Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Dome Sweet Dome

I saw more games in the Dome than in any other stadium and I had a love/hate relationship with the place. When it was full and the crowd was into the game it was really a rocking atmosphere. But no place I've been to could be as dead as the Dome during a meaningless, sparsely attended game.

A week ago I attended my first meeting of the Houston Chapter of SABR. I've been a member for a few years but never bothered to go to the monthly gatherings. The chapter is named for Larry Dierker and lo and behold he attended this meeting as a guest and I was seated right there with him. He was very cordial. He signed some items that people brought (I hadn't considered doing that for some reason) and participated in the discussions.

One of the items that was passed around at the meeting was the book shown at the top. I had a copy stored away and when I saw the one last week I was reminded of how cool it is. Nearly three hundred pages long it chronicles the short history of the Houston Colts/Astros, the building of the Dome and much, much more.

There is an Astros 'yearbook' incorporated into the thing as well as sections covering the MLB teams, all the NFL teams including a whole Oilers section. This despite the fact that the Oilers were still years away from moving into the Dome. Also in the book are pages covering a wide range of tenants the Dome was hosting including the Billy Graham Crusade, University of Houston football and the Houston rodeo.

It's really a remarkable volume and I wish I could do it justice with scans of more of it but I hate taking a chance of breaking the spine. I'll settle for pics of just a few pages.

I love this feature on the various colors of the seating levels.

I should have fixed this photo but with this and the next photo you get an idea of what the Astros' section looked like.

American League teams got one page each. The NL teams got a two page spread. There is a large baseball records section in there, too.

George Blanda and the Oilers! One of the speakers at the meeting reprised a locally famous quote from Oilers' owner Bud Adams: "The Astrodome may be the 8th Wonder of the World but the ninth wonder is the rent!". It took Roy Hofheinz and Bud Adams until 1968 to agree on a deal to get pro football into the Dome.

Meanwhile the U of H was playing football there. The Cougars get a nice section in the book, nearly a dozen pages. Our big star, Warren McVea is featured.

In the photo below you can see the late Phil Hoffman in the upper right. He was UH President in my first go round as a Coog. I have a funny story that involves him, me and some drunk friends of mine, an open dorm window and a water hose hooked up to a shower. I'll need to check to see if the statue of limitations is up before I get into it though.

And finally here's a page with a nice full color picture of some of the Astros' staff. I'm glad they got rid of those 'H' caps once the season started.

This post just doesn't do the book justice in any way. What a deal it was for just a dollar in 1965. I didn't pay much more than that many years later. You can find them for $10 or less pretty easily. Waaaaaay more entertaining than a Topps Now card at the same price.


  1. That looks like a great read! I spent a fair amount of my youth in a different dome up North, I know the love/hate feeling very well.

  2. Very cool book. Ever since I was little (probably after seeing the Bad News Bears movie), I've wanted to see the Astros play at the Astrodome.