Gene Elston

The voice of the Houston Astros ever since the team began play in 1962 as the Colt .45s, Elston stayed with the club through their division championship season in 1986. For fifteen years, Elston worked with Loel Passe, an announcer the Houston Chronicle called “as folksy as Elston was spare.” At various points in his Astros career, Elston also partnered with Harry Kalas, Bob Prince, Dewayne Staats and Larry Dierker.

Elston was at the mike for the 24-inning one-run marathon between the Astros and Mets on April 15, 1968, broadcasting just a few feet from a VIP lounge where John Wayne was watching the game. “The last time I saw [Wayne] was in about the 23rd inning,” Elston said. “He’d moved into an empty radio booth and was absolutely sloshed. They had to carry him out of there.”

On September 25, 1986, Elston broadcast Mike Scott‘s no-hitter that clinched the NL West for the Astros. “My theory has always been to let the fans know there is a no-hitter going in the seventh inning,” Elston said. “I’ve called 13 no-hitters, and this superstition crap is a lot of bunk. I wanted the audience to know what was going on.”

Less than three months later, Elston was fired by Astros GM Dick Wagner. “Dick had a habit of firing people at Cincinnati like Sparky Anderson and Tony Perez and Pete Rose,” Elston told the Chronicle. “He was the type of guy who didn’t want anybody around who was anybody.”