first National League team to play night games on Sundays. The league lifted their ban after teams complained about the Texas summer heat the previous year. The first such night game was played on June 9th against the Giants. Veteran Hal "Skinny" Brown was the hero, blanking San Francisco for six innings after Farrell left in third inning with an injury.
Juan Marichal of the Giants got revenge on June 15th when he no-hit the Colts, 1-0, at Candlestick Park. Lost in the details was that Dick Drott tossed a three-hitter for Houston.
By late June, the Colts offense reminded some Texans of the Dust Bowl days. They were blanked for 40 consecutive innings, lost 8-1 with Howie Goss getting the lone run home, then began another scoreless streak of 30 innings. Houston was mired in a ten-game losing streak before Al Spangler homered to break the hex on June 26th. The Colts came back to life and beat the Milwaukee Braves in 13 innings with a 7-2 miracle.
As the season wore on, Craft put youngsters in the lineup more frequently. Houston's first "bonus baby", 19-year-old Daniel "Rusty" Staub appeared in 150 games and got his first big league homer on June 10th against one of the league's best pitchers. A pair of 21-year-olds, Ernie Fazio and Jim Wynn, also saw significant playing time. Another rookie, 23-year-old catcher John Bateman, led the Colts in homers (10) and RBIs (59).
Speaking of youth, the previous year third baseman Bob Aspromonte befriended a young Arkansas boy who was struck by lightning at a baseball diamond. When Aspromonte visited the nine-year-old in Methodist Hospital, the kid asked that his hero hit a home run for him that night. The third sacker wasn't much of a power hitter but he agreed to try. As fate provided, Aspromonte blasted a homer.
The child returned to Houston for additional eye surgery in 1963. When Aspromonte saw him, the lad asked again for a home run. The third baseman smashed a grand slam to beat the Cubs, 6-2. The Ruthian tale was getting publicity for the new team. When the kid came back to town in July, he asked Aspromonte for still another homer. Stuck in a terrible slump, Bob was afraid he'd disappoint the boy. Instead, he beat the Mets with another grand slam. Some suggested the Colts take the kid on the road.
By late September, the Colts sometimes looked like Little Leaguers themselves. On September 27th, the club hosted the Mets and sent out an all-rookie lineup. Houston lost, 10-3, but it was a preview of coming attractions. On the final day, 18-year-old outfielder John Paciorek had a career. He got three hits, scored four times and drove in three runs. Paciorek hurt his neck the following spring and never played in the majors again, retiring with a 1.000 career big league batting average. For a team in search of direction, at least the Colts weren't dull.
9th place, National League
Nov 1 1962 - signed Joe Morgan(IF) as free agent
Nov 30 1962 - paid cash to Mil-N for Don Nottebart(P)
Nov 30 1962 - traded Joe Amalfitano(IF) to SF-N for Dick LeMay(P) and Manny Mota(OF)
Nov 30 1962 - traded Norm Larker(IF) to Mil-N for Jim Bolger(OF) and Connie Grob(P)
Dec 10 1962 - traded Dick Williams(OF) to Bos-A for Carroll Hardy(OF)
1963 - signed Leon McFadden(IF) as free agent
Mar 28 1963 - traded Merritt Ranew(C), Hal Haydel, and Dick LeMay to Chi-N for Danny Murphy and Jug Gerard
Apr 4 1963 - traded Manny Mota to Pit-N for Howie Goss(OF) and cash
Apr 21 1963 - paid cash to NY-A for Hal Brown(P)
May 16 1963 - signed Ivan Murrell(OF) as free agent
May 19 1963 - signed Walt Williams(OF) as free agent
Jun 1963 - signed Larry Howard(C) as free agent
Jun 14 1963 - signed Jay Dahl(P) as free agent
Jul 14 1963 - sent George Brunet(P) to Bal-A for cash
Sep 1963 - signed Steve Hertz(IF) as free agent
Sep 30 1963 - sent Don McMahon(P) to Cle-A for cash
Oct 1 1963 - released Hal Smith(C)
Oct 1 1963 - released Johnny Temple(IF)
Oct 9 1963 - sent Jim Campbell(C) to Cin-N for cash
Oct 10 1963 - paid $30,000 to Mil-N for Clayde Raymond(P)