Who Hit The Last Astrodome Home Run?

The Astrodome

The Astrodome

The date was Sunday, October 3, 1999. Under manager Larry Dierker, the Houston Astros were playing their last game in their 35-year history at the Astrodome. The year 2000 would see the team begin their first year of the new downtown venue we know today as Minute Maid Park.

In that last Dome date, the Astros would put the wraps on another successful winning season under Dierker (97-65) by going on to defeat the Los Angeles Dodgers, 9-4, that day behind ace lefty Mike Hampton (22-4), who coincidentally left his own mark in the process of closing down the club’s dome-home, as he fought through seven good innings of work to get the decision and become the last winning MLB game pitcher in the history of the Astrodome.

Larry Dierker sort of kids these days about starting to worry when the Dodgers put over “3” runs in the ninth and were still batting. With the new score now still riding comfortably at 9-4, Houston, Dierker apparently allowed his mind to roam into the scary world of “what if.”

“What if the Dodgers pulled off a miracle rally and defeated the Astros, 10-9?”

The very thought of such a disaster poured gallons of cold water on the idea of team plans for a post-last-Astronomer-game celebration the Astros had planned for their players to mark their departure from a familiar place to a new downtown location venue in 2000 for the club’s future pursuits of happy baseball destiny.

Not to worry, Dierk! – The Astro closed the door on the Dodgers at 9-4 and went on to a happy post-game “Goodbye, Dome!” party.

The answer to our column title question also brings with it a dose of its own lingering sadness and melancholia.

Astros 3rd baseman Ken Caminiti hit the last Astrodome home run in MLB service history. – Rest in Peace, “KC”!

Check out the box score at Baseball Almanac for more details on Caminiti’s homer and other items of factual interest about the team’s last moment of joy in the same stadium whose future as a landmark of world-important architecture still hangs today in the precarious balance between the interests of deserving preservation and those who want to tear it down because of its interference with their own purely commercial plans.

Here’s the box score link for the last Astrodome MLB game at Baseball Almanac:

http://www.baseball-almanac.com/box-scores/boxscore.php?boxid=199910030HOU

 Important Addendum Note: Earlier today, I received an important reminder from Mike Acosta, the highly respected records and significant items authentications specialist and artifact preservationist for the Houston Astros. Here’s what he said by e-mail this Tuesday, February 3, 2015, in response to today’s column:

____________________

“Hi Bill!

“I just read your latest edition of The Pecan Park Eagle about the final Astros home run in the Astrodome.  While Ken Caminiti did hit a home run on 10/3/99 during the final regular season game, he also hit the very last home run in the Astrodome during Game 4 of the NLDS against the Braves on 10/9.  It was a three-run shot off Hall of Famer John Smoltz in the 8th inning.  Caminiti saddled up next to Bob Aspromonte as the bookend of a third base duo that hit the first and final Astros home runs in the Astrodome.

“I thought I’d pass that note along.  Always look forward to your e-mails!

“Thanks!”

~ Mike Acosta, Houston Astros

____________________

Thank you, Mike! I’m glad I got it right, but I only got it right by accident. Thank you for coming to the rescue. I had overlooked the playoffs that followed the regular season and I allowed myself to think of the regular season ending as also the end of all MLB games there. Just another example of how important it is, although sometimes an unavailable luxury, to have some one else who knows the game working with us as a colleague or editor on anything we write.

Getting it right – not being right – is what drives me in my efforts, so please feel free to let me know anytime I get it wrong or only “get lucky” with my conclusions. I try to get things right, but, hard as I try to always do every job to the best of my ability, I long ago gave up on the expectation of ever being perfect or immune to human error.

Regards, Bill McCurdy, The Pecan Park Eagle

____________________

 

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