Farewell to Tal’s Hill

Tal and Jonnie Smith The Top of Tal's Hill Minute Maid Park Houston September 2016

Tal and Jonnie Smith
The Top of Tal’s Hill
Minute Maid Park
September 2016


Farewell to Tal’s Hill

By Bill McCurdy


Farewell to Tal’s Hill,

That feature sublime.

It made fielders watch,

For the start of their climb.


No glove man could take,

Tal’s Hill all for granted,

And those who first did,

Quickly learned to recant it.


Built as a statement in old Enron Field,

It came with a flagpole for added appeal.

With the deep center distance at 436,

A rising hill 30 played the final run tricks.


The great ones ran up it,

Some wobbled and fell,

But some learned to play it,

Like a challenge from hell.


Remember when Lance, Mr. Berkman, went back?

The Hill made him stagger, his balance to crack.

And while he lay rolling, like a tumbling jack,

The ball came down to him, like a dove to a sack.


Tal’s Hill was much more, than a new field quirk feature,

It stood on its own, as a symbolic creature,

Of all the tough hills, that Houston has straightened,

From Hofheinz to Ford, McMullen to Drayton.


And named for the man, who was there through it all,

Tal Smith is the reason – Houston Baseball walks tall.

Thank you, Tal Smith, for your fifty-year run,

They may take down Tal’s Hill – but you will still be the one.


God Bless America!

God Bless Houston!

God Bless Baseball!

God Bless Tal’s Hill

God Bless Tal and Jonnie Smith!


 Bill McCurdy

Publisher, Editor, Writer

The Pecan Park Eagle












4 Responses to “Farewell to Tal’s Hill”

  1. jeff share Says:

    good riddance, I say. too many lost homeruns and too much risk of injury.

    • Bill McCurdy Says:

      Jeff – I wonder how the actuarial tables grade the risk-of-injury from a feature that was in play a minimum of 81 times a year for 17 seasons without anyone ever receiving a serious injury from its presence as a result.

      As for the lost home runs, not to worry. They ought to start making up for that deficit pretty quickly. Then everybody who has missed pin ball baseball will be happy as all get-out.

      I do acknowledge where you and others are coming from and totally accept your right to feel as you do. We simply disagree.

      I guess you have to take solace in the fact that your side won the argument on this one.

      Happy New Year!

  2. gregclucas Says:

    I am absolutely fed up with the “fear of injury BS”. NO ONE was EVER hurt on Tai’s Hill. Many players have been hurt by bullpen mounds in play or outfield walls in other ball parks. If one did not like the hill for esthetic reasons that is one thing. But it was NEVER dangerous. In fact, if one did fall going up the hill he would actually fall less distance than on flat ground. Plus by being so far from home plate very few balls had to be played on the hill any way. I for one LIKE the fact the distance to CF was so great. The OTHER team hits balls that could have been HR’s as well. Believe me Astro pitchers will miss that extra distance the MMP CF had behind them.

  3. Shirley Says:

    Thank you, Bill! I love your poetic tribute to TAL and his loving dedication to Houston and the Astros! It wasn’t “just a job” for TAL, it was a genuine love for the game of baseball! His leadership built a team coming from 26 games out of 1st to the Division Championship and we were privileged to be a part of that amazing run! Love the picture of TAL & Jonnie standing on the Hill! Thank you for honoring our friends and reminding Houstonians of the First Glory Days of the Houston Astros!!!

    Sent from my iPhone


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