Houston Sports Association Staff, 1965, A Tribute

HSA STAFF 65 - 01b

HSA STAFF 65 - 01f

The Astrodome exists because of the greater Houston and Harris County citizenship and power structure willingness to get behind the visionary leadership of Judge Roy Hofheinz and the other strong members of the original (HSA) Houston Sports Association from George Kirksey to Craig Cullinan to R.E. “Bob” Smith. It also helped that their attempts to lure short-timer Gabe Paul to Houston brought about the serendipity that turned out to be Tal Smith.

In the late 1950s and with some considerable help from the writing talents of a young cub sports reporter named Mickey Herskowitz, the indefatigable relentless force that was George Kirksey led the marketing charge for Houston's successful graduation into big league baseball.

In the late 1950s, and with some considerable help from the writing talents of a young cub sports reporter named Mickey Herskowitz, the indefatigable relentless force that was George Kirksey led the marketing charge for Houston’s successful graduation into big league baseball.

Spec Richardson was a former General Manger for the Houston Buffs who also made his way into the big leagues with the new Houston NL entry, the Colt .45s, in 1962. By 1965, the club was ready to take on their new identity in their new home as the Houston Astros.

Spec Richardson was a former General Manger for the minor league Houston Buffs who also made his way into the big leagues with the new Houston NL entry, the Colt .45s, in 1962. By 1965, the club was ready to take on their new identity in their new home as the Houston Astros.

Art Routzong also had executiveexperience with the Houston Buffs and the St. Louis Cardinals before joining the HSA staff.

Art Routzong had executive staff experience with the Houston Buffs and the St. Louis Cardinals before joining the HSA staff.

AAAA HSA 02

AAAA HSA 05

AAAA HSA 06

AAAA HSA 07

AAAA HSA 08

HSA STAFF 65 - 01e

These photos of some of the many HSA staff people who made Houston’s dream of major league baseball played in the world’s first indoor air-conditioned venue are little more – but nothing less – than a tribute to the smart, resourceful and dedicated human beings who invested their brains, their hearts, and their organizational courage into the goal of making the Houston Astros and the Astrodome a dream that worked in reality. It is now our generation’s responsibility to see that the Houston icon that our Astrodome has become in the eyes of the world does not end in the face of failed intelligence, feint heart, and the absence of courageous commitment by our community and political leaders.

The faces and names in this column all were derived from pages 106-107 of the 1965 first dome program magazine, “Inside The Astrodome: Eighth Wonder of the World”. They should all live forever in our memories as just a few of the people from that earlier generation who did their part in giving the awesome Astrodome its game-changing introduction to large venue sports, entertainment and convention hosting in a way that has altered and redirected all serious venue construction over the past fifty years of its history.

HSA STAFF 65 - 01g

HSA STAFF - 02b

I had the honor and pleasure of working with Eddie Robinson as a board member during my tenure as Chairman of the Board for the Texas Baseball Hall of Fame a few years ago, but my first memories of him came in the form of his heroic picture on a baseball card, when I was still a kid back in the late 1940s and early 1950s. Eddie Robinson is one of those people who lives up to the image he projected as a great player.

HSA STAFF - 02d

HSA STAFF - 02e

HSA STAFF - 02f

HSA STAFF - 02g

HSA STAFF - 02h

I first met Judy Vieno in the summer of 1963, when I think she had just started working for Tal Smith. That turned out to be job she held with Tal for something close to fifty years. – Wow! – Great as Tal Smith was as a talent evaluator, Judy Vieno may have been his strongest work-related talent call in Tal Smith history – and she happened at the start of his Houston career.

They are both great people.

HSA STAFF - 02i

HSA STAFF - 02j

There were hundreds of others, of course, but these few here represent the others well. Had they all not been there, making the magic of the Astrodome move incredibly and in beautiful rainbow technicolor, even the grandest sports dream in world history would have failed. Thanks to all of you who did your part and gave it your all!

Tags:

4 Responses to “Houston Sports Association Staff, 1965, A Tribute”

  1. Anthony Cavender Says:

    Bill: This is priceless! Thank you.

  2. Wayne Roberts Says:

    Red Dozier in the second to last photo: by the summer of 1969 he was some kind of operations (plant) manager at Astroworld. I was a groundskeeper there that summer and met him a bit. He was a gruff coot and we laughed because his favorite phrase was “S—, f—, damn.” Said it a lot. I also worked there in the summer on 1970 until I got fired for talking to hat shop girls. Literally. Only time I’ve been fired and I made sure it was on my termination papers, which I still have.

  3. melba wilson mayo Says:

    What a treat to see the beginning of our wonderful Astrodome. I came on in l965 as secretary to George Kirksey, then moved to the Publicity Dept. with Bill Giles. I moved to the Hotels as Convention Coordinator, then to Astroworld Park as assistant to George Lanier. My last position at Astrodomain was Press Coordinator for the Bobby Riggs/Billie Jean King tennis match. I then joined John D. O’Connell and Alan Becker on the opening of the Superdome in New Orleans, then with JDO when he joined Clint Murchison as Director of Texas Stadium, he then joined Joe Allbritton’s Perpetual Corp as president. All so exciting and fun jobs – both with the Astrodomain and 25 years with John D. O’Connell. Looks like I just missed the first photos, but I loved seeing my dear old friends in the Astrodomain family. Thank you again for the memories. Sincerely, Melba Wilson Mayo. (May, l965)

  4. Skipper Steely Says:

    Are there files and files of photos during the Richards/Robinson years?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: