Triggerettes, Earthmen, epic homers and soul-crushing losses: Brownie’s new book covers all the bases.

I always said if I could hop on a time machine and live through whatever era of Astros baseball I wanted, I’d definitely plant myself around the 1986 team. It had everything — personality, fun, a little intellect sprinkled in here and there, and, most importantly, those zany guys won 96 games. What could be better?

But after reading through Bill Brown’s new book chronicling five decades of Houston baseball, I’m thinking I’d like to try out 1964-ish, just before the Colt .45s moved out of their smoking hot, skeeter-infested outdoor stadium and into their new air-conditioned domed wonder.

It’s not that I’m anxious to witness outdoor baseball in Houston in August. Goodness no. I just think it would be fun to be a Triggerette.

Tiggerettes were, as best as I can tell, neatly dressed and presumably perfectly coifed young women who guided patrons to their seats. They fit in with a full-blown Wild West vibe that was working at Colt Stadium back in those days, when parking attendants wore orange Stetsons and workers in The Fast Draw Club dressed in old-style saloon attire.

Had I made it through a sweltering summer at the old ballpark, I probably would have had a good chance to make the cut and move with the team to the Astrodome. But I would have had to change my title from Triggerette to Space-ette, a small price to pay considering the Stetson-wearing parking attendants were renamed Space Finders, and if you wanted to be part of the grounds crew, you had to answer to “Earthman.”

You have to love how different things were back then. The notion that an entire baseball team would dress in matching blue suits and pose on the steps of their team plane HOLDING GUNS (guns!) sounds absurd in today’s age, of course. But that’s part of why history is so fascinating. It takes us back to a time that was, more or less, completely foreign to anything that has to do with everyday life as we currently know it.

Brown’s book, “Deep in the Heart: Blazing a Trail from Expansion to the World Series,” was a labor of love he started years ago, and with the assistance of co-author and Astros employee Mike Acosta, the longtime Astros broadcaster has produced a fabulous 192-page pictorial look back at Houston’s 50-plus years of baseball history.

The book will be ready for sale on March 31 — Opening Night — at Minute Maid Park. The cost will be $39.95.

How long and hard did Brownie work on this book? He pretty much summed it up with this comment to MLB.com’s Brian McTaggart:

“If there were such a thing as a woman being pregnant for three years and being relieved when she finally has a baby, it’s somewhat akin to that.”

What took this book so long to complete is probably what makes it so good: it seems that Brownie talked to every living figure who significantly contributed to Astros history. As you thumb through, you’ll find descriptions of every epic moment in history, told by the very people who were directly involved.

I loved Billy Hatcher describing his 14th-inning home run in Game of the NLCS as “probably the closest thing I’ll ever do to get to heaven.” Brad Ausmus gave some great insight into the 18-inning Division Series clincher in ’05, which ended with a Chris Burke home run into the Crawford Boxes. Larry Dierker, a gifted writer in his own right, is quoted multiple times throughout the book — fitting, given how much he has been a part of every decade of the franchise’s history.

Brownie was kind enough to send along a few pages so we can give you a sneak peek of “Deep in the Heart.” For die-hard fans (and newbies too), this will make a great keepsake.

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12 Comments

I won’t be at Minute Maid Park on Opening Day, but I just placed an order for Brown’s book. Thanks for mentioning it!

FYI if you bought seats from the Astrodome they should’ve given you a flyer on where to get the chair stands. This is the site with the company Archer:

http://www.archerseating.com/astrodome-floor-mounting-stands-brackets/

“Archer Stadium Seating was asked by the Astrodome to help people get floor stands (aka Floor Mounting Stands and Brackets) for the seats they buy. We also helped Madison Square Garden and the Philly Spectrum on their projects with similar seats.

We have the special stands needed to make the Astrodome seats stand up for home or commercial use. No other accessories needed. There are holes in the bottom in case you want to secure to a surface. We have been making this type since 1995.”

I got mine in 2 days and they work very nicely

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I graduated from high school in 1964. My family and I made 2 – 5 trips a year (650 mile round trip from Schriever, LA to Houston & back) to old Colt Stadium (yes, hot as Hell & mosquito infested!) & the 8th Wonder of the World! It was truly magical and by far the best memories of my late teenage and young adult years. Still follow the Astros to this day. Don’t care if they’re good or bad, I’m an Astros fan!

I don’t remember spacette being the name, but I do remember the girls and the grounds crew being dressed as astronauts to “sweep” the field at some point during game. I fondly remember the dome and will be a mess if they ever tear it down.

Win or lose Astros are my team!

Yes those were the good old days. When America wasn’t full of people so ignorantly afraid of guns. You should be glad you are not covering the Astros anymore – you don’t have to be around all us terrifying, gun-toting Texans.

I was actually referring to how odd it sounds that there were guns allowed anywhere near a United States-operated flight, RD, but your interpretation is fine too.

All of the book is National League history. Now we get to make new history with the American League (blah). I hope one day we have the opportunity to switch back to the NL.

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From the 1986 Astros, one can learn what it takes to win a pennant. The pennant run was like a crescendo. Every few days , the Astros were earning feathers in their caps. They won at home. They at least split on the road. They won series at home and at least split series on the road. They won a lot more one-run games than they lost. They probably led the League in comeback wins. The Astros flooded the individual stats leader boards with their players. Several players on the team had career years. This is a partial template on how to win a pennant and the 1986 Astros played to the template.

Pretty sure my mom was a Triggerette. Trying to find any photos of them. Can’t locate hers but I will keep looking.

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