Yankees pitching coach to help open second Houston Stadium
March 29, 2000 3:05 PM
TAMPA, Fla. (AP) Mel Stottlemyre, the starting pitcher for the Yankees when the Astrodome opened in 1965, will be in Houston as New York's pitching coach for the opening of the city's new stadium on Thursday.
"I'm anxious to go back," Stottlemyre said Wednesday. "It will be special."
The Astros beat the Yankees 2-1 in the Astrodome's first game. New York Hall of Famer Mickey Mantle hit the stadium's first homer.
"For this one to be outdated, I guess it just shows how old I am," Stottlemyre joked. "That's all they were talking about at that time, it was the eighth wonder of the year."
The Yankees' 1965 spring rotation found Stottlemyre making his final exhibition start against the Astros.
"I was just getting ready for the season ... I didn't realize it was the thing to come," Stottlemyre said. "It was sort of a freak, but at the same time everybody was really in awe of it.
"The fact that roof was right there - and you were used to playing in open air - it make it a whole different view point."
Houston-area resident Roger Clemens will face Dwight Gooden on Thursday. The two opposed each other as the starters in the 1986 All-Star game at the Astrodome.
"He's really pumped up," Stottlemyre said of Clemens, who resides in nearby Katy. "It's an extra special honor for him."
Several other Yankees' will be playing before the home folks. The list includes pitchers Mike Stanton and Andy Pettitte, and second baseman Chuck Knoblauch.
"It's going to be a special event," Stanton said. "I've talked to my mom a few times over the past week, and she said it's going to be a pretty big event. It's always neat to open a new stadium. On top of that, they're a good team."
The Yankees from the Houston area are hopeful Enron Field will enhance the city's downtown area, like new stadiums have done in Cleveland and Baltimore.
"Playing the whole game there is the longest time that I have spent in downtown Houston in my whole life," Knoblauch said. "Now they're starting to build up there."
The two teams also play Friday. The scheduled pitching matchup has David Cone going against Jose Lima.
"Just watching the game, having a Bud..."
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