We're at the third installment of this series on the top All-Star moments in Astros history. I'm throwing a bit of a curveball at you, since this wasn't originally scheduled to be the eighth best All-Star moment in team history. But, the first rule of this list is there are no rules, so get used to it. We'll also have to discuss something else about this list in a minute after we introduce this one.
Back in 1968, the Houston Astros were in their sixth year of existence and playing their third year in the Eighth Wonder of the World, the Astrodome. Just like now, when a new stadium gets built, it gets to host the All-Star Game, and that's exactly what happened that season.
This wasn't a moment that the franchise could hang its hat on because of the players in the game. Only Rusty Staub was elected and he popped up to third base in his only at-bat of the night, facing Denny McLain. No, the real treat here was hosting a game in the 'Dome.
Willie Mays won the MVP of this game, scoring the only run in the 1-0 affair. He scored in the bottom of the first after leading off with a single to left field. He was then picked off at first, but a throwing error by pitcher Luis Tiant allowed him to scamper over to second and advance to third on a ball four wild pitch to Curt Flood. Mays scored when teammate Willie McCovey hit into a 4-6-3 double play from Rod Carew to Jim Fregosi on to Harmon Killebrew.
That's the other fascinating thing about this game. I know we often glamorize the past for its talent, but there were a veritable treasure trove of Hall of Famers in this game. From Mays, Carew, McCovey and Killebrew to Mickey Mantle, Brooks Robinson, Hank Aaron, Tony Perez, Don Drysdale, Steve Carlton, Juan Marichal, Johnny Bench and Tom Seaver. Then, you add in other guys who went on to be leaders in the game, from Curt Flood challenging the reserve clause to big stars who became managers like Frank Howard, Fregosi and Davey Johnson, or just revolutionized baseball medicine like Tommy John.
I know, it's the second straight post where I've just named names, but I'm really impressed by the talent at this particular game. If you look at last year's All-Star game and compare it to this one, there are maybe six or seven future Hall of Famers who played there (A-Rod, Halladay, Scott Rolen, Derek Jeter, Ichiro and Pujols). It was enough talent to make that All-Star game even more memorable than being the first in Houston.
But, what I wanted to discuss briefly before we left this post is the lack of big All-Star moments in team history. The fact that I had to put a Michael Bourn jump as the 10th best moment isn't because I couldn't come up with better ideas, but that there haven't been many memorable performances. If I'm missing some, or if you have one or two that you think should be higher on this list, let me know. I really would like to put something about Houston players up every once in a while.