50th Anniversary of Astrodome Baseball is April 9

April 9, 1965: Astros defeat the Yankees, 2-1, in first baseball game played in the new Harris County Domed Stadium. ~Photo Courtesy of AstrosDaily.Com

April 9, 1965: The Huston Astros defeat the New York Yankees, 2-1, in the first baseball game ever played in the new Harris County Domed Stadium.
~Photo Courtesy of Astros Daily.Com

Where is the love?

Fifty years ago this coming April 9th, the first baseball game was played in the then brand new Harris County Domed Stadium, aka the Astrodome. April 9, 1965 also marked the first time that the newly re-christened, then three-years old MLB franchise took the field indoors in their brand new home as the “Houston Astros”?

We ask again, “Where is the love?”

What plans do the Houston Astros, Harris County, and/or the City of Houston have to honor this historic date and occasion with an appropriate nod of public appreciation for an important date in both our local history – and in the world history of covered architectural venues for the public presentation of certain sporting events that previously – from the beginning of civilized time and their individual sporting game inventions – had to be played – or canceled – at the mercy of nature’s strongest climatic elements?

The fact that little, if anything, has even been whispered about this important upcoming moment this close to April 9th is also surprising in light of the preservation movement that exists to save the Astrodome from demolition by the “bucks-alone-matter” Houston developer crowd that for years already has torn down so much of our local architectural heritage for the construction of parking space and strip centers.

Once more, “Where is the love?”, and just as importantly, “What are the plans in place for a celebration of this internationally important anniversary by the local entities that benefited the most from the creation of the Astrodome in the first place?

The Pecan Park Eagle has no earthly idea at this publication date what any of the “big people” are planning, if anything, and frankly, we are beginning to care less daily about the big entities, and what they do and don’t do, by the moment. Even as I write, it’s brought home to me good and hard that there are simply too many egos piling into this pie to suit my digestion.

Personally, I do hope something worthwhile happens in behalf of the old steel–framed icon of new era stadium construction. Beyond all personal agendas, she’s still special in the hearts of us everyday people.

And what did actually happen on April 9, 1965 at the brand new domed stadium in Houston?

The brand new Houston Astros defeated the New York Yankees, 2-1, in a final exhibition game prior to the start of the regular season, but let’s allow historian Bob Hulsey of Astros Daily to give you the best account ever written about that special moment:


If you also want to see Mickey Mantle trudging toward home to cap the first home run in the Astrodome that night – or watch Jimmy Wynn of the Astros later racing toward home with the winning run, try this old movie coverage link too:


Now, if you would also like to see the 50th anniversary of the first Astrodome baseball game acknowledged in some appropriate way, please leave your expression of wishes, ideas, or plans for what should happen as a detailed statement in the comment section that follows this column. Don’t send them to us as comments. That will only force us to enter them as comments for you – but without your identification at the top of the post. – Also, be sure to note who you think should be taking the lead in planning this historic recognition of a big moment in Houston history. Unless one or more of the founding entities feels some responsibility for leadership in this matter, this one is tailor-made after a half century for all original factions to simply do nothing and then say “we thought so-and-so was going to do it.”

Thanks, friends!



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6 Responses to “50th Anniversary of Astrodome Baseball is April 9”

  1. Bob Hulsey Says:

    A 50th Anniversary logo has been leaked


    but, other than that I haven’t hear anything. OTOH, it seems a little creepy to celebrate something that now sits in such disrepair that the county has neither the will to tear down nor the will to rebuild. I can understand why the county wouldn’t want to draw attention to their own bungling.

  2. shinerbock80 Says:

    The Astrodome is much more besieged with misinformation than it is with disrepair. It has been cleaned externally, and might even be getting some paint above the concrete panels thanks to the funds raised by seat sales. It is a completely sound building from a structural standpoint. I repeat, totally structurally sound. It is also paid for. It is a half-billion dollar asset that the people of Harris County own. The yearly maintenance costs are associated with insurance and run several thousand dollars a year. Nothing remotely close to the million dollar figures one sees bandied about.

    It is owned by the county along with the rest of NRG park, so the city, the Astros or developers have nothing to do with it. All of us who wish to see the Dome repurposed would have liked to have seen it done by now, but it should also be understood that the first several years after the Dome closed were under an exclusive option (quite ill-advised) to let a private developer turn it into a hotel. The money was never there, but the county was locked into doing nothing until that deal expired.

    The Urban Land Institute was here a couple of months ago, spending a week studying and interviewing almost 100 of us whom they deemed to represent a cross section of stakeholders. Their full report will be forthcoming in the spring. It will build greatly on Judge Emmett’s stated wish for it to be turned into a public venue including park features. There are several entities who are committed to making that happen. it is a plan for permanent reuse of the Astrodome. Personally, I’d love to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the first Dome game, but not at the expense of further distraction from the vastly bigger goal which is saving and repurposing the most important structure in Houston’s history.

  3. Rick B. Says:

    It would be nice if the ULI’s report coincided with the anniversary of the first game. A solid plan to save the Dome that will actually be implemented would call for celebration. I doubt that will happen, though, and I’m in agreement that there isn’t much to celbrate at the moment. Personally, I wouldn’t want to go there just to gawk at the outside of the Dome, which is all we can do right now – I can do that when I go to the rodeo.

  4. Shirley Virdon Says:

    There are numerous things and reasons to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Astrodome! It could be a huge fundraiser–public venues with videos, parties—-remembering how Houston Society, as well as the Sports Fans from all over the Country , considering a trip to the Astrodome THE highlight of the summer or year—–that could be RELIVED! Come on, Houston! Show us some genuine Texas Pride and Celebrate The 50th Anniversary Of The Eighth Wonder Of The World—-The Astrodome–with your usual Texas Style! Make it National News in 2015 as it was in 1965!

  5. vdpittman Says:

    Another nice video is one they played at the last game in the Dome in 1999: http://www.astrosdaily.com/video/AstrodomeFarewellVideo1999.mpeg

  6. Mark W. Says:

    Sorry I missed this column. I’m proud to say I was at this game. Somehow my father got tickets. I’ll never forget Mickey Mantle christening the dome with its first homer, a line drive into the centerfield domeskeller that got there in about three seconds. One of the great thrills of my life. He hit with so much power it was electrifying!

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