1962: Ballpark Goodies and Triadic Tribulation

The Triadic Tribulation
– Without it, there is no passion for competition.

Another column by sports writer John Lyons of the Victoria Advocate on Sunday, April 15, 1962 highlights the always amazing low-cost of ballpark food, beer, and souvenir items back in the so-called “good old days,” as it also hits hard on upon certain elements of illusion that are starting to creep into the minds of writers and fans, even in the early going of that first Houston big league season. – The Triad of Tribulation is being firmly set in motion.

In baseball, the Triad of Tribulation starts with our Love of the game. In Houston, our love of the game, was amplified by that first little 1962 team going out there and winning their first three games. And that improbable happening quickly activated the delusion of Hope that this rag-tag new team was capable of winning games at a greater mark in the black than any of us (or common sense) would have thought possible, so early in its life as a big league club. Well, as the record shows, it wasn’t long beyond the date of this 1962 column that we Houstonians were brought back to earth from any possible voyage to the land of great expectations. It would be a few years before the element of Faith – based upon better, longer lived actual experience with regular season winning – would gain its everyday variable place in our MLB lives – and actually make the Triad of Tribulation a regular infrastructural part of our everyday baseball fan lives.

Once in place, the triadic points of Love, Hope, and Faith continue to drive each other in ways that both feed the rush of great expectation and dump the gloom of failed delivery.

Love is the easiest and first point in this trinity to exist. Then comes the always nearby presence of Hope, the next easiest to have and hold. Hope is the aspiration that builds the skeletal structure for expectation. And all that’s needed for expectation to show up is the presence of enough club winning over time during the season to build our Faith in the possibility, then probability, of winning it all. Once all three points are at work, the Triad of Tribulation is in motion. And the biting connection that binds them all starts to do its dance into the long run play of tribulation.

The tribulation here is that, barring a return to those dominant resource days of the old dynastic Yankees, there are 30 MLB teams out there competing with each other every year – and each club has their own relative contact with Love, Hope, and Faith – and most are all within a finger nail grab of expectations that winning will be probable this year. The Triad of Tribulation spins like a top on the fact that only 1 of 30 MLB clubs eligible for the playoffs annually will win their last game as a playoff team.

But don’t misunderstand. The Triad of Tribulation bites, but it is not something we should want to fix. Because, if we did, it wouldn’t be long before the fans stopped going to the ballgames altogether. Are you ready to give up big stakes competition as a tactile form of everyday enjoyment with a bat, ball, and glove?

On the other hand, maybe we should re-think all these participation trophies that youth baseball gives out to all the kids that play organized baseball, regardless of their individually measured contributions to their team’s competitive success. Is that “make sure no one gets their feelings hurt” protection of the kids really preparing them for the world they shall enter someday on their own? Think about it. We certainly didn’t have that protection on the post WWII sandlots of kid baseball.

The subject is certainly worth more than an easy half-baked answer, but a politically correct one contributes only to the spreading malaise idea that suggests that many people today are simply waiting longer to find out what is acceptable before they say anything about what is going on in the world.

Lighten up.

Now let’s move on to the historically referenced material we have before us today.

Thanks again for their contribution to The Pecan Park Eagle, Darrell Pittman. We hope you never grow tired of hearing those words, friend, because your research contributions, especially this week, are deeply, deeply appreciated.

These offerings from Buff Stadium, 11 years earlier than these column story prices for Colt Stadium in 1962 were better, but not by much.

Potato Chips Cost 15 Cents At Houston Colt .45s Games

It costs money to see a big league baseball game.

Using Houston as an example, and the prices there are not as high as in some major league ball parks, the cheapest item is 15 cents. For that amount, you can get a 10-cent cigar, cotton candy, snow cones, a bag of peanuts, a small bag of popcorn, a bag of potato chips, a cup of coffee, a soft drink (small size), and a pop-cycle. Popcorn also sells for 24 cents as does a larger cup containing a soft drink.

Items like Ice Cream bars, Ice Cream sandwiches and Ice Cream sticks go for 20 cents and malts are 30.

Beer ranges from 30 to 40 cents.

Programs, aspirin tablets, and cushions are priced at 25 cents and the cheapest buy in the ball park is a program, which is very informative, full of pictures and information, and is the kind of book that a fan wants to keep all season long.

* * *

As for the food, corn dogs and hot dogs are 30 cents. A hamburger is 40, ham sandwich, roast beef, and cheese sandwiches are 50, a corn beef sandwich is 75 and a ham and cheese is 75. The sandwiches, we have been informed, are served with bread, rye or white.

* * *

At Houston’s opening game on Tuesday afternoon souvenirs were being sold at a fast clip.  They have some attractive and colorful souvenirs and the price makes the average fan whistle in amazement.

Cheapest items at the Souvenir stand are 50 cents for a paper sun shade, a bat key chain, and a picture pack.

They have a great variety of pennants with the names and colors of every team in the National League and they sell for $1.00. That is the price for a plastic bank with the insignia of the Colt .45s, a pen and pencil set, a miniature bat, and an autographed book.

The price for a baseball cap (twill) is $1.50 and for a baseball cap (wool) is $2.00. Also tabbed at $1.50 are Colt rings, Charm bracelets, Ladies’ head scarf, and T-shirts.

A bat bank is priced at $2.00 and so is a super-impact batting helmet.

An autographed baseball sells for $3.00 and that is the price for Sweat Shirts.

A Colt .45 uniform for a little boy is priced at $8.00. That also is the tab for a boy’s warm up jacket. For a man, a warmup jacket sells for $10.00.

* * *

If you drive your car to the ball park, which is located a little better than two miles this side of the Shamrock-Hilton Hotel, it costs you 50 cents to park.

Then to get in the park, the tickets are $3.50 for a box seat, $2.50 for a reserved seat and $1.50 for general admission.

* * *

But if you like your baseball, you’ll enjoy every bit of what you are paying for. It is a bright, big and colorful ball park, and the baseball is big league.

* * *

Just like Riverside Park when Tom O’Connor owned the baseball club, the current batting average of the hitter is flashed as he steps to the plate. And also inning by inning scores of all other major league games are on the big board in center field.

* * *

Houston got away to an amazing start in its major league debut and I wonder just how much a guy could have won if he had wagered that the Colt .45s would win their first three games.

Just about anyone, including myself, would have booked such a wager, however,

Houston’s pitching has been nothing short of sensational.  When Bobby Shantz pitched a five-hitter and Houston won the opener from the Chicago Cubs, 11-2, the more skeptical fans were remarking that this is a great start but he couldn’t expect to get pitching as good as that dished by Shantz.

The Colts follow this up with a pair of 2-0 victories over the Cubs to sweep the three-game series.

On to Philadelphia, the fine hurling continued but Houston lost two games by 3-2 and 3-0.

The Colts play at Philadelphia again today, move to New York to face the Mets Monday and Tuesday, then play At Chicago Wednesday and Thursday.

Friday is an open date, then they return home for nine games opening a three-game series with Philadelphia Saturday, starting a three-game set with the Cardinals on Apr. 24, and then hosting Milwaukee in a three-game stand, opening on Apr. 27.

All of these nine games with the exception of Apr. 22 and Apr. 29, Sundays, will be played at night.

~ John Lyons, Victoria (TX) Advocate, Sunday, April 15, 1962 


Bill McCurdy

Publisher, Editor, Writer

The Pecan Park Eagle

Houston, Texas


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