Forever Firsts in Houston MLB History

 

Forever Firsts in Houston MLB History

And so many of them go back to that Opening Day Game of the first Houston MLB season when the club suited up as the Colt .45s and took the field at Colt Stadium in Houston. Their opponents were the Chicago Cubs. The date was April 10, 1962. The starting Houston pitcher was Bobby Shantz. And the first batter Shantz faced and retired was Lou Brock, in the early going of his Hall of Fame path.

See how easy this offering column works. The preceding paragraph contained several bold type answers to some questions about Houston MLB firsts. Some know them by heart, but most more recent fans do not know about them at all.

We thought you might enjoy going through the box score and Retrosheet play-by-play record of that game to find other obvious and not so obvious firsts in franchise history so that’s what follows from here. Look ’em over. The find and remember the firsts that are important to you. Later on you may even be able to entertain and impress a few fellow fans as to how much you know about the arcane corners of our “Houston Firsts” history as a big league town.

The best part may even come later for you folks who like to impress your friends or the people you my be dating. It will come when you tell your audience to go look it up when they give you anything like a doubtful eye. Because when they do, they are going to find you’re right.

Also, if you don’t mind, and you do discover some “first(s)” that you think any Colts/Astros fan ought to know, please post your finds as a comment in the section below this column.

Thanks,

The Pecan Park Eagle

**********

The Retrosheet Data on Houston’s First Season Opening Game

Houston Colt .45s 11, Chicago Cubs 2

Day

Game Played on Tuesday, April 10, 1962 (D) at Colt Stadium

CHI N    0  0  0    0  0  0    1  1  0  -   2  5  0
HOU N    1  0  4    0  0  0    3  3  x  -  11 13  2
BATTING
Chicago Cubs                 AB   R   H RBI      BB  SO      PO   A
Brock cf                      3   0   0   1       0   2       2   0
Hubbs 2b                      4   0   0   0       0   0       3   1
Williams lf                   4   0   1   0       0   1       2   0
Banks 1b                      4   1   2   1       0   0      11   1
Altman rf                     4   0   0   0       0   1       1   0
Santo 3b                      3   0   0   0       1   0       2   0
White ss                      1   0   0   0       1   0       0   4
  Rodgers ph,ss               1   0   0   0       0   0       0   2
Barragan c                    3   0   1   0       0   0       3   2
Cardwell p                    1   0   0   0       0   0       0   3
  Gerard p                    0   0   0   0       0   0       0   0
  Morhardt ph                 1   0   0   0       0   0       0   0
  Schultz p                   0   0   0   0       0   0       0   0
  Warner p                    0   0   0   0       0   0       0   0
  McKnight ph                 1   1   1   0       0   0       0   0
  Lary p                      0   0   0   0       0   0       0   0
Totals                       30   2   5   2       2   4      24  13
FIELDING - 
DP: 1. Rodgers-Hubbs-Banks.
BATTING - 
3B: McKnight (1,off Shantz).
HR: Banks (1,7th inning off Shantz 0 on 1 out).
SF: Brock (1,off Shantz).
GDP: Cardwell (1,off Shantz); Barragan (1,off Shantz).
Team LOB: 4.
Houston Colt .45s            AB   R   H RBI      BB  SO      PO   A
Aspromonte 3b                 4   3   3   0       1   0       0   1
Spangler cf                   3   3   2   1       2   0       0   0
Mejias rf                     5   3   3   6       0   0       4   0
Larker 1b                     4   1   1   1       1   0      12   1
Pendleton lf                  4   0   1   1       0   0       1   0
Smith c                       4   1   2   1       0   0       4   0
Amalfitano 2b                 3   0   1   1       0   0       4   4
Buddin ss                     3   0   0   0       0   1       1   4
Shantz p                      4   0   0   0       0   1       1   5
Totals                       34  11  13  11       4   2      27  15
FIELDING - 
DP: 2. Buddin-Amalfitano-Larker, Shantz-Amalfitano-Larker.
E: Smith (1), Amalfitano (1).
BATTING - 
2B: Smith (1,off Cardwell).
3B: Spangler (1,off Cardwell).
HR: Mejias 2 (2,3rd inning off Cardwell 2 on 0 out,8th inning off Lary 2 on
2 out); Smith (1,3rd inning off Cardwell 0 on 2 out).
SH: Buddin (1,off Schultz).
HBP: Amalfitano (1,by Schultz).
GDP: Smith (1,off Warner).
Team LOB: 5.
BASERUNNING - 
SB: Aspromonte (1,2nd base off Lary/Barragan).
CS: Amalfitano (1,2nd base by Warner/Barragan).
PITCHING
Chicago Cubs                 IP     H   R  ER  BB  SO  HR BFP
Cardwell L(0-1)               2.2   5   5   5   2   1   2  15
Gerard                        2.1   1   0   0   1   0   0   9
Schultz                       1     4   3   3   0   1   0   8
Warner                        1     1   0   0   0   0   0   2
Lary                          1     2   3   3   1   0   1   6
Totals                        8    13  11  11   4   2   3  40
Schultz faced 4 batters in the 7th inning
HBP: Schultz (1,Amalfitano).
Inherited Runners - Scored: Warner 2-1.
.
Houston Colt .45s            IP     H   R  ER  BB  SO  HR BFP
Shantz W(1-0)                 9     5   2   2   2   4   1  33

Umpires: HP - Dusty Boggess, 1B - Stan Landes, 2B - Vinnie Smith, 3B - Mel Steiner
Time of Game: 2:32   Attendance: 25271
Starting Lineups:

   Chicago Cubs                  Houston Colt .45s        
1. Brock               cf        Aspromonte          3b
2. Hubbs               2b        Spangler            cf
3. Williams            lf        Mejias              rf
4. Banks               1b        Larker              1b
5. Altman              rf        Pendleton           lf
6. Santo               3b        Smith               c
7. White               ss        Amalfitano          2b
8. Barragan            c         Buddin              ss
9. Cardwell            p         Shantz              p

CUBS 1ST: First game for Houston franchise; Brock struck
out; Hubbs grounded out (shortstop to first); Williams singled
to right; Banks grounded out (third to first); 0 R, 1 H, 0 E, 1
LOB.  Cubs 0, Colt .45s 0.

COLT .45S 1ST: Aspromonte singled to left; Spangler tripled to
right [Aspromonte scored]; Mejias grounded out (pitcher to
first); Larker reached on a fielder's choice [Spangler out at
home (first to catcher)]; Pendleton grounded out (pitcher to
first); 1 R, 2 H, 0 E, 1 LOB.  Cubs 0, Colt .45s 1.

CUBS 2ND: Altman popped to second; Santo grounded out (shortstop
to first); White grounded out (second to first); Debut game
for Elder White; 0 R, 0 H, 0 E, 0 LOB.  Cubs 0, Colt .45s 1.

COLT .45S 2ND: Smith doubled to center; Amalfitano grounded out
(pitcher to first) [Smith stayed at second]; Buddin struck out;
Shantz popped to second; 0 R, 1 H, 0 E, 1 LOB.  Cubs 0, Colt
.45s 1.

CUBS 3RD: Barragan singled to center; Cardwell grounded into a
double play (shortstop to second to first) [Barragan out at
second]; Brock struck out; 0 R, 1 H, 0 E, 0 LOB.  Cubs 0, Colt
.45s 1.

COLT .45S 3RD: Aspromonte walked; Spangler walked [Aspromonte to
second]; Mejias homered [Aspromonte scored, Spangler scored];
Larker flied out to center; Pendleton popped to third; Smith
homered; GERARD REPLACED CARDWELL (PITCHING); Amalfitano
grounded out (shortstop to first); Debut game for Dave
Gerard; 4 R, 2 H, 0 E, 0 LOB.  Cubs 0, Colt .45s 5.

CUBS 4TH: Hubbs grounded out (first unassisted); Williams
grounded out (pitcher to shortstop to first); Banks lined to
right; 0 R, 0 H, 0 E, 0 LOB.  Cubs 0, Colt .45s 5.

COLT .45S 4TH: Buddin grounded out (shortstop to first); Shantz
grounded out (shortstop to first); Aspromonte singled to center;
Spangler grounded out (first unassisted); 0 R, 1 H, 0 E, 1 LOB. 
Cubs 0, Colt .45s 5.

CUBS 5TH: Altman reached on an error by Amalfitano; Santo forced
Altman (pitcher to shortstop); Smith dropped a foul fly hit by
White for an error; White walked [Santo to second]; Barragan
grounded into a double play (pitcher to second to first) [White
out at second]; 0 R, 0 H, 2 E, 1 LOB.  Cubs 0, Colt .45s 5.

COLT .45S 5TH: Mejias flied out to left; Larker walked;
Pendleton grounded out (shortstop to first) [Larker to second];
Smith popped to third; 0 R, 0 H, 0 E, 1 LOB.  Cubs 0, Colt .45s
5.

CUBS 6TH: MORHARDT BATTED FOR GERARD; Morhardt made an out to
second; On a bunt Brock grounded out (pitcher to first); Hubbs
grounded out (pitcher to first); 0 R, 0 H, 0 E, 0 LOB.  Cubs 0,
Colt .45s 5.

COLT .45S 6TH: SCHULTZ REPLACED MORHARDT (PITCHING); Amalfitano
was hit by a pitch; Buddin out on a sacrifice bunt (catcher to
first) [Amalfitano to second]; Shantz struck out; Aspromonte
flied out to center; 0 R, 0 H, 0 E, 1 LOB.  Cubs 0, Colt .45s 5.

CUBS 7TH: Williams struck out; Banks homered; Altman grounded
out (first to pitcher); Santo walked; RODGERS BATTED FOR WHITE;
Rodgers popped to first in foul territory; 1 R, 1 H, 0 E, 1 LOB.
 Cubs 1, Colt .45s 5.

COLT .45S 7TH: RODGERS STAYED IN GAME (PLAYING SS); Spangler
singled to shortstop; Mejias singled to center [Spangler to
second]; Larker singled to right [Spangler scored, Mejias to
third]; Pendleton singled to third [Mejias scored, Larker to
second]; WARNER REPLACED SCHULTZ (PITCHING); Smith grounded into
a double play (shortstop to second to first) [Larker to third,
Pendleton out at second]; Debut game for Jack Warner;
Amalfitano singled to pitcher [Larker scored]; Amalfitano was
caught stealing second (catcher to second); 3 R, 5 H, 0 E, 0
LOB.  Cubs 1, Colt .45s 8.

CUBS 8TH: Barragan flied out to right; MCKNIGHT BATTED FOR
WARNER; McKnight tripled to center; Brock hit a sacrifice fly to
right [McKnight scored]; Hubbs lined to left; 1 R, 1 H, 0 E, 0
LOB.  Cubs 2, Colt .45s 8.

COLT .45S 8TH: LARY REPLACED MCKNIGHT (PITCHING); Buddin flied
out to right; Shantz grounded out (shortstop to first);
Aspromonte singled to shortstop; Aspromonte stole second;
Spangler walked; Mejias homered [Aspromonte scored, Spangler
scored]; Larker flied out to left; 3 R, 2 H, 0 E, 0 LOB.  Cubs
2, Colt .45s 11.

CUBS 9TH: Williams grounded out (second to first); Banks singled
to center; Altman struck out; Santo flied out to right; 0 R, 1
H, 0 E, 1 LOB.  Cubs 2, Colt .45s 11.

Final Totals      R   H   E  LOB
 Cubs             2   5   0    4
 Colt .45s       11  13   2    5

********** 

Update: Since yesterday, we've written a follow up column on what 
those major first records are from the first Houston MLB Opening 
Day game of April 10, 1962.


Here's the link to second part of this two-column piece:

https://bill37mccurdy.com/2017/06/29/some-major-firsts-in-astros-franchise-history/

**********

Bill McCurdy

Principal Writer, Editor, Publisher

The Pecan Park Eagle



								

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6 Responses to “Forever Firsts in Houston MLB History”

  1. Bill McCurdy Says:

    OK, let’s get our imaginative historical feet wet!

    Who was the first Houston MLB player ever to strike out in an official regular season game? It was Don Buddin.

    It happened in the bottom of the 2nd, with one out and a runner on 2nd base, and the Colts already leading, 1-0.

    Wanna get fancy? It was also the first time that a Houston shortstop, or anyone else for that matter, had ever struck out with Houston holding a lead in the game and a catcher running at 2nd base with only one out.

    Let’s see how many fans know all the “first” answers tied into this one play. We certainly know that we didn’t just cover them all.

    Before we get too silly, however, there are some “big firsts” laid out for us in the Retrosheet data. Would it be expecting fans to take too many steps in the direction of record book geekiness for us actually cultivate a fan base of more fans that know who and what these players and plays actually were?

    Heck! We’ve got another thread among the hundreds here at the Pecan Park Eagle that’s dedicated to “Old Houston Car Dealers.” Wow! Those fans seem to spend a lot of surf time naming every mechanic that’s ever worked for each place – among other things, like lyrics to ancient car dealer radio commercial lyrics. – Even if they seem small, those card dealer family memories are history too, right? Shoot! I came from a Houston car dealer family background too – and they don’t seem small to me.

    Are we baseball “fanatics” or not?

  2. Bill McCurdy Says:

    From Tal Smith to Pecan Park Eagle:

    “Four players in Cubs lineup became HOFers and they still finished 9th in NL i…”

    From Pecan Park Eagle to Tal Smith:

    “And two of those four HOF Cubs were former members of the 1960 last Houston minor league AAA Buffs club, who came along that day to remind the young 1962 Colt big leaguers that things weren’t going to get any easier for our town – just because Houston was now an NL club. Then the baseball gods allowed the Colts to win their opening MLB game like the World Series was only a piece of cake away. How mean those gods could really be had not even warmed up the toaster on the disappointment roll of history-that-was-still-yet-come after that gleeful start. – Thanks for the HOF reminder.”

    Two Post Script Extra Questions:

    1) Who were the two former 1960 Houston Buffs and 1962 Chicago Cubs who later made it to the Hall of Fame?

    2) And who were the two other future Fall Famers who played in that opening day game of the 1962 season as members of the Chicago Cubs?

  3. Tom Hunter Says:

    1) Billy Williams and Ron Santo.
    2) Lou Brock and Ernie Banks.

  4. Bill McCurdy Says:

    A+ PLUS Mc+

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