HOUSTON — It’s a big weekend for the Astros. Six people were added to the team’s Hall of Fame.
One of them never played for the team, but without him, there would probably be no Houston Astros at all.
The legendary Judge Roy Hofheinz is the man whose vision made the Astrodome a reality. And he helped bring Major League Baseball to Houston. He was the original owner of the Astros, formerly the Colt 45s.
Dinn Mann is the grandson of Hofheinz. He’s an entrepreneur and one of the founders of MLB.com.
He has vivid memories of his larger-than-life grandfather.
“This is my grandfather filling the balloons and handing the balloons to us at Astroworld when he opened that,” said Mann, showing us a photo.
The cigar-chomping Harris County Judge was also a Houston mayor at one point and a state lawmaker.
He was able to get an often-divided city united in the goal of showing the world what Houstonians could do.
“It was a time of racial unrest and intolerance, and he was a person who made significant changes that were not just from the standpoint of building a stadium,” Mann said. “It was a standpoint of really rallying the people of Houston that they hadn’t been before.”
He was the personification of Houston’s can-do spirit, producing the Eighth Wonder of the World and bringing us the Astros. But what will happen to the unused Astrodome now?
“I think that entire complex will get revitalized in a very smart way,” Mann said.
He says a revitalized Astrodome would be a beautiful thing.
“He would chomp on his cigar and remove it from his mouth and say, ‘What took you so long?’” said Mann when asked what his grandfather would say to that.
Hofheinz died in 1982, but his legacy and mark on this city endured.
The others being inducted into the Astros Hall of Fame this weekend are Lance Berkman, Roy Oswald, Billy Wagner, Cesar Cedeno and Bob Watson.