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July 15, 1965 – Texas League All-Stars vs. Houston Astros

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Texas League All-Stars vs. Houston Astros
July 15th, 1965
Turnpike Stadium (Arlington, Texas)
Attendance: 11,076

Texas League Programs
28 pages


Wouldn’t it be great if Major League Baseball teams still did things like this?  Sadly, the mid-season exhibition has followed the same road to extinction as the twi-night doubleheader.

The tradition of Houston’s Major League team facing the Class AA Texas League All-Stars dated to 1962 when the Houston Colt .45s joined the National League as an expansion franchise.  The Texas Leaguers swept the Colt .45s three straight years from 1962 to 1964.  It would take a name change for the National League club to beat the minor leaguers.

In 1965 the Colt .45s became the Houston Astros with the opening of the Houston Astrodome.  The Astros were loaded with exciting young players including future Hall-of-Famer Joe Morgan, Rusty Staub, Jim Wynn and 18-year old pitching phenom Larry Dierker, who started this game and held the Texas League All-Stars to only one run through seven innings.

On this same night, the San Francisco Giants played an exhibition in Tacoma, Washington against their Class AAA Pacific Coast League farm club there.  The Giants sat out superstars Willie Mays and Willie McCovey.  But the Astros played their talent, much to the delight of the overflow crowd of 11,076 fans at Turnpike Stadium in Arlington, home of the Texas League’s popular Dallas-Fort Worth Spurs (1965-1971) franchise.  The Spurs were owned by American Football League founder Lamar Hunt and drew more fans than any minor league baseball team in the country in the summer of 1965.

The game was a pitcher’s duel that was knotted at 1-1 after nine innings.  In the 11th, Tulsa Oilers catcher Dave Pavlesic, whose earlier passed ball contributed to the Astros’ lone score, committed a throwing error that allowed in the go-ahead run and opened the floodgates for a four-run Astros outburst.  Houston won the game 5-1, beating the minor league stars for the first time in four annual attempts.

Key players for the Texas Leaguers included pitcher Jack Billingham, who would go on to win 87 games for the Big Red Machine in the 1970’s, and outfielder Walt Williams, a former Colt .45s prospect who played the better part of a decade in the Majors with a handful of teams.

Missing was 20-year phenom Don Sutton, playing his first summer of pro ball with the Albuquerque Dodgers.  Sutton would be one of the Texas League’s dominant arms at 15-6 with a 2.78 ERA in 1965.  But at the time of the All-Star Game in mid-July, Sutton’s record was 5-4 and he was seemingly overlooked.



July 15, 1965 Texas League All-Stars vs. Houston Astros Roster Insert



More Major League vs. Minor League Baseball Exhibitions

Dallas-Fort Worth Spurs Home Page




1965-1971 Dallas-Fort Worth Spurs

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Texas League (1965-1971)

Born: 1965 – The Fort Worth Cats re-brand as the Dallas-Fort Worth Spurs.
Folded: Postseason 1971

Stadium: Turnpike Stadium

Team Colors:

Owners: Lamar Hunt & Tommy Mercer


The Dallas-Fort Worth Spurs were a popular minor league baseball entry in the Class AA Texas League for seven summers between 1965 and 1971.  The Spurs formed in 1965, shortly after Dallas’ Class AAA ballclub, the Dallas Rangers of the Pacific Coast League, shifted to Vancouver.  At the same time, the nearby city of Arlington opened 10,000-seat Turnpike Stadium.  The Fort Worth Cats, a one-year old club in the Texas League, quickly moved in to fill the void, signing a new lease at Turnpike Stadium and re-branding the team as the Dallas-Fort Worth Spurs.

The Spurs were originally affiliated with the Chicago Cubs from 1965 to 1967.  After one summer as a Houston Astros farm club (1968), the Spurs became a Baltimore Orioles affiliate for their final three seasons of existence from 1969 to 1971.

The Spurs produced dozens of future Major Leaguers, with the Orioles years being especially rich in future stars.  Notable players to pass through Turnpike Stadium in these years included Don Baylor, Enos Cabell, Doug DeCinces, Bobby Grich and Joe Niekro.  Future Hall of Famer Cal Ripken, Jr. was a batboy for the team.

Legendary sports owner Lamar Hunt was co-owner of the Spurs, along with Tommy Mercer.  Hunt helped found the American Football League, Major League Soccer and World Championship Tennis, so his involvement in minor league baseball is typically overlooked.  Mercer also owned the Fort Worth Braves of the Continental Football League.

The Spurs run came to an end after the 1971 season when the American League’s Washington Senators relocated to Arlington and displaced the minor league team.  The Senators became the Texas Rangers and Turnpike Stadium was renamed Arlington Stadium with the arrival of Major League Baseball in the spring of 1972.  Arlington Stadium remained the home of the Rangers until 1993.  The building was demolished in 1994.



1966 Dallas-Fort Worth Spurs vs. Arkansas Travelers Scorecard Insert

1969 Dallas-Fort Worth Spurs Affiliation Agreement with Baltimore Orioles



Texas League Media Guides

Texas League Programs


Written by AC

October 20th, 2013 at 10:44 pm


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