The streak finally comes to an end

added 4/7/2007 by James Anderson

Bob Green
When the subject of Houston baseball history is discussed one will always hear the familiar names of Allen Russell, Judge Roy Hofheinz, Craig Cullinan, R.E. "Bob" Smith etc., and rightly so. They were the people who were responsible for the long and colorful history of professional baseball in Houston. Along with those names are included Gene Elston and Loel Passe who endeared fans throughout Texas of those teams, the Houston Buffs and the Houston Colt .45's/Astros via radio and TV.

One individual who has been connected to both those teams for close to 60 years in one capacity or another is former radio producer/engineer Bob Green. "Greenie" as his friends call him, had worked in the broadcasting end of the Houston Colt .45's/Astros as their producer/engineer of the Astros Radio Network from 1962 to 1994. Since then, Greenie had worked part time for the Astros each and every season during spring training in Florida which made Bob's longevity with the team equal to the existence of the franchise itself. "The Dean's" streak finally came to an end at 45 year when he missed the 2007 Astros spring training.

In his book A Kid From St. Louis, Bill McCurdy revealed the following concerning Bob Green:

"Bob Green was another veteran from those Buff Stadium Days who crossed the bridge when Houston entered the major leagues. Green started out as engineer for Bill Newkirk of KLEE-TV when Houston's first television station began televising Buffs games in 1949. As Gene (Elston) said, Green joined the major league Houston broadcast team in 1962 as their engineer and remained on the job through the 1994 season. Over the years, Gene Elston dubbed Bob Green as the 'Dean Of National League Engineers.' The title stuck."

And, so did the nickname stick with every Astros fan whoever listened to a game broadcast for the next 25 years. When asked about his possible team record longevity with the Houston major league franchise, Bob had this to say: "Actually, that is probably true, unless Jimmy Robins (she) is still working part time (for the Astros) on the telephones. She was as of 2002."

Bob Green helped build the new KPRC radio studios in Houston back in the 1970's and he was responsible for setting up the "Globecast" linkage for the new Astros spring training facilities in 2002 at Kisseemmee, Florida. Globecast is the parent carrier of Astros broadcast transmissions.

When Bob Green came on board with the new Houston Colt .45's major league franchise in the spring of 1962, the nickname "The Dean Of National League Technicians" as announced before virtually every game broadcast would eventually become synonymous with Houston baseball to fans listening to Colt .45's/Astros games over radio.

1962 broadcast team
From left: Al Helfer, Bob Green, Gene Elston, Bob Boyne

Colt .45s/Astros broadcaster Gene Elston fondly recalled his new engineer and the perils of a new franchise from a story he related from that first spring training in 1962:

"For lack of a press box in this desert city the Colt.45s radio network was given a prime spot right in the middle of the crowd numbering 2,150. It was a windy and sand-blown day and engineer Bob Green (yet to reach the experience-stature of the “Dean of Major League Technicians”), does his usual yeoman job of overcoming a disaster when an exuberant fan stumbles over him and dumps a soft drink on both Greenie and his valuable equipment -- thus the beginning of his record of never missing a broadcast inning."

Again, Gene Elston said the following of Bob Green:

"Over the years, I discovered as time went by that Bob Green was the senior engineer of all those in the National League covering baseball. Then I started referring to him as "The Dean of National League Engineers". As his seniority progressed through the major leagues, I referred to him as "Dean of Major League Technicians".
In the many letters to the Ford C. Frick Award committee in Cooperstown, the following was posed to the voting committee concerning former Astros broadcaster Gene Elston ~ "How does one quantify or qualify an individual's contribution to a profession?"~ I think that same question could be posed concerning Bob Green's contributions. To every Astros fan whoever listened to a Houston baseball game from 1962 to 1986 that nickname is certainly forever etched in memory and is as familiar and as much a part of each of our mental pictures and memories of the history and heritage of baseball in Houston as are the names of Dick "Turk" Farrell, Hal Woodeshick, Joe Morgan, Larry Dierker, J.R. Richard, Jimmy Wynn, Cesar Cedeno, Gene Elston, Loel Passe along with Craig Biggio and Jeff Bagwell and others who would come along later.

1970 Astros broadcast crew
From left: Bob Green, Harry Kalas, Gene Elston, Loel Passe

There are two statues erected at Haliburton Plaza in Houston at the Astros Minute Maid Park. One of Craig Biggio and the other of Jeff Bagwell. In the opinion of many fans the question might be asked; who else should be honored with a statue at Haliburton Plaza? There are many names that should be included, among those being the aforementioned names at the top of this article.

Would it be too far flung to include a statue that would depict the following at its base, "Tribute To The Houston Astros Bob Green - The Dean Of Major League Technicians"?

Well, 45 years with the same organization should say something. Bob Green was there when little Bobby Shantz pitched the first game for the Houston Colt .45's against the Chicago Cubs in 1962 at Colt Stadium and he was at Spring Training in Kissemmee, Florida in 2006 doing his usual radio production work of the Astros last several spring training game broadcasts with the Astros two newest radio play-by-play men Brett Dolan and Dave Raymond at Kissimmee, Florida.

Bob and his wife Peggy retired to Florida after leaving his full-time position with the Astros in 1994 but The Dean had never really retired since the Astros operated their spring training facilities in the Grapefruit Circuit in Florida, Bob assisted the production staff with their transition from Florida back to Houston for the regular season by handling the Astros last few spring training broadcasts each and every season including the 2006 spring training games.

There are many in Houston's baseball sports history that have earned the right to be called legendary and one would certainly have to agree that "Bob Green - The Dean Of Major League Technicians" is among those rare few who have earned the right to claim legendary status in not only Astros broadcasting history but also in Texas radio history . How about the names of Dick Gottlieb, Ron Stone, Gordon McLendon in Houston and Texas broadcast history? You can also add Bob Green's name to that short list of famous Texas radio and TV personalities too!

Well as it must be said, all streaks finally have to come to an end sometime. DiMaggio's ended at 56 and The Dean's finally came to an end at 45. Our hats off to you Greenie!

Copyright (c) 2007, James Anderson