Astros turn back the clock

Astros turn back the clock

HOUSTON -- The Astros welcomed back eight members of the 1965 team on Saturday that played the first game in the Astrodome as part of "Turn Back The Clock Night." Bob Aspromonte, Ron Brand, Bob Bruce, Danny Coombs, Larry Dierker, Claude Raymond, Mike White and Jimmy Wynn were honored on the field prior to the game against the Phillies.

Astros president of baseball operations Tal Smith, who was instrumental in the franchise's move into the Astrodome, was also honored -- as was Hall of Fame announcer Gene Elston. The Astros and Phillies wore throwback uniforms from 1965. The Phillies were the Astros' opponent in the first regular-season game played in the Astrodome on April 12, 1965.

"Seeing the uniforms beings back a lot of memories, but the most interesting of all is seeing members of the team that opened the Astrodome 45 years ago," Smith said. "That's great that eight players could come back. We extended invitations to everybody, and obviously health issues prevented others from returning, but we had a great time [at a reception Friday night] telling stories and reliving the 1965 team."

Aspromonte, the starting third baseman in 1965, can vividly recall walking into the Astrodome for the first time.

"It's incredible how fast it's gone by, but the opening of the Astrodome was incredible," he said. "That first season, we had a tremendous amount of attention here and we had outside support from different states to see the Astros and the 'Eighth Wonder of the World.' And Judge Roy Hofheinz did such an incredible job putting it together."