Mgr. Lum Harris on 1965 Astros’ Needs

 

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The above article by Houston Astros manager Lum Harris appeared in the April 6, 1965 edition of the St. Albans (VT) Daily Messenger. 1965 would be Houston’s fourth season as a big league club, but its first as the Astros, playing under the roof of the brand new Houston Astrodome. Everything about the 1965 season was charged with the idea of a new start date for hope in the destiny of baseball in the Bayou City. No other club in big league history had ever started a season in a venue that had been constructed to shelter all who came there in cool comfort from the fire and rain weather of one of the seven months a year hottest places to do anything in the western world.

To say that the fans were excited about the start of this 1965 season like no other, before or since, is arguably true. There will never be another time in Houston baseball history in which excitement over roofs and air conditioning will be more dominant than the prospects of the team that’s taking the field for our dear old home town, but make no mistake. By 1965, the growing talent on Houston’s roster already was stoking hope for a winning team in the reasonable few years ahead.

Again, thanks to Darrell Pittman, this whole article and the clear full copy of every word it contains is his gift to all of us. Thanks, Darrell. Your generosity is priceless and my appreciation of you goes beyond words.

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The Complete Column in Readable Form ~

St. Albans (VT) Daily Messenger

April 6, 1965

More Runs, Power, Outfield Defense, Needs of Astros

Lum Harris

Houston Astros Manager

 

My goal as the new Houston manager is to win 15 more games than the Colt .45s did in 1964.

That would give the Astros a .500 record and a possible berth in the first division. And when a club is in the upper half of the National League standing, it is in contention.

The Astros have one of the finest defensive infields. The pitching has to be rated among the best. Our greatest needs are more runs and power and improved defensive play in the outfield.

Again we have to rely on the development of youngsters such as Rusty Staub, Jimmy Wynn and Joe Morgan, the first two back from Oklahoma City and the latter up from San Antonio for the first time.

I believe that playing in the fabulous new Astrodome is going to give our athletes a psychological boost.

It should also give our most powerful hitters, Walter Bond and Staub, added confidence and more run production. The fence is about 20 feet closer all around. There will be no wind from right to left as was the case in Colt Stadium.

The left side of our infield with Eddie Kasko at shortstop and Bob Aspromonte at third base made fewer errors last season than any combination in the major leagues.

I am turning the second base job over to Morgan, who at 5-feet-6 and 155 pounds, is called The Little Giant. Morgan, 21, was the principal reason why San Antonio won the Texas League flag.

He led second basemen in fielding, had 42 double, 12 home runs, 90 runs batted in and stole 47 bases batting .323. Not once did this fleet-footed kid hit into a double play.

Bond did a creditable job defensively at first base last season while leading the club in home runs with 20 and RBIs with 85. Bob Lillis, who hit .268 in 1964, plays shortstop, second and third base with the best.

Staub and Wynn showed enough promise at the end of last season to make us believe that their seasoning in Triple A last year was what they needed for them to reach their potential as outfielders and hitters. Staub hit 28 home runs with Houston and Oklahoma City.

Wynn will be the center fielder as long as he gets the job done. Al Spangler, who was hampered by a wrist injury, should come back to his fine showing in 1963. We also have Mike White, who does well at several positions, Jim Beauchamp and Joe Gaines.

Catching remains a question mark, but I like little Ron Brand, who will be pressed by John Bateman and Jerry Grote.

Bob Bruce, Dick Farrell, Don Nottebart and Ken Johnson are solid starting pitchers who last season were joined by Don Larsen.

Left-handed Hal Woodeshick and right-handed Jim Owens and Claude Raymond give us the nucleus of a top bull pen. Ken MacKenzie knows how to pitch.

Chris Zachary was the outstanding pitcher in the Texas League. Bob Turley is attempting a comeback. Danny Coombs, Phil Henderson and Larry Dierker are youngsters who merit considerable attention.

I hope we can get into orbit like the other astronauts have.

NEXT: Billy Herman, Boston Red Sox

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Bill McCurdy

Publisher, Editor, Writer

The Pecan Park Eagle

Houston, Texas

 

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One Response to “Mgr. Lum Harris on 1965 Astros’ Needs”

  1. Emmett McAuliffe Says:

    Bill … thanks for the tip on this rare article. I made a blog post out of it over at the Browns Fan Club blog: http://thestlbrowns.blogspot.com/2017/04/opening-day-1965-3rd-reunion-of-old.html

    I also purchased an autographed picture off of eBay of Turley in an Astros uniform.

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