Gene Elston’s baseball broadcasting career spanned 47 years, primarily as a radio announcer. He delivered baseball to a new legion of fans as the lead voice of the expansion Houston Astros for 25 years, from their beginnings as the 1962 Colt .45s, through their 1986 National League West Division championship. While his voice became a beacon to fans in Texas and the Southwest, Elston’s broadcasting responsibilities also included numerous national assignments.
Elston broke into radio as a high school basketball broadcaster in 1941 in Fort Dodge, Iowa. After serving the Navy during World War II, he returned to the small midwest stations he knew so well. His break came in 1945 when he handled color commentary for the National Football League Cleveland Rams.
His entry into baseball came in 1946, when Elston was hired to call games for the Waterloo White Hawks of the Three I League. Three years later, he was named play-by-play for Des Moines of the Western League.
In 1954 he made the major leagues as the number two man for the Chicago Cubs. In 1958, Elston was chosen to work with Bob Feller for Mutual’s Game of the Day, which aired over 350 stations across the country, a position he held through 1960. In 1961, as baseball was expanding, he was the first announcer to handle play-by-play duties for the Houston franchise. He went on to work the CBS Radio Game of the Week from 1987-1995 and CBS postseason games from 1995-1997.
A Texas Baseball Hall of Fame inductee, Elston also created a unique scorebook, Gene Elston’s Stati-Score Baseball Scorebook, and has authored two books, including the 2001 release, A Stitch in Time: A Baseball Chronology, 1845-2000.
2006 Ford C. Frick Award Winner Gene Elston - BL-4925-71 (National Baseball Hall of Fame Library)