Surviving Houston Colt .45s Down to Last 37

Colt Stadium
Houston, Texas
Only Home of the Houston Colt .45s


Surviving Houston Colt .45s Down to Last 37


Darrell Pittman

Thanks to our caring, giving friend and colleague, Darrell Pittman of Astros Daily, The Pecan Park Eagle is both proud and humbled tonight to report that 38 players from our 1962-64 Houston MLB franchise days – and at a time in which the club played as the Colt .45s – have survived long enough to see the rising and setting of the sun on this day, Wednesday, December 6, 2017. At age 92, lefty Bobby Shantz, the guy that threw the first pitch in official franchise game history, also recording the first regular season club win in the process, is the oldest. 71 year old Larry Dierker, who broke into things as the starting pitcher for the Colt .45s on his 18th birthday in 1964, striking out Willie Mays as part of the work he did that day, is the youngest member of the club.

How fitting!  Thanks to this happy surprise gift from Professor Pittman, we may now all take the time here to soak in all these familiar and less familiar names of the guys who laid the foundation for our Houston monument of baseball achievement, one that wouldn’t see the penthouse finished and lighting up until 2017, with our deepest reflections of thanks and appreciation.

And that’s what the comment section is really intended for in this instance.

Thanks to you too, Darrell Pittman. And thank you, Houston Colt .45s, for making the older edges of being a lifelong fan a little easier on the slide into our elder years a whole lot smoother – and one that comes with an unforgettable supply of smiles and happy memories.

~ Bill McCurdy, Publisher, The Pecan Park Eagle


Surviving Members of the Original Houston Colt .45s

By Darrell Pittman

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

* Fazio Note: After publishing this column yesterday, 12/06/17, we have learned today, again, via Darrell Pittman, that Ernie Fazio passed away on 12/01/17 from complications resulting from Dementia and Parkinson’s Disease. The fact of his death at this moment has even yet to reach Baseball Here’s a link to the obituary that Mr. Darrell Pittman once again has supplied to us:

We also plan to run the Fazio obituary as a separate reprint column in The Pecan Park Eagle jsut as soo as I can get to it.

Rest in Peace, Ernie Fazio!



Bill McCurdy

Principal Writer, Editor, Publisher

The Pecan Park Eagle


4 Responses to “Surviving Houston Colt .45s Down to Last 37”

  1. maxwell1901 Says:

    I didn’t realize there were so few Colt .45s; thanks for posting the list. J.C. Hartman became a cop in Houston. Claude Raymond lived in the same apartment complex as Kenny Rogers when he pitched for the Colts. Aaron Pointer’s sisters were precisely that – the actual Pointer Sisters. Meanwhile, Rusty Staub, Jerry Grote, Jim Wynn, Larry Dierker, and Joe Morgan all became bona fide stars.

  2. materene Says:

    Larry Dierker is almost three years older than myself and boy do I feel old now. People of today have no idea how special it was for Houston to finally get a Major League franchise and I remember well it just made so many people so happy. You would see people everyday everywhere in Houston wearing their Colt 45 caps. This is a wonderful story and I enjoyed reading it.

  3. Mark W Says:

    I think it’s fair to say that Dave Giusti also became a star.

    I appreciate your updates tracking our remaining Colt .45s Bill. I went to many of their games and saved all my programs. Three Bobby Shantz baseball cards are perched in front of me on my computer desk as I type this, including his 1962 Colt .45s card.

    Some of us, like you and me, put in the full 55 years, and I put in one more cheering for the Houston Buffs. (Before that for me it was the San Antonio Missions.)

    The memories seem potent, but they clearly are receding further into the distance in my rear view mirror.

  4. Tom Hunter Says:

    I went to my first Houston Buffs game in the summer of 1956 against the Fort Worth Cats and saw my last Buffs game on April 16, 1961 against the Louisville Colonels, that had a catcher named Joe Torre.

    Now after 56 years of Colt .45s/Astros seasons, we have a World Series champion. I can’t wait to see the team when they come to Denver for a two-game series against the Rockies, July 24th and 25th. I’ll be wearing my Colts jersey with the number “10,” which in 1962 was worn by Norm Larker.

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