The Surviving Members of the Houston Colt .45s

How many kids in history get to celebrate their 18th birthday by striking out the MLB version of Willie Mays? Only one – and his name was and still is – Larry Dierker – who pitched his first game for the Houston Colt .45s on his 18th birthday, 9/22/64. Dierker is the youngest surviving Colt .45.

Today, Thursday, April 20, 2017, there are a total of only forty final survivors among all the men who once played for the Houston Colt .45s in any official season box score time from 1962 through 1964. The oldest, of course, is Bobby Shantz, who also heads the list of oldest among all players to ever perform for the Houston major league club as either the Colt .45s or Astros, but this list of “last living” Colt .45s is much more exclusive. Whereas, we continue to see the addition of numerous new Astros yearly, the club existed as the Colt .45s for only those three initial franchise seasons. Therefore, we chose to focus here on who remains from our originally identified club known as the Houston Colt .45s.

Today we are down to our “Final Forty Colt Forty-Fives” and the youngest of these men just happens to be a fellow that many of us still treasure as a special baseball friend and the namesake of our local Houston SABR group, the Larry Dierker Chapter.

Keep that heart, mind, body, and spirit engaged, Mr. Dierker. – We need you with us as long as possible.

And thank you, Darrell Pittman, for fulfilling our request for this data so quickly. Your ability to also program it for The Pecan Park Eagle in Microsoft Word tabular form as requested simply sweetened the project to this early publication date. On some things, my dear friend, I really don’t know what I’d do without either your help or countless other good intentions. Thank you for being you – a true friend and great baseball guy!

Sincerely,

Bill McCurdy, Publisher

The Pecan Park Eagle

____________________

“Final Forty Houston Colt Forty-Fives” *

Rank by Age Player Houston Years Birth date Age in 2017
1 Bobby Shantz 1962 9/26/1925 92
2 Dick Gernert 1962 9/28/1928 89
3 Don Larsen 1964-65 8/7/1929 88
4 Bob Lillis 1962-67 6/2/1930 87
5 Roman Mejias 1962 8/9/1930 87
6 Dean Stone 1962 9/1/1930 87
7 Hal Smith 1962-63 12/7/1930 87
8 Don Taussig 1962 2/19/1932 85
9 Eddie Kasko 1964-65 6/27/1932 85
10 Carroll Hardy 1963-64 5/18/1933 84
11 Dave Roberts 1962, 1964 6/30/1933 84
12 Al Spangler 1962-65 7/8/1933 84
13 Jim Owens 1964-67 1/16/1934 83
14 Joey Amalfitano 1962 1/23/1934 83
15 J C Hartman 1962-63 4/15/1934 83
16 Don Bradey 1964 10/4/1934 83
17 Jim Golden 1962-63 3/20/1936 81
18 Joe Gaines 1964-66 11/22/1936 81
19 Carl Warwick 1962-63 2/27/1937 80
20 Claude Raymond 1964-67 5/7/1937 80
21 Jim Campbell 1962-63 6/24/1937 80
22 Jim Dickson 1963 4/20/1938 79
23 Bob Aspromonte 1962-68 6/19/1938 79
24 Mike White 1963-65 12/18/1938 79
25 Dave Giusti 1962, 1964-68 11/27/1939 78
26 Ernie Fazio 1962-63 1/25/1942 75
27 Jim Wynn 1963-73 3/12/1942 75
28 Danny Coombs 1963-69 3/23/1942 75
29 Conrad Cardinal 1963 3/30/1942 75
30 Aaron Pointer 1963, 1966-67 4/19/1942 75
31 Jerry Grote 1963-64 10/6/1942 75
32 Larry Yellen 1963-64 1/4/1943 74
33 Dave Adlesh 1963-68 7/15/1943 74
34 Joe Morgan 1963-71, 1980 9/19/1943 74
35 Brock Davis 1963-64, 1966 10/19/1943 74
36 Rusty Staub 1963-68 4/1/1944 73
37 Sonny Jackson 1963-67 7/9/1944 73
38 John Paciorek 1963 2/11/1945 72
39 Steve Hertz 1964 2/26/1945 72
40 Larry Dierker 1964-76 9/22/1946 71

* Note: Players for the Houston Club when it was known as the Colt .45s were on the roster at some time during the three original National League entry seasons of 1962, 1963, or 1964. Players in the table which are shown with Houston beyond 1964 are simply those who continued with the club after their named changed to “Astros” in 1965. Pure “Astro” players who only joined the club after the name change are not included in this list.

Unless we miscounted, 19 of these surviving 40 Colt .45 alumni went on to spend variable future time beyond 1964 as members of the franchise’s 1965 and forward re-named club, the Houston Astros.

____________________


Bill McCurdy

Publisher, Editor, Writer

The Pecan Park Eagle

Houston, Texas

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10 Responses to “The Surviving Members of the Houston Colt .45s”

  1. stanfromtacoma Says:

    Thanks for the list Bill and Darrell. Number 30 on the list, Aaron Pointer, is alive and well in Tacoma WA. And in case anyone is wondering he is the brother of the Poiinter Sisters. I guess any any male with that last name who has more than one sister would be the brother of the Pointer sisters but Aaron happens the be the brother of The Pointer Sisters.

  2. Tom Hunter Says:

    I couldn’t help noting their birthdays and the historical associations. Pear Harbor was attacked on Hal Smith’s 11th birthday; Joe Gaines turned 27 on the day of JFK’s assassination; and Bob Aspromonte was born on Lou Gehrig’s 35th birthday.

    Multitalented Carroll Hardy is known here in Denver as the longtime personnel director of the Broncos and was an important figure in building the Orange Crush Defense.

  3. Andrew Godfrey Says:

    Bobby Shantz was near the end of his major league career, while Larry Dierker was just starting his career.

  4. Emmett McAuliffe Says:

    Dave Roberts was purchased by the Browns organization on October 10, 1953. I figure it must have been GM Bill DeWitt’s last transaction since Clarence Miles’ Orioles front office was not in place yet and the franchise shift was not yet official.

  5. Emmett McAuliffe Says:

    If you had all those players in their primes, you’d have a whale of an All-star team. Perhaps

    OF Spangler
    OF Wynn
    OF Warwick

    1B Staub
    2B Morgan
    SS Kasko/Jackson
    3B Aspromonte
    C Grote

    SP Shantz
    SP Larsen
    SP Dierker
    SP Lillis
    RP C. Raymond
    RP Giusti

  6. Emmett McAuliffe Says:

    Sorry … errata .. Lillis was supposed to be UT or PH and former All-Star Dean Stone is supposed to be the 4th SP

  7. Emmett McAuliffe Says:

    Speaking of 83-yo Joey Amalfitano, here is a pic of Joey on the Dallas team that bested the Buffs for the Texas League crown in 1957. http://www.faithandfearinflushing.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/Screen-Shot-2015-02-13-at-7.34.18-PM.png

  8. roadthriller Says:

    Quite a long-lived group! I was at that game when Dierker made his debut. I was a few years younger and thought it was so cool. Still do. Dierker will always be Mr. Astro to me.

  9. James Reed Says:

    I have Jim Dickson, who pitched in a few games for the Colt .45s in 1963, as still alive.
    DOB 1938.

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