Houston Colt .45s Humor
With the expansion draft of 1961, some of the original Colt .45s players might have been considered outcasts. As the inaugural 1962 season began, a number of injuries beset the new team. They may have started out as outcasts but they soon ended up in casts.
Attendance in 1964 was low. In one game when it was particularly hot and humid, and the mosquitoes out numbered the humans, the announcer introduced the fans instead of the starting lineups to save time. The next game there were even fewer fans, so they were just invited down onto the field for the players to introduce themselves.
The Houston Colt .45's Arizona Instructional League team was renamed the .22s. So when the parent team became the Astros, the logical new name for the .22s seemed to be the Half-Astros, didn't it?
Dick Drott has an amazing distinction of having pitched against Juan Marichal on June 15, 1963, in San Francisco when Marichal no-hit the Colt .45s. The amazing part is that Drott gave up only 3 hits! Using the statistical adjustments made famous by noted baseball expert Bill James, we can calculate now that Marichal's feat of holding the Colt.45s with a team batting average of .220 hitless was less of a feat than holding the Giants with Mays, Cepeda, McCovey, and all 3 Alou brothers to 3 hits. So had Dick Drott pitched that day against the Colt .45s, he would have tossed a no-hitter as well. Way to go Dick!
Quotes from Gene Elston, Long-Time Houston Sportscaster:
Colt .45's first baseman Rusty Staub on a visit to the mound to give Hal Woodeshick a bit of advice: "Now this guy is a first ball hitter. He'll either swing at the first pitch or he'll take it."
Colt .45's coach Bobby Bragan on the reliance of baseball people on percentages: "Say you were standing with one foot in the oven and one foot in an ice bucket. According to the percentages people, you should be perfectly comfortable."
Colt .45's pitcher Bobby Tiefenauer, who would stroll through the clubhouse offering cheery bits of philosophy: "whether you're handsome or ugly, it's nice to have a face."
Colt .45's outfielder Al Spangler commenting on other outfielders complaining how difficult it was to catch fly balls in Apache Junction, Arizona, site of the Houston Colt .45's spring training facility from 1962 to 1963. Outfielders complained they couldn't follow the flight of the ball because the Arizona desert was known to have the highest, bluest sky in the world. Spangler, who majored in math at Duke University, sluffed off the problem: "I would merely allow for the force of impact and the rate of descent and could catch the ball while making change for a $20 bill." So, in the first game played, one fly ball drops at Spangler's feet and another falls behind him. After the game, Al explained: "I forgot to figure on the curvature of the Earth."
Colt .45's rookie pitcher Jim Dickson to roommate John Bateman during spring training: "Open the sliding glass door and let in some fresh air, and the screen too." When Bateman asked: "What for? The air can come through the screen!" Dickson's retort: "I know, but it gets all chopped up!"
Another Gene Elston Story: One day, Jim Pendleton was on first base when Al Spangler hit a ball to deep right centerfield. By the time Pendleton reached third it was clear something was wrong. He slowed up then stopped, and started up again. I thought maybe he was hurt. Yet Spangler's ball was hit so deep that Jim continued and slid into home safely. There he laid, and the catcher and umpire started laughing. Later we found out that Pendleton had lost his cup. It had fallen out of his jock strap when he rounded third, fell down his pant leg and was hanging down around one of his knees about the time he hit home plate!