Celebrating 45 years of Astros memories. On the docket: Mike Scott bobbleheads.


Being a baseball history fanatic, I’m glad this season will be one of those milestone years for the Astros. Season-long celebrations keep things interesting, and they bring back a lot of the old players, either in person or in the form of cool promotional giveaways.

The Astros are celebrating their 45th birthday this year, and you can expect a lot of fun days at Minute Maid Park that will include a reintroduction of players from the past and a few turn-back-the-clock activities.

I was 11 years away from arriving to my adopted hometown of Houston in ’86 when Mike Scott threw his division-clinching no-hitter, but I’ve heard so many accounts of that game from people who were there — Jim Deshaies, Milo Hamilton, Bill Brown, Larry Dierker, and on and on — that I almost feel like I do remember it, even though I wasn’t there, wasn’t listening on the radio and didn’t even read about it in the paper the next day.

The first (and only) time I met Scott was in ’04 when he flew to Houston from California to participate in some of the All-Star festivities at the convention center and the ballpark. He was exactly how J.D. described him — laid-back, California-cool, wearing flip flops and a Hawaiian shirt and a half-grin that gave the vibe of someone who enjoys the occasional appearance asked of former players by their former teams, but also of someone who’s happily enjoying retirement, away from the game.

(Side note — In the media dining room at Shea Stadium many years ago, Keith Hernandez, now a Mets broadcaster, spotted Alan Ashby, then an Astros broadcaster, and said, “Come on, Ash, just fess up. Scotty was scuffing the ball, wasn’t he?” Ashby chuckled, but said nothing. J.D., sitting nearby, cracked up.)

Scott will be one of several past Astros legends immortalized in Bobbleland when his likeness will be handed out to the first 10,000 lucky fans on July 10. Other nostalgic bobbleheads on the docket: Jose Cruuuuuuuz (April 24), Jimmy Wynn (June 5) and Nolan Ryan (June 19).

On May 22, the Astros will give away a bobblehead featuring modern-day fan favorite and Gold Glover Michael Bourn.

A sampling of this season’s promotional items was revealed on Monday, when the Astros announced that regular-season individual tickets will go on sale Friday, Feb. 19 at 9 a.m. CT. The first of seven giveaways in April arrives on Opening Day (April 5), with a schedule magnet going to the first 40,000 fans.

The 45th Anniversary celebration begins April 9, when a special, 45th Anniversary Astros cap will be handed out to the first 10,000 fans. The next night (April 10), the first 10,000 fans will receive a commemorative 1965 Astros jersey.

In May, the Astros again will be helping to create awareness about Breast Cancer with a week-long ‘Pink In The Park‘ promotion, which will include a pink cap for the first 10,000 fans on May 7 and a Pink Tote Bag for the first 10,000 fans on May 8 (Mother’s Day). A trendy, Astros laptop computer sleeve will be given for the first time to the first 10,000 fans on May 20.

On Father’s Day (June 20), the first 10,000 men age 15 and older will receive an Astros necktie. On July 28, the Astros will continue in the celebration of the 45th Anniversary with an orange retro cap giveaway for the first 10,000 fans. On August 15, the first 10,000 kids aged 14 and under will receive a school backpack designed with the look of a catcher’s chest protector.

Friday Night Fireworks also return in 2010 as each Friday night home game will be followed by a fireworks display (weather permitting). A full listing of the Astros 2010 promotional schedule will be available online at astros.com when regular season tickets go on sale Friday, and, of course, additional promotional items will be added to the schedule throughout the season.

Other stuff:

* On Feb. 16 and 17, the Astros are offering all full-season and 27-game plan ticket holders the opportunity to purchase individual game tickets online as part of their season-ticket benefits.

*On Feb. 18, all registered users of astros.com will have the opportunity to also purchase individual game tickets online. There is still time for fans to purchase season tickets or register on the website to take advantage of this limited opportunity.

* For the past several seasons, Opening Day has been a quick sellout, and this season figures to be no different. To guarantee a seat for Opening Day right now, fans can purchase a full-season ticket package or the Opening Day 14-Game Flex Plan, which includes tickets to the home opener and home finale as well as 12 games of the purchaser’s choosing, plus an additional bonus game for free. Opening Day tickets can also be purchased now through either the Hunter’s Lodge or All You Can Eat 6-Game Flex Plans.

* Every Sunday home game is a Price Matters Day, where fans can purchase a View Deck II ticket, hot dog, chips and soda for just $10. The All You Can Eat promotion, which has been expanded to include all home games, gives fan the opportunity to enjoy all of their favorite ballpark fare for just $25 per ticket. The You Pick’Em 6-Game Plan, which starts as low as $42 and gives the fans their choice of games (excluding Opening Day), is one of several reasonably-priced flex plans available.

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Alyson, the fall of ’86, pennant fever in Houston was awesome. Electric. We really felt like we had a strong chance that year, esp with Mike Scott on the mound, and of course Nolan, J.D., and Bob Knepper. I’ll never forget the no-hitter game. Day game. Everyone knew we would clinch. We had Mr. Unbeatable on the mound. The only network showing the game was on local cable. Not on regular tv. I wanted to see the clinching game, so I set up the VCR to hit record., and since I figured there would be a pretty big post-game celebration, I set the end time for like 6 hours or however long my BETA vcr was back then. Heh heh I’ve transferred that tape to VHS years ago, but I still haven’t gotten rid of my original Beta tape!

Game time came on and I delivered interoffice mail in sevaral buildings downtown…I had no problem keeping up with the game, because EVERYONE had it on their radios in their offices! When it got to about the 5th/6th inning, is when things got really interesting! People stopped working and basically huddled around the biggest area, break rooms, etc. with a radio. All of those memories are still so vivid now. That was a magic time.

As for the scuffed ball, man that used to erk the heck out of me when Gary Carter and the like of the Mets and other teams would ask to see the ball, repeatedly, whenever Mike would pitch. And as known, if he cheated, he was never caught. I have to say that if there was never proof, then he didn’t cheat, is how I look at it. Looking back, I’ve never seen anyone’s ball drop when it got to the plate like that split fingered fastball of Scott’s. So, maybe there was something there..but unproven, so in my mind, he was just the ultimate master. Unfortunately, we never got to see game 7. Game 6 of 1986, and 1981’s playoffs, along with other sports events that happened way too much in like a 10 year period there were just too much for a lot of us Houston fans…too many scars.🙂 Fortunately the Rockets helped heal some wounds…and so did finally getting to the World Series for the Stros. Couldn’t eek out a win there, but it’s better than nothing so far.🙂

I went to grade school, middle school, and high school with Mike Scott and he was always an outstanding athlete. He didn’t need to scuff the ball to be a great pitcher.

Love the Ashby anecdote.

Actually, from all I’ve read, you can’t find two backstops with more radically different personalities. The ’86 Mets were an arrogant and obnoxious bunch that prided themselves on crudeness and taking advantage of others’ goodwill.

I’m guessing Ash would’ve been happy to deny the allegation if he felt like Hernandez were worthy of an answer.

Love the Ashby anecdote.

Actually, from all I’ve read, you can’t find two backstops with more radically different personalities. The ’86 Mets were an arrogant and obnoxious bunch that prided themselves on crudeness and taking advantage of others’ goodwill.

I’m guessing Ash would’ve been happy to deny the allegation if he felt like Hernandez were worthy of an answer.

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