Astros announce Flashback Fridays alumni first pitches

HOUSTON -- As part of the Astros’ 50th anniversary celebration presented by The Methodist Hospital System, 13 franchise greats will take part in first pitch ceremonies throughout the 2012 season. The appearances are in conjunction with “Flashback Fridays,” one of the cornerstones of the club’s anniversary celebration. These celebrity first pitches will commence on April 10 when the Astros host the Atlanta Braves. The schedule for these first pitches is below.

 

                Date                                            Franchise Greats                   Decade Represented

                April 10 vs. ATL                     Bob Aspromonte                    1960s-Colt .45s

                April 20 vs. LAD                      Larry Dierker                             1960s-Astros

                May 4 vs. STL                        Rusty Staub                               1960s-Colt .45s

                May 18 vs. TEX                       Nolan Ryan                               1980s

                June 1 vs. CIN                         J.R. Richard                                1970s

                June 22 vs. CLE                      Joe Morgan                               1960s-Astros

                July 6 vs. MIL                          Jose Cruz                                     1970s

                July 27 vs. PIT                         Mike Scott                                  1980s

                Aug. 10 vs. MIL                      Jeff Bagwell                              1990s

                Aug. 17 vs. ARI                       Brad Ausmus                            1990s

                Aug. 31 vs. CIN                      Shane Reynolds                      1990s

                Sept. 14 vs. PHI                      Jeff Kent                                      2000s

                Sept. 21 vs. PIT                       Craig Biggio                              2000s

 

Bob Aspromonte, an original member of the Colt .45s, will kick off the campaign on Tuesday, April 10, commemorating the club’s first game in franchise history. In that inaugural game in 1962, an 11-2 Colt .45s win, Aspromonte went 3-for-4 and scored the first official run in club history.

The following 12 first pitches will take place during Friday home games and celebrate the first five decades of the franchise. Each player will throw a customized Rawlings baseball that features a 24-karat gold leather cover with the Astros 50th anniversary logo.

These 13 first pitch participants represent some of the greatest players to ever play for the Houston franchise and in Major League Baseball history. These players combined for 49 All-Star Game appearances, 15 Silver Slugger Awards, 12 Gold Glove Awards, four MVP Awards, two Hall of Fame inductions, one Rookie of the Year Award and one Cy Young Award. The 13 accounted for over 18,000 hits and nearly 2,000 home runs.  The five pitchers - Dierker, Reynolds, Richard, Ryan and Scott - had over 800 wins and more than 11,000 strikeouts.

Most of the first pitch participants are scheduled to appear at Minute Maid Park in the month during which their playing days are being honored. The appearances of Rusty Staub, Nolan Ryan and Joe Morgan are scheduled out of order to accommodate their individual travel schedule.

“Flashback Fridays” highlights the rich tradition of the Astros’ former uniforms, some of the most recognizable and iconic in baseball history. In April, the Astros will celebrate the 1960s by wearing the original Colt .45s jersey. The 1960s shooting star jersey, the first Astros jersey ever worn, will be donned in May. The club will celebrate the 1970s and wear the rainbow jerseys in June, the 1980s shoulder rainbow jerseys in July and the 1990s blue and gold star uniforms in August. 

Fans can purchase a special Flashback Friday 14-game flex plan, presented by Papa John’s, that guarantees a seat for Opening Day and each Flashback Friday night. This special ticket package also includes a free ticket for a 15th game of their choice.  Plans are available by calling 1-800-ASTROS2 or visiting Astros.com.

In addition to uniforms, “Flashback Fridays” will also feature special ballpark entertainment and fireworks shows themed to each particular decade.  Several additional promotions recognizing the 50th anniversary are scheduled throughout the 2012 season, with a complete listing available at www.astros.com.