Leo Durocher - Timeline

This Date in Astros History
Mar 30 1961 - Rumors swirl that legendary manager Leo Durocher, currently a coach with the Dodgers, would be named the first manager of the new Houston franchise. Reports of phone conversations between Durocher and General Manager Gabe Paul are true but nothing materializes beyond that. Durocher would eventally lead the club in 1972 after several years as skipper of the Cubs.

May 22 1965 - 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.

Jul 07 1966 - After playing half the season with an artificial turf infield and a spray-painted dead grass outfield, the Astros depart for twelve days while the grounds crew rips up the sod and replaces the outfield with Astroturf. The last chunk of green dirt is boxed and shipped to Chicago's Leo Durocher, a vocal critic of the new surface.

Aug 26 1966 - Angry Cub Manager Leo Durocher rips the dugout phone off the wall and throws it onto the Astrodome field. Bob Aspromonte deepens Leo's misery with a grand slam home run that sparks a 7-4 comeback victory. Southwestern Bell replaces the phone the next day and the Astros hand Durocher the repair bill.

Sep 07 1972 - Don Wilson ties a club record by tossing 13 innings in a complete-game 5-1 victory in San Francisco. Bob Watson and Roger Metzger end it with home runs in the decisive frame. Metzger finishes with four hits and four RBIs. Imagine how scribes would howl at Leo Durocher these days for keeping Wilson out there for 193 pitches.

May 11 1973 - 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.

Jul 06 1973 - 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.

Sep 29 1973 - 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.

Feb 25 1994 - Former Houston manager Leo Durocher is selected by the Veterans Committee into the Baseball Hall of Fame along with Yankee legend Phil Rizzuto. The fiery Durocher had died in 1991, claiming he no longer cared whether he would get inducted. His nearly 50-year career in baseball included 15 seasons as a player and 23 as a manager. His last was with the Astros in 1973.