The All Rookie Starting Lineup!  September 27, 1963

The All Rookie Starting Lineup!  September 27, 1963

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 Another Edition of: It’ll Never Happen Again…

The All Rookie Starting Lineup!  

Yes…you read that right. In a game played between the Houston Colt .45’s and the New York Mets on September 27, 1963, at Colt Stadium, the Colt .45’s started a game with nine rookies!

No team had done it before and no team has done it since. And since it was such a dumb idea, it’ll probably never be done again!

According to an article I read, this “brain storm” was a publicity stunt dreamt up by Houston’s GM, Paul Richards supposedly to help with attendance two days before the season ended. Not sure what exactly he had in mind, as the attendance for the game was only 5,802.  It sort of reminds you of the stunt when a team allows one player to play all nine positions in one game…

The final result was pretty much as you would expect. Casey Stengel’s last place Mets gave the Colt .45’s a 10-3 drubbing. I’m sure the “Old Perfessor” had a thing or two to say about this game!

In the featured photo above, we see the nine rookies who started the game for Houston manager Harry Craft:

Back Row: Brock Davis (LF), Aaron Pointer (RF), Jimmy Wynn (CF). Middle Row: Glenn Vaughan (3B), Sonny Jackson (SS), Joe Morgan (2B), Rusty Staub (1B). Front Row: Jay Dahl (P), Jerry Grote (C).

For a game with no real significance, I found some pretty interesting facts:

  • The average age was 19, the youngest ever starting lineup.
  • The starting and losing pitcher was 17-year old Jay Dahl, making his one-and-only major league appearance. After retiring the Mets in order in the first, he gave up seven runs on seven hits over the next two innings, ending his major league career with a 16.88 ERA. Tragically, he was killed in a car accident two years later.
  • Houston field a total of 15 rookies in the game before veteran Carl Warwick entered the game in the eighth inning.
  • One of the rookies was John Paciorek, brother of Tom Paciorek. Also making his only major league appearance, John had quite a day. He went 3-3 with two walks and three RBIs. He ended his major league career with a perfect batting average of 1.000. He’s the only player to achieve this with more than two at-bats.
  • Joe Morgan’s ninth inning run-scoring triple was the only extra base hit for Houston. The other two runs were driven in by Rusty Staub and Brock Davis, who I remember later played for the Cubs.
  • Rookie Aaron Pointer later became an NFL head linesman. His four sisters achieved fame as “The Pointer Sisters.”
  • The umpires for the game were: Paul Pryor, Ken Burkhart, Frank Secory, and Frank Walsh. Paul Pryor is the father of one of our regular readers, Fred Pryor, who I’m sure will find the account of this game very interesting!

Gary Livacari

Photo Credits: All from Google search

Information: Excerpts edited from 2002 article by Darrell Pittman on the AstrosDaily.com web page. 

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I’m a baseball historian who also loves to write. My forte is identifying ballplayers in old photos, and my specail interest is the Dead Ball Era.

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