Results tagged ‘ Burt Hooton ’

All dressed up, no place to go.


We were headed to the airport around 4 p.m. on Monday when we received word that our flight to Waco was called off.

A small contigent of Astros representatives was planning to attend Monday night’s Texas Sports Hall of Fame induction ceremonies in Waco, where two Astros — first baseman Lance Berkman and Triple-A pitching coach Burt Hooton — were among 10 honorees who make up the class of 2010.

Bad weather — rain and high winds — changed our plans. We were going to fly up on Drayton’s seven-seater plane, but his pilot thought better of it after assessing the weather conditions.

Apparently, Drayton’s pilot will fly in just about anything, but even he was not comfortable with making the Houston-Waco trip that night. Although I’m disappointed to not be going, my stomach is turning just imagining what a bumpy ride that would have been.

Anyhoo, congratulations to the Big Puma and to Hooton, who was 35-3 with a 1.14 ERA for the University of Texas before winning 151 games in the big leagues.

Puma, as most of us know,  is a five-time All-Star with 313 home runs in his career with the Astros. He’s a native of Waco and a graduate of New Braunfels Canyon High School.

During his three-year baseball career at Rice University (1995-97), Berkman earned first-team All-America honors and in 1997 was named the National College Player of the Year by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association.

He also turns 34 on Wednesday…


I won’t have any pictures from Monday’s ceremony, obviously, but the canceled trip opens up the perfect opportunity to post some pictures from the “Rain or Shine: How Houston Developed Space City Baseball” exhibit currently on display at the Heritage Society of Houston.

I stopped by the exhibit the night it opened and found it absolutely delightful. On display are memorabilia from every era of Houston baseball, including the years of the Minor League Buffs to the original Colt .45s to the Astros.

I am not originally from here, but I find the history of Houston baseball fascinating. When we closed down the Astrodome in 1999 we immersed ourselves in a season-long historical celebration of the 35 years in the Dome, and from Bob Aspromonte to Jimmy Wynn to Nolan Ryan to Cesar Cedeno to Jose Cruz to Mike Scott to Jeff Bagwell and Craig Biggio, I felt like I came to know dozens of characters and personalities that helped define what this franchise means to this city.

On a recent caravan trip, I told Jim Deshaies that if I could go back in time and join one team in Astros history that I missed (I got here in 1997), it would be the 1986 Astros. These days, you’ll see a bunch of players from that era around the game — Charley Kerfeld, Larry Andersen, Alan Ashby, Billy Hatcher — and I can only imagine just how much fun it was to be around that club. What a year, too: they first hosted the All-Star Game, then clinched the division on a Mike Scott no-hitter before playing some of the most exciting postseason games in team history.

The Heritage Society exhibit, located at 1100 Bagby (near the Hobby Center), offers a nice variety of artifacts to capture a half-century of baseball in Houston, highlighting every era. It’ll be there until April 4, and admission is free. Here’s a sneak peek:


The exhibit contains one jersey from every year of baseball in Houston.


The helmet Chris Burke wore when he hit his game-winning homer in the 18th inning of the NLDS in 2005, and the helmet Brad Ausmus wore when he set an Astros record for games caught.


Seats from the Astrodome.


This is the suit and the hat former announcer Gene Elston wore on road trips. Apparently, the entire team was required to wear matching suits, as you’ll see in the next picture.


I think I’d actually pay money to see Berkman and Michael Bourn wearing the same suit, just for laughs. But what really cracks me up about this picture, more than everyone being dressed alike, is that two of the players are holding guns as props. Let’s see…get off a plane, pull out your gun. Could anything sound more absurd these days?


This is a piece of the original scoreboard in the Astrodome. Apparently, the lights do indeed still blink.


This is a 1960s RCA Victor Radio that broadcasted the first game in the Astrodome on April 9, 1965. So cutting edge at the time. Nowadays, you can get any Major League game on any night by simply having the right app on your iphone. (Sigh. I still remember when “apps” meant “appetizers.”)


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Astros Go Red, and some other tidbits to chew on over the weekend.

Thanks to all who showed up for the “Go Red” photo shoot Friday morning at Minute Maid Park. Hosted by the Astros and the American Heart Association, the event commemorated the “Go Red for Women” campaign, bringing awareness to about heart disease as the No. 1 health threat to women.

It was a fun hour, for a good cause, and we had a nice turnout. The group wore red, of course, and posed in the outfield seats. Enjoy the visuals:


Even the little ones got into the “Go Red” spirit:


While waiting for the photo shoot to begin, I noticed a bit of activity on the field. Here we have Hunter Pence running wind sprints in the outfield:


Kind of looks like Rocky Balboa here… 


Other news and notes:

Houston College Classic
For the 10th consecutive year, Minute Maid Park will host the Houston College Classic March 5-7. This year’s field includes three teams ranked nationally in Baseball America’s preseason poll including No. 1 Texas, No. 5 Rice and No. 11 TCU. Rounding out the field is the University of Houston, Texas Tech and Missouri.

Tickets currently are available and can be purchased at, at the Minute Maid Park Box Office, or by calling Ticketmaster at 1-877-9ASTROS.

Guests for the next two weeks of Astroline shows are confirmed — Chris Sampson next Wednesday (Feb. 10) and Jimmy Wynn the following week (Feb. 17). The guest for Feb. 24 is still pending. Astroline will then move to Florida for the remainder of Spring Training.

The Houston show is broadcast live from Sherlock’s Baker Street Pub at 1952 West Gray St. and is open to the public. I’ll be tweeting live from Astroline for the next two weeks, so when you get a free moment, please send your questions to my twitter account.

Puma, Hooton entering the Hall

Lance Berkman and Burt Hooton will be inducted into the Texas Sports Hall of Fame on Monday in Waco.

I’ll be there, tweeting live and blogging when it’s over, so be sure to check early and often for up-to-the-minute play-by-play action. Puma loves it when I follow him around with a camera so this should be a ton of fun.

Astros Fanfest

Fanfest will again be held in conjunction with the exhibition games before Opening Day, April 2 and 3. A full schedule of activities will be released at a later date.

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