1968 - Timeline
from This Date in Astros History
Jan 24 - Ross Powell is born in Grand Rapids, MI. The lefhander appears in 27 games in relief during 1994 and 1995 but does not record a win, loss or save during that time.
Feb 13 - Matt Mieske is born in Midland, MI. A valuable reserve outfielder during the 1999 season, Mieske slumps as much as the rest of the guys in 2000, batting .173 before being released.
Mar 07 - Jeff Kent is born in Bellflower, CA. The former National League MVP bats .292 and averages 24 homers and 100 RBIs during his two seasons in Houston (2003,2004). He also provides one of the most memorable homers in Astros playoff history to win Game 5 of the 2004 N.L.C.S.
Mar 26 - Future Astro teammates Shane Reynolds and Jose Vizcaino are born. Reynolds is born in Bastrop, LA. Vizcaino is delivered in San Cristobal, DR. They would play together in Houston for the 2001 and 2002 seasons.
Apr 01 - Pitcher Bo Belinsky is sold to the Chicago White Sox. Having already left spring training to get engaged to former Playmate of the Year Jo Collins, Belinsky refuses a minor-league assignment in Oklahoma City preferring Honolulu where the Sox have their AAA affiliate.
Apr 10 - Houston wins the season opener over Pittsburgh, 5-4. The season was delayed due to the murder of Martin Luther King, Jr. The Astros score three in the bottom of the ninth as a rare error by Bill Mazeroski on a foul pop proves critical.
Apr 15 - The longest shutout in major league history is played at the Astrodome before a crowd that sits through over six hours of baseball before a run scores. Houston outlasts the Mets, 1-0, as Al Weis lets Bob Aspromonte's roller through his legs in the 24th inning allowing Norm Miller to cross home plate . Catchers Hal King and Jerry Grote play the entire contest.
May 06 - Judge Roy Hofheinz gives San Francisco's Willie Mays a 569-lb. cake for his 37th birthday. Rusty Staub serves the dessert with six RBIs in a 10-2 Houston win.
May 17 - First baseman Rusty Staub visits Larry Dierker at the mound during a 6-0 loss in Los Angeles. Absent-mindedly, he spits on the ball while standing on the hill. Zoilo Versalles has a three-ball count and Staub's miscue becomes an automatic ball four. Versalles eventually scores.
May 19 - Astros take no prisoners in a doubleheader sweep at Los Angeles, 2-1 and 3-1. In the nightcap, while walking down to first, Jim Wynn points out a snake in the basepath. Coach Mel McGaha gets a bat and beats the viper to death. Denny Lemaster and Mike Cuellar hypnotize the Dodgers with complete-game victories.
May 22 - Dave Giusti tosses a two-hitter in a nail-biting 1-0 shutout in Cincinnati. The first hit, with two out in the eighth, is questionable after Pete Rose's bloop escapes Jim Wynn's glove. Vada Pinson later gets a clean double. Rusty Staub singles home Ron Davis for the only run.
May 27 - San Diego and Montreal are awarded NL expansion teams for 1969 and Dallasites are quick to blame Houston's Judge Roy Hofheinz for the snub. Montreal doesn't even have a minor league team at the time. One Dallas paper prints a picture of the judge with a bullseye over it. The Astros celebrate by clubbing the Dodgers, 10-1. Dallas-Ft. Worth would get the old Washington Senators team in 1972. Elsewhere, Jeff Bagwell is born in Boston, MA. He owns many records for the Astros, including the career marks for home runs and runs batted in.
Jun 01 - Bill Hands of the Cubs outduels Don Wilson for a 3-1 decision at the Dome but it's definitely not the most newsworthy event that day. Judge Hofheinz opens Astroworld right across the Loop 610 freeway, featuring rides and exhibits. In the Texas can-do spirit of the times, outdoor seating areas are air conditioned.
Jun 06 - Houston selects catcher Martin Cott of Buffalo, NY in the first round of the June draft, passing on a catcher from Canton, OH named Thurman Munson whom the Yankees grab with the next pick. Cott never reaches the big leagues. It's not a good day on the field either as Cardinal ace Bob Gibson blanks Houston, 4-0.
Jun 26 - Dave Giusti gives up first-inning singles to Chicago's Don Kessinger and Glenn Beckert then goes the rest of the game without allowing a hit for a 2-1 triumph. He also provides the game-winner, singling in Bob Watson. Jim Wynn's solo homer off Bill Hands is the other Houston run.
Jul 05 - Ex-Brave Denis Menke tags ex-Astro Claude Raymond with a three-run bomb in the ninth to topple Atlanta, 13-9. Doug Rader follows with a solo shot. John Bateman and Rusty Staub had earlier home runs. Another former Brave, Wade Blasingame, shuts the door in the ninth.
Jul 09 - Houston is host to its first All-Star Game. True to the Astrodome's nature, the game is a pitcher's duel. Willie Mays of the Giants scores in the first inning on a double play and the Nationals make it stand for a 1-0 victory. Mays is named Most Valuable Player. Rusty Staub pinch-hits as the lone Astro representative .
Jul 14 - Don Wilson whiffs Johnny Bench for his 18th strikeout to tie, what was then, the major-league record held by Bob Feller and Sandy Koufax . It is part of a rain-soaked 6-1 nightcap that completes a doubleheader sweep in Cincinnati. Ron Brand scored Denis Menke for a 5-4, ten-inning victory in the opener.
Jul 26 - Jim Wynn becomes the first player in franchise history to reach 100 homers. He does so with a three-run blast in the eighth inning off Frank Linzy to drop San Francisco, 4-1. The other run is driven in by Dick Simpson who leads the Astros with three hits. Denny Lemaster picks up the win.
Aug 07 - A hard slide by Doug Rader into third base on a triple knocks out New York third baseman Kevin Collins and ignites a brawl. Houston police enter the fray. The donnybrook climaxes hostility that began when Mets outfielder Tommy Agee spiked Joe Morgan while sliding into second base. Amazingly, Rader stays in the contest and scores the eventual game-winner on a sacrifice fly by Dick Simpson. Larry Dierker bests Tom Seaver in the 4-3 victory.
Aug 10 - Doug Rader goes 5-for-5 and Norm Miller drives in five as Houston crushes Pittsburgh, 16-3, in the opener of a twinbill at Forbes Field. Rader smashes a two-run homer in the nightcap for his seventh straight hit and sixth RBI of the day but the Bucs rally to take the nightcap, 7-4.
Aug 16 - Jim Wynn homers off Tom Seaver with two outs in the ninth to tie New York, 1-1. Bob Aspromonte's two-run opposite-field double in the 12th wins it for Houston. Tom Dukes, who fanned two with the bases full of Mets in the 11th, picks up the 3-1 victory.
Sep 07 - Even the greats are human. Atlanta's Hank Aaron, representing the winning run, stumbles and falls rounding third base in the bottom of the ninth on a single by Sonny Jackson and is caught in a rundown. Doug Rader tags him out on a play where Aaron should have scored easily. Instead, the game goes into extra innings where Rader and Jim Wynn smack doubles to key a 6-3 ten-inning triumph.
Oct 14 - Astros lose five players in the second National League expansion draft. The event is in Montreal which, along with San Diego, are the two new franchises. Back in 1961, Houston could only choose players off the 40-man rosters with other clubs protecting their best 25. Now, Houston can only protect 15 players and their farm system is fully exposed. The Astros surrender catchers John Bateman and Ron Brand to Montreal while San Diego tabs infielder Nate Colbert, outfielder Ivan Murrell and pitcher Tom Dukes.
Oct 28 - Kirk Bullinger is born in New Orleans, LA. The righthander appears in 34 games as an Astro (2003 - 2004), contributing one win and one save in part-time duty.
Oct 31 - Ed Taubensee is born in Beeville, TX. The big lefthanded hitting catcher splits time behind the plate with Scott Servais during his two seasons as an Astro before he is dealt to the Reds.
Nov 07 - Russ Springer is born in Alexandria, LA. The righthanded reliever has appeared with eight different major league teams in a 15-year career.
Nov 14 - Kent Bottenfield is born in Portland, OR. Expected to solidify the starting rotation in 2001, the righthander lands on the disabled list after just 13 games, posting a 2-5 record with one save.
Dec 02 - Darryl Kile is born in Garden Grove, CA. He compiles a 71-65 record over seven seasons in Houston (1991-1997) that reflect outstanding potential as well as frustrating inconsistency. He becomes a 20-game winner in St. Louis but dies on June 22, 2002 of a heart attack in his hotel room while the Cardinals are on a road trip in Chicago.
Dec 04 - Lefthander Mike Cuellar and two minor leaguers are traded to Baltimore for Curt Blefary and a minor leaguer. Despite a 37-36 record with Houston and an All-Star appearance, Cuellar's best days are ahead of him - posting four 20-win seasons with the Orioles. In a separate deal, infielder Bob Aspromonte, the last of the original Colt .45s, is shipped to Atlanta for infielder Orlando "Marty" Martinez.
Dec 29 - James Mouton is born in Denver, CO. He would bat .249 in four seasons as a part-time outfielder (1994-1997), swiping 79 bases. He has since played with San Diego, Montreal and Milwaukee.