April 21, 2008
The Eighth Wonder of the World
That's how the Astrodome in Houston was promoted by the Astros' owner Judge Roy Hofheinz. Baseball's first indoor stadium was an architectural marvel and located in the city that's home to the administrative end of the Space Program. I caught a game there on July 10th, 1969.The Astrodome opened in 1965, just a year after Shea Stadium. Both were built as multipurpose stadiums to serve as home field for both baseball and football. Thus the seating layout was a rounded compromise.
Sitting in the dome's equivalent of bleacher seats, the game was played in the distance.
The Astrdome featured what was then the largest and most highly animated scoreboard system.
My one and only visit to the first space-age ballpark came 10 days before man landed on the Moon for the first time.
That remarkable roof not only kept out the intense heat of the Texas summer, but rain, bugs and sun -- necessitating installation of baseball's first artificial turf, which fittingly was named Astroturf. It also held both a massive speaker system, and a gondola from which Mets announcer Lindsey Nelson called a game on April 28th, 1965 (I'm assuming, with the aid of military-grade binoculars).As for the game itself, the Astros sent it to extra innings with a 9th inning, fell two runs behind in the top of the 10th and got one of them back in the bottom of the 10th on a Jimmy Wynn homer. Final Score: Reds 5 - Astros 4. With a rough idea of the date and the scoring line from one of the shots I took, I was able to find the precise game.