1965 - Season Recap
by Bob Hulsey

If ever a ballpark generated more headlines than the baseball team, it was the Harris County Domed Stadium. Judge Roy Hofheinz, who was buying control of the team from the other partners, dubbed it "The Astrodome" and, thank goodness, the name stuck. Gone were the days of stifling heat and merciless mosquitoes. Under glass, it was 72-degree comfort in plush theater seats. There were luxury suites and an enormous scoreboard. To baseball purists though, the sacrifices for comfort came at a price. To Houston fans, it made the losing product on the field easier to endure.

The Astrodome's debut came on April 9th in an exhibition game against the American League's dynasty, the New York Yankees. The new palace, ballyhooed by Hofheinz as the "Eighth Wonder of the World", was christened in fine fashion. Turk Farrell had the honor of pitching before a packed house while Yankee legend Mickey Mantle got the first base hit and the first home run in indoor competition. Ron Brand would achieve the first hit for the Astros. President Johnson halted the action temporarily when he arrived and joined Judge Hofheinz in the judge's apartment built above the right field stands. LBJ left before the game was done but those who stayed got their money's worth. It was player-coach Nellie Fox who would close the curtain on a memorable night, driving home Jim Wynn in the 12th inning for a 2-1 victory.

Opening Day on April 12th was less thrilling. After 24 astronauts from NASA tossed out the "first pitch" to their baseball namesakes, Phillies lefty Chris Short silenced the throng with a four-hit shutout. Richie Allen of Philadelphia swatted the Dome's first National League home run in the 2-0 decision.

Bob Aspromonte was the first Astro to set off the scoreboard's Home Run Spectacular for its intended purpose on April 24th against Vernon Law of the Pittsburgh Pirates. Wynn would set it off again two innings later. New York broadcaster Lindsey Nelson got to explore another unique feature of the new ballpark when he broadcast a Mets game from the gondola 200 feet above second base on April 28th.

As visiting teams adjusted to the new conditions, the Astros launched their first ten-game winning streak, climaxing with a doubleheader sweep of Chicago on May 1st. Though tied several times, the winning streak would continue to be a club record until 1999.

Joe Morgan left his mark in the team's record book when he went six-for-six in a twelve-inning loss to the Milwaukee Braves on July 8th. Morgan and Wynn established themselves as regulars on the team that year. Wynn led the Astros in batting average (.275), homers (22), RBIs (73) and steals (43). Farrell was again the team's pitching leader with 11 victories.

In August, the Astros signed Philadelphia legend Robin Roberts to a contract. Cast aside by the Phillies two years before, Roberts got revenge on August 9th when he blanked the Phils, 8-0, on a four-hitter. He beat them again in Philadelphia on the next road trip.

The Astros topped the two-million mark in home attendance as fans came from all around to see the new stadium. But the change of scenery made little difference in the standings. Houston finished 65-97 and once again landed in ninth place.

Day-by-Day recap of the 1965 Season.

9th place, National League

C Ron Brand 237.235
1B Walt Bond 747.263
2B Joe Morgan 1440.271
3B Bob Aspromonte 552.263
SS Bob Lillis 020.221
LF Lee Maye 336.251
CF Jim Wynn 2273.275
RF Rusty Staub 1463.256
OF Joe Gaines 631.227
IF Jim Gentile 731.242
IF Eddie Kasko 110.247
C John Bateman 714.197
Key PitchersWLERA
SP Bob Bruce 9183.72
SP Dick Farrell 11113.50
SP Don Nottebart 4154.67
SP Larry Dierker 783.50
SP Robin Roberts 521.89
CL Jim Owens 653.28
RP Ron Taylor 156.40
RP Claude Raymond 742.90
RP Dave Giusti 874.32

Wynn: "The Toy Cannon".
(c) Houston Astros

Morgan: Rewrote the record books.
(c) Houston Astros

From The AstrosDaily Media Library

1965: A New Stadium - From "Houston Astros: A Silver Odyssey". The renamed Colts move into their futuristic new home but not without issues. (2:27 - MLB video)
Universal Newsreel footage - of the Astrodome opening. (1:36 - Universal Newsreel)
Jul 13, 1965 - Dick Farrell pitches the seventh inning of the 1965 All-Star Game in Minnesota.(5:45 - MLB Network; NBC, Garagiola, Buck)

1965 The new Astrodome features a giant scoreboard with a Home Run Spectacular.(0:47)
Apr 9, 1965 Dick Farrell opens the Astrodome against the New York Yankees.(0:45,Elston)
Apr 9, 1965 Nellie Fox wins the first game in the Astrodome with a base hit in the 12th.(0:53, Elston)
Apr 27, 1965 Eddie Kasko delivers a walk-off two-run double in the ninth.(1:18, Nelson - Mets)
Apr 28, 1965 Mets announcer Lindsay Nelson calls the game from the Dome's ceiling.(1:31, Nelson, Kiner - Mets)
Jun 30, 1965 Pitcher Turk Farrell gets a hit in his sixth straight game.(0:25, Elston)
Jun 30, 1965 Jim Wynn steals home against San Francisco.(0:45, Elston)
Jul 2, 1965 Joe Morgan swipes a base against the Dodgers.(0:22, Elston)
Jul 22, 1965 Larry Dierker finishes his first complete game as a big leaguer.(0:58, Elston)
Aug 9, 1965 Robin Roberts shuts out his old teammates in his Astros debut.(1:19, Elston)

Trades and Transactions

Dec 1 1964 - Winter Major League Draft
- drafted Ron Brand(C) from Pit-N for $25,000
- drafted Norm Miller(OF) from LA-A as first-year player for $8,000
- drafted Bruce Von Hoff(P) from SF-N as first-year player for $8,000

Apr 24 1965 - traded Don Larsen(P) to Bal-A for Bob Saverine and cash

May 23 1965 - traded Jim Beauchamp(OF) and Ken Johnson(P) to Mil-N for Lee Maye(OF)

Jan 31 1965 - signed Bob Watson(C) as free agent

Jun 1 1965 - traded Al Spangler(OF) to Cal-A for Don Lee(P)

Jun 4 1965 - traded Ernie Fazio(IF), Jess Hickman(P), and $100,000 to KC-A for Jim Gentile(IF). KC received Fazio on Oct 15

Jun 8 1965 - Summer Free Agent Draft
- 1. drafted Alex Barrett(IF) (#4 pick overall)
- 2. drafted Keith Lampard(OF)
- 10. drafted Danny Walton(OF)
- 36. drafted Jerry DaVanon(OF)
- 65. drafted Otis Thornton(C-P)

Jun 14 1965 - paid cash to Phi-N for Gus Triandos(C)

Jun 15 1965 - traded Hal Woodeshick(P) and Chuck Taylor to StL-N for Mike Cuellar(P) and Ron Taylor(P)

Jul 10 1965 - paid cash to Phi-N for Frank Thomas(IF)

Aug 6 1965 - signed Robin Roberts(P) as free agent

Aug 20 1965 - released Gus Triandos(C)

Aug 30 1965 - signed Steve Shea(P) as free agent

Sep 1 1965 - traded Frank Thomas(IF) to Mil-N for Mickey Sinnerud. Hou received Sinnerud on Sep 11

Sep 14 1965 - traded Bucky Brandon to Bos-A for Jack Lamabe(P)

Oct 19 1965 - traded Jerry Grote(C) to NY-N for Tom Parsons(P) and cash. Hou received Parsons on Nov 24