I got a kick out of these photos of Ron Paul wearing a Houston Astros uniform during the 1976 Congressional softball game between Republicans and Democrats at Memorial Stadium in Baltimore. By the looks of it, Paul can handle himself at the plate.
Unlike a lot of other people, I always loved the old Astros uniforms of the 1970s and early 1980s with the orange hats and rainbow colors. It looked like candy to me.
Paul, who would have been 41 at the time, bares a passing resemblance to then Astros infielder Art Howe. Of course, these days Howe is best known for being portrayed by Philip Seymour Hoffman as the curmudgeonly, old school manager of the Oakland Athletics in Moneyball which is quite unfair given that Howe went along with Billy Beane Ball.
Still, when I think of Art Howe, I think of the Astros and the 1980 team which Bill Virdon guided to its first NL West pennant with a starting rotation of Nolan Ryan, Joe Niekro, Ken Forsch, J.R. Richard (who was felled by a stroke that summer following the All-Star Game), Vern Ruhle with Joe Sambito, Joaquin Andujar and Dave Smith in the bullpen. And lest I forget Joe Morgan (returning after a decade with the Cincinnati Reds), Cesar Cedeno, Enos Cabell, Jose Cruz (with his crazy batting stance) and Saskatchewan’s own Terry Puhl.
Given how bad the Astros were last year, the least they could do is extend Paul an invite to spring training. I must admit Paul is pretty spry at 76. In any case, his time in Florida would probably be better spent fielding groundballs than dropping votes.