This Date in Astros History
by Bob Hulsey
|Astro historian Bob Hulsey has compiled an extensive list of the day-by-day highlights of the Astros franchise, and The Astros Daily is proud to include them here in their entirety.|
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2020 - Don Larsen, who pitched a perfect World Series game for the Yankees in 1956, passes away in Idaho at age 90. Larsen was purchsed by Houston in May of 1964 then traded to Baltimore the following April. He went 4-8 with a 2.40 ERA in 31 appearances. For his 14 big league seasons, he compiled an 81-91 record with a 3.78 ERA.
1988 - Dallas Keuchel is born in Tulsa, OK. The lefthander would become the third Astro to win a Cy Young Award, and the first in the American League, after his 20-win season in 2015. In seven seasons as an Astro, he would compile a 76-63 mark with a 3.66 ERA, two All-Star nods and four Gold Gloves before leaving in free agency after the 2018 campaign.
1954 - Joe "Shoes" Pittman is born in Houston, TX. He lives the boyhood dream of playing for the local big league club as an Astros infielder in 1981 and 1982. He bats .281 in 52 games during his strike-shortened rookie campaign then hits .200 in 15 games before being traded to San Diego.
2001 - Houston signs infielder Charlie Hayes to a contract. The veteran hits .200 in 50 at bats but might be best remembered for a chair-throwing incident early in the year.
1965 - Greg Swindell is born in Fort Worth, TX. Signed to a big free agent contract, the lefthander has a disappointing stint in Houston from 1993 to 1996, going 30-34 with a 4.48 ERA.
2006 - Free agent outfielder Preston Wilson signs a one-year deal with the Astros. His time in Houston lasts only through August but he winds up the year celebrating a World's Championship with the St. Louis Cardinals.
1991 - The Astros ink free agent pitchers Dwayne Henry and Jimmy Jones to contracts. Henry would win three games with two saves as a reliever that season while Jones would go 16-14 in two seasons for Houston.
1962 - Ground is broken for the Astrodome. The ceremony includes the firing of pistols into the ground by team, city and county officials.
1940 - Ron Brand is born in Los Angeles, CA. The catcher plays for Houston for four seasons (1965-1968) and was the only Houston catcher to bat leadoff before Craig Biggio arrived twenty years later.
2007 - Infielder Mark Loretta is signed to a one-year contract. He bats .296 with the Astros during two stints (2002, 2007-2008), including ten homers.
1982 - Jason Bourgeois is born in Houston, TX. The fleet outfielder bats .269 with 40 steals with the Astros in 2010 and 2011.
1967 - Houston trades outfielder Lee Maye and a minor leaguer to the Cleveland Indians for outfielder Jim Landis, catcher Doc Edwards and a minor leaguer. Landis hits .252 with one homer in part-time duty before being shipped to Detroit in mid-season.
1965 - Harris County Commissioners vote to restrict visitors from the construction site of the new domed stadium, fearing the constant traffic of onlookers would delay completion of the ballpark. While Judge Hofheinz calls the stadium "95-percent complete", commissioners are concerned that the deadline for the April 9th opener will be approaching soon.
2011 - Jeff Bagwell draws 41.7% of the vote in his first year on the Baseball Hall of Fame ballot, which sets off a debate about Bagwell's credentials and suspicions of steroid use. Bagwell insists he's never used them and no accuser has comes forward with any proof yet that doesn't seem to be good enough for some writers who declare their opposition.
1975 - Pitcher Don Wilson , at age 29, dies at home from carbon monoxide poisoning after falling asleep in his car. His young son, asleep in a bedroom above the garage, also dies in the tragedy. His number 40 is retired by the Astros the following spring, the second Houston player to be so honored.
1961 - A contest to name the new Houston ballclub is announced. Entries will be accepted through the end of the month by the Houston Sports Association.
2015 - Craig Biggio is elected to the Hall of Fame with 82.7% of BBWAA votes in his third year of eligibility, becoming the first Houston player to be inducted as an Astro. Former Astros hurler Randy Johnson (97.3%) was also elected. Jeff Bagwell misses at 55.7% of the vote.
2000 - Houston signs veteran pitcher and former Cy Young winner Dwight "Doc" Gooden to a free agent contract. He pitches in the debut of Enron Field but gets into only one game during the regular season before he is sent to Tampa Bay.
1976 - 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.
1966 - The Astros deal outfielder Johnny Weekly and cash to the Mets for pitcher Gary Kroll. The righthander would see just ten games with Houston.
2021 - Houston reaches an agreement with righthander Ryne Stanek on a one-year, $1.1 million contract. After some promising seasons with Tampa Bay, Stanek comes over from Miami where he struggled during two partial seasons.
1963 - Craig Shipley is born in Parramatta, Australia. The utility infielder bats .263 in 1995, his lone season as an Astro.
1924 - Jim Pendleton is born in St. Charles, MO. The Opening Day left fielder for the first Colt .45 squad, Pendleton hits .246 with eight homers during their inaugural season.
2005 - Hopes of retaining free agent center fielder Carlos Beltran are dashed when the deadline to re-sign him expires. Beltran had rejected a reported seven-year $105 million dollar offer, the richest in club history, before signing with the New York Mets a few days later.
1977 - David Matranga is born in Orange, CA. The injury call-up is 1-for-5 in his big league career but he is only the second Astro to homer in his first major league at bat.
1960 - Julio Solano is born in Agua Blanca, DR. The pitcher would spend his first five big league seasons with the Astros followed by two years in Seattle.
1934 - Gene Freese is born in Wheeling, WV. A former all-star third baseman, Freese bats .091 in 21 games for the Astros in 1966, the final stop in his big league career.
1927 - Jim Busby is born in Kenedy, TX. He bats 2-for-11 as a player/coach in 1962 then continues as a Houston coach for much of the decade.
2018 - Astros kick off a 100-city celebration tour by displaying the Worlds Series trophy at the State Capitol in Austin with Gov. Greg Abbott on hand.
2009 - Lefthander Dave Roberts dies of lung cancer in Morgantown, WV at age 64. Roberts pitched for four seasons (1972-1975) with the Astros as part of a 13-year big league career. His best season with Houston is 1973 when he tosses a 17-11 record with a 2.85 ERA.
1998 - Houston inks a pair of free agent hurlers. One of them is lefty Pete Schourek, who has a history of arm problems and demands to only be used as a starter. He goes 7-6 in 15 starts before being sold to Boston in mid-season.
1994 - Johnny Temple dies at age 66 in White Rock, SC. A five-time all-star in Cincinnati, he has a .263 average over two seasons with the Colt .45s as a reserve then comes back to Houston as a sportscaster for KHOU-TV.
1972 - Jay Powell is born in Meridian, MS. As a reliever, he wins eleven games and loses ten over four seasons as an Astro, saving eight games and closing the pennant clincher on the last day of the 1999 regular season.
1991 - First baseman Glenn Davis is traded to Baltimore for outfielder Steve Finley and pitchers Curt Schilling and Pete Harnisch. Davis would suffer a spring injury and never play effectively for the Orioles. All three players Houston acquired would later become stars although not so much for what they did while wearing Astro stars and stripes.
1989 - The Astros acquire veteran righthander Rick Rhoden from the Yankees for three minor leaguers. Rhoden starts 20 games and wins just two during his final season in a 15-year career.
1985 - Sammy Gervacio is born in Sabana de la Mar, DR. In his debut season (2009), Gervacio posted a 1-1 record and an impressive 2.14 ERA in 29 games from the bullpen but injuries limit him to just six games in 2010.
2010 - News leaks out that an investment group headed by former US Olympic Committee chief Harvey Schiller is interested in buying the Astros from Drayton McLane, Jr. McLane has given them a 30-day window to exclusively negotiate a deal but no offer materializes.
1973 - 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.
2010 - Brett Myers, a former first-round pick of the Phillies, signs a one-year deal with an option for 2011. The 29-year-old righthander spent time as ace and closer with the Phils but is coming off hip surgery. He winds up leading the Astros with 14 wins and is rewarded with an extension through 2013.
2004 - Less than three months since retiring, pitcher Roger Clemens returns to sign a $5 million-dollar, one-year contract with the Astros. The 41-year-old holds a record six Cy Young awards. Clemens cites his Houston home and his friendship with Yankee-turned-Astro teammate Andy Pettitte among his reasons for pitching another season. The deal includes a ten-year personal services contract to remain with the organization once he retires for good. Clemens winds up giving the Astros a season to remember.
1977 - Houston trades catcher Alfred Henry "Skip" Jutze to Seattle for a minor leaguer and cash. After being brought to Houston with high expectations in 1973, Jutze finds himself unable to hold the job and is quietly dispatched to an expansion team in the other league. He ends with a .215 career average.
1961 - Casey Candaele is born in Lompoc, CA. The 5-9 utilityman plays five seasons in Houston (1988-1993) and, despite his small stature, bashed nine homers as an Astro. He credits his mother for his baseball skills.
2020 - Major League Baseball hands down its punishment to the Astros for the sign-stealing scandal of 2017. General Manager Jeff Luhnow and Manager A.J. Hinch were suspended a year without pay. The team was fined $5 million and the club forfeited their top two draft picks for 2020 and 2021. After the report was released, owner Jim Crane fired both Luhnow and Hinch. While not active participants in the scandal, the report said both had the responsibility to stop it and that neither did.
2018 - Astros trade Joe Musgrove, Colin Moran, Michael Feliz and a minor leaguer to Pittsburgh for pitcher Gerrit Cole. He is billed as the "third ace" to team with Justin Verlander and Dallas Keuchel in hopes of defending their Worlds Championship.
2009 - Preston Gomez, the Astros' first minority manager, dies in Fullerton, CA at age 85. The Cuban native had been in failing health since being hit by a pickup truck while walking across the street nine months before. Gomez spent less than two years at the helm of the Astros, leading them to an 81-81 record in 1974 and a 47-80 record in 1975 before he was replaced by Bill Virdon. Gomez also managed the Padres and Cubs then served over 20 years as an assistant with the Angels.
1969 - Orlando Miller is born in Changuinola, Panama. The shortstop would break out in 1994 with a .325 average and two homers during an injury call-up, hit .266 as the strarter the following year and bats .256 with 15 homers in 1996 before being traded to Detroit.
1950 - Bob Forsch is born in Sacramento, CA. He pitches for the Astros in 1988 and 1989, compiling a 5-9 record. His older brother, Ken, pitched eleven seasons for Houston. Bob passed away from an aneurysm on November 3rd, 2011 at age 61 - within a week of throwing out the ceremonial first pitch of Game 7 of the World Series.
2019 - Mel Stottlemyre Sr., the Astros' pitching coach from 1994-95, passes away from cancer at age 77. In an 11-year career with the Yankees, the righthander won 164 games and was a five-time All-Star. He owned another footnote in Houston history as the opposing starting pitcher for the first game in the Astrodome.
2015 - Houston acquires slugger Evan Gattis, along with reliever James Hoyt, from Atlanta for pitcher Mike Foltynewicz and two minor leaguers. Gattis would go on to lead the Astros in home runs (27) and RBIs (88) that season.
1999 - The Astros swap catcher Brad Ausmus and pitcher C.J. Nitkowski to Detroit for five players including catcher Paul Bako and pitcher Brian Powell. Ironically, both players Houston traded away would return to the Astros organization.
1998 - Houston deals outfielder James Mouton to the San Diego Padres for pitcher Sean Bergman. Bergman contributes a 16-15 record on two division-winning Astros clubs.
1939 - Hilario "Sandy" Valdespino is born in San Jose de las Lajas, Cuba. The reserve outfielder bats .244 for the Astros during the first five months of the 1969 season before being traded. He had been in the 1965 World Series during his rookie season with the Minnesota Twins.
2008 - During congressional hearings about the use of performance enhancing drugs, an order is issued for the FBI to investigate statements from shortstop Miguel Tejada for possible perjury charges. Tejada, acquired the month before in a trade, is in the Dominican Republic and unavailable for comment.
1943 - Mike Marshall is born in Adrian, MI. He pitches in only four games as an Astro in 1970 before he is sent to Montreal. As a Dodger in 1974, Marshall wins the Cy Young Award by winning 15 and saving 21 while appearing in a remarkable 106 games in relief.
2001 - Jim Deshaies, former Astro lefthander and broadcaster, receives one vote in the Hall of Fame balloting. It comes from local sportswriter John Lopez. Deshaies receives notoriety for a humorous website openly promoting his candidacy for Cooperstown.
1970 - Ron Villone is born in Bergenfield, NJ. The much-travelled lefty posts an 11-13 record in two stints with Houston (2001, 2003).
1934 - Jim "Bear" Owens is born in Gifford, PA. Owens would compile an 18-20 record in four seasons of relief in Houston (1964-1967) with 16 saves and later became the Astros' pitching coach.
1973 - 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.
1964 - Jeff Tabaka is born in Barberton, OH. The southpaw reliever compiles a 1-2 record with one save over the 1995 and 1996 seasons as an Astro.
1961 - The Houston Sports Association buys the minor league Houston Buffs, a team affiliated with the St. Louis Cardinals for decades. The HSA runs the team for the rest of the season while building a transition to National League play the following year.
1915 - Chalmer Luman Harris is born in New Castle, AL. He would become the first manager of an indoor baseball team when the Colt .45s move into the Astrodome and become the Houston Astros in 1965.
2017 - First baseman Jeff Bagwell is voted into the Baseball Hall of Fame with 86.2% of the vote, along with catcher Ivan Rodriguez, who played briefly with the Astros, and outfielder Tim Raines. It was Bagwell's seventh year on the ballot.
1979 - Wandy Rodriguez is born in Santiago, D.R. The lefthander had an 80-84 record with a 4.04 ERA in eight seasons (2005-2012) as an Astro.
1961 - Harris County officials and members of the Houston Sports Association stump for votes in favor of the upcoming bond election to be held on January 31st. The bonds would allow the County to begin building the first indoor baseball arena, a condition National League owners gave Judge Hofheinz while approving Houston for an expansion franchise.
2015 - Astros deal outfielder Dexter Fowler to the Cubs for infielder Luis Valbuena and pitcher Dan Straily. Valbuena belts 25 homers while splitting time between third base and first base that season.
1993 - Houston inks pitchers Mark Grant and Eric Bell to contracts. Neither wins a game for the Astros, appearing in just 16 games between them.
1971 - Two former Houston first round draft choices are born on this day. Infielder Phil Nevin is born in Fullerton, CA. The first pick overall in the 1992 June draft, Nevin tries management's patience before being traded to Detroit. Pitcher Jeff Juden is born in Salem, MA. The 6-8 righthander is the 12th overall pick in the 1989 draft but would record just a 0-3 record before being dealt.
1969 - Orlando Palmeiro s born in Hoboken, NJ. The free agent pickup bats .258 as a reserve outfielder over four seasons with Houston (2004-2007) with six homers.
1965 - Bob Aspromonte is the first recipient of the Jim Umbricht Award, given to the team's most valuable player for the previous season. The honor was renamed after Umbricht's death from cancer the previous April.
2021 - Astros open the season with an 8-1 drubbing of Oakland. Zack Greinke tosses six shutout innings. Michael Brantley smacks three hits, including a double and home run while Yordan Alvarez drives in three. Houston has a 9-0 record in Opening Days since they were switched to the American League.
2015 - Houston signs free agent outfielder Colby Rasmus to a one-year deal. After smashing 25 home runs and starring in the postseason, Rasmus opted to return for the 2016 season.
1983 - Matt Albers is born in Houston, TX. The righthanded prospect compiles a 4-13 record playing for his hometown team over parts of two seasons (2006,2007) before being dealt to Baltimore.
1964 - Looking to solve their shortstop woes, the Colts trade two pitchers, Jim Dickson and Wally Wolf, and cash to Cincinnati for Eddie Kasko. Kasko hits .244 in two seasons with Houston before being traded to Boston. Dickson had two saves in 13 appearances for the Colts in 1963.
2005 - Roger Clemens forestalls retirement yet again, signing the richest salary ever for a pitcher as he agrees to return to the Astros for an $18 million dollar paycheck.
1999 - Houston signs four players to minor league deals but all will see action with the Astros. Pitchers Brian Williams and Jeff McCurry come to terms along with outfielders Alex Diaz and Ryan Thompson. Williams, in his second tour as an Astro, plays the biggest role going 2-1 in 50 games out of the bullpen. For McCurry, it was a nice 29th birthday present, having been born in Tokyo, Japan on this day in 1970.
1955 - Reliever Dave Smith is born in Richmond, CA. He would register 199 saves for Houston and was named to the Astros All-Time Team in 1999. He dies on December 17, 2008 at his California home of an apparent heart attack.
2015 - Don Bryant passes away at age 73 in Gainesville, FL. The catcher played in 46 games for the Astros (1969-1970), but one happened to be the game he caught a no-hitter from Don Wilson.
2001 - Tommie Agee dies of a heart attack in New York, NY at age 58. The outfielder, a hero of the 1969 "Miracle Mets", played part of the 1973 season with the Astros before being traded to St. Louis.
1969 - Star outfielder Rusty Staub is traded to Montreal for outfielder Jesus Alou and first baseman Donn Clendenon. This trade would become controversial when Clendenon refuses to report and the Astros are forced to take other compensation while Staub goes on to become the Expos' first marquee player.
1951 - Leon Roberts is born in Vicksburg, MI. The outfielder would bat .267 with seven home runs over parts of two seasons (1976 and 1977) in Houston.
2005 - After signing 30-something veterans Turk Wendell and Dave Burba to spring contracts, the Astros really get "old school", inking 44-year-old lefthander John Franco to a one-year $700,000 deal. The 21-year veteran comes to Houston in second place all-time for career saves (424) and appearances (1,088) but is released with a 0-1 record after 31 games.
1992 - Houston signs outfielder Pete Incaviglia and reliever Doug Jones as free agents. Jones would become the club MVP that season, leading the team with 11 wins and 36 saves with a 1.85 ERA. He either won or saved over half of Houston's victories that year. Incaviglia wasn't too bad either, hitting .266 with 11 homers in part-time duty while tying the club record with seven RBIs in a game against the Giants.
1976 - Brandon Duckworth is born in Salt Lake City, UT. He posts a 1-3 record in spot duty during the 2004 and 2005 campaigns.
1936 - Don Nottebart is born in West Newton, MA. He would toss the first no-hitter in franchise history in 1963.
1934 - Joey Amalfitano is born in San Pedro, CA. He's the Opening Day second baseman for the first Houston Colts in 1962 and bats .237 for the season. He becomes a longtime major league coach and manager.
1968 - Ross Powell is born in Grand Rapids, MI. The lefhander appears in 27 games in relief during 1994 and 1995 but does not record a win, loss or save during that time.
1965 - Comedian Bill Dana is named the first official mascot of the Houston Astros by Judge Hofheinz. The comic, whose signature routine is portraying a dimwitted astronaut, comments about the new ballpark "if they would build a cemetery, you'd never have to leave the place."
2003 - Slugger Daryle Ward is traded to Los Angeles for minor league pitcher Ruddy Lugo, younger brother of infielder Julio Lugo. Ward teases fans with his home run potential but management loses patience after a five-year run where he swats 49 homers and bats .269 in 418 games.
1979 - Philip Barzilla is born in Houston, TX. The lefthander tosses 1/3rd of an inning for the hometown team in 2006, much to the joy of his family, including one proud uncle.
1951 - Vern Ruhle is born in Midland, MI. Ruhle spends seven seasons as an Astro pitcher, best known for taking over a spot in the starting rotation in 1980 when J.R. Richard suffered a stroke and helping Houston win their first division crown. Later, he is a successful pitching coach in Houston under manager Larry Dierker.
1942 - Ernie Fazio is born in Oakland, CA. One of the first Houston bonus babies, he fails to hit over .200 with the Colt .45s in 1962 and 1963. His big league career peaks at age 21.
2001 - A new rivalry gets a name. The Astros and the Texas Rangers announce together that their new interleague head-to-head matchup will be called the "Lone Star Series".
1994 - Houston signs first baseman Sid Bream. As a backup to Jeff Bagwell, he contributes mostly as a pinch-hitter, delivering a .344 average in the strike-shortened season. Of course, Bagwell hit .368 in an MVP year so Bream got scant attention for his superb play. After the strike, he never appears again in the majors.
1990 - Astros ink pitcher Terry Clark who had played two seasons with the Angels. The righthander appears in just one game for Houston that season and reemerges six years later to pitch in five games for the Astros in 1996. His career in Houston is forgettable: 0-2 with an ERA over 11.00.
2006 - The end may be near for Jeff Bagwell's 15-year run in Houston. The Astros announce they have filed an insurance claim to recover $15.6 million of the $24 million remaining on Bagwell's contract, asserting he has not recovered sufficiently from shoulder surgery last year to throw a baseball. Bagwell disputes the allegation and wants to play in spring training which would jeopardize the claim. Bagwell had recently been examined by noted surgeon Dr. James Andrews.
1992 - In a rare spending spree, the Astros sign four free agents, pitchers Joe Boever and Rob Murphy along with infielders Ernest Riles and Denny Walling. It's the end of the line for Walling who spent eleven years previously in Houston, a vital man in two division champions during the eighties. He's forced out with a knee injury after three at bats. None of the others are in Houston the following season.
1969 - Phil Plantier is born in Manchester, NH. The powerful outfielder came to Houston in the mega-trade with San Diego but a broken hand limits him to 22 games as an Astro in 1995 before he is dealt back to the Padres.
2001 - Curt Blefary dies at age 57 in Pompano Beach, FL. He had one season in Houston as the team's regular first baseman in 1969, hitting .253 with 12 homers and 67 RBIs.
1985 - Dequam LaWesley Wright is born in Birmingham, AL. The lefthanded reliever crafts an 8-9 record in his four big league seasons (2008-2011) in Houston.
1928 - Pete Runnels is born in Lufkin, TX. The two-time American League batting champion is dealt to Houston for Roman Mejias but is a disappointment in two seasons with the Colts, losing his first base job to Rusty Staub then Walt Bond.
2020 - Johnnie "Dusty" Baker is hired as the new manager of the Astros, tasked to lead the team both in defense of their American League title and to navigate the club through restoring their image after a scandal involving sign stealing that brought about the firing of his predecessor A.J. Hinch. The 70-year-old Baker agreed to a one-year contract with a club option for 2021.
2014 - Lance Berkman announces his retirement after 15 big league seasons, 11 of those (1999-2010) with the Astros, where he became one of the top hitters in club history.
1963 - Brian Meyer is born in Camden, NJ. In parts of three seasons with the Astros (1988-1990), he notches two saves and sports a 2.84 ERA but his career record is 0-5.
1962 - Manager Harry Craft and General Manager Paul Richards begin the first winter publicity caravan in team history, starting in Victoria. The team has had one every year since then, touring cities throughout Texas and Louisiana. Among the other travelers are infielders Norm Larker, Bob Aspromonte, Don Buddin and Joey Amalfitano and broadcaster Gene Elston. This year's tour also makes a stop in Monterrey, Mexico.
2007 - The City of Houston proclaims Jeff Bagwell Day to celebrate the 15-year career of the Astros slugger. The proclamation coincides with a hitting camp Bagwell is conducting at Minute Maid Park and a pitching camp run by the legendary Nolan Ryan.
1989 - Houston inks a pair of veterans, pitcher Dan Schatzeder and outfielder Greg Gross as free agents. Gross bats .200 in mostly pinch-hit roles during the final campaign of his 15-year career, one that began as an Astro. Schatzeder wins four games in relief.
2002 - Despite a petition drive seeking to honor longtime Astro broadcaster Gene Elston with the Ford C. Frick Award at the Baseball Hall of Fame, the winner is his former broadcast partner Harry Kalas. Kalas worked six seasons (1965-1970) with Elston before becoming the voice of the Philadelphia Phillies and NFL Films. Kalas' signature call while with Houston was to describe their home runs as "Astro orbits".
1980 - Two-time MVP Joe Morgan returns to the Astros as a free agent, signing a one-year contract. Fulfilling his promise to the organization that gave him his start, Morgan is an important cog in the team's first championship.
1965 - 18-year-old catcher Bob Watson signs as a free agent. Watson would eventually play left field and first base, becoming one of the best hitters in franchise history.
1961 - Harris County voters approve bonds to build a domed stadium. It is expected to house the new National League team when finished.
1947 - Lynn Nolan Ryan is born in Refugio, TX. He would pitch nine seasons in Houston (1980-1988), winning two ERA titles and tossing a record fifth career no-hitter on his way to the Baseball Hall of Fame.
1995 - Astros sign outfielder John Cangelosi as a free agent. He would hit .287 and steal 38 bases in two years as a reserve. He also works one hitless inning as a relief pitcher.
1990 - Houston avoids arbitration with reliever Larry Andersen when they agree on a two-year deal. The real benefit comes later in the season when Andersen is traded to Boston for a young minor-league third baseman.
1944 - Hal King is born in Oviedo, FL. He hits .192 in two seasons (1967,1968) as a reserve catcher for the Astros before finding similar work with the Braves, Rangers and Reds.
2015 - Dave Bergman passes away from cancer at age 61 in Detroit, MI. The popular reserve had a key triple in Game 2 of the 1980 NLCS against Philadelphia.
1996 - Speculation that Houston would become a member of the Canadian Football League ends when the Baltimore Stallions announce they will relocate to Montreal. Astros owner Drayton McLane toyed with the idea of bringing a CFL team to the Astrodome as a replacement for the departing NFL Houston Oilers.
1977 - Jeffery Adam Everett is born in Austell, GA. The slick-fielding shortstop has hit .248 with 35 homers over his seven seasons in Houston (2001-2007) with a .208 average in postseason play.
1972 - Jared Fernandez is born in Salt Lake City, UT. The knuckleballing righthander has compiled a 3-3 record and a 5.37 ERA in spot duty during 2003 and 2004.
1960 - Roland Americo "Buddy" Biancalana is born in Greenbrae, CA. A career .205 hitter who bats .042 during his 18 games as an Astro in 1987, Buddy gains notoriety as the butt of David Letterman jokes.
1999 - Billy Wagner signs a three-year $10-million dollar deal, avoiding arbitration. Wagner is coming off a season where he fans 14.55 batters per nine innings, setting a major league mark for pitchers tossing 50 or more innings.
1997 - Astros avoid arbitration with pitcher Mike Hampton, agreeing to a $1.3 million dollar contract, halfway between what both sides wanted. Hampton responds with a 15-10 record and becomes a critical member of three division-winning Houston teams.
1992 - Two years after it was first disclosed that Dr. John McMullen is looking to sell the Astros, he is no closer to finding a buyer. Complicating matters are a $100 million dollar bid from a Japanese group for the Seattle Mariners and McMullen's minority stake in a horse racing track to be built outside of Houston. Another group is offering to buy the team and move it to Washington, DC. McMullen, who had earlier nixed an $86 million dollar offer for the club, says the record price for the Mariners is not too high. He cites the Denver and Miami expansion clubs, to begin play in 1993, paid $95 million dollars apiece to join.
2020 - James Click is hired as the new general manager ending a three-week search to replace Jeff Luhnow who had been fired after the Manfred Report was released regarding electronic spying. While having no past experience as a GM, Click has spent the past 14 years with the Tampa Bay Rays, working his way up to Vice President of Baseball Operations.
2013 - Houston sends shortstop Jed Lowrie and reliever Fernando Rodriguez to Oakland for slugger Chris Carter, pitcher Brad Peacock and catcher Max Stassi. Carter bangs 90 homers over three seasons (2013-2015) while driving in 234 but is offset by a .218 batting average and 545 strikeouts.
1994 - Astros unveil new uniforms that do away with orange as a team color, rainbow stripes on the jersies, and the "H" on the cap. The new look will feature midnight blue and metallic gold with a flying star on the caps and jersies.
1973 - Chris Coste is born in Fargo, ND. The catcher/first baseman was claimed in 2009 and hit .204 in 43 games before getting released.
1961 - Houston Sports Association announces an agreement with Apache Junction, AZ for spring training facilities beginning the following season. Geronimo Park, in the shadow of Superstition Mountain, serves as the spring home of the Colt .45s in their first two seasons and is remembered best for its desolation and rumored curses.
1988 - Shortstop Dickie Thon, who retired during the 1987 season because of vision problems, is removed from Houston's "unable to perform" list and granted free agency. He later signs with San Diego and resumes his big league career.
1946 - Norm Miller is born in Los Angeles, CA. The outfielder bats .240 over nine seasons as an Astro (1965-1973). His career year comes in 1969 when he hits .264 in 119 games.
2021 - Astros avoid arbitration with star shortstop Carlos Correa in his final year before free agency, agreeing on an $11.7 million one-year contract. Both sides are hoping a contract extension can be worked out that will keep the 26-year-old infielder in Houston for much longer.
1958 - Bill Dawley is born in Norwich, CT. A surprise 1983 All-Star in his rookie year, Dawley compiles a 22-13 record with 21 saves and a 2.71 ERA during his three seasons as an Astro. His last four years are spent kicking around with the Cubs, Cardinals, Phillies and Athletics.
1995 - Cecil Upshaw dies of a heart attack in Lawrenceville, GA at age 53. The submarine reliever had a 2-3 record with one save as an Astro in 1973. The righthander had been a closer for Atlanta earlier in his career before tearing a finger on his pitching hand when he accidentally struck a sign while walking down the street.
1994 - Public batting practice by retired NBA star Michael Jordan draws hundreds of reporters. Jordan looks to sign a deal with the Chicago White Sox as an outfielder but some Astros are quick to point out it won't be easy for him. At his home, Houston pitcher Todd Jones is so incensed with radio callers predicting baseball stardom that he calls the station himself to challenge the basketball champion.
1990 - The Astros Silver Anniversary Team (1965-1989) is announced at a Houston banquet. Joe Morgan is honored as the first genuine Astro to make it to the Hall of Fame. Mike Scott also receives the 1989 Astros Most Valuable Player award. Not surprisingly, both are on the 25th Anniversary squad.
1977 - Dave Borkowski is born in Detroit, MI. The righthanded reliever won eight and lost seven with a 5.44 ERA during three seasons as an Astro (2006-2008).
2010 - Lance Berkman is inducted into the Texas Sports Hall of Fame, joining former teammates Jeff Bagwell, Craig Biggio and Roger Clemens among others. Former Astros pitching coach Burt Hooton is also honored.
2001 - Craig Cullinan, the last surviving member of the four men who brought Major League Baseball to Houston, is honored at the annual Houston Baseball Dinner. Jeff Bagwell is also there to pick up his 2000 Astros Most Valuable Player Award.
1993 - A trio of arbitration cases are avoided when three starters are inked to similar three-year deals. Infielders Craig Biggio and Ken Caminiti, along with outfielder Steve Finley now represent a $32 million dollar investment to go with the $36 million spent on deals for pitchers Doug Drabek and Greg Swindell - a pay-out unlikely to have happened before the recent change in ownership.
1965 - A few Astros take the field for the first practice inside the new Astrodome. Rusty Staub is the only player to swat a ball over the fence as 250 members of the press look on. Pitchers are relieved to discover that breaking pitches still break indoors. Singer Anita Bryant is on hand to deliver a ceremonial first pitch.
2005 - Sometimes they seem like Siamese twins even though Jeff Bagwell and Craig Biggio are not. The two infielders receive induction into the Hall of Fame - the Texas Sports Hall of Fame in Waco, that is. Soon to be Astro teammates for 15 years straight, the pair are closing careers they hope will land them in a bigger hall - the one in Cooperstown, NY.
1999 - Astros agree to a contract with shortstop Ricky Gutierrez. It's the second year in a row that none of Houston's arbitration-eligible players actually reach a hearing. Gutierrez fights injury problems to hit .261 in his final year in Houston.
1942 - Hal Gilson is born in Los Angeles, CA. The lefty has just one year in the big leagues and he misses out on a World Series share when he is sent from the first-place Cardinals to last-place Houston in 1968. Gilson appears in just two games and earns no record while an Astro.
2005 - Houston avoids arbitration for the eighth straight year by coming to terms with pitcher Roy Oswalt on a two-year deal worth $16.9 million. A 20-game winner in both 2004 and 2005, he will receive $11 million in 2006.
1986 - Astros extend a spring training invitation to reliever Aurelio Lopez. The righthander rewards them with three wins and seven saves during their division-title season.
1976 - 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.
1967 - Astros sell pitcher Ron Taylor to the New York Mets. A washout over two seasons in Houston, Taylor emerges as the saves leader for the Mets when they win it all in 1969.
2009 - Miguel Tejada pleads guilty in Washington D.C. to lying to congressional investigators about performance enhancing drugs. He claims he also purchased but did not use human growth hormone which he bought from former Oakland teammate Adam Piatt. He is later sentenced to one year probation, 100 hours of community service and a $5,000 fine.
1984 - Justin Richard Towles is born in Crosby, TX. After a fast start, Towles bats .187 with 11 homers in his first four seasons as an Astro (2007-2010).
1981 - Catcher Bruce Bochy is dealt to the Mets for two minor leaguers. Bochy spent parts of three seasons with the Astros and is best remembered for the forearm he took from Pete Rose in Game 4 of the 1980 N.L.C.S. Later he becomes the manager for the San Diego Padres and the San Francisco Giants.
1945 - John Paciorek is born in Detroit, MI. His younger brother Tom has an 18-year major league career. John has one day, but it was quite a day.
1944 - Ollie Brown is born in Tuscaloosa, AL. The outfielder plays just 27 games as an Astro in 1974 and bats .217. Hailed as "the next Willie Mays" when he came up with the Giants, Brown has a good 13 seasons in the bigs but could never live up to the lofty promotion, something with which teammate Cesar Cedeno could sympathize.
1991 - Astros owner John McMullen announces he has cleared the way for Houston to host the 1992 Republican National Convention at the Astrodome. The GOP has already selected Houston but there are details to resolve. National League President Bill Giles and Players Union chief Donald Fehr both voice their disapproval of the proposed 30-day road trip that the Astros will take in order to free up the Dome for the convention.
1978 - Tim Redding is born in Rochester, NY. In four seasons as an Astro (2001-2004), Redding built a career record of 21-28 with an ERA of 4.75 before being traded to San Diego.
1945 - Don Wilson is born in Monroe, LA. He wins 104 games and tosses two no-hitters in eight memorable seasons as an Astro. He was the third baseman on his Little League team in Compton, CA and only began pitching when his cousin got hurt.
2018 - Harris County commissioners agree to spend $105 million to begin renovations for the long-dormant Astrodome. Than plan is to elevate the floor to ground level which will be used for parking spaces then convert the remaining structure to be used for festivals and celebrations.
2008 - Former Astro pitcher Roger Clemens has his day before Congress, denying again in testimony that he had used steroids or other performance enhancing drugs while his accuser, former trainer Brian McNamee, sat at the other end of the table facing accusations of his own. Clearly both can't be telling the truth but the only bombshells to come out were an admission from Clemens' teammate Andy Pettitte that he tried human growth hormones during the 2004 season when he injured his elbow and that Clemens' wife admitted to using human growth hormones while preparing for a swimsuit layout in Sports Illustrated. The prospect of federal charges still loom ahead.
1997 - Houston wins and loses their arbitration case with Darryl Kile. The inconsistent pitcher asks for a salary $1.27 million dollars more than what the Astros offer. The club prevails but, under the instruction of new Astro manager Larry Dierker and pitching coach Vern Ruhle, Kile goes on to have an outstanding year only to shun Houston and leave as a free agent after the season.
1968 - Matt Mieske is born in Midland, MI. A valuable reserve outfielder during the 1999 season, Mieske slumps as much as the rest of the guys in 2000, batting .173 before being released.
2017 - Pitchers and catchers report to their still-unfinished new spring home in West Palm Beach, FL, dubbed "The Ballpark of the Palm Beaches". The facility is shared with the Washington Nationals as part of the new wave of paired spring training camps.
1984 - Houston signs infielder Enos Cabell, back from Detroit, as a free agent. A popular Astro during his six seasons (1975-1980) which he spent mostly as a third baseman, Cabell becomes the regular first baseman and bats .310 with eight homers. He is dealt to the Dodgers early in the 1985 season.
1951 - Larry Milbourne is born in Port Norris, NJ. The reserve infielder hits .245 during three seasons in Houston (1974-1976) and manages to last another nine years in the majors. It's interesting to note that someone nicknamed "The Devil" was born on St. Valentine's Day.
2007 - Morris "Buddy" Hancken passes away at the age of 92. Hancken was an Astros coach for five seasons (1968-1972) then stayed with the organization through 1992 in various capacities. He had been a minor league player, coach and manager before joining the Astros.
2006 - Reaction continues to simmer over a memoir published by Astros broadcaster Milo Hamilton, who is in his 22nd year with Houston. While he has some critical comments for local folks, the national media focuses on Hamilton's portrayal of deceased Cubs broadcaster Harry Caray as "a miserable human being". Caray's widow, Duchie, responds that Hamilton hasn't "shown any class at all". In the Chicago restaurant that bears Caray's name, a new drink called the "Milo" is christened made of "cheap shots and sour grapes".
1991 - Potential buyers of the Astros, Ben Love and six others, approach Nolan Ryan of the Texas Rangers to own a share of the team. The group includes Drayton McLane. Ryan declines, citing that an active player cannot also be a team owner.
1969 - Brian Williams is born in Lancaster, SC. He posts a 19-17 record in two stints (1991-1994, 1999) with Houston along with three saves.
1965 - A squad of young Astro hopefuls open camp in Cocoa Beach, FL as the first to begin spring training workouts. Veterans will arrive between February 22nd and March 3rd.
2009 - Routine physicals at the beginning of spring training sometimes reveal the unexpected. Returning pitcher Mike Hampton is told he has an irregular heartbeat and is sent back to Houston for tests and a minor procedure. Doctors then determine no procedure was necessary and fly him back to Florida the next day.
1989 - Astros sign righthander Roger Mason as a free agent. He appears in just two games with Houston but resurfaces with the Pirates in 1991 to resume a ten-year career in the majors.
1962 - The first Houston training camp begins in Apache Junction, AZ. The fledgling Colt .45s would finish with a 14-7 spring record, best in the majors - a testament to what 40 guys can accomplish when none of them are assured of employment.
1990 - Shortstop Andujar Cedeno is signed to a minor-league deal and placed on the Astros' 40-man roster, causing various national sportswires to misidentify him both as Cesar Cedeno and Joaquin Andujar. The 20-year-old fellow Dominican is not related to either former Astro.
1964 - Colts trade outfielder Carl Warwick to St. Louis for outfielder Jim Beauchamp and pitcher Chuck Taylor. Beauchamp would hit .164 and .189 as an Houston reserve. The 21-year-old Taylor was sent back to St. Louis where he saw his first big league action in 1969 and became a quality reliever.
2001 - Eddie Mathews dies in La Jolla, CA at age 69. The Hall-of-Fame infielder plays just a few months with the Astros but treats them to one of the greatest milestones of his career.
1974 - Houston trades pitcher Pat Darcy and cash to Cincinnati for infielder Denis Menke. For former All-Star Menke, he closes his career hitting .103 in a bench role. For the Ohio-born Darcy, it's great timing as two of his three big-league seasons are on World Championship teams.
1958 - Rafael Ramirez is born in San Pedro de Macoris, DR. A steady glove at shortstop, Ramirez bats .257 in five years with the Astros (1988-1992), although his production dwindles with each season.
1949 - John Mayberry is born in Detroit, MI. A hot prospect drafted by the Astros, he bats .191 in parts of four seasons in Houston (1968-1971) before being traded away to the American League where he stars for the next eleven years.
2008 - The first full day of spring training is a rough one for a trio of Astros. Outfielder Hunter Pence arrives with cuts all over his hands and knees after crashing through a sliding glass door while leaving the hot tub of his rental home. Shortstop Miguel Tejada is grilled by the press about his legal troubles stemming from the Mitchell Report and infielder Mark Loretta learns he has lost his arbitration case, receiving $2.75 million in salary instead of the $4.9 million he sought.
1999 - Astros General Manager Gerry Hunsicker announces that outfielder Moises Alou has suffered a knee injury while working out in the Dominican Republic. While initial reports are optimistic, Alou is lost for the entire season. Alou claims he hurt the knee while running on a treadmill but management expresses some skepticism.
1944 - Chris Zachary is born in Knoxville, TN. Expected to be one of the top young arms for the expansion Houston franchise, Zachary struggles through five seasons (1963-1967), compiling a 6-16 record. He dies on April 19, 2003 of cancer in the town of his birth.
1964 - Colts trade in cacti for grapefruits as they begin their first spring training in Cocoa, FL. The new facility is hailed as "state-of-the-art" but soon becomes disparaged because of poor drainage, snakes, and a spartan dormitory where the players are housed. Prankster Turk Farrell livens things up by purchasing a young alligator and slipping him into the clubhouse whirlpool.
1959 - Bill Gullickson is born in Marshall, MN. The righthander goes 10-14 as a Houston starter in 1990, part of his 14 big league seasons but he is gone to Detroit the next year as the Astros tighten their belts.
2006 - Gene Elston is named as the 30th Ford C. Frick Award winner, honoring the top baseball announcers in history. The award is presented at the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown. Elston's career with Houston spanned from 1961 to 1986. He joins Harry Kalas (1965-1970), Bob Prince (1976) and Milo Hamilton (1985-present) as Astro play-by-play men to receive the honor.
1985 - Pitchers and catchers report to the first official workouts at the Astros' new spring training facility in Kissimmee, FL. It is considered by all an upgrade over the team's old facilities in Cocoa, FL that had been in use for the previous 21 years.
1943 - Jack Billingham is born in Orlando, FL. While he compiles a respectable 29-32 record in three years as an Astro (1969-1971), Billingham is best remembered as the player involved in two of the most reviled trades the club ever made, coming and going.
1931 - Buffs Stadium in Houston is home to the first night game between two major league teams as the Chicago White Sox and the New York Giants meet in an exhibition. 23 hits are achieved under the lights in the ten-inning affair.
2020 - People came from all over to harass Astro players in their first spring contest after the sign-stealing scandal emerged during the winter. In an ironic twist, fans had their homemade signs stolen by stadium personnel enforcing a "no signs or banners" policy at the stadium. Some banged on metal seats while others just used lung power to voice their displeasure. The whole event did not last long as the exhibition game was rained out after two innings.
1998 - Tornadoes pound the Kissimmee, FL area where the Astros spring training camp is based. The fields themselves suffer minor damage. A light tower is blown down, an astroturf field is ripped up and a batting cage is blown across the street and crumpled into a heap. Power is out and several nearby homes where the Astros were staying are damaged. Eight people die at a nearby RV park. The Astros donate money to the relief efforts.
1973 - 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.
1965 - Eric Yelding is born in Montrose, AL. Tried in both the infield and outfield, Yelding's best season comes in 1990 when he bats .254 and steals 64 bases.
1948 - Tom Griffin is born in Los Angeles, CA. Great things are expected after his rookie 1969 campaign when he goes 11-10, with 200 strikeouts and a 3.54 ERA but arm injuries ruin most of his remaining six years an Astro. His best season is 1974, when he delivers a 14-10 record.
2000 - Jeff Bagwell arrives at spring training a changed man. Not only is the slugger sporting a new drooping red beard but he is playing his first baseball since off-season laser eye surgery.
1999 - Architects for the new downtown ballpark propose to Astros owner Drayton McLane a train engine to be placed upon the left field wall. Builders announce the new field is almost halfway complete.
1976 - 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.
1958 - Juan Agosto is born in Rio Piedras, PR. The rubber-armed lefty lasts 13 seasons in the bigs, including five as an Astro. Agosto's career year is 1988 when he compiles a 10-2 record with four saves and a 2.26 ERA.
1946 - Ken Boswell is born in Austin, TX. In his three seasons as an Astro reserve (1975-1977), Boswell bats .242 and comes through 40 times as a pinch-hitter.
2006 - It's normally not news when a player shows up for spring training but that's not true this time for Jeff Bagwell. The first baseman arrives with a $15.6 million dollar insurance tag on his head if he can't play. Bagwell insists he'll play despite an arthritic right shoulder that required surgery the previous year. He fields grounders and hits in light drills the first day and talks briefly with owner Drayton McLane.
2004 - Nolan Ryan returns to the Astros organization under a five-year personal services contract. Ryan and his sons own one team in the Astros farm system and plan to add another one in 2005 when the AAA affiliate moves to Round Rock, TX and the AA squad moves to Corpus Christi.
1984 - Houston swaps backup catchers with Montreal. George Bjorkman heads to Quebec in exchange for Tom Wieghaus. Bjorkman batted .227 in his one season as an Astro. Wieghaus sees action in just six games and goes hitless.
1967 - Astros send pitcher Jim Ray to the Mets on a 30-day conditional deal. The Mets send him back a month later. It's a lucky break as Ray goes 42-25 with 23 saves over the next six years in Houston, used as both a reliever and a spot starter.
2009 - Third base prospect Chris Johnson mashes a home run estimated at up to 600 feet in the 6-3 victory over the Washington Nationals that opens the spring schedule. Reclamation projects Mike Hampton and Russ Ortiz get off to good starts, each tossing a pair of shutout innings. It will be three weeks before they win another Grapefruit League game.
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.
1988 - Unwanted in Houston, 40-year-old Jose Cruz signs with the New York Yankees, ending an impressive 13-year run as an Astro. Houston will receive a compensation draft pick for the free agent signing.
1951 - Cesar Cedeno is born in Santo Domingo, DR. Considered the franchise's first superstar, Cedeno has twelve fascinating and sometimes frustrating seasons in Houston (1970-1981) and is a member of the 35th Anniversary All-Astros team.
1939 - Denver Lemaster is born in Corona, CA. The lefthander compiles a 30-46 record with six saves and a 3.40 ERA in four years under the Dome (1968-1971).
1992 - Outfielder Luis Gonzalez breaks two bones in his nose when he is struck by a pitching machine during indoor drills. The machine had one pitch left when Gonzo began picking up balls around the batting cage.
1987 - The owner of a Houston sports bar begins a campaign to raise $70,000 for Astros slugger Glenn Davis. That's what separates the Astros and Davis on a one-year contract, according to his agent Gerry Hunsicker. The two sides would eventually agree to meet roughly halfway. Davis is humbled by the public's show of support but declines taking their money.
2006 - Roger Clemens sends a brushback message to his own 19-year-old son after Koby slams a home run off his dad in the minor league Astros camp where Koby is training. Roger is preparing to pitch in the first World Baseball Classic but is not officially with the Astros. Denied salary arbitration, the pitching legend is fielding contract offers from other clubs while mulling retirement. The Astros cannot negotiate with him until May 1st. Officially, that is.
2002 - Astros announce they have purchased back the naming rights of their ballpark from Enron for $2.1 million dollars. The 30-year deal signed in 1999 winds up in bankruptcy court after Enron collapses in scandal during the fall of 2001. Tentatively, the park is named Astros Field while a new sponsor is sought.
1962 - Catcher John Bateman is inked to a free agent contract. The hulking catcher leads the team in home runs and RBIs in 1963 but his career year comes in 1966 when Bateman puts up a .279 average with 17 homers, 24 doubles and 70 RBIs - all career highs. He hits .228 over six seasons in Houston (1963-1968). Bateman dies in Sand Spring, TX at age 56 on December 3, 1996.
1937 - Carl Warwick is born in Dallas, TX. One of the best Colt .45 hitters, Warwick bats .257 with 23 homers and 107 RBIs during the franchise's first two seasons.
2017 - The Astros are the visiting team in their first game held at their new spring training home in West Palm Beach, FL. That's because the opponent was the facility's other tenant, the Washington Nationals. The Nats won it, 4-3, on a walk-off home run by Michael Taylor in the ninth.
1997 - Larry Dierker's managerial debut with the Astros is an 8-2 loss to the Cleveland Indians. Shane Reynolds delivers two shutout innings but the Tribe get to Mike Hampton, Jose Lima and Ramon Garcia for the decisive runs.
1991 - Former major leaguers, Bob and Ken Aspromonte, now local beer distributors, announce they are seeking to buy the Astros from Dr. John McMullen but still need additional partners. Bob Aspromonte played for the team from 1962 to 1968.
1986 - Former Astros Joaquin Andujar, Enos Cabell and Jeff Leonard are among eleven players suspended by Commissioner Peter Ueberroth in the aftermath of the drug-dealing trial of Curtis Strong in Pittsburgh. Future Astro Dale Berra is also suspended. All the players agree to a stiff fine, community service and random drug tests in exchange for lifting the suspensions.
1975 - Ricky Stone is born in Hamilton, OH. The righthander plays a valuable set-up role in the bullpen, with a 10-8 record and two saves over four seasons (2001-04) before being released and claimed by San Diego.
2002 - Jose Vizcaino begins the Astros spring training schedule with a home run off Omar Daal that sparks a 6-2 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers. It is the first game for new Astros skipper Jimy Williams.
1987 - Reliever Charley Kerfeld declares he will buy up 3,000 tickets per game to give away to charity causes. Without a discount, which the Astros didn't discuss, the cost for the seats would total as much as $1.6 million dollars. Unable to afford that on a $110,000 salary, Kerfeld backs down from the offer.
2011 - Jason Castro tears up his knee trying to avoid a tag while running to first base. Expected to be the starting catcher, the former first-rounder later has foot surgery after rehabbing late in the year.
1992 - Astros' broadcaster Milo Hamilton is named the annual Ford C. Frick Award winner for major contributions to baseball. He will be honored in July at the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY. Hamilton becomes the 16th announcer to win the award since it began.
1985 - David S. "Bud" Norris is born in Greenbrae, CA. The righthander compiles a 21-24 record with a 4.33 ERA over his first three seasons with the Astros (2009-2011).
1995 - Astros replacement players lose their spring opener to the Florida Marlins, 3-2. Many players under minor league contracts, including top picks Billy Wagner and Scott Elarton, leave camp rather than take part in the game due to threats made by the players union to blacklist them.
1961 - The first tryout camp is held in Houston for the new National League expansion team. It is held at Busch Stadium, the same southeast Houston locale that had been called Buffs Stadium for decades.
2010 - Brad Mills' managerial debut is a 15-5 Astros victory over a split squad of Washington Nationals. Hunter Pence gives the new skipper a happy send-off with two homers in the fourth inning during a nine-run frame which turned the momentum.
1978 - Rodrigo Rosario is born in La Romana, DR. The slender Dominican righthander wins his 2003 big league debut in memorable fashion but lands on the DL after injuring himself in his second start.
1966 - Andy Mota is born in Santo Domingo, DR. A September call-up during the 1991 season, the second baseman bats .189 in 27 games. His father Manny Mota was with the Houston franchise in the spring of 1963 but was traded before the regular season began.
2015 - In A.J. Hinch's managerial debut with the club, Houston drops the Phillies, 6-3, at Kissimmee, FL. Three Astros hit home runs while former overall first pick Mark Appel is the winning pitcher.
1994 - Astros owner and HSA president Drayton McLane slams the idea of a new downtown domed stadium, claiming the Astrodome can be refurbished for half the cost. McLane also complains that the $33 millon dollar estimated payroll for the Astros for 1994 is too high.
1993 - The first game in the Florida Marlins' history is a 12-8 pasting of the Astros in the Cocoa, FL park that was the spring home to the Astros for 21 years. Five-run outbursts in the second and fifth innings get the expansion franchise off in style. Phil Nevin belts two triples in his first game as an Astro.
1971 - Brian Hunter is born in Portland, OR. A .285 hitter with 61 steals in his first time through Houston (1994-1996), Hunter returns for two more seasons (2002-2003), batting .258 as a reserve.
2021 - As two starting pitchers may join Justin Verlander on the 60-day Injured List, Houston announces they've reached an agreement to sign free agent righthander Jake Odorizzi to a two-year deal with an option for a third. Hurlers Framber Valdez (broken ring finger) and prospect Forrest Whitley (ulnar ligament) await second opinions before season-ending surgeries are performed.
2004 - Andy Pettitte, a major off-season addition, makes his Astro debut a succesful one, dropping the Braves, 9-3. The next day, Roger Clemens, the other Yankee free agent signee, wins his debut in a 15-8 clubbing of the Pirates.
1993 - Free agent pitcher Doug Drabek tosses two shutout innings in a 3-2 win over the Dodgers. It is Drabek's first start with Houston after a career in Pittsburgh that included a Cy Young Award and three division crowns.
1989 - After blowing late leads in each of their first three spring games, the Astros score four in the bottom of the ninth to steal a 5-4 victory over Kansas City for the first win in Art Howe's managerial career. Thad Bosley, Craig Biggio and Karl Allaire drive in the runs after three walks start the inning.
1979 - Clint Barmes is born in Vincennes, IN. An infielder acquired from Colorado for pitcher Felipe Paulino, Barmes bats .244 with 12 homers during the 2011 season.
1968 - Jeff Kent is born in Bellflower, CA. The former National League MVP bats .292 and averages 24 homers and 100 RBIs during his two seasons in Houston (2003,2004). He also provides one of the most memorable homers in Astros playoff history to win Game 5 of the 2004 N.L.C.S.
1962 - KPRC-AM introduces Gene Elston and Al Helfer as the Colts' first radio play-by-play team. Loel Passe, a local favorite after his years with the Houston Buffs, is later added to the crew. Although Helfer leaves after the first year, Elston and Passe would be together for the next fourteen seasons. Elston would remain with the club through 1986.
1961 - The Houston Sports Association announces "Colt .45s" as the winner of the "Name That Team" contest. Entries from as far away as Australia came in. Many had suggested "Colts" but the gun, rather than the horse, won out much to the later chagrin of Judge Roy Hofheinz.
1950 - James Rodney Richard is born in Vienna, LA. Arguably the most intimidating pitcher in Astros history, Richard compiles a 107-71 record with 19 shutouts and 1,493 strikeouts in his ten seasons in Houston (1971-1980).
2015 - Despite being no-hit over 10 innings, a spring split-squad game with the Braves ends in a 2-2 tie. The Astros took advantage of nine walks and a hit batter in the contest.
2007 - Orlando "Marty" Martinez dies in Santo Domingo, D.R. at age 65. The utility player hit .268 in three seasons with the Astros (1969-1971), playing every position but center and right field including two-thirds of an inning as a pitcher.
1969 - After Donn Clendenon "retires" and refuses to report to spring training, Commissioner Bowie Kuhn rules that Montreal can keep both Rusty Staub and Clendenon, insisting that Houston will have to settle for further compensation rather than voiding the trade.
1963 - Reliever Jim Umbricht undergoes 6-1/2 hours of surgery at Methodist Hospital to remove malignant cancer tumors from his leg, thigh and groin. Two months later, he is back on the mound pitching for the Colt .45s.
1939 - Jim Bouton is born in Newark, NJ. The righthander had a blazing fastball when he pitched in the World Series for the Yankees in 1964. By the time he gets to Houston in 1969, all he has left is a knuckleball and a manuscript.
1992 - Democratic presidential contender Bill Clinton stops by the Astros training camp for pictures and autographs prior to an exhibition game with the Boston Red Sox. Florida and Texas both have primaries the next day. Clinton does not stay for the game.
1987 - A sign of things to come. Astros lose their home spring opener to Montreal, 19-3. Bob Knepper and Jeff Heathcock are knocked silly before the bullpen comes to the rescue. Five Houston errors worsen the mood. Knepper would slump from a 17-12 1986 season to 8-17 the next year, his ERA climbing by over two runs.
1973 - 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.
1934 - Jim Landis is born in Fresno, CA. From the lowly 1967 Astros, Landis would spend the rest of his final big league season involved in the American League pennant race with both Detroit and Boston.
2001 - Astros drop the first of a two-game exhibition series in Valencias, Venezuela to the Cleveland Indians, 7-6. The following day's game would end in an 8-8 tie after Adam Everett's two-run homer in the ninth produces the stalemate.
1962 - Houston Colt .45s lose the first exhibition game in their history to the Los Angeles Angels, 7-3, in Palm Springs, CA. Bob Aspromonte scores the first run and Roman Mejias gets the first Colt hit, a clean single off Eli Grba.
2000 - Major League Baseball comes to the Dominican Republic for the first time as the Astros drop the Boston Red Sox, 4-3, at Estadio Quisqueya in Santo Domingo. Jeff Bagwell launches two homers to pace the Houston victory. Dominican pitcher Jose Lima thrills his countrymen with a 3-2 triumph the next day.
1985 - Righthander Mike Scott, coming off a 5-11 season, tests his new split-fingered fastball for the first time in live action. The two-inning stint against the Toronto Blue Jays is uneventful and Scott likes it that way. He hopes to earn the fourth spot in Houston's pitching rotation.
1980 - Chris Burke is born in Louisville, KY. The outfielder/infielder bats .249 during four seasons in Houston (2004-2007) but makes his mark with a home run that wins the 2005 N.L.D.S. over Atlanta in the 18th inning, the longest game in postseason history.
1974 - Bob Abreu is born in Aragua, Venezuela. A product of the Astros' baseball camp in his homeland, Abreu would play just 74 games for Houston before being lost in the 1997 expansion draft.
1948 - Cesar Geronimo is born in El Seibo, DR. Used mostly as a defensive replacement in Houston, Geronimo would leave for Cincinnati as part of the infamous Morgan deal and hold down center field for the Reds for the next nine seasons.
2020 - MLB suspends all spring training games due to an outbreak of a deadly virus. Most other sports also cancel their games. The Commissioner's office announces that regular baseball season, scheduled to start in 14 days, will be delayed at least two weeks. In reality, the regular season won't begin for over four months.
2018 - The 2017 Astros are guests at the White House to celebrate their Worlds Championship. President Donald Trump remarked how the ballclub was better than his Yankees and later received an Astros jersey with his name on the back and the number "17" presented by Josh Reddick.
2002 - Astros deal third baseman Chris Truby to Montreal for infielder Geoff Blum. Since the Expos were purchased by Major League Baseball during the winter and is technically run by them, this makes the first trade by the sport itself on behalf of one of their clubs. Blum would bat .272 with 20 homers during two seasons in Houston.
2000 - Two armed gunmen rob six Astros minor leaguers in a motel in Kissimmee, FL. One is apprehended at the scene while the other fled after jumping through a second-story window. One player suffers a bite to his neck.
1949 - Jim Wynn is born in Hamilton, OH. Drafted away from the hometown Reds by the fledgling Colt .45s, the "Toy Cannon" would become the first Astro to reach 40 steals, hit 30 HRs or drive in 100 runs for the team. His tape-measure homers are still described with awe today. Wynn's number 24 is retired in 2005.
1995 - Only 621 attend an Astros-Royals replacement exhibition game and both clubs, in spite of fairly new spring facilities, grumble about declining revenues. The Astros weigh an option to return to Arizona when their contract in Kissimmee is up, looking at Tucson where their AAA team used to play.
1990 - Houston trades two minor league players to the Yankees for shortstop Orlando Miller. The infielder would come up to the majors in 1994 and would find himself as part of the nine-player deal with the Tigers after the 1996 season.
1962 - Colt .45s get their first-ever win in a 2-1 exhibition victory over the Cleveland Indians. Jack Waters singles home Jim Pendleton with the winning run. Jim Umbricht is the winning pitcher.
2003 - Houston signs lefthander Bruce Chen to a minor league contract but he stays with the parent club. This is his sixth National League team in the past four seasons but the ride doesn't last long. He is cut after 11 appearances with a 0-0 record and a 6.00 ERA.
2002 - Larry Dierker drops in on the Astros spring camp in Kissimmee, FL to smiles and hugs. After 37 years in various capacities with the franchise, the ex-manager says it felt "weird" to not be at spring training.
1991 - It's March Madness time and the most popular guy at the Astros camp is rookie Kenny Lofton. During his years at the University of Arizona, Lofton was known more as a guard for the highly-ranked Wildcat basketball team than as a speedy center fielder. Lofton becomes the resident expert in tournament betting pools.
1987 - After an 0-for-8 start and three errors in the field, shortstop Dickie Thon walks out of training camp. Although Thon is able to successfully return to baseball, it's the beginning of the end of his time in Houston. Blurred vision is cited as the reason for his walkout.
2015 - Despite being no-hit over 10 innings, a spring split-squad game with the Braves ends in a 2-2 tie. The Astros took advantage of nine walks and a hit batter in the contest.
2011 - Brett Wallace drives in seven during a 14-8 donnybrook against the Orioles in Sarasota. Wallace has four hits, including a grand slam homer and a pair of doubles. Had he been allowed to bat in the ninth inning, there were two more runners aboard for the first baseman to drive home.
1988 - It hits the fan when newspapers publish pitcher Bob Knepper's reaction to the performance of minor league umpire Pam Postema, attempting to become the first woman ump in the majors. Knepper states his religious beliefs that women should not "have authority" over men. Astros public relations say calls in reaction to the comments are running 70% opposed. Postema's career eventually falls short of the big leagues.
2018 - Jose Altuve and the Astros agree to a five-year extension to his contract, paying him $151 million for the 2020-2024 seasons, ensuring the popular infielder stays in Houston through his peak playing years. On the field, Lance McCullers leads a two-hit shutout of the Yankees with solo homers by J.D. Davis and Tyler White providing the offense.
2003 - As America prepares for a second war with Iraq, opinions are strong on both sides. After the lead singer of the country music group "The Dixie Chicks" causes an uproar by saying on stage that she's embarrassed that President George W. Bush is from Texas, Lance Berkman, another native Texan, says he's embarrassed for her and suggests she move to Oklahoma.
1994 - A poll conducted for the city of Houston at the request of Astros owner Drayton McLane shows 56 percent disapprove of building a downtown domed stadium primarily for the NFL Oilers and the NBA Rockets. Only 24% approve. Among those who disapprove, 49% say a new park is simply "not needed". Mayor Bob Lanier backs away from supporting the proposed stadium, which sets the scene for the Oilers' later move to Nashville, TN and the creation of a baseball-only downtown facility for the Astros.
2008 - Dodgertown in Vero Beach, FL, which was home for 60 years to the Dodgers, bids them farewell. The Astros make Dodger fans bluer in the finale with a 12-10 win, keyed by five home runs including a game-winning two-run shot from Nick Gorneault in the ninth.
1998 - Reliever Bryan Harvey asks for his unconditional release from the Astros training camp, ending a comeback bid for the former two-time All-Star.
1976 - 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.
2009 - Infielder Aaron Boone, a free agent signed in December, announces he will have aortic heart surgery and forgo the season. Boone is best known for his home run that decided the 2003 A.L.C.S. for the Yankees over the Red Sox. He was expected to platoon at third base. Successful surgery is performed eight days later. He returns in September but goes hitless in 13 attempts.
1990 - A spring labor lockout is finally settled. The Astros report to spring camp in a rush to be ready in time for the April 9th season opener. The first exhibition game isn't until March 26th.
1973 - 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.
1962 - Construction begins on the Astrodome, a short hike from where Colt Stadium is nearing completion. The excavation pit for the domed stadium floor soon becomes a haven for breeding mosquitoes in land that was once marsh fields.
2019 - After he complained about having his pre-arbitration contract renewed, the Astros work out a 5-year, $100 million extension for third baseman Alex Bregman. The Astros also extended set-up reliever Ryan Pressly for two years at a total of $17.5 million, the most ever paid to a non-closer.
2005 - Lance Berkman is signed to a six-year contract worth $85 million dollars. Eligible for free agency after the season, Berkman had set a deadline to be re-signed by Opening Day. Berkman is glad to be under contract for the rest of the decade.
1988 - Larry Andersen closes out a 4-1 loss to the Kansas City Royals. It was number 42 but it didn't look like Andy and, in fact, it wasn't. It's Dave Smith, who forgot to pack his jersey for the short bus trip. Andersen bought an unmarked jersey at a concession stand so as to not be missed in the bullpen. The stunt leads to a fine for both players.
1966 - Players with the Astros and Dodgers are flown from Florida to Houston to test the new artificial surface. Balls bounce too high in the infield and engineers add more sand under the rug to make it behave more like natural grass.
1962 - Mickey Herskowitz of the Houston Post has his first column published as a mythical Houston pitcher named "Lefty" who tells about life with the Colt .45s. He continues the columns for five years and they sell as a book entitled "Letters From Lefty". A few more letters show up through 1971. They remain some of the best stories about the early years of the franchise.
2009 - After winning their first spring game of the year, the Astros fail to win their next 19 Grapefruit League contests until beating the Reds, 4-2, behind six shutout innings from Russ Ortiz. It comes the same day that the Astros sign catcher Ivan "Pudge" Rodriguez to a one-year deal. The 37-year-old Rodriguez is a 14-time All-Star with 13 Gold Gloves and fills a need as none of the other catchers in camp were hitting above .200 in spring action.
1996 - Jim Pendleton dies in Houston, TX at age 72. His 36 RBIs as a Colt in 1962 were the most of his big league career.
1994 - Both teams train in Florida, yet the Astros and Rangers spar in a two-game series at the Astrodome as part of their in-state rivalry. Tony Eusebio is the hero in a 6-5 victory, driving in Luis Gonzalez with an eighth-inning double. Astro nemesis Will Clark delivers the game-winner for the Rangers the following day. It's the first Dome visit for new Houston manager Terry Collins. Afterwards, both teams fly back to Florida.
1936 - Jim Golden is born in Eldon, MO. Jim lives up to his name when he shuts out the Cubs in his first start for the Colt .45s in just the third game in franchise history.
1996 - Houston sends lefthander Billy Wagner to the minors, intent on converting him to a starting pitcher. By year's end, he is in the Astros bullpen, winning two games and saving nine in 37 appearances.
1989 - Astros acquire second baseman Steve Lombardozzi from the Minnesota Twins for a player-to-be-named later. Lombardozzi bats .211 in 23 games with Houston.
1939 - Tommy Davis is born in Brooklyn, NY. The former two-time N.L. batting champ hits .271 as an Astro during parts of the 1969 and 1970 seasons.
1929 - Prentice "Pidge" Browne is born in Peekskill, NY. As a 32-year-old rookie, Browne hits .210 in 65 games for the Colt .45s. It is his only big league action.
2014 - In one of the most regretted releases in team history, the Astros waive outfielder J.D. Martinez after a slow spring. Claimed by Detroit, Martinez responds with a .296 average and 61 homers over the next two seasons, which included an All-Star appearance.
2007 - After almost 20 years of wearing a pin in his cap to promote the Sunshine Kids charity for cancer-stricken children, Major League Baseball tells 41-year-old Craig Biggio that he can no longer wear the emblem during spring exhibition games. Biggio reacts angrily while the Astros front office refrains from comment. A week later, after a mild media uproar, Major League Baseball rescinds the order.
1986 - Astros lose to the Rangers, 6-2, their ninth loss in the past ten games. They provide as many errors as hits. Pressure is put on rookie manager Hal Lanier to show some imporvement. Pre-season forecasts predict the Astros will do no better than fourth place in the Western Division.
1966 - Sean Berry is born in Santa Monica, CA. The scrappy third baseman bats .283 with 38 homers in three seasons with the Astros (1996-1998), including two as division champions.
1926 - Billy Goodman is born.in Concord, NC. The infielder bats .255 for the 1962 Colts in the final campaign of a 16-season major league career.
2005 - The burnt orange Hummer owned by Koby Clemens' father is stolen from the Memorial High School parking lot. It is recovered later in a southwest Houston apartment complex, apparently unharmed. The Hummer was a gift from the New York Yankees to celebrate father Roger's 300th major league win. The elder Clemens returns from the Astros' spring training camp to aid in the investigation. Koby is later drafted and signed by the Astros as an infielder.
1943 - Lee May is born in Birmingham, AL. The powerful first baseman slugs 81 homers in three seasons with the Astros and represents them in the 1972 All-Star Game.
1942 - Danny Coombs is born in Lincoln, ME. Coombs' big league debut comes in the "All-Rookie" game in 1963 but he's never able to cement a job with Houston. Still, the lefty reliever compiles an 8-7 record with two saves as an Astro in parts of seven seasons.
2019 - Ace righthander Justin Verlander signs a two-year extension for $66 million. The 36-year-old's contract at $28 million per year is set to end this season. The $33 million per year extension is the richest contract handed out by the franchise in terms of annual salary.
2016 - Mets outfielder Yoenis Cespedes tries to convince umpire C.B. Buckner that an A.J. Reed drive to center is unplayable at the outfield fence but Buckner is not fooled. Reed jogs home with an inside-the-park homer to start an 8-5 victory. Dallas Keuchel tosses five shutout innings.
1979 - Jose Valverde is born in San Pedro de Macoris, DR., or is he? The Dominican has had his official birth date listed both in March and July, also in 1978 and 1979. Regardless, "Papa Grande" posts 69 saves while an Astro, including a league-leading 44 in 2008, before leaving in free agency.
1967 - Astros deal utilityman Sandy Alomar to the New York Mets for utilityman Derrell Griffith. Alomar's two sons, Roberto and Sandy, Jr., would one day become All-Stars like their pop.
1961 - Houston holds their first rookie camp in Jacksonville, FL. Farm director Bobby Bragan conducts the camp for young players under contract with the newly-named Colt .45s.
2006 - Jeff Bagwell announces he may undergo "last resort" surgery to remove bone spurs in his aching right shoulder in a final attempt to resume his playing career. Bagwell, the subject of much off-season speculation and a $15.6 million dollar insurance claim, will go on the disabled list. Two days later, the insurance claim is denied but the Astros say litigation is likely.
2004 - Houston acquires utilityman Mike Lamb from the New York Yankees in return for a minor league pitcher. Lamb bats .281 with 49 homers and 196 RBIs over four campaigns, adding five more homers in postseason play.
1994 - Astros release outfielder Jesse Barfield. The Houston native and former A.L. home run champ had hit just .080 in Kissimmee after playing in Japan the previous season. He stays on to work as a coach.
1988 - Houston trades catcher Robbie Wine to the Texas Rangers for pitcher Mike Loynd. Selected as the eighth overall pick in the 1983 draft, Wine is never able to produce as he did in college. In 23 games as an Astro, Wine hits .146.
1984 - Astros purchase infielder Alan Bannister from Cleveland. In nine games that season with Houston, Bannister would bat .200 before a trade to the Rangers.
2011 - X-rays reveal that shortstop Clint Barmes has a broken left hand after it was hit the night before in an exhibition game against the Yankees. The initial diagnosis is 4-to-6 weeks of healing needed, which will cause him to miss the first month of the season.
1999 - Roger Clemens tosses six innings of no-hit ball but the Astros storm back to topple the New York Yankees, 7-5. Clemens had been the subject of intense trade talks during the off-season as the Astros tried to swing a swap with the Toronto Blue Jays to bring the multiple Cy Young Award winner home to Texas. Ultimately, Clemens was sent to New York.
1991 - State Senators pass a bill to rename a part of State Highway 288 the "Nolan Ryan Expressway". The highway passes near the Astrodome on its way through Ryan's boyhood hometown of Alvin.
1977 - Astros obtain outfielder Willie Crawford and infielder Rob Sperring from San Francisco for infielder Rob Andrews. After the season, outfielder Art Gardner is sent to the Giants to complete the deal.
1968 - Future Astro teammates Shane Reynolds and Jose Vizcaino are born. Reynolds is born in Bastrop, LA. Vizcaino is delivered in San Cristobal, DR. They would play together in Houston for the 2001 and 2002 seasons.
2004 - In a scene that gave Astro veterans flashbacks, shortstop Adam Everett is hit in the face by a fastball from Toronto's Miguel Batista. Fortunately, the throw glances off Everett's shoulder before striking him in the mouth, unlike the blow that another Houston shortstop, Dickie Thon, took in 1984 that significantly altered his career. Bloodied and sore, Everett leaves the game, a 5-3 win over the Blue Jays, but returns before the regular season began.
2003 - Houston veterans are stunned to learn that pitcher Shane Reynolds, who had been with the team since 1992, has been released. Coming off back surgery and having a shaky spring, the Astros pull the plug on an incentive-laden deal that could have been worth as much as $5 million dollars to Reynolds. Penciled in as the third starter, Reynolds comments that he thought he was just sharpening up for the season and didn't need to compete for a job. He soon finds a new home pitching for Atlanta, posting an 11-9 record.
1997 - New manager Larry Dierker finds out he doesn't get the final say on his own roster. Dierker wants to keep righthander Donne Wall on the pitching staff but Wall is sent to the minors in favor of Chris Holt. Wall returns when Sid Fernandez goes on the disabled list after only one start, yet pitches just eight games while Holt and Ramon Garcia fill the void in the Astros rotation.
1985 - Shortstop Dickie Thon impresses as he comes back from the beaning that ended his 1984 season in the opening week. He swats a double off the wall in a 3-1 victory over the Dodgers and turns a thrilling double play behind Bob Knepper. Thon explains his injured eye socket seems healthy once again.
2013 - Gus Triandos dies of heart failure in San Jose, CA, at age 82. The four-time All-Star catcher batted .181 for Houston in 1965 at the end of a 13-year career.
2005 - In the first trade of Tim Purpura's tenure as General Manager, the Astros send pitcher Tim Redding to San Diego for catcher Humberto Quintero. On the field, Houston outslugs the Tigers, 14-11 as Roger Clemens tosses 106 pitches in his first start since pulling his hamstring.
2003 - Halliburton Plaza opens next to Minute Maid Park, showcasing the team's history and featuring action statues adorned with the uniform numbers of Jeff Bagwell and Craig Biggio turning a double play.
1990 - Astros Special Assistant Donald Davidson dies in Houston at age 64. Only four-feet-tall after contracting a childhood illness, Davidson spent 50 years in baseball, working his way up from batboy to baseball executive. Davidson came to Houston in 1976 and served a number of front-office roles. His body was donated to science.
1961 - Glenn Davis is born in Jacksonville, FL. As a troubled youth, he is taken in by the parents of major league pitcher George "Storm" Davis. Glenn would become Houston's best slugger since Jim Wynn, smashing 166 homers over seven seasons (1984-1990) while driving in 518 runs.
2018 - Houston opens their first title defense with a 4-1 win over the Rangers in Arlington. George Springer led off the game with a home run, just as he did the year before. Justin Verlander tossed six shutout innings for the victory. Before the game, a moment of silence was held in memory of former Astros All-Star Rusty Staub who passed away that morning at the age of 73.
2002 - Lance Berkman drills two home runs and Roy Oswalt scatters seven hits as Houston tops the Boston Red Sox, 5-1, in an exhibition at the newly-renamed Astros Field. Scrubbed are virtually all signs of Enron, whose naming-rights deal for the ballpark fell into bankruptcy court. The win is also a little sweeter for manager Jimy Williams who was fired by the Sox midway through the 2001 season.
2000 - Houston swaps lefty relievers with Philadelphia, obtaining Yorkis Perez for Trever Miller. Perez would see action in 33 games, earning a 2-1 record before being released. Miller was 5-2 with a pair of saves over two seasons as an Astro.
1978 - Eric Bruntlett is born in Lafayette, IN. The utilityman bats .250 with nine homers during his five seasons with Houston (2003-2007). His turn of a double play in Game 4 of the 2005 N.L.C.S. seals a pivotal 2-1 victory. He later would make an unassisted triple play as a member of the Phillies in 2009.
2000 - Enron Field officially opens with a 6-5 exhibition win over the A.L. Champion New York Yankees, paralleling the feat that occured when the Astrodome opened in 1965. Daryle Ward's two-run homer caps a four-run eighth-inning rally to open up the Astros' new home in style. Jeff Bagwell earns the first hit in the new digs with a single off Roger Clemens.
1995 - In their only Astrodome appearance, Houston replacement players mop up the ersatz New York Yankees, 10-1, before a crowd of approximately 7,000. Former Astros Juan Guerrero and Dave Rhode star for the strike-breaking locals.
1993 - Astros release pitcher Jason Grimsley, whom they acquired for pitcher Curt Schilling the previous year. Grimsley catches on with the Cleveland Indians. He did not pitch an inning while in Houston. Schilling, meanwhile, becomes a six-time All-Star who is a pivotal member of four pennant-winners.
1977 - Jeriome Robertson is born in San Jose, CA. The lefty leads the Astros in wins during his rookie season, posting a 15-9 record in 2003, despite a 5.10 ERA. Also on this day, infielder Larry Milbourne is dealt to Seattle for pitcher Roy Thomas.
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.
2013 - In their first official game as an American League franchise, the Astros spank the Rangers, 8-2, at Minute Maid Park. A three-run homer by Rick Ankiel breaks the game open. Erik Bedard backs Bud Norris with 3-1/3rd relief innings. The win is also the managerial debut for Bo Porter.
2004 - Lefthander Jeriome Robertson is dealt to the Cleveland Indians for two minor league outfielders, Willy Taveras and Luke Scott. Taveras had been claimed by Houston in the Rule V draft but had been waived and returned to Cleveland before the trade. Robertson had a 15-9 rookie season in Houston but found himself out of the rotation after the Astros snared Andy Pettitte and Roger Clemens in free agency.
1997 - Houston acquires infielder Tim Bogar on waivers from the New York Mets. Bogar hits .219 in four seasons as a utility infielder. He also pitches twice during the 2000 campaign.
1986 - Pitcher Mark Ross is traded for himself. Ross was dealt to St. Louis in December for a player to be named later. After no agreement could be reached, that player to be named became Mark Ross.
1983 - Astros deal catcher Alan Knicely to Cincinnati for pitcher Bill Dawley and outfielder Tony Walker. Another in the long line of catching prospects, Knicely bats .197 over parts of four seasons.
2021 - Astros open the season with an 8-1 drubbing of Oakland. Zack Greinke tosses six shutout innings. Michael Brantley smacks three hits, including a double and home run while Yordan Alvarez drives in three. Houston has a 9-0 record in Opening Days since they were switched to the American League.
2003 - Former N.L. MVP Jeff Kent homers in his first at bat as a Houston Astro, leading a 10-4 mauling of the Rockies. Jeff Bagwell tops that with two home runs while Geoff Blum goes deep and drives in three. Roy Oswalt survives a shaky start for the victory. .
1997 - Many considered Drayton McLane a fool for hiring broadcaster Larry Dierker as his manager, replacing Terry Collins. Dierker had never managed on any level. Dierker's debut comes on April Fool's Day, getting the last laugh on the Atlanta Braves, the defending league champs. Pat Listach drives in Brad Ausmus with a sacrifice fly in the third inning. Shane Reynolds and Billy Wagner make it stand up for a 2-1 victory.
1981 - Astros deal pitcher Ken Forsch to the Angels for shortstop Dickie Thon. The versatile righthander compiled a 78-81 record for Houston, with 50 saves, nine shutouts, a 3.18 ERA and one memorable no-hitter.
1968 - Pitcher Bo Belinsky is sold to the Chicago White Sox. Having already left spring training to get engaged to former Playmate of the Year Jo Collins, Belinsky refuses a minor-league assignment in Oklahoma City preferring Honolulu where the Sox have their AAA affiliate.
2003 - Craig Biggio singles home the tying and winning runs in the bottom of the ninth, completing a five-run rally that stuns Colorado, 8-7. Four straight singles and a double by Orlando Merced set the stage for Biggio's heroics. Billy Wagner is the surprise winner.
1997 - Houston bunches six hits off Greg Maddux in the third inning and holds on for a 4-3 victory. Derek Bell's two-run double is the key blow. Mike Hampton picks up the win against Atlanta.
1993 - Nolan Ryan pitches in the Dome for the last time, a 4-3 exhibition loss for his Texas Rangers. A packed house of over 53,000 cheer the 46-year-old Alvin legend. Luis Gonzalez' three hits help to stake Pete Harnisch to a 4-0 lead over the future Hall-Of-Famer, who struck out only one batter in six innings.
1971 - Dome fans are treated to a 15-inning exhibition "tripleheader" between the Astros, Yankees and Twins. Houston nips New York, 2-1, in the first five-inning game and later tops Minnesota, 5-3, in the finale. In between, the Twins down the Yankees, 4-1.
1963 - Colt .45s trade outfielder Manny Mota to Pittsburgh for outfielder Howie Goss, who lasts one season. Mota torments Houston pitchers for the next twenty years.
2001 - Craig Biggio returns from knee surgery in style with the first five-hit game of his career during an 11-3 Opening Day win against Milwaukee, scoring three times. Daryle Ward and Chris Truby belt homers.
1998 - It's not in Colorado, but the Astros club the Rockies as if it was, 15-2. Derek Bell, now hitting in front of Jeff Bagwell in the lineup, drives in six and keys a seven-run uprising to put the game away.
1977 - An exhibition game with the Texas Rangers in Tulsa, OK, is halted when a part of the stand collapses, injuring 17 people. Players helped carry victims to aid, some making stretchers out of wooden planks.
1970 - Doug Rader becomes the first to reach the Dome's gold (upper reserved) seats with a home run off Stan Bahnsen during a 9-5 exhibition win against the Yankees. The ball lands in section 738D, row 6, seat 1.
1969 - The Rusty Staub trade with Montreal is finally settled when the Astros accept pitchers Skip Guinn and Jack Billingham, along with $100,000, instead of first baseman Donn Clendenon. Jesus Alou was to accompany Clendenon to Houston and he remains part of the deal.
2003 - Brad Ausmus slugs a grand slam homer in the first inning and a solo shot in the 12th to carry the Astros over St. Louis, 6-5. Ausmus also guns down three runners, including Fernando Vina at third base for the game's final out. Brad Lidge gets his first major league save.
1994 - Mitch Williams walks the bases full then surrenders two 12th-inning runs in the season opener against Montreal. Ken Caminiti's two-run double ends a dramatic three-run comeback for a 6-5 Houston triumph. . The Astros also debut their new navy-and-gold uniforms with the leaning star logo.
1982 - J.R. Richard tosses one inning in an exhibition game against Toronto. It would be his last appearance as an Astro after suffering a stroke in 1980. Richard gives up no runs and no hits but walks the bases full in the 3-2 victory.
1977 - Houston bombs the Rangers in a 16-6 exhibition win in Oklahoma City. Willie Crawford drives in five runs but the moment nobody forgets is when Bob Watson doubles into a double play. Texas catcher Bill Fahey tags out both Enos Cabell and Jose Cruz at the plate.
1966 - A tornado rips through the Astros' spring training home in Cocoa, FL. Three light towers are toppled, one crashing into the grandstand. The scoreboard has vanished. The batting cages are ruined. That day's exhibition game with Kansas City is cancelled.
2017 - Down a run in the bottom of the 13th, George Springer swats a walk-off three-run homer to stun the Mariners, 5-3. Springer earlier plated the other two Houston tallies with a two-run double to give him all five RBIs on the night.
2006 - Craig Biggio adds to his illustrious credentials in a 6-5 triumph over the Marlins. His first-inning double gives him 606 in his career to become tenth all-time in that category. Later, he scores his 1700th run, 24th all-time in that department. He is two hits shy of the 2800 plateau. Lance Berkman and Preston Wilson supply the muscle with two-run homers to support Wandy Rodriguez.
1998 - Astros greet Darryl Kile with five runs in the second inning, on their way to a 6-2 win over Colorado. Houston fans boo Kile who left the Astros as a free agent over the winter. Shane Reynolds' three-run double and Craig Biggio's two-run homer do the damage.
1988 - Kevin Bass' two-run single keys a five-run eighth-inning rally to grab a 6-3 Opening Day win against San Diego. Mike Scott takes the win even though he surrendered two runs in the top half of the frame.
1976 - 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.
1999 - The Astros begin their final campaign in the Astrodome by defeating the Cubs, 4-2. Shane Reynolds is the Opening Day winner. Carl Everett and Richard Hidalgo bash solo home runs.
1987 - Jose Cruz homers off the Dodgers' Orel Hershiser to lead the defending N.L. West champion Astros to a 4-3 season-opening triumph. Alan Ashby contributes a two-run single. Dave Smith pitches the last two innings to seal the win for Mike Scott.
1978 - The traditional Opening Day in Cincinnati is an 11-9 loss to the Reds. Terry Puhl begins the season with a leadoff homer against Tom Seaver and is later joined by Cesar Cedeno and Joe Ferguson in the longball department. Ferguson also starts a triple play when he catches strike three from Joe Sambito, throws out George Foster stealing second then watches Joe Morgan get caught in a rundown between third and home.
1975 - For $35,000, the Astros purchase Joe Niekro from the Braves. Niekro would win 144 games for Houston and become the club's first two-time 20-win pitcher.
1973 - 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.
2004 - What retirement? 41-year-old Roger Clemens makes his debut as an Astro a memorable one, blanking the Giants on one hit over seven innings to earn his 311th career victory, a 10-1 blowout. Homers by Richard Hidalgo, Jeff Bagwell and Jeff Kent support The Rocket who fans nine, including slugger Barry Bonds twice. Clemens also singles in his first at-bat as a National Leaguer.
2000 - Enron Field's first regular-season opener goes much the same way as the Astrodome - a 4-1 loss to Philadelphia. Craig Biggio leads off the season with a single but it isn't until Richard Hidalgo homers in the seventh that the sellout crowd has more to cheer. For trivia buffs, Randy Wolf gets to howl as Enron's first winning pitcher much like Chris Short 35 years before.
1979 - Ken Forsch fires a no-hitter, blanking Atlanta, 6-0 . Bedridden two days before the gem, Forsch needs just 106 pitches, striking out three and walking two. Forsch has a tension-free ninth inning getting Rowland Office, Jerry Royster and Glenn Hubbard on routine grounders. He and his brother Bob become the first brothers to pitch no-hitters.
1975 - Setting the baseball fashion world on its ear, the Astros introduce the rainbow uniform to major league baseball, humbling the Braves in a 6-2 season opener. Jose Cruz homers in his first game as an Astro.
1970 - Pitcher Larry Dierker orders pinch-hitter Norm Miller to belt a homer as he's leaving the game. Miller delivers with a three-run shot off Gaylord Perry to key an 8-5 Opening Day win at San Francisco. Dierker picks up the victory while Fred Gladding earns the save.
2005 - Roger Clemens wins for the 329th time in his career - tying Steve Carlton for ninth on the all-time list - using his bat as well as his arm. Clemens' infield hit in the sixth scores two for a 3-2 squeaker over the Reds. Luke Scott and Willy Taveras, two rookies making the jump from AA ball, score runs with Scott pounding a triple for his first major league hit - just 16 behind Clemens on the all-time hit list.
2002 - Craig Biggio becomes the fourth player in franchise history to hit for the cycle in an 8-4 triumph in Colorado. After reaching with a single and a triple his first two times up, Biggio homers off Denny Neagle for two runs then doubles in the eighth off Mike James for two more. Richard Hidalgo and Lance Berkman also go deep.
1988 - Glenn Davis drills a two-run shot with two outs in the ninth to tie Cincinnati then Houston explodes for five runs in the 16th to take an 8-3 victory. Winning pitcher Larry Andersen starts the final rally with a single off Jose Rijo then scores on a two-run single by Billy Hatcher.
1984 - Shortstop Dickie Thon is beaned by Mike Torrez in a 3-1 loss to the Mets. The fastball broke a bone near Thon's left eye which caused bruising and a huge shiner. He would be out the entire season and battled vision problems the rest of his career.
1964 - Colts reliever Jim Umbricht dies at the age of 33 from melanoma cancer. He was the only pitcher with a winning record in both of Houston's first two seasons, overcoming major surgery during the 1963 campaign - or so it seemed.
1999 - On the Astrodome's final anniversary, Tim Bogar drives home Richard Hidalgo with the winning run as Houston nips Milwaukee, 3-2. Starter Sean Bergman adds a solo homer but Scott Elarton takes the win in relief.
1990 - On the Dome's 25th Anniversary, Houston fails to hold an early lead and drops an 8-4 decision to Cincinnati. Glenn Davis is hit-by-pitch three times, tying a major-league record.
1985 - On the Dome's 20th Anniversary, Nolan Ryan leads a 2-1 victory over Los Angeles, surviving a first-inning kiss from Morganna who also smooches Dickie Thon before the police arrest her.
1975 - On the Dome's 10th Anniversary, Houston drills the Braves with six runs in the fourth and eight more in the seventh for a 14-2 massacre. Doug Rader, Roger Metzger and Enos Cabell lead the assault with three hits apiece.
1965 - Houston's "Eighth Wonder Of The World" opens its doors for the first indoor baseball game, an exhibition against the New York Yankees. Dick Farrell tosses the first pitch . Ron Brand triples for Houston's first hit. The legendary Mickey Mantle homers to center field for the game's first run but the newly-named Astros prevail, 2-1 in twelve innings, on a single by player-coach Nellie Fox .
2003 - Craig Biggio sets a league record with his 31st leadoff homer, sparking the Astros to a 4-2 triumph over Cincinnati. He eclipses the mark of Bobby Bonds. Jeriome Robertson picks up his first major league win, allowing just two hits and fanning eight over seven innings.
1979 - J.R. Richard ties a major-league record by throwing six wild pitches in a game against Los Angeles, but he also strikes out 13 in a 2-1 victory. Cesar Cedeno, Jose Cruz and Enos Cabell tag consecutive doubles off Burt Hooton in the fourth for the Houston runs.
1971 - Chicago great Ferguson Jenkins is sailing along with a four-hit shutout and a 1-0 lead through eight innings when the Astros win without hitting a ball past the infield. Cesar Cedeno's scratch hit starts it off. Two walks later, Cedeno bluffs a break for the plate which causes Jenkins to balk home the tying run. Jenkins then misplays Roger Metzger's botched squeeze bunt for an error as Cesar Geronimo scores the game-winner.
1968 - Houston wins the season opener over Pittsburgh, 5-4. The season was delayed due to the murder of Martin Luther King, Jr. The Astros score three in the bottom of the ninth as a rare error by Bill Mazeroski on a foul pop proves critical.
1962 - Major League Baseball officially starts in Houston as the Colt .45s make a big hit in their 11-2 Opening Day win against the Chicago Cubs. Bobby Shantz gets the victory, striking out Lou Brock as the first batter. Roman Mejias belts two home runs and drives in six for the Colts. Hal Smith also homers. In all, quite a 50th birthday gift for team owner Judge Roy Hofheinz.
1999 - Craig Biggio scores his 1000th career run against Milwaukee in a 5-2 victory. Biggio has two hits on the day, including a double. Shane Reynolds captures the victory.
1981 - Don Sutton, signed as a free agent from Los Angeles over the winter, makes his Astro debut against the Dodgers, and surrenders six runs in a 7-4 loss.
1980 - Craig Reynolds, homerless the year before, blasts a leadoff homer against Don Stanhouse to spark a five-run eighth-inning rally that topples Los Angeles, 10-6. Dave Smith wins in his first big league appearance.
1967 - Eddie Mathews beats his old Atlanta teammates in a 6-1 Opening Day victory. The Braves had traded their aging star to Houston that winter and he responds with two hits including a triple off Dick Kelley to key a six-run sixth inning. Mike Cuellar picks up the win.
1962 - Hal Woodeshick and Dick Farrell combine for Houston's first shutout, 2-0 over the Cubs. Hal Smith's first-inning single plated the game's only runs. This game also featured the franchise's first rain delay - one hour and seven minutes.
2019 - Jose Altuve and Yuli Gurriel blast grand slams in the same game as part of a 10-6 comeback victory in Seattle. Altuve's shot was his fifth homer in four games. He would add another in a 3-1 triumph the next day to make five games in a row.
2017 - Perhaps the first sign that this would be a special season, the Astros bounced back from a 5-0 deficit to drown the Mariners, 10-5. Seven batters had extra-hit games, including Jose Altuve with three and Carlos Beltran driving in three. Brad Peacock took his second win in relief.
1980 - In his first game as an Astro, Nolan Ryan hits the first home run of his career, a three-run shot off Don Sutton. But the lead doesn't hold and Los Angeles eventually wins in 17 innings, 6-5.
1970 - Astros blast five home runs to trounce Phil Niekro and the Braves, 8-3 . Jim Wynn has the most memorable shot, a rocket that doesn't come to rest until it finds the gold (upper reserved) seats in the third inning (section 738C, row 6, seat 3) . That bested his blast into the purple seats in the first. Tommy Davis, Joe Pepitone and Doug Rader go yard as well, making an easy night for starter Larry Dierker.
1962 - Dean Stone tosses the first complete-game shutout in franchise history, blanking the Cubs, 3-0. It's a three-hit effort and caps a series sweep in their inaugural homestand. At 3-0, they are tied with the Giants atop the National League standings.
2007 - Roy Oswalt gets his 100th victory in an un-Oswalt-like way. He walks six and allows six runs but Carlos Lee's three homers and a three-run blast by Morgan Ensberg pace a 9-6 victory at Philadelphia. Lee belts a grand slam as well as two solo shots while Craig Biggio takes over eighth place on the All-Time doubles list with 641, passing Honus Wagner.
1993 - Houston erupts for seven runs in the eighth to master the Expos, 9-6. Eddie Taubensee's two-run homer is the big blow in the uprising.
1989 - Glenn Davis ties the Dodgers with an eighth-inning blast then an error by Eddie Murray in the 15th keys a 4-2 victory. Bob Forsch tosses shutout ball over the last four innings for the win.
1971 - Astros rally for five runs in the ninth to stun the Cardinals, 8-4. Joe Morgan's bases-loaded single precedes a three-run bomb by Norm Miller. Bob Watson also homers.
1964 - Colt .45s win the league's season opener in Cincinnati, defeating the Reds, 6-3. It is the only time in their three-year history that the Colts have sole possession of first place. President Lyndon Johnson watches while Ken Johnson, still grieving over the death of roommate Jim Umbricht, hurls a two-hit shutout before tiring in the ninth. Jim Wynn, who grew up in Cincinnati, belts a two-run shot in the victory.