1964 - Timeline
from This Date in Astros History
Jan 17 - Jeff Tabaka is born in Barberton, OH. The southpaw reliever compiles a 1-2 record with one save over the 1995 and 1996 seasons as an Astro.
Jan 20 - Looking to solve their shortstop woes, the Colts trade two pitchers, Jim Dickson and Wally Wolf, and cash to Cincinnati for Eddie Kasko. Kasko hits .244 in two seasons with Houston before being traded to Boston. Dickson had two saves in 13 appearances for the Colts in 1963.
Feb 17 - Colts trade outfielder Carl Warwick to St. Louis for outfielder Jim Beauchamp and pitcher Chuck Taylor. Beauchamp would hit .164 and .189 as an Houston reserve. The 21-year-old Taylor was sent back to St. Louis where he saw his first big league action in 1969 and became a quality reliever.
Feb 20 - Colts trade in cacti for grapefruits as they begin their first spring training in Cocoa, FL. The new facility is hailed as "state-of-the-art" but soon becomes disparaged because of poor drainage, snakes, and a spartan dormitory where the players are housed. Prankster Turk Farrell livens things up by purchasing a young alligator and slipping him into the clubhouse whirlpool.
Apr 08 - Colts reliever Jim Umbricht dies at the age of 33 from melanoma cancer. He was the only pitcher with a winning record in both of Houston's first two seasons, overcoming major surgery during the 1963 campaign - or so it seemed.
Apr 13 - Colt .45s win the league's season opener in Cincinnati, defeating the Reds, 6-3. It is the only time in their three-year history that the Colts have sole possession of first place. President Lyndon Johnson watches while Ken Johnson, still grieving over the death of roommate Jim Umbricht, hurls a two-hit shutout before tiring in the ninth. Jim Wynn, who grew up in Cincinnati, belts a two-run shot in the victory.
Apr 16 - Texas Governor John Connally tosses out the first pitch for the Colts' home opener, a 6-5 loss to the Milwaukee Braves. Connally tosses lefthanded because his right arm is still healing from gunshot wounds suffered in the assassination of John F. Kennedy.
Apr 19 - Bob Bruce ties a major-league record by striking out the side on nine pitches in the eighth inning against the Cardinals. It happens in a 6-1 loss to Bob Gibson. Bruce fans Bill White, Charley Jones and Ken Boyer in perfect order. The next inning, after a leadoff single, Bruce KOs Tim McCarver, Julian Javier and Gibson for good measure.
Apr 20 - Nellie Fox drives in four runs with a two-run single and a two-run triple to pace a 7-1 win over St. Louis. Dick Farrell tosses a four-hitter.
Apr 23 - Ken Johnson no-hits the Reds but the Colts still lose, 1-0 . The run scores when Nellie Fox boots Vada Pinson's grounder in the ninth. Pete Rose had reached on Johnson's two-base error to start the inning. Joe Nuxhall fans Johnny Weekly to seal Johnson's fate as the hard-luck loser.
Jun 21 - The Colts spank the Milwaukee Braves, 5-2 and 5-4, to complete a four-game sweep. Rusty Staub is the opening-game star with four hits, including two home runs. Pitcher Ken Johnson and outfielder Joe Gaines go deep in the nightcap. Bob Lillis picks up five hits in the twinbill. In addition, the team signs high-school phenom Larry Dierker.
Jul 09 - Colts shock the Dodgers with four in the ninth for a 6-5 triumph. Nellie Fox bloops a single to plate the tying and winning runs. Earlier, Jerry Grote had belted a two-run homer off Don Drysdale.
Jul 12 - Nellie Fox singles home Eddie Kasko with two outs in the bottom of the ninth to end a wild 5-4 victory over the Giants at Colt Stadium. Tempers are hot as the Texas heat with players and managers from both teams getting run by umpire Lee Weyer. San Francisco's Billy O'Dell is thumbed as he makes warm-up tosses after arriving from the bullpen. An angry Gaylord Perry grabs Fox's bat when it's all over and smashes it to pieces before handing it to the batboy.
Aug 19 - Nellie Fox delivers his third hit, a single off Barney Schultz, scoring Al Spangler for an 8-7, ten-inning triumph over St. Louis. Bob Aspromonte drives in four, including a game-tying hit with two out in the ninth to push the game into overtime.
Aug 23 - Don Larsen, of World Series no-hit fame, tosses a five-hitter in the Texas heat to best Warren Spahn and the Milwaukee Braves, 7-1. It is Larsen's first complete game in five years. Bob Aspromonte and Walt Bond launch solo bombs to pace the Colts. Rookie catcher Jerry Grote adds two hits, including a two-run double.
Sep 01 - Colt .45s have trouble leaving their Philadelphia hotel as a local radio station falsely reports that the Beatles are staying there. Teenaged fans swarm the exits, seeking a glimpse of the Fab Four. Battling past the mob, the .45s then lose to the Phils, 4-3, on four solo homers.
Sep 03 - Don Larsen tosses a four-hit shutout at Philadelphia, 6-0 . Mike White paces the Colts attack with four hits while Eddie Kasko chips in three.
Sep 19 - The first manager in franchise history, Harry Craft, is fired with a 61-88 mark. Luman Harris is named to replace him. Nellie Fox starts off the new skipper's reign with a game-winning pinch-hit single in the ninth for a 2-1 win over the Mets.
Sep 27 - In the last game played at Colt Stadium, Jim Wynn singles home Rusty Staub for a 1-0, 12-inning triumph over Los Angeles . Bob Bruce is masterful, scattering five hits in the complete game victory. Bruce becomes the first 15-game winner in franchise history.
Oct 22 - Gerald Young is born in Tela, Honduras. The swift outfielder batted .246, scored 249 runs and stole 153 bases over parts of six seasons in Houston. His best comes in 1988 when he swipes a team-high 65 bases to go with a .257 average.
Nov 17 - Mitch Williams is born in Santa Ana, CA. The lefthander, nicknamed "Wild Thing", has a colorful career but not much of it good while with Houston. He lasts just 20 innings before retiring to his Texas ranch. He would pitch again elsewhere for two more seasons.
Dec 01 - HSA officially changes the name of the ballclub from the Colt .45s to the Astros. It is the last time a major league team has changed nicknames without also changing cities.
Dec 03 - General Manager Paul Richards sparks controversy when news leaks out during the Winter Meetings in Houston that he had offered the team's entire 40-man roster plus $5 million dollars for the 40-man roster of the Milwaukee Braves. Richards claimed to have had the backing of owners Bob Smith and Roy Hofheinz but the Braves shoot down the idea as a joke that got out of hand. Had it been consumated, future Hall of Famers like Hank Aaron, Phil Niekro and Eddie Mathews could have been Astros.
Dec 12 - While the official name will remain the Harris County Domed Stadium, Judge Roy Hofheinz introduces his new ballpark as the "Astrodome" for the first time while displaying the team's new logo of baseballs in orbit around a likeness of the new stadium.