To get everyone geared up for the season, I am going to take a look at some of the numbers that have been retired by the Houston Astros franchise. Each piece will be slightly different, but strike a lot of the same chords. Today, we start the series with Jim Wynn.
The Toy Cannon had his number 24 retired in 2005 by the Houston Astros after playing from 1963-1973 with the team. Wynn was involved in a lot of the franchise’s early history, being on the Houston Colt .45s, who became the Houston Astros in 1965, and was also a part of the team that christened the Astrodome. Eleven of his fifteen big-league seasons came in Houston, where he hit 223 (roughly 20 per season) home runs as a member of the Colt .45s/Astros. To go along with the homers, he also hit .255, got on base at a .362 clip and struck out 18.09% of the time. Sounds like he would fit in very nicely with the current squad.
Wynn burst onto the scene as a part of the famous all-rookie lineup that Houston put on the field on September 27, 1963. Alyson Footer reported on the day that Wynn’s No. 24 was retired that Hall of Fame inductee Joe Morgan was Wynn’s roommate for much of their time together in Houston in the 60s.
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Jim Wynn’s best season with Houston came in 1967, when he hit 37 home runs and drove in 107. This was the only season that he would drive in 100+ with Houston, but would later achieve the feat again as a member of the Dodgers during the 1974 campaign. He would finish 5th in MVP voting in ’74, the highest finish of his career (11th in ’67 and 15th in ’69).
In 1965, The Toy Cannon stole 43 bases and was caught just four times, but transitioned into more of a slugger, hitting for a lower average and generating more power at the plate as his career went on. The year he hit 37 bombs, Wynn would swipe just 16 bags and strike out a 137 times (career-high was 142 in 1969).
From Footer’s piece, “Of all of Wynn’s home runs, his most memorable was the shot he launched at Crosley Field in Cincinnati, because it left the ballpark and bounced onto the freeway. His second favorite? The homer he hit on April 12, 1970, when he became the first Astros player to hit a homer into the Astrodome’s upper deck in left field during a regular season game.”
According to Baseball Almanac, Wynn shared a moment that he was very proud of in his career, “I hit the 100th home run in All-Star history (Babe Ruth hit the first). Milestones like that are always remembered, so I’ll be remembered in that way in the same breath as Babe Ruth.”
Jimmy “Toy Cannon” Wynn was the first big star in Houston. The next time you visit Minute Maid Park, take a look at his retired No. 24 and give it a tip of the cap.