Colts Unbeatable?

 

This Week in 1960s Baseball

(April 10, 1962) At Colt Stadium in Houston, the Colt .45s, in their first ever major league game, today defeated the Chicago Cubs, 11-2.

Left-hander Bobby Shantz throws the first pitch in the first game for the Houston Colt .45s. Shantz pitched a five-hit complete game as the Colts beat the Chicago Cubs 11-2.

 

Right fielder Roman Mejias was the hitting star for the Colts. Mejias got three hits, including a pair of three-run home runs. Catcher Hal Smith doubled and hit a solo home run.

Third baseman Bob Aspromonte recorded the first hit in the Houston franchise’s history with a single to left field to lead off the game. Aspromonte scored the Colts’ first run on Al Spangler’s triple.

Aspromonte also had three hits. He recorded another franchise first when he stole second base in the eighth inning.

Former Yankee hurler Bobby Shantz (1-0) got the win. Shantz pitched a five-hit complete games, striking out four and walking one. The Cubs scored on Ernie Banks’ solo home run in the seventh inning and added another run in the eighth inning on a Lou Brock sacrifice fly.

Outfielder Roman Mejias hit a pair of three-run home runs for the Colts

The losing pitcher was Cubs starter Don Cardwell (0-1).

The Colts would sweep their three-game season-opening series with the Cubs. They would finish their inaugural month in fifth place at 7-8. The Colts would finish the 1962 season at 64-96, in eighth place ahead of the Cubs and the New York Mets.

True Pro Astro

 

Glancing Back, and Remembering Bob Aspromonte

Bob Aspromonte was signed by the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1956 and appeared in one game for Brooklyn, striking out in his only plate appearance.

In 1964, as the third baseman for the Houston Colt .45s, Bob Aspromonte led the team with a .280 batting average and was second in home runs (12) and runs batted in (69).

Aspromonte lasted 12 years (and one game) in the National League by being solid in the infield (and, occasionally, in left field) while hitting enough to be a run-producing asset at the back end of the lineup. He played for four different teams, though he spent more than half of his major league career with Houston (the Colt .45s and then the Astros).

After his Brooklyn debut, Aspromonte spent the next four seasons in the Dodgers’ farm system, hitting .329 for AAA St. Paul in 1960. He appeared in 68 games with the Dodgers in 1960 and 1961, batting a combined .212, and was Houston’s third selection in the 1961 National League expansion draft. He immediately became Houston’s starting third baseman, a position he would hold for the next seven seasons.

In seven seasons in Houston, Aspromonte batted .258 and averaged 55 RBIs per season. Hi best season was 1964, when he batted .280 with career highs in home runs (12) and runs batted in (69). He hit .294 in 1967, with 24 doubles, six home runs and 58 RBIs.

In December of 1968, he was traded to the Atlanta Braves for Marty Martinez. Aspromonte was a utility infielder for the Braves (with occasional duty in left field), batting .253 in 1969 and .213 in 1970. The Braves then sent him to the New York Mets for pitcher Ron Herbel.  Aspromonte hit .225 as the Mets’ third baseman in 1971 with five home runs and 33 RBIs. He retired after the 1971 season.

Aspromonte finished with a career batting average of .252 on 1,103 base hits.

Baseball’s Best One-Day Career

 

This Week in 1960s Baseball

(September 29, 1963) On the final game of the regular season, Houston outfielder John Paciorek had an outstanding major league debut as the Colt .45’s defeated the New York Mets 13-4 at Colts Stadium in Houston.

John Paciorel went three for three with three RBIs in his only major league appearance ... a 1.000 career batting average.

John Paciorek went three for three with three RBIs in his only major league appearance … a 1.000 career batting average.

Paciorek went three for three and walked twice. He scored four runs and drove in three runs. Houston catcher John Bateman also drove in three runs.

With the bases loaded in the fourth inning and Houston trailing 4-2, Paciorek got his first major league hit by singling off Mets starter Larry Bearnarth, driving in Rusty Staub and Bob Aspromonte to tie the score. He singled off Ed Bauta in the fifth inning for his third RBI of the game.

The winning pitcher for Houston was Jim Umbricht (4-3).

John Paciorek is the brother of major leaguers Jim Paciorek and Tom Paciorek. His career was limited to that single game. He remained in organized baseball through 1969, playing in both the Houston and Cleveland minor league systems. But he never made it back to the big leagues, and never had the chance to improve his career numbers beyond that single game (including his 1.000 career batting average).

Mathews Reaches 500

 

This Week in 1960s Baseball

(July 14, 1967) At Candlestick Park, batting against San Francisco Giants ace Juan Marichal, Eddie Mathews hit home run number 500 as the Houston Astros beat the Giants 8-6.

After hitting 493 career home runs with the Braves, Eddie Mathews launched number 500 in 1967 with the Houston Astros.

After hitting 493 career home runs with the Braves, Eddie Mathews launched number 500 in 1967 with the Houston Astros.

Prior to the 1967 season, Mathews had been traded by the Atlanta Braves with a player to be named later and Arnold Umbach to the Houston Astros for Bob Bruce and Dave Nicholson. A nine-time All-Star in 15 seasons with the Braves, Mathews had hit 493 homers playing for the franchise in Boston, Milwaukee and Atlanta. His seventh round-tripper of the 1967 season made him the seventh major leaguer to reach the 500 home run plateau.

Mathews’ home run came in the sixth inning with two runners aboard. It was not Marichal’s best day. The Giants went into the sixth inning leading 4-3, but the first two Astros batters, Jim Wynn and Rusty Staub, opened the inning with back-to-back singles. Mathews came up and homered to put the Astros on top 6-4.

Marichal then walked Norm Miller (who had hit a three-run homer in the fourth inning) and gave up a single to Bob Aspromonte before being relieved by left-hander Joe Gibbon. Marichal left the game after allowing seven earned runs in five innings. The loss brought his season record to 12-8.

As a member of the Braves, Eddie Mathews hit home runs in Boston, Milwaukee and Atlanta over a 17-year career. He led the National League in home runs twice: in 1953 and 1959.

As a member of the Braves, Eddie Mathews hit home runs in Boston, Milwaukee and Atlanta over a 17-year career. He led the National League in home runs twice: in 1953 and 1959.

The winning pitcher was Dave Giusti (6-8), who allowed nine hits and five earned runs in seven innings, including a two-run homer by Giants third baseman Jim Davenport. The Giants also got a solo home run from Jim Ray Hart in the eighth inning. That home run came off Larry Sherry, who picked up his second save of the season.

Mathews would end the 1967 season with the Detroit Tigers. On the season, he would hit 16 home runs with 57 runs batted in. He would retire after the 1968 season with 512 career home runs, and he would be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1978.