Ten Oldest Living Former Colt .45s/Astros

Bobby Shantz, Age 91
With the death of Bob Cerv, Bobby Shantz is now the oldest living former player in Houston MLB franchise history.


The Ten Oldest Living Former Members of the Houston Colt .45s/Astros

Until his death on April 6, 2017, Bob Cerv had been the oldest living former member of the Houston Colt .45s/Astros MLB franchise. Had he lived, Cerv would have turned 92 and celebrated the anniversary of his May 25, 1925 birthday next month.

Thanks again to the research we asked of Darrell Pittman in response to an inquiry by St. Louis area reader Emmett McAuliffe, we are now able to present our general readership with a new list of the Ten Oldest Living Former Members of the Houston Colt .45s/Astros. As all may note, the oldest player in our Houston franchise’s history is the same guy who threw the first pitch and won the first game in franchise history. Bobby Shantz may have been a little guy, but he left long shadows of eloquently good service all over big league baseball, and, although his time in Houston was “short”, as well. our memory of him was long.

Thanks again for your yeoman efforts, Darrell Pittman. We simply felt that your findings deserves the column spotlight that their importance to our living presence of local baseball history deserves:

The Top 10 List itself

Oldest Player Birth Date Age on 4/16/17
1 Bobby Shantz 9/26/1925 91
2 Dick Gernert 9/28/1928 88
3 Frank Thomas 6/11/1929 87
4 Don Larsen 8/07/1929 87
5 Bob Lillis 6/02/1930 86
6 Roman Mejias 8/09/1930 86
7 Dean Stone 9/01/1930 86
8 Hal Smith 12/07/1930 86
9 Don Taussig 02/19/1932 85
10 Eddie Kasko 6/27/1932 84


In any context of history, it is important to remember our elders. No matter how rickety, our elders are the only living bridge to others and events that came to be in our area of interest even farther back in time than even they, the elders, can reach. And while they are still here, it would be wonderful to capture, as we can, and while they still are able to produce them, a few first hand witness glimpses of something in the past that we cannot possibly hope to see with our own eyes. Somewhere out there, someone is most probably buried in a New York City metro area cemetery who may know exactly what happened to the real game ball in the 1908 Merkle Boner contest at the Polo Grounds. If so, how did they get all the way off the planet over a lifetime without someone finding out their secret? Who knows? Maybe everybody around them at the time simply assumed that it wasn’t important to ask them anything. Or maybe they just lacked any appreciation for what happened to that old game ball in the first place.

~ The Pecan Park Eagle, April 16, 2017


Bill McCurdy

Publisher, Editor, Writer

The Pecan Park Eagle

Houston, Texas


5 Responses to “Ten Oldest Living Former Colt .45s/Astros”

  1. materene Says:

    I feel old now knowing these guys were as old as they were when they started the 45s.

  2. Tom Hunter Says:

    Although it seems strange, Bobby Shantz only appeared in three games for the Colt .45s, before being traded to the Cardinals in May of 1962. The photograph at the top of the column had to have been taken on April18th or 19th when Houston was at Wrigley Field for a short two-game series with the Cubs.

    I watched Dean Stone win the third game of the inaugural home opening series against the Cubs on April 12, 1962. Good to know he’s still with us.

  3. Emmett McAuliffe Says:

    1) Two Brownies on the list: Don Larsen and Eddie Kasko (Eddie was under the control of the Browns when they had a working arrangement with the Baltimore Orioles in 1950). 2) Shantz is the only guy I know of to have been unprotected and selected twice in the expansion draft, once in 1960-61, and once in 1961-62. 3) Two names on the above list were in a trade proposed by Cardinals GM Bing Devine in 1960 that would have been the heist of the century, if accepted. Devine was willing to trade Dean Stone, Ron Kline (future AL save leader and MVP vote-getter) and a guy by the name of Gibson, (Bob Gibson) to the expansion Senators. The Senators GM said “no soap” and promptly traded Shantz to Pittsburgh for three AAA players who never had more than a cup of coffee in the majors. Think about how that trade might have changed history!

  4. PrayThroughHistory Says:

    Still have a Colt45s cap ca 1987. Good memories!

  5. Jim Pacheco Says:

    I believe Roman Mejias is actually the oldest living Astro. His baseball stats list his birthdate as 8-9-1930. However, his legal and actual birthdate is five years earlier at 8-9-1925. According to background search engine “truthfinder.com”, and other sites, Roman is still living at 95 and residing in Sun City, Ca.

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