1973 - Timeline
from This Date in Astros History

Jan 11 - Houston owner Judge Roy Hofheinz votes along with the rest of the National League to allow the American League to conduct a three-year experiment using the Designated Hitter. It will be the first time since the A.L. was formed in 1901 that the two major leagues would have a different set of rules. The gimmick has survived ever since and is now used by National League teams when involved in interleague play.

Jan 17 - The Astros sign catcher Luis Pujols as a free agent. He would be a reserve for the Astros for seven seasons, hitting above .200 only twice.

Feb 04 - Chris Coste is born in Fargo, ND. The catcher/first baseman was claimed in 2009 and hit .204 in 43 games before getting released.

Feb 22 - William Russell Johnson is born in Baton Rouge, LA. A .266 hitter in four seasons as an Astro reserve (1997-2000), Johnson never gets the chance to be an everyday third baseman in Houston.

Mar 09 - Christopher John Nitkowski is born in Suffern, NY. The popular lefty goes 3-3 with three saves in his one season with the Astros (1998) and is unable to catch on after a second signing in 2002.

Mar 18 - Raul Chavez is born in Valencia, Venezuela. The reserve catcher spends parts of five seasons with the Astros (2000-2005), batting .212 with four homers.

Apr 06 - Cesar Cedeno doubles home Tommy Helms with the winning run in the 13th for a 2-1 Opening Day triumph in Atlanta. It was Cedeno's third extra-base hit of the game. Jim Wynn's homer tied it in the sixth.

Apr 28 - Doug Rader and Jim Wynn blast homers off Montreal's Steve Renko as part of a five-run seventh inning that stops the Expos, 5-3. Fred Gladding picks up the win.

Apr 29 - Montreal's Mike Marshall walks home the tying run in the bottom of the ninth before Tom Walker balks home Cesar Cedeno for a 4-3 Astros win. Bob Watson's two solo homers plated the other two Houston runs.

May 04 - Houston scores four in the 14th to topple the Mets, 9-5. Doug Rader's two-run double is the big blow in the inning. Cesar Cedeno has four hits, including a home run. Jim Ray is the winning pitcher.

May 11 - Manager Leo Durocher returns from a three-week hospital stay to watch Don Wilson toss a three-hitter over Cincinnati, 5-1. Lee May's two-run shot gets the scoring started. Interim manager Preston Gomez was 14-3 in Durocher's absence, perhaps leading Leo to a quicker recovery.

May 15 - A furious GM Spec Richardson posts a message on the Astrodome scoreboard blaming recent Houston losses on umpires Bruce Froemming and Augie Donatelli. Froemming had negated a key inning-ending double play during a 4-1 defeat to Atlanta, ruling the Astros missed second base. Donatelli's gaffe, two days earlier, was to rule a Bobby Tolan home run fair after it had landed foul. The league fines Richardson $300.

May 20 - Johnny Edwards belts a three-run homer as Houston builds a 7-0 lead against the Giants. San Francisco rallies to tie it but Jim Wynn smashes a solo shot off Sam McDowell in the ninth for an 8-7 victory. Astros take over first place in the NL West.

May 25 - Lee May swats two homers to pace a 7-2 victory in Pittsburgh. Jerry Reuss goes the distance, scattering five hits for the win, pushing Houston back into a tie for the division lead.

Jun 17 - Roger Metzger goes 4-for-4 and Bob Watson drives in three to lead a 7-3 triumph over St. Louis. Tommie Agee homers. Jim Ray gets the victory in relief of Don Wilson.

Jun 21 - Lee May belts three home runs as Houston puts a 12-2 hurt on the Padres . May's three bombs net five runs. Tommy Helms socks a grand slam for four more while Cesar Cedeno contributes a solo shot. Ken Forsch picks up the complete game victory although he allows Dave Winfield's first big league homer.

Jun 23 - Tommy Helms goes 4-for-5 to spark a 6-3 victory over the Giants. Jerry Reuss takes the win and singles home Helms with the eventual game-winner. Rafael Batista gets his first big league hit.

Jul 06 - Leo Durocher pulls Jerry Reuss with a cozy 7-1 lead in the doubleheader opener in Montreal. The Expos storm back for a 12-8 decision then thump the Astros again, 14-6, in the nightcap. Reserve catcher John Boccabella blasts two home runs in one inning for five RBIs. Ron Fairly also goes deep twice in the nightcap. Giddy Canadians taunt Durocher. Reuss fumes afterwards.

Jul 08 - Tommy Helms' two-run single caps a ninth-inning comeback for a 9-7 victory in Montreal. Cesar Cedeno clubs two home runs and Doug Rader adds a solo shot. Bob Watson breaks SS Tim Foli's jaw while sliding into second, causing a shower of debris to fall from Parc Jarry when Watson returns to left field.

Jul 12 - A home run by Jim Wynn in the ninth off Barry Lersch sinks the Phillies, 7-6. It's his second long ball of the night. Veteran lefty Juan Pizarro wins in relief, appearing for the eighth big league club in his career.

Aug 01 - In a foreshadowing of coming years, J.R. Richard's first major league shutout is against the Dodgers . It's a five-hit performance with nine strikeouts and five walks. Jim Wynn breaks out of a long slump with an RBI double that sparks the 5-0 victory.

Aug 18 - Bob Watson guns down two Phillies from the outfield in a 3-2 win at the Dome. He also doubles home Roger Metzger for the first Houston run just before Lee May bashes a two-run shot for the game-winner. Jim Ray gets the win after Dave Roberts left in the first inning. Ken Forsch works the final four frames for the save.

Aug 20 - J.R. Richard tosses a two-hitter as Houston bombs the Pirates, 10-2. Al Oliver breaks up his no-hit bid in the seventh. By then, Lee May had launched a three-run shot and Bob Watson had belted a grand slam.

Sep 29 - Hank Aaron hammers his 713th career homer, one shy of Babe Ruth's record. It's a three-run shot off Jerry Reuss, part of a 7-0 Atlanta decision . The next day, Dave Roberts and Don Wilson hold Aaron to three singles and the season ends with a 5-3 Astros win in the last game of manager Leo Durocher's career.

Oct 31 - Lefthander Jerry Reuss is traded to the Pirates for catcher Milt May. Reuss has an inconsistent two seasons in Houston, posting a 25-26 record with one save, but he improves on his way through a major league career that lasts 22 years. May, stuck behind Manny Sanguillen in Pittsburgh, bats .265 in two seasons before leaving for Detroit during a rebuilding purge. Also on this date, reliever Tim Byrdak is born in Oak Lawn, IL. The lefthander works out of the bullpen from 2008 to 2010 with a 3.53 ERA.

Nov 25 - Octavio Dotel is born in Santo Domingo, DR. The righthander posts a 22-24 record with 42 saves during 4-1/2 seasons in Houston (2000-2004) as a starter, set-up pitcher and closer.

Dec 06 - Slugger Jim Wynn is traded to the Dodgers for pitchers Claude Osteen and Dave Culpepper. A holder of many team records, Wynn rebounds to help the Dodgers to the National League title in 1974 while Osteen would own a 9-9 mark before being traded in mid-season.

Dec 09 - Chris Truby is born in Palm Springs, CA. The third baseman bats .241 with 19 homers in two seasons (2000-2001) before being traded to Montreal.

Dec 11 - Cesar Cedeno is involved in the shooting death of 19-year-old Altagracia de la Cruz in Santo Domingo, DR. He would be acquitted of voluntary manslaughter but pled guilty to a lesser charge, fined and released.

Dec 29 - Tomas Perez is born in Barquisimeto, Venezuela. The utility infielder bats .200 in 10 at bats for Houston in 2008.