The Buffs-Colts-Astros Player Chain.

Dave Giusti, P

Aaron Pointer, OF

Ron Davis, OF

If this idea catches on, we may soon be able to use an adaptation of the “Seven Degrees from Kevin Bacon” movie actor test to determine which Astros players are closest to the only three pioneering baseballers who each played for the minor league Houston Buffs and also for the major League Colt .45s and Houston Astros during the specific years the big league club was nicknamed differently. These three Houston big leaguers included successful major league pitcher Dave Giusti and two barely-made-it, short-time outfielders, Aaron Pointer and Ron Davis.

If you are unfamiliar with the Kevin Bacon test, it goes like this. A few years ago, when the Internet Movie Data Base first went online, actor Kevin Bacon was used as the contemporary actor goal line for seeing how quickly players could link other actors, especially from the old days, by the fewest number of links in roles played with other movie performers to Bacon, The theory and game killer rule was that anyone should be able to make the connection between Kevin Bacon and, say, John Barrymore in seven links (degrees) or fewer. Otherwise, you lose.  The link trace here might go something like this: Craig Biggio played with Billy Doran (1 degree) who played with Terry Puhl (2 degrees) who played with Bob Watson (3 degrees) who played with Ron Davis (4 degrees), one of our all-Houston-clubs trio. Maybe there’s an even shorter route to Davis, Pointer, or Giusti that you will find.

Here’s a quick sketch of the Buffs-Colts-Astros Player Chain Trifecta!

(1) Dave Giusti went 2-0 with a 3.00 ERA in his only three games for the 1961 Buffs. He then went 2-3 with the 1962 and 1964 Colt .45s and 45-50 with the 1965-68 Astros before moving on for a long run at Pittsburgh and a closing year split between Oakland the Cubs, Over his full major league career, Dave Giusti compiled a career record of 100 wins, 93 losses, and ERA of 3.60.

(2) Aaron Pointer will always be remembered best as the little brother of the famous Pointer Sisters singing group. After that, Aaron was a 3 for 8 (.375) hitter in four games for the 1961 Buffs and a .208 career hitter in a 40-game, three season big league career as an outfielder for both the 1963 Colt .45s and 1966-67 Astros.

(3) Ron Davis bit .179 in eleven games for the 1961 Houston Buffs before going on to bat .214 in seven games for the 1962 Houston Colt. 45s. Davis completed his Houston baseball nickname trilogy by batting .247 and .256 for the 1966 and 1967 Houston Astros. Over his total five seasons in the big leagues (1962, 1966-69), Ron Davis batted .233 with 10 HR. Sadly, he passed away in 1992.

There is also a shorter, more numerous player chain link between Houston’s minor league and major league histories. The following men either played for or managed both the last 1961 Houston Buffs club and the first 1962 Houston Colt .45s major league team. Except for three aforementioned players, The rest of these guys never completed the trilogy trip as Astros, but these men did each participate officially in both Houston’s last minor league season and first major league season. Aaron Davis is not listed here because he did not make his Colt .45 debut until the second year, 1963 big league season:

Last Buffs/First Colt .45s Club ~ “The Magnificent Seven”

(1) Pidge Browne, 1B: Buffs 1956-57, 1959, 1961; Colt .45s 1962.

(2) Jim Campbell, C: Buffs 1961; Colt .45s 1962-63.

(3) Harry Craft, Manager: Buffs 1961; Colt .45s 1962-64. *

(4) Ron Davis, OF: Buffs 1961; Colt .45s 1962; Astros 1966-67.

(5) Dave Giusti, P: Buffs 1961; Colt .45s 1962, 1964; Astros 1965-68.

(6) J.C. Hartman, SS: Buffs 1961; Colt .45s 1962-63.

(7) Dave Roberts, OF-1B: Buffs 1961; Colt .45s 1962; Astros 1966-67.

* NOTE: Harry Craft took over as the fourth and final manager of the last 1961 Buffs team. Craft was replaced in mid-season by Luman Harris as manager of the 1964 Colt .45s.

Presuming our research is accurate in this matter, we could find no Houston Buffs who jumped over the experience of playing for the Colt .45s to later play for the renamed (1965 or later) Astros. Old Buffs had to play their way through the Colt .45 years and only three of them survived the four-year gap (1961-65) to surface again as Astros – and only one of these former Buffs, Dave Giusti, actually thrived as a major leaguer.

Have a nice weekend, everybody, and take my advice on this one. Give yourselves a little break from small detailed baseball research questions that are the psychological equivalent of blind-stitching or sewing up Nike shoes in Jakarta.

I’ll catch you later. I’m off to the walking track now.

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One Response to “The Buffs-Colts-Astros Player Chain.”

  1. Tal Smith Says:

    Bill, that’s another very interesting column. As you may know, Aaron Pointer went on to have a long career as an NFL game official. He is also noted for hitting .400+ and winning the batting title in his rookie year in pro ball (1961 at Salisbury in the Western Carolina League). Both he and Ronnie Davis (a former Duke football player)were fine young men. Their development may have been rushed and hindered due to the needs on an expansion club that understandably had little depth in its system. Dave Giusti (Syracuse University) was a good guy, too, and obviously went on to have a fine career with the Pirates.


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