Houston Gets Major League Baseball, 10/17/1960


“It’s great! Now it’s up to the fans to come out and prove we’re big league. ~ I’m glad to see Houston in the National League because it looks like the National is the stronger of the two leagues. ~ We won’t have to watch television now to see major league baseball.” – Dickie Kerr, 1919 Good-Guy member of the Chicago White Sox and longtime Houstonian, upon hearing the 1960 news that Houston had been awarded an NL franchise.


Houston’s Problems (Getting Major League Baseball)

By Associated Press, October 18, 1960

Chicago (AP) – A 2 1/2 year struggle to get major league baseball into the City of Houston ended Monday when the National League formally awarded the fast growing Texas metropolis a franchise.

The Houston Sports Association, headed by Craig Cullinan, Jr., oilman and investment broker, is geared for the monumental task of building a new stadium and putting together an organization which can compete on a major league level.

George Kirksey, a spokesman for the Houston group, said he expects it will take four to five months to clear up various details and begin work what will be the first addition to the eight-team National League in 60 years.

“Well break ground around February or March,” said Kirksey. “And we should have the stadium completed a year after that and up and ready to go in 1962.We have two advantages and those are terrain and climate.”

The stadium will seat 43,581 and will have parking facilities for 22,000 automobiles. It will be located five miles (south) from downtown Houston. All parking concessions and sub-leasing rights will be maintained by the franchise owners. 

Kirksey said his organization doesn’t anticipate any trouble settling with the Houston Buffs of the American Association on the matters of indemnities (that have resulted from the latter’s loss of their AAA minor league territorial exclusivity to operate in the Houston area beyond the 1961 season).

The American League had its sights on the Houston territory, but lost out. Kirksey said his group decided to cast its lot with the “more aggressive” National League.

Before the Association joined the Continental League in an effort to bring major league baseball to the Southwest, attempts had been made to buy the various major league teams for the purposes of transferring a major league franchise to Houston.

Involved were such teams as the Philadelphia A’s, who since have moved to Kansas City, the Cleveland Indians, the St. Louis Cardinals, and the Cincinnati Redlegs.

No actual details involving players, pensions, etc., have as yet been settled and probably will not be until the National League meeting in December.


In other (AP) news from the same published page, several prominent Houstonians offered their reactions to Houston (along with New York) getting new NL franchises. The reactions, of course, were all about Houston – and nothing to do with New York beyond the unstated recognition that everyone who recalls those times remembers also that it took “two towns to tango” the first NL expansion in 60 years.


Prominent Houstonians Happy Over New NL Franchise Award:

“Wonderful, wonderful …. that’s just not official. But I certainly want to say that I believe Houston will strongly support first class major league baseball.” ~ Houston City Council Member Louie Welch ( when asked to comment due to the unavailability of Houston Mayor Lewis Cutrer.

“It represents another milestone in the sports life of Houston. It is an honor that Houston, as the sixth largest city, certainly deserves.” ~ Leon Jaworski, President of the Houston Chamber of Commerce and prominent local, but nationally known attorney.

“I feel Houston is entitled to a major league baseball team. It’s a big city in every way, shape and form.” ~ Solly Hemus, St. Louis Cardinals Manager, former MLB player, Houston Buff, and Houston resident of several years.

“It’s great! Now it’s up to the fans to come out and prove we’re big league. ~ I’m glad to see Houston in the National League because it looks like the National is the stronger of the two leagues. ~ We won’t have to watch television now to see major league baseball.” ~ Dickie Kerr, the famous honest pitcher who won two games for the fix-tainted Chicago White Sox in the 1919 World Series. Kerr was also a former head coach of the Rice Owls baseball team briefly in the late 1920s and later the Cardinal farm system manager who mentored Stan Musial through his transition from pitcher to future HOF great hitting outfielder-first baseman. Kerr  also was a Houston resident – and he and his wife lived in a house that Stan Musial bought for them.

~ Article and Quotes by Associated Press, Beckley (WV) Post Herald, October 18, 1960, Page 6.


eagle-0rangeBill McCurdy

Publisher, Editor, Writer

The Pecan Park Eagle

Houston, Texas




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One Response to “Houston Gets Major League Baseball, 10/17/1960”

  1. Tom Hunter Says:

    Each time I see the film clip of Bill Mazeroski circling the bases after his home run to win the 1960 World Series for the Pittsburgh Pirates over the New York Yankees, I think that Houston was just four days away from being awarded a National League franchise.

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