Birth of the Astrodome Identity: December 1964

The nascent world of Houston big league baseball took a sharp turn on December 12, 1964. On that date, Judge Roy Hofheinz of the Houston baseball club announced that the team was abandoning its western identity as the Houston Colt .45s in favor of a new mascot theme that now appeared as a much better match for the Space City Capitol of the World club as they approached 1965 and their first season in the world’s first covered and air-conditioned stadium for baseball. Going up, the thing already looked on the outside like the mother ship of an avant garde Martian invader fleet that had decided to set up its invasion base on the prairies south of downtown ~ and why not ~ anything sounded better than the moniker that would remain as its official name ~ The Harris County, Texas Domed Stadium.

From now on, from that Winter of 1964 moment, the club and its new home would be known as the Houston Astros and the Astrodome. I remember it well from the earliest announcement by the Judge that reached me in New Orleans. Back then, I was still working at Tulane University.

I  previously had never heard of an “astro.” ~ That factor generated some mild frustration.

Unable to find my copy of “Astronomy for Dummies,” I ran to a dictionary for an answer to my silent question: “What the hell is an astro?” Having found one, I still needed more.

Here’s how Clark Nealon of the Houston Post described the identity change for a story he wrote for the late December readers of The Sporting News. My apologies for the legibility issues that some of you may have with these screen saver copies of the material I found this morning at the “Newspaper Archives” site:

 

The Original Astrodome Sketch
The Sporting News
December 26, 1965

 

 

The above article was written by long-time legendary Houston Post reporter Clark Nealon for The Sporting News edition of December 26, 1965. We have to wonder if that original iconic sketch of the Astrodome logo still exists and where it is. The thing is an extremely valuable artifact of MLB history in Houston and deserves to be included on the list of any new preservation plan for the history of baseball in Houston. It would also be nice if we also could give the artist who actually did it a little more credit than he or she has been getting over the years.

 

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Bill McCurdy

Principal Writer, Editor, Publisher

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2 Responses to “Birth of the Astrodome Identity: December 1964”

  1. bobcopus Says:

    When I moved to Houston from the Northeast back in 1976, as a young 15 year old baseball fan, seeing the Astrodome was top of the list of good things about the move.

  2. Wayne A Chandler Says:

    I had just spent about a year in Cocoa with the Colt 45s in a rookie league. Changingt the name made a lot of sense later, but, to be honest, it took a while to get used to. I came to Houston two weeks later, and it still hadn’t settled in with most Houstonians. I gave some 50 talks in 1965 to large and small groups, about the Astros and the Astrodome, and often there woiuld be a comment from the audience in complaint that we still didn’t call it the Harris County Domed Stadium. A lot of friendly bantering for a while.

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