Opening Day at Buff Stadium, 1947-61

Opening Day 2012: Do you feel more hopeful about the Astros now than you did two years ago? If so, uo oribably will enjoy Opening Day 2014 more any  season since 2005m

Opening Day 2012: Do you feel more hopeful about the Astros now than you did two years ago? If so, you probably will enjoy Opening Day 2014 more than any season since 2005.

These are little, but very personal memories, parts of the whole that on other levels, are way whole in themselves. They move across the visceral connections of my brain that takes in the sights, sounds, smells, feels, and tastes of being at my ballpark during my  growing-up years on that grandest day of all baseball days – Opening Day of a new hopeful regular baseball season for the mighty Houston Buffs.

(1) The beaded sight of the eighty orange, beige, and brown buffalo medallions that rimmed the outside stadium walls as we walked from our cars to the entry gates of Buff Stadium.

(2) The wafting sounds of Miss Lou Mahan on the ballpark organ as she orchestrated fans into the stands on the auditory wings of the best popular music of our times. After the last out in the ninth, we knew we could count on “Goodnight, Irene” no matter who won the game.

(3)  The unmistakable aroma of fresh pop corn, tasty ballpark hot dogs, and other more confectious treats that battled in the air for the invisible space we used to breathe ourselves into a voracious craving for all the baseball good stuff that caused our hunger nostrils to run full blast. For some, the only discernible smell was beer. Most of us also smelled the freshly cut  grass of the most brilliantly green field in the world.

(4)  We felt the firm support of wooden bench stadium seating and also the more comfortable armchair seating in the reserved and box ticket sections. We also could not miss the gentle to gusty Gulf of Mexico winds that blew in over the right  field wall toward left.

(5) And we tasted the morsels of our various cravings at the concessions stands that lay in wait for all of us in the belly of the whale that was Buff Stadium in Houston on Opening Day.

(6) It was fun in all its glory. The players lived very well on their side of the rail with all those little signs that said “no pepper games.” As for us fans. we didn’t have any comparable sign on our grandstand side of the rail, but we could have lived fine with a sign that had read “no moderation games.” . Going all out to win and having fun was all we cared about back in the day. Those were some very good years – good enough to have planted some very real memories – the kind that have lasted for 66 years and counting through today.


6 Responses to “Opening Day at Buff Stadium, 1947-61”

  1. Randy Says:

    Buy low, sell high. When popular consensus either touts you as the next coming, or doomed as an epic failure, the smart money is playing the role of the contrarian. There were small glimmers of a change in the prevailing winds at the end of last year’s Astros season. My money is that the ‘stros show marked improvement this year. It won’t be a radical improvement, but the wheel grinds slowly in such a setting.
    Emily Dickinson loved the look of a loser, and now that this club has tasted some winning (they did not go winless last year) and suffered the losing in larger doses. Their hunger, overall baseball wisdom and skill set will bring them more victories in the marginal games that escaped them last year in this game of inches.
    Now that everyone has wrote them off, I’m investing in the Astros. There’s money in them thar hills.

  2. Doug S Says:

    I think the Astros will win between 70-72 games this season but I will be following my Cardinals in the league where they play real baseball.

  3. gregclucas Says:

    There is nothing like Opening Day. Around here reality will set in soon enough. I actually called for a 71-91 season when asked to make a prediction. Do I think that? I have no idea what I was thinking or whether I will be even close. That is a lot of improvement in one year for a team that may have a little better pitching, but probably the same defense and a less than potent offense. Sure hope I am right or even better on the short end of improvement. We’ll know in October. That’s why they play the games! Oh, yes, count me in with Doug S. This city should be back in the National League at the first possible opportunity…if there ever is one!

  4. Tom Hunter Says:

    The only olfactory sensation missing from your account of Buff Stadium, Bill, was the wonderful smell of freshly baked bread wafting across Cullen Boulevard.

  5. Glen Krajca-Radcliffe Says:

    I think back to the sights of the welder torches at the Hughes Drilling Company behind RF and watching the passenger trains going to and from Union Station behind CF.

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