1965 - Timeline
from This Date in Astros History
Jan 02 - Greg Swindell is born in Fort Worth, TX. Signed to a big free agent contract, the lefthander has a disappointing stint in Houston from 1993 to 1996, going 30-34 with a 4.48 ERA.
Jan 04 - Harris County Commissioners vote to restrict visitors from the construction site of the new domed stadium, fearing the constant traffic of onlookers would delay completion of the ballpark. While Judge Hofheinz calls the stadium "95-percent complete", commissioners are concerned that the deadline for the April 9th opener will be approaching soon.
Jan 19 - Bob Aspromonte is the first recipient of the Jim Umbricht Award, given to the team's most valuable player for the previous season. The honor was renamed after Umbricht's death from cancer the previous April.
Jan 24 - Comedian Bill Dana is named the first official mascot of the Houston Astros by Judge Hofheinz. The comic, whose signature routine is portraying a dimwitted astronaut, comments about the new ballpark "if they would build a cemetery, you'd never have to leave the place."
Jan 31 - 18-year-old catcher Bob Watson signs as a free agent. Watson would eventually play left field and first base, becoming one of the best hitters in franchise history.
Feb 08 - A few Astros take the field for the first practice inside the new Astrodome. Rusty Staub is the only player to swat a ball over the fence as 250 members of the press look on. Pitchers are relieved to discover that breaking pitches still break indoors. Singer Anita Bryant is on hand to deliver a ceremonial first pitch.
Feb 15 - A squad of young Astro hopefuls open camp in Cocoa Beach, FL as the first to begin spring training workouts. Veterans will arrive between February 22nd and March 3rd.
Feb 22 - Eric Yelding is born in Montrose, AL. Tried in both the infield and outfield, Yelding's best season comes in 1990 when he bats .254 and steals 64 bases.
Mar 12 - Steve Finley is born in Paducah, KY. A .281 hitter during his four seasons in Houston (1991-1994), Finley has played for two National League champs and a World's Champion since being traded away.
Apr 09 - Houston's "Eighth Wonder Of The World" opens its doors for the first indoor baseball game, an exhibition against the New York Yankees. Dick Farrell tosses the first pitch . Ron Brand triples for Houston's first hit. The legendary Mickey Mantle homers to center field for the game's first run but the newly-named Astros prevail, 2-1 in twelve innings, on a single by player-coach Nellie Fox .
Apr 12 - Philadelphia's Chris Short and Dick Allen spoil the Astros' regular season Dome debut in a 2-0 shutout. Allen belts the park's first regulation homer while Short tosses a four-hitter. Twenty-two NASA astronauts threw out the ceremonial first pitch.
Apr 14 - Houston gets their first regulation win as the Astros, an eleven-inning 7-6 triumph over the Mets. Al Spangler stole home for the eventual winning run. Ron Brand has a two-run bunt single that refused to roll foul.
Apr 24 - Bob Aspromonte is the first to set off the Astrodome scoreboard's home run display for its intended purpose during a 5-0 shutout of the Pirates. Vern Law is the victim. Jim Wynn adds another blast two innings later to delight the crowd. Dick Farrell scatters seven hits.
Apr 25 - Joe Morgan singles home Bob Aspromonte in the 11th inning for a 5-4 triumph over Pittsburgh. It's the first day game at the Astrodome after the ceiling tiles had been painted to reduce the glare. Pirate outfielder Bill Virdon couldn't use it as an excuse when Jim Wynn scores on his three-base error. Umpire Vinnie Smith couldn't use it as an excuse when he overturns his own home-run call on Walt Bond's drive off the fence.
Apr 28 - New York broadcaster Lindsay Nelson calls the Mets' 12-9 loss to Houston from the gondola at the top of the Astrodome, located 208 feet above second base . The umpires tell Met skipper Casey Stengel that any ball which might hit Nelson would still be considered in play. That doesn't occur but a lot does as the two teams trade the lead. Bob Aspromonte's bases-loaded single delivers the game-winner.
May 01 - Astros sweep the Cubs, 6-4 and 6-1, to run their winning streak to ten games. Though tied several times, the streak remains a club record for 34 years.
May 21 - Two nights after manager Luman Harris had been ejected by umpire John Kibler, Bob Aspromonte is ejected by Kibler after a tag call at third base. Bill Giles, the Dome's scoreboard operator, splashes the words "KIBLER DID IT AGAIN" on the big board. This led to an apology to the umpires and to Warren Giles, Bill's father and president of the league. Pitcher Ron Herbel of the Giants also gets the first hit of his career after going oh-for-55 in the 8-1 San Francisco decision. Herbel retired with an .029 batting average in nine seasons.
May 22 - The Astrodome appears on national television for the first time. Viewers of ABC's Game Of The Week watch Willie Mays blast a mammoth shot into the center field tunnel as the Giants pummels the Astros, 10-1. Chris Schenkel and Leo Durocher are the announcers. In the untelevised nightcap of the day-night twinbill, Nellie Fox drives home Rusty Staub in the eighth for a 3-2 Houston victory. Joe Gaines homers.
May 23 - Hard luck pitcher Ken Johnson loses his last game for Houston, 5-2 at the hands of the Giants, in typical fashion. Jim Ray Hart hits a three-run inside-the-park homer in the first inning when Jim Wynn fails to track the fly ball as it falls on the warning track behind him. Johnson is traded later that afternoon to Milwaukee for Lee Maye.
May 31 - The Astros score six times in the eighth inning to stun Milwaukee, 7-2. Four walks, a throwing error and a "hit" that fell out of Rico Carty's glove doom the Braves. Bob Bruce is the winning pitcher.
Jun 04 - Ron Brand drives a three-run shot into the left field seats off Bob Gibson in the ninth to shock St. Louis, 5-2. Walt Bond homers for the other two runs. Elsewhere, first baseman Jim Gentile is acquired from the Kansas City A's for two players and cash.
Jun 06 - After 140 relief appearances, Claude Raymond makes his first big league start, scattering seven hits for a complete-game 10-1 triumph at St. Louis. Lee Maye, Jim Gentile and Jim Wynn blast homers while Bob Aspromonte drives in three. Rain cancels the second game of the scheduled twinbill.
Jun 25 - The Astros pass the one million mark in attendance for the first time during a 6-2 victory over the Mets. A two-run triple by Joe Morgan highlights the scoring. Larry Dierker outpitches Hall-of-Famer Warren Spahn who is a quarter-century older than the 18-year-old righthander.
Jul 08 - Joe Morgan sets a club record, going 6-for-6, but the Astros lose in Milwaukee, 9-8, in twelve innings. Morgan launches two bombs, scores three times, drives in three and steals a base. The Braves counter with five solo homers then push three more across in the ninth to tie it. Don Bolling singles home Mike de la Hoz for the game-winner and it was good timing for them - Morgan was due up the next inning.
Jul 10 - Joe Morgan stays hot, clubbing two home runs to lead a 10-1 thumping of the Mets in a 19-hit attack. Dick Farrell cruises through a five-hitter and is named to represent Houston at the All-Star Game for the fourth time.
Jul 21 - Bob Bruce outduels Bob Gibson as Houston blanks the Cardinals, 2-0. Bruce allows six hits. Gibson surrenders only four but one of them is a two-run double by Bob Lillis for the game's only tallies.
Jul 27 - The Braves smuggle their own fireworks from Milwaukee through Los Angeles and San Francisco just so they could challenge the Home Run Spectacular at the Astrodome. They get their chance when Joe Torre takes Larry Dierker deep, tossing firecrackers onto the field and lighting sparklers in the dugout. Houston fans applaud the gesture. Milwaukee wins, 7-1.
Aug 04 - The rift between owners Roy Hofheinz and R.E. "Bob" Smith reaches its climax when Hofheinz buys out Smith's remaining shares of the Houston Sports Association. Smith dared the Judge to do it, thinking he couldn't come up with the funds but Hofheinz put the money together, breaking Smith's heart. On the field, the road-weary Astros lose in St. Louis, 9-4.
Aug 09 - Robin Roberts, nearing the end of a Hall of Fame career, makes a memorable Astro debut. Before a cheering Astrodome throng, Roberts twirls a four-hit shutout against his old Philadelphia team, 8-0 . It is his 277th career win. The Phillies had let Roberts go back in 1961 because he was considered washed up. The Astros inked Robin after Baltimore released him. Roberts would finish the year 5-2 (1.89 ERA) in Houston.
Aug 13 - Rusty Staub singles home the game-winner in the ninth to slip past New York, 3-2. In the typical fashion of those early Met teams, they couldn't stand a 2-0 lead and let the winning run on base when two Mets collide under Joe Morgan's pop fly. Don Nottebart tosses a complete-game six-hitter.
Aug 27 - Pittsburgh's Roberto Clemente demonstrates his greatness with one of the defensive gems of the century. The Pirates misjudge a bunt from Bob Lillis that rolls casually into shallow left. Clemente dashes in from right field to grab it and throw out Walt Bond at third. His hustle is rewarded when the Bucs rally to overcome Houston, 10-9, in eleven innings.
Aug 31 - Frank Thomas drills two home runs and drives in five during a doubleheader sweep of the Mets, 4-3 and 3-2. He is then traded to Milwaukee for a minor leaguer. Thomas accounts for all four runs in the opener while Robin Roberts wins his fourth game of the month. Bob Bruce spins a four-hitter in the nightcap while Rusty Staub goes deep. But all of Gotham buzzes instead about the sudden retirement of 75-year-old Met skipper Casey Stengel.
Sep 13 - Willie Mays of the Giants becomes only the fifth major leaguer to reach 500 home runs when he tags Don Nottebart during a 5-1 San Francisco verdict. Mays stands and watches as the ball lands deep in the tunnel beyond centerfield at the Astrodome - an estimated 430-footer.
Oct 01 - A liner by pitcher Robin Roberts falls between outfielders Curt Flood and Mike Shannon. The two collide and infielder Dal Maxvill has to run down the ball. Roberts gets a two-run double out of it which keys a 4-2 triumph over St. Louis. It's the 281st career win for the future Hall-of-Famer. The Astros would finish the year with a 65-97 record and draw over two million fans in their first year at the Dome.
Oct 19 - Astros deal catcher Jerry Grote to the New York Mets for pitcher Tom Parsons and cash. Although batting just .182 with the Colt .45s, the San Antonio native goes on to several All-Star seasons in New York while Parsons never catches on in Houston.
Nov 10 - Joe Morgan receives the first vote of any Houston player for the National League MVP Award. But it is just one vote. Willie Mays of San Francisco gets the award over Dodgers Sandy Koufax and Maury Wills.
Nov 26 - Joe Morgan receives four votes for National League Rookie of the Year, finishing a distant second to the Dodgers' Jim Lefebvre. Morgan bats .271 with 14 homers and 20 steals in his first full season in Houston.
Dec 01 - Astros deal two pitchers and cash to the Chicago White Sox for catcher Bill Heath and outfielder Dave Nicholson. Heath would hit .301 with eight RBIs as a backup. Nicholson would bat .246 with ten homers in part-time duty.
Dec 12 - Astros fire Luman Harris as manager after just over one season at the helm. General Manager Grady Hatton is named as the new skipper.
Dec 15 - Astros acquire pitcher Barry Latman from the California Angels for infielder Ed Pacheco and cash. The righthander compiles a 5-13 record with one save over two seasons in Houston.