1976 - Timeline
from This Date in Astros History
Jan 06 - The Astros obtain Art Howe from the Pittsburgh Pirates to complete a deal the previous month for infielder Tommy Helms. The versatile Howe is instrumental in Houston's first division title and later manages the team for five seasons.
Jan 23 - Brandon Duckworth is born in Salt Lake City, UT. He posts a 1-3 record in spot duty during the 2004 and 2005 campaigns.
Feb 10 - Lance Berkman is born in Waco, TX. The Rice grad was a major power source with the Astros, leading the league in RBIs in 2002. In 12 seasons (1999-2010), he batted .296 while powering 326 home runs and driving in 1090 runs. He hit .321 with six homers in postseason play.
Feb 23 - Scott Elarton is born in Lamar, CO. The tall righthander is a key member of the 1999 staff, and is the one bright note of the 2000 campaign with a 17-7 record, but arm woes cause a 4-8 record the next year and Elarton is dealt to the Colorado Rockies in mid-season.
Mar 17 - Commissioner Bowie Kuhn ends a labor lockout that threatens to delay the start of the regular season. Training camps are opened and America's Pastime plays as usual during America's bicentennial.
Apr 05 - The Astros host an exhibition game at the Louisiana Superdome, a 12-5 win over Minnesota, before just over 10,000 fans. Cliff Johnson stars with three hits, including a homer. Not built for baseball, New Orleans' new dome creates a few problems such as a concrete warning track and football sidelines down the third base line. Hitters complain about poor visibility, causing an auxilliary scoreboard to be shut off.
Apr 17 - Ken Forsch has to save the Astros twice. Leading San Diego, 5-4 in the ninth, and the tying runner aboard, Forsch gets Ted Kubiak to ground to second for an apparent finish but catcher Cliff Johnson is ruled for interference. Kubiak is awarded first and Forsch must retire Merv Rettenmund, which he does on a fly to Greg Gross in right to seal the victory.
May 09 - Houston catchers combine for the cycle during a 10-5 beating of St. Louis. Cliff Johnson pounds four hits (two singles, a double and a homer) before twisting his ankle. Backup Skip Jutze triples in the seventh.
May 29 - Joe Niekro tags his brother Phil for a home run in a 4-3 victory at Atlanta. It is the only homer in Joe's 21-season major league career (973 ABs). The seventh-inning blast comes on a knuckleball that Joe sends over the left field fence. Ken Boswell contributes three hits, including the game-winner.
May 30 - The Astros set a team record with 25 hits in the nightcap of a doubleheader sweep of the Braves. 23 of the hits are singles in the 16-5 victory. Jerry Davanon delivers three hits and drives in five. Cliff Johnson contributes four. Houston scores eight in the first three frames to cruise to the sweep. Tom Griffin is the winner in the 5-2 opener.
Jun 08 - With the overall first pick in the baseball draft, Houston chooses lefthanded pitcher Floyd Bannister of Arizona State University. Rushed to the majors the next year, Bannister is 11-18 in two seasons with the Astros. On the field, Larry Dierker blanks St. Louis on a five-hitter, 2-0.
Jun 15 - The Astros suffer their only rainout at the Astrodome when local flooding forces them to cancel a game with the Pirates. The players arrive early but umpires and fans could not evade the downpour.
Jul 02 - Cesar Cedeno drives in both game-winners in a doubleheader sweep of Cincinnati. Cesar goes 7-for-11 in the twinbill, including a single that is his 1,000th career hit . His two-run bomb in the 14th off Rich Hinton wins the opener, 10-8. The 25 hits collected in the game ties a team record set just months earlier. Cedeno delivers an eighth-inning double off Fred Norman to plate the winning run in the 3-2 nightcap.
Jul 09 - Larry Dierker tosses the fifth no-hitter in franchise history, a 6-0 gem over Montreal . He supports his own cause with a sacrifice fly while batterymate Ed Herrmann drives in two, one on his first National League homer . Dierker fans Pepe Mangual and Jim Lyttle before Mike Jorgensen taps out to first for the final out.
Jul 13 - Cesar Cedeno becomes the first Houston player to homer in an All-Star Game . His two-run shot off Frank Tanana caps a 7-1 National League win in Philadelphia. Ken Forsch pitches a scoreless ninth to finish the game .
Jul 18 - Ed Herrmann goes 7-for-10 with a homer and seven RBIs in a twinbill sweep of the Expos, 7-6 and 10-1. Herrmann is a perfect 5-for-5 in the ten-inning opener. Greg Gross gets four hits to pace a 22-hit assault in the nightcap. Dan Larson tosses a complete game victory in his major league debut.
Jul 25 - Bo McLaughlin, in his second big league start, fires a ten-inning six-hit shutout to nip the Giants, 1-0. Houston manages just four hits off Ed Halicki but Greg Gross doesn't need one to chase home pinch-runner Wilbur Howard with a sacrifice fly to send the fans home happy.
Jul 26 - As it ought to be. The 1,000th game in Astrodome history is a 7-0 shutout over San Diego as Larry Dierker spins a two-hitter. Bob Watson paces the offense with a home run and three runs batted in.
Aug 09 - Cesar Cedeno hits for his second career cycle during a 13-4 thrashing of the Cardinals. He triples of Bob Forsch in the first, then belts his 16th homer before drilling a double. His single comes in a seven-run eighth that caps a five-RBI night. Winning pitcher Dan Larson chips in two hits of his own.
Aug 20 - Dan Larson does it all. The young righty tosses a five-hitter to beat Philadelphia, 8-3. At the plate, he gets three hits and drives in four. His three-run triple in the fourth breaks the game open. Wilbur Howard also contributes three hits.
Sep 01 - Bo McLaughlin blanks the Phillies, 1-0, as the club notches their sixth straight complete-game to tie a team record. McLaughlin surrenders six hits. A solo shot by Cliff Johnson off Jim Kaat provides the game's only tally.
Sep 07 - Ken Boswell's bases-loaded triple keys an eight-run seventh inning as the Astros wrench the Big Red Machine, 10-5. Cliff Johnson adds a two-run double. Starter Joe Sambito gets the win.
Sep 23 - The end of an era. Judge Roy Hofheinz agrees to sell most of his Astrodomain, including his shares of the HSA and the Astros, to Ford Motor Credit and General Electric Credit. Spending on the ballclub is held in check until new ownership is found three years later.
Oct 02 - J.R. Richard becomes Houston's second 20-game winner and he does it impressively, a 13-strikeout complete game 10-1 thrashing of the Giants. Richard add three hits at the plate, including a home run, and drives in three. It wraps up an 80-82 season, a 15-1/2 game improvement in Bill Virdon's first full year at the helm.
Nov 02 - Amazingly, it takes 15 years for Houston to garner a vote in the Cy Young Award balloting. The vote goes to J.R. Richard, who has a 20-win season, but he is well behind San Diego's Randy Jones in the returns.
Nov 23 - Pitcher Larry Dierker and infielder Jerry DaVanon are traded to St.Louis for catcher Joe Ferguson. For Dierker, it's the beginning of the end of a stellar career. For Ferguson, it means another chance to be a starting catcher instead of an oufielder. He argues with manager Bill Virdon about blocking the plate but hits .243 with 23 homers and 83 RBIs in 1-1/2 seasons before being traded again.
Dec 20 - Aubrey Huff is born in Marion, OH. A mid-summer acquisition in 2006, the versatile lefty hits .250 with 13 homers during the second half of the season.
Dec 22 - Jason Lane is born in Santa Rosa, CA. In six seasons with the Astros (2002-2007), the outfielder bats .241 and blasts 61 homers.
Dec 23 - Brad Lidge is born in Sacramento, CA. The 6-5 righthander, Houston's top pick in 1998, posts a 23-20 record with a 3.30 ERA, 561 strikeouts and 123 saves in his six seasons with the Astros (2002-2007).