Bob Aspromonte (aka Aspro the Astro) was one of the original Houston players, getting picked in the expansion draft of 1961 by the newly founded Colt .45’s. Aspromonte spent seven seasons in Houston, mostly at third base. Some notable achievements with the Houston franchise include getting the first hit and scoring the first run in team history.
During his time in Houston, Aspromonte hit six grand slams (a franchise record later matched by Jeff Bagwell), including the first in franchise history. One in particular has an even better anecdote (from Brian McTaggart’s A Game to Remember series in 2012):
"Sitting in the stands at Colt Stadium and watching the action that day was a boy from Arkansas named Bill Bradley, who had befriended Aspromonte a year earlier. Bradley lost his eyesight at age 9 in 1962 when a tree that was struck by lightning fell on him. Bradley was moved to Houston to have several eye procedures and began listening to Colt .45s games on the radio. And Aspromonte soon became his favorite player. “When he was visiting Houston, he called the ballclub and said, ‘Can I meet Bob Aspromonte?'” Aspromonte said. “I visited him in the hospital and took him a glove and ball. The kid was blindfolded and couldn’t see anything. That’s how it all started.” Before Aspromonte left the hospital that day, Bradley asked him to hit a homer for him. Aspromonte, not being a home run hitter, was hesitant. But he did indeed hit a home run later that night. The next year, with Bradley back in Houston, he again asked Aspromonte to hit a homer, and again Aspromonte came through — this time with a grand slam."
Aspro’s legendary tale has a Ruthian aspect to it. If you didn’t love the man before, you should now!
Did you know? In 2012, Aspromonte was honored with an Astros’ Walk of Fame star outside Minute Maid Park.
Candy heart rating: 5
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