Astros in the Sky
Born: Jul 21, 1940
A hulking catcher from Fort Sill, OK, John Bateman caught more games for the franchise than anyone else during the 1960s. He came up as a 22-year-old rookie in 1963 with the Colt .45s and led the team in RBIs despite a .210 average. He did not hit above .200 during the next two seasons as the club experimented with other options.
In 1966, he broke through with a .279 average, 17 homers and 70 RBIs, all career highs, but fell back into his old rut the following year. In 1968, he bounced back to hit .249 but with less power.
Bateman was exposed in the expansion draft that fall and was chosen by the Montreal Expos where he played for 3-1/2 seasons until he was acquired by the Phillies where his big league career came to an end in 1972.
Bateman passed away December 3rd, 1996 in Sand Springs, OK of unreported causes.