Colt Stadium

Colt Stadium, though often overshadowed in the annals of baseball history, played a pivotal role as the first home of Major League Baseball in Houston, Texas. This temporary ballpark, despite its short lifespan and challenging conditions, laid the groundwork for Houston’s long-standing relationship with America’s pastime.

Stadium Facts about Colt Stadium

  • Location: Houston, Texas
  • Opened On: April 10, 1962
  • Closed On: 1964
  • Home Team: Houston Colt .45s (now known as the Houston Astros, National League)
  • Stadium Nicknames: N/A
  • Dimensions: Left Field – 360 feet, Center Field – 420 feet, Right Field – 360 feet
  • Capacity: Approximately 33,000
  • Attendance Record: Not available
  • Surface: Grass
  • Architect: Unknown
  • Owner: Houston Sports Association

The History

Colt Stadium was built as a temporary facility to host the Houston Colt .45s, a newly formed MLB expansion team. The stadium served as the team’s home for three seasons, from 1962 to 1964, until the completion of the Astrodome. While it was always intended as a temporary structure, Colt Stadium played a significant role in introducing Major League Baseball to Houston.

The stadium was dismantled after the team moved to the Astrodome, but its legacy is remembered as a stepping stone for professional baseball in Houston.

Design and Features

Colt Stadium was a basic open-air ballpark with simple, utilitarian design features. It had a standard diamond layout with uncovered bleachers and grandstands, offering unobstructed views of the field. The stadium lacked many of the amenities that would become standard in later ballparks, reflecting its temporary nature.

Despite its simplicity, Colt Stadium was known for its challenging playing conditions, particularly the intense heat and humidity of Houston’s climate, and the presence of mosquitoes, which added a unique element to the games played there.

Renovations

Given its status as a temporary facility, Colt Stadium underwent few, if any, significant renovations during its brief existence. The primary focus was on maintaining the basic functionality of the stadium until the completion of the Astrodome.

Facilities

Colt Stadium’s facilities were basic and sparse, in line with many temporary sports venues of the time. Concession options were limited, and the seating was functional but not particularly comfortable. Despite these limitations, the stadium provided Houston baseball fans with their first opportunity to experience Major League games in their city.

The lack of advanced facilities highlighted the need for a more permanent and modern stadium, which would be realized with the construction of the Astrodome.

Memorable Moments at Colt Stadium

  • Inaugural Game: Hosting the first Major League game in Houston.
  • First Seasons of the Colt .45s: Witnessing the early development of Houston’s Major League Baseball identity.
  • Early Careers of Notable Players: Players like Joe Morgan and Rusty Staub played at Colt Stadium early in their careers.
  • Unique Playing Conditions: Notable for its challenging weather and environment, adding a distinct character to the games played there.

Interesting Baseball History at Colt Stadium

  • Introduction to Major League Baseball: Colt Stadium’s role in bringing MLB to Houston and fostering a new fan base.
  • Transition to the Astrodome: The stadium’s existence underscored the need for a more permanent and innovative solution, leading to the creation of the Astrodome.
  • Era of Expansion: Reflecting the expansion era of MLB during the early 1960s.
  • Houston’s Baseball Beginnings: Playing a key role in the city’s early baseball history and the formation of its baseball culture.

Non-Baseball Events

Due to its brief lifespan and primary function as a baseball stadium, Colt Stadium was not widely used for non-baseball events. Its primary legacy remains its contribution to the early years of Major League Baseball in Houston, setting the stage for the city’s long and ongoing relationship with the sport. The focus at Colt Stadium was squarely on establishing a home for Houston’s new MLB team, a goal that would be more fully realized with the opening of the Astrodome.