HOUSTON -- Six members of the first team to be called the Astros, which originated 50 years ago in coordination with the opening of the Astrodome, will be at Minute Maid Park on Saturday as part of the Astros 50th Anniversary Weekend.
The members of that original 1965 Astros squad scheduled to be in attendance Saturday are Bob Aspromonte, Ron Brand, Bob Bruce, Dan Coombs, Larry Dierker and Jimmy Wynn. Prior to being introduced on the field as part of the pregame ceremonies, the six former players will take part in a free autograph session on the main concourse from 5-5:30 p.m CT.
Dene Hofheinz, daughter of one of the original Colt .45s/Astros owners and Astros visionary Judge Roy Hofheinz, will also participate in the ceremony. Harris County Judge Ed Emmett will also be a part of the festivities, representing the owners of the Astrodome (Harris County).
Hall of Fame broadcaster Milo Hamilton will be on the field to handle the introductions of the 1965 players. In '65, Houston changed the name of the team to the Astros after having been the Colt .45s in the franchise's first three seasons ('62-64).
As part of the celebration, the current players and coaches from the Astros and visiting Angels will wear replica uniforms from the 1965 season for the 6:10 p.m. game. Several NASA astronauts will throw out the ceremonial first pitch, replicating the first pitch ceremony from the Astrodome's first regular-season game on April 12, 1965.
Meanwhile, the Astros will also recognize long-time fan Cliff Hill, who's been a season-ticket holder since the Astrodome opened in 1965. He currently has seats at Minute Maid Park behind home plate at the top of section 118.
There will also be a pair of giveaways this weekend. On Friday, the first 10,000 fans will receive a Wynn bobblehead. Wynn, who was known as the "Toy Cannon," was the franchise's most prolific slugger in its early years, and he still ranks in the top 10 in several offensive categories.
On Saturday, 10,000 fans will receive a 1965 replica Astrodome commemorating the 50th Anniversary of the Dome's first season.