Brand was selected by the Houston Colt .45s in the 1964 rule 5 draft. He had originally been signed by the Pirates, where he played several years in the minors and one in the majors (1963). So, after spending all of 1964 on one of Pittsburgh's farm teams, he would then become an Astro. Ron and John Bateman would be the two main catchers for the Astros. Both eventually ended up being drafted by the Expos in 1968.
Ron hit a triple for the Astros first hit in the 'Dome on April 9, 1965 in an exhibition game against the Yankees.
Today Jose Lima, former Astro, passed away due to a massive heart attack. Jose became a part of the Astros in 1997. He played for Houston through part of the 2001 season. In fact, though he played for several different teams he spent the majority of his career in Houston, compiling a 46-42 record from 1997-2001.
"It saddened me greatly to hear of Jose's passing," Astros owner Drayton McLane said. "He was truly a gifted person both on the field and off of it. He could dance, he could sing, but his best gift of all was that he was an extremely happy person. He just lit up our clubhouse with his personality, which was his greatest asset. Jose was not shortchanged in life in any way. He lived life to the fullest every day."
James Mouton was selected by Houston in the 7th round of the 1991 amateur draft. He played for the Astros on the major league level from 1994 to 1997. By the next season he had traded to the Padres for Sean Bergman. After a year in San Diego he would play two more seasons, this time for the Brewers.
While checking out the internet to see what Mr. Mouton has been up to these days, I ran across a website for the Fort Bend Texans Sports Association, which feature several former Houston players. It seems Mouton was a guest coach recently. I believe I might have read once where he was coaching on the minor league level; then again, I might be confusing him with someone else.
I attended my first minor league game this week. I'm currently in Austin, TX, which is just down the road from Round Rock, home of the Express. The Memphis Redbirds were in town and I attended the only home game that was held this week. Too bad this conference wasn't held in Houston so I could see the 'Stros in action. Back when I was doing parole I attended annual conferences every November and would take in a Rockets game while I was in town. Living out in the sticks has a tendency to make you want to catch all the games when you're in the big city.
I had a chance to see the Redbirds several years while visiting friends in Memphis. We stood outside the stadium but never bothered to go in and watch the game.
Anyway, I thought I'd make use of the free wifi in the hotel lobby and post a few photos. I think I did more walking around and taking pictures than actually sitting.