The Houston Colt .45ís, in only their second major-league season, were safely entrenched in ninth place with only three games remaining to be played. Their opponents, the New York Mets, were the other NL sophomore expansion team which had already locked up the cellar position. Now, in a previously publicized, novel publicity stunt designed to attract some attention to a meaningless series, Coltís manager Harry Craft orchestrated the first all-rookie lineup in baseball annals. It was a success in conception but a failure in execution as New York won handily, and Houston fans and players alike found that it was a long way from the minors to the majors, even at the low levels of expansion.
The average age of the Houston starters was 19 years and four months, and only Jimmy Wynn and Aaron Pointer were old enough to vote (at the time-21 years of age). Houston pitcher Jay Dahl was a 17-year-old southpaw who had graduated from Bloomington (California) High School in June, making him the youngest NL hurler to start a game since 15-year-old Joe Nuxhall made his wartime debut with the Redlegs in 1944. It was short-lived glory for Dahl, however. He never pitched again from a major league mound.
Five of the Coltís were in their first year of professional baseball, and four made this their first major-league game. Those four were Dahl; Joe Hoerner, an elder statesman at 26; Danny Coombs at 21; and Sonny Jackson at 19. Five others-Joe Morgan, Aaron Pointer, Glenn Vaughan, Jerry Grote, and Mike White-had made their major league debuts within the past week. Even the substitutes were rookies as 16 greenhorns made their way into the boxscore before third year veteran Carl Warwick appeared as a pinch hitter in the eighth. And, when the rookie pitchers got into trouble it was first baseman Rusty Staub who walked over to give them a comforting word, as befitting a veteran of 19. Ironically for Dick Drott, the oldest and last of the Colt .45ís to enter the game, this was his last appearance in a major league contest.
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From Baseball Records Registry by Joseph J. Dittmar.
Copyright © 1997 by Joseph J. Dittmar. Reprinted with permission.