Today, Houston Astros pitchers and catchers started returning to Kissimmee, Florida, for spring training in anticipation (and somewhat fright) of the 2013 season and their debut in the American League.
In honor of baseball returning to Houston in just a couple of months, Bruce Kessler of RockinHouston.com sent me two pictures from Houston Astros history that he managed to capture along his career as one of Houston-based promoters Pace Concerts' house photogs.
Kessler has amassed a database of every show that he and others shot in Houston from 1965 up until 2005. This past week he uploaded 1986 onto the site.
The Elton John picture came from a September 26, 1986 concert at the Summit, during the club's National League West-winning season. The night before the concert, Astros pitcher Mike Scott threw a no-hitter against the Giants to help clinch the NL West.
Obviously Astros love was at an all-time high here in Houston, though the team would go on to lose the National League Championship to the New York Mets a few weeks later.
"KKBQ's John Lander presented him with the shirt backstage before the show and he said he would wear it," says Kessler. "Sure enough, for his encore he came out in uniform. Good thing I saved some film for the end of the show."
Older locals will remember John Lander as the Morning Zoo ringleader when 93Q KKBQ was a Houston pop-radio powerhouse. KKBQ turned into a country station in 1991.
As for this "Weird Al" Yankovic and Roger Clemens picture, that story is a little less eventful.
"Weird Al's local record rep was doing a promotion with him at a bowling alley and Clemens happened to be there," said Kessler. Simple as that. No word on what bowling alley it might have been, or if Clemens used PEDs to up his score.
(Ed. Note: It looks more like former Astros pitcher and beer aficionado Charlie Kerfeld than Clemens to me and others on Twitter.)
@craighlavaty That's pretty awesome, but I don't think that is Clemens in the second photo! Looks more like Charlie Kerfeld.
— Steve E. (@KevinBassStache) February 11, 2013
As for Kessler, he continues to update his photo site with pictures from the late '80s.
"I started organizing 1987 last night," he says. "I scanned my tickets and I started scanning my passes. There will be lots of Bowie from the "Glass Spider" tour, Madonna, as well as Pink Floyd in the Astrodome and a crazy number of U2 photos from the Joshua Tree tour."
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Kessler estimates he has about 3,500 photos to look through.