Broadcaster Gene Elston Remembered
Called Colt .45s and Astros Games for 25 seasons
Jo-Carolyn Goode | 9/7/2015, 1:50 p.m.
HOUSTON, TX — The Astros family was saddened yesterday with news of the passing of longtime broadcaster Gene Elston. He was 93 years old.
Prior to this afternoon’s 1:10 p.m. Astros-Twins game, the Astros will recognize Elston’s distinguished career during the pregame ceremonies, which will include a moment of silence.
Elston broadcast baseball, primarily on radio, for close to 47 years in his illustrious career. However, he will be best remembered delivering baseball to a new legion of fans in the Houston region and beyond as the original voice of the expansion Houston Colt .45s, starting in 1962. His career with the Colt .45s and Astros would span 25 seasons (1962-86), during which he called many of the greatest moments in franchise history.
His Colt .45s/Astros career highlights include: 11 no-hitters, including Mike Scott’s N.L. West clinching effort over the Giants on Sept. 25, 1986; Nolan Ryan’s career strikeout number 3,509 on April 27, 1983, topping Walter Johnson’s all-time mark; Eddie Mathews’ 500th career home run; Astros clinching first postseason berth in franchise history in the October 6, 1980, one-game playoff at Dodger Stadium.
Elston was honored several times throughout his long career, with the highlight coming in 2006 when he won the prestigious Ford C. Frick Award, presented by the National Baseball Hall of Fame for “major contributions to baseball.” Additionally, Elston was inducted into the Texas Baseball Hall of Fame in 1993 and the Texas Radio Hall of Fame in 2002.
Elston’s first MLB broadcasting opportunity came in 1954 with the Chicago Cubs. In 1958, he was chosen to work with Bob Feller for Mutual’s Game of the Day, which aired on over 350 stations across the nation. In 1961, Elston called games for the Houston Buffs minor league club before transitioning to the Colt .45s in 1962.
Following his 25-year stint with Colt .45s/Astros, Elston broadcast both regular season and postseason MLB games nationally for CBS Radio through 1997.
Astros President of Business Operations Reid Ryan released the following statement regarding Elston’s passing:
“We are deeply saddened by the passing of Gene Elston. Gene helped introduce baseball to Houston as a part of the original broadcast team of the Colt .45s when the franchise was born in 1962. For 25 seasons, he served as the lead voice of the Colt .45s and Astros and called many of the great moments in franchise history. The memories he helped create are cherished fondly by the generations of Astros fans that he touched.
“On behalf of the entire Astros organization, I send my deepest condolences to Gene’s family members and to his many friends and fans.”
REMEMBERING GENE ELSTON
“Gene Elston brought a classic broadcasting approach to Houston as the first voice of Major League Baseball in Texas. His smooth style emphasized accuracy and depth of knowledge about the game’s history. He was the perfect baseball teacher for the generation of fans who built their loyalty to the Colt .45s and Astros through his stewardship.”
-Current Astros TV broadcaster Bill Brown