Here’s a breathtaking photo (among many others) taken by my dad at the Astrodome on September 6, 1980. Standing, looking slightly annoyed while waiting for a throw that obviously wasn’t coming in time, is the Cardinals’ eight-time all star Ted Simmons — the Joe Mauer of his day at least insofar as being a hunky and great-hitting catcher. Skidding past home plate is the Astros’ Cesar Cedeno, who accidentally killed his girlfriend in their hotel room.
I had the great pleasure of rooting through a couple rolls of negatives from this game and coming up with more gems than not. Despite the division rivalry, these two teams each held a special place in my dad’s heart since grew up in Texarkana cheering for the Cardinals up until the Astros came along and, making a live appearance there (with Joe Morgan in tow!), explained that they were now the closest MLB team and that everyone should go ahead and switch their affiliation. Shooting this game in the context of his photojournalism career, I wonder if he felt torn at all — after the Astros were leading 9-0 in the third inning — perhaps as the Cardinals staged their sixth-inning rally of four runs against our little knuckleballer Joe Niekro. The Cards scored one more in the 8th and then folded. I’d like to see a game in 2011 as exciting as this one looks in these pictures.