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Programs cost baseball video games have actually constantly been instead solemn magazines, including scorecards, group timetables, lineup listings, postured and also activity shots of gamers, and so forth. But one specific Houston Astros video game program from the 1966 period stands apart as one of the extra strange– not to claim surprising– instances of the category:

Why on the planet did this magazine show an Astro being in a shaking chair, hanging on his lap a cub drinking from a container significant LSD? Even the mid-1960s medication society zeitgeist can not completely describe this extreme separation from conventional Major League Baseball customs.

The solution hinges on comprehending what was happening with the Astros, and also one specific challenger of theirs, in 1966.

The Houston franchise business began as a growth group called the Colt.45 s in 1962, playing their residence video games inColt Stadium That outside center was not a preferable place for either the group or its followers, nonetheless, for a variety of factors– largely that it was little (seating just 33,000) and also was located in a location that was commonly rather warm, damp, and also packed with insects.

In 1965, as a result, the group transferred to the globe’s initial domed, cool interior arena, called the Astrodome, at the same time going through a consequent name modification from the Colt.45 s to the Astros in tribute to Houston’s value in the united state room program (as the residence of NASA’s Manned Space Center).

Houston Astrodome

The brand-new domed arena was not without its troubles, nonetheless. The Astrodome’s ceiling included Lucite (plexiglass) panels created to enable sunshine right into the arena, yet the glow from those panels was triggering fielders to misplace fly spheres throughout day video games. Some of the panels were repainted over to reduce the glow, yet the loss of sunshine created the arena’s all-natural lawn to recede. The group colored the staying mix of withering lawn and also dust environment-friendly for the rest of the 1965 period while functioning to find up with a service.

That service was Astroturf (previously Chemgrass), the artificial having fun surface area that appears like all-natural lawn. The group set up Astroturf in the Astrodome’s infield for the begin of the 1966 period, yet the colored grass-dirt mix in the outfield had not been changed with synthetic grass up until mid-July

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Entering right into that image was Leo Durocher, the legendarily irascible personality that went back to the big leagues in 1966 after a 10-year supervisory lack, as captain of theChicago Cubs Leo really did not such as a great deal of points, and also his state of mind had not been boosted any kind of by the reality that the unlucky Cubs ended up a terrible 59-103 (helpful for last location in a 10-team organization) throughout Durocher’s initial year with the club.

One of the numerous points Leo really did not such as in 1966 was the Astrodome, where his group shed 8 out of 9 video games that year. He really did not such as the arena’s half-artificial, half-dead lawn playing surface area. He specifically really did not like its brand-new computer animated scoreboard, which he really felt was way too much of a homer– Durocher asserted it touched off loud screens for crowning achievement struck by the Astros yet not their challengers, that it played sidetracking slapping noises while the site visitors’ bottle was attempting to focus, which it jabbed enjoyable of a hurt bottle by revealing him being sent out to the showers. Leo endangered to strike back at these toxic irritants by having his gamers use tennis shoes instead of spikes and also throwing lighted firecrackers onto the area:

“I’ve ordered sneakers for our next trip to Houston,” Leo stated. “You can’t grab that phony grass with spikes. I’ve seen their man, [third baseman Bob] Aspromonte, charge in and go astern over teakettle. You can’t make quick stops on that stuff.”

“What about when you come to bat?” someone stated.

“Then, we’ll change into spikes,” he stated. “Let the umpires holler, if it takes time. I don’t care. I have a right to protect my men.”

“Will you do it with all the players?”

“No,” statedDurocher “Just the outfielders. The infielders play on dirt most of the time. Then we’re going to do something about that scoreboard of theirs, too. Wait and see.”

“Like what?”

“You know how that thing goes off when one of their guys hits a home run? When the visiting club does it, nothing. That’s bush. So, we’ll take our own noise along. I’ll bring a whole bag of firecrackers and cherry bombs, and when we hit a home run we’ll light them and throw them onto the field, and if the umps say that’s enough, I’ll say sorry, I’m still celebrating.”

“You complained in the past,” someone stated, “about the clapping thing they have on the scoreboard while your man is pitching. [Astros promotions director] Bill Giles claims that the thing is never turned on while a man is in the act of pitching the ball.”

Bill Giles is a phony. That’s one of the most breast point of all, that and also business of the shower when a bottle is secured of the video game. They play all that depressing songs, and also the anime reveals the supervisor appearing to obtain him, and also the person bowing his head and also strolling to the shower. They made me so crazy a few days ago with[Cubs pitcher Dick] Ellsworth You became aware of that?”

“No. What was it with Ellsworth.”

“Well, he pitches the ball, and something pulls in his side. No mistaking it because he’s holding his side and bending over like this after he throws the ball. I go out and signal for another pitcher, and they put this picture on [the scoreboard], with the shower. I was so mad I could have broken it.”

For their component, the Astros– and also their scoreboard– appreciated thumbing their noses at Durocher for a lot of1966 When the last of the Astrodome’s passing away all-natural lawn was lastly changed with Astroturf at the All-Star break, the club sent out a divot of lawn to Leo with the idea that the hairless supervisor utilize it to “cover his dome.” (Durocher supposedly returned the bundle to Bill Giles in addition to a extra pound of plant food.) After an Astros gamer hit a walk-off homer in a video game versus the Cubs, the scoreboard blinked the message “Sorry about that, Leo.” And when Houston finished a three-game move of Chicago in August of 1966, the scoreboard announced, “Leo: baseball is a fun game.”

Amidst all this tumult, when the Cubs involved Houston for a mid-season collection in 1966 the video game program cost the Astrodome showed off the above-referenced cover, revealing a Houston Astro being in a shaking chair, hanging on his lap a cub drinking from a container significant ‘LSD.’ An asterisk on the container and also its going along with afterthought favorably described to customers that ‘LSD’ represented ‘Leo S. Durocher,’ therefore making the factor that Durocher and also his grievances were being corresponded with a bottle-fed crybaby. The utmost tweak.

One little issue, though: Durocher’s center first had not been’S,’ as his center name was Ernest (neither was’S” rep of his usual label, ‘Leo the Lip’).

So, just how to describe the LSD referral?

At the begin of 1966, LSD was a significant information subject, the material being extremely debatable yet not yet unlawful. (It had not been up until May of that year that the initial couple of states– California and also Nevada– passed regulations banning the manufacture, sale, and also property of the medication, with various other states and also the federal government doing the same later on in the year.) Almost definitely the referral to LSD in the Astros video game program was a willful use the medication’s prestige and also not a coincidence or blunder.

But just how did a person in the Astros’ attention division escape creeping in such an obvious medication referral? We can just presume that since Durocher’s actual center name had not been popular (he really did not utilize it himself, and also he had not been amongst the handful of baseball celebrities that were frequently recognized by their complete names, such as Grover Cleveland Alexander), and also such information weren’t rather so simple to validate back in the 1960s, some scheming wit in the Astros company drew it off by declaring Leo’s center first was’S,’ and also no person troubled to examine it. And the target market, essentially, either approved or winked at it (depending upon their degree of understanding).

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In an enjoyable paradox, Durocher was dimissed by the Cubs in the center of the 1972 period and also finished his specialist occupation as captain of … the Houston Astros.

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