On Saturday we looked at Pete Runnels and the curiousness with which he got traded to Houston and essentially faded into oblivion. I speculated that maybe the heat had played a factor in his production. Reliever Jim Ownes is a case against that speculation.
Owens was acquired by the Colt .45s on December 2, 1963, from the Cincinnati Reds via the rule 5 draft. Prior to playing for the Reds Owens had played seven years with the Philadelphia Phillies. With the Phillies and even the Reds he floated back and forth between starting and relieving duties. In his first year with the Astros he did the same, making 11 start, in 1964. After the 1964 season he would only pitch out of the bullpen.
Now Owens was only an average reliever at best, but here's the thing he was below average with the Phillies and Reds. Prior to pitching for Houston, Owens posted an 86 ERA+ in 635.1 innings. With Houston he posted a 95 ERA+ in 250 innings.
His first year with the Colts he posted a 105 ERA+, the next year a 102 ERA+, the year after that a 74 ERA+ and finally the year after that, his final year, a 81 ERA+. Not great, but he did have a couple good years and provides evidence that maybe the heat didn't have as much affect on players.