Jimmy Wynn once greeted his hometown fans in Cincinnati with a monster dinger onto the highway
When the Astros won the 2017 World Series, it was the culmination of a 55-year journey from expansion as the Colt .45s in 1962. Long before the days of Jose Altuve, Craig Biggio and even Nolan Ryan, one of their first stars was a hard-hitting outfielder named Jimmy Wynn.
Wynn debuted with the club in its second season, 1963, but his four-homer rookie campaign belied what was to come. Over the next 11 years, he clubbed 223 homers despite his short stature and playing most of his games in the cavernous Astrodome. Indeed, Wynn did most of his damage on the road, where his tremendous power could be more easily highlighted: 126 of those blasts came away from home.
This pop was key in 1967, when he belted a career-high 37 dingers en route to his first All-Star selection. One of those drives came on June 11, when the Astros played a doubleheader against the Reds at Crosley Field. It was a homecoming for Wynn, who grew up in Cincinnati and began his career in the Reds' system before being claimed in the expansion draft.
Wynn went 1-for-5 with a run and a stolen base during the Astros' 7-4 victory in the opener, and he had more in store for the second game. In the top of the third, he faced former All-Star Sammy Ellis, who had allowed an RBI single to Wynn in the first inning. This time, Wynn made the damage even worse:
The mountainous blast sailed over the Reds' 58-foot scoreboard and bounced onto a Mill Creek Expressway exit ramp.
It was a ridiculous display of power, but Wynn was rarely caught up in his own strength. "I'm just swingin' the bat and lettin' wood meet horsehide," he said.
Amazingly, Wynn wasn't done just yet with 1967 tape-measure shots. He later clubbed a long homer at Pittsburgh's Forbes Field on July 23 that went past the flagpole in center and over the 457-foot sign -- much to legendary broadcaster Harry Kalas' astonishment:
That's why they called Wynn the "Toy Cannon."