Four generations of Houston baseball to gather

HOUSTON Houston's rich baseball history dates all the way back to the minor league Houston Buffaloes more than 100 years ago.

Two people that played a role in that history saw each other for the first time in 55 years. Solly Hemus was an infielder for the Buffs in the late 40s, while Jack Shultea pitched for the Buffs in the mid 50s.

Hemus spent a couple years in Houston before being called up to the St. Louis Cardinals as a player, then later a manager.

"We made about $300 a month. They will spill that much today in the major leagues," said Hemus. "The fan support was great. They were out to help."

For Shultea, who went to Reagan High School and the University of Houston, a flood of memories come to mind when he thinks of baseball's roots in Houston. And when Shultea grew up, he wanted to follow in the footsteps of his boyhood idol, Solly Hemus.

"Solly was always dirty. He hustled, good left-handed hitter and played hard," Shultea said.

This weekend, Hemus and Shultea will represent one of four generations of Houston baseball signing autographs at the Finger Furniture location off I-45 and Cullen. It's all to celebrate the reopening of the Houston Sports Museum - a memorabilia collection of old and new with its centerpiece the actual home plate of the old Buff's stadium.

"That's the original site of home plate. The museum was built around that home plate and the store was built around that home plate, so when someone says, 'Where's that red sofa?' We say in left-center field so it gives us a good frame of reference in the store as well," said Finger Furniture President and CEO Rodney Finger.

Also scheduled to make an appearance are Carl Warwick, outfielder for the Houston Colt .45s; legendary Astros broadcaster Gene Elston; Astros All-Star Jose Cruz; and Astros 2009 MVP Michael Bourn.

Fans are invited to bring baseballs, baseball caps, and other pieces of memorabilia to be signed by these sports legends from 12:30pm - 1:30pm on Saturday, June 19.

More info on Houston Sports Museum

The Houston Sports Museum, located in the basement of Finger Furniture, is built on the site of Houston's first baseball stadium, which was constructed in 1928 as a home for the Houston Buffaloes, a minor-league affiliate of the St. Louis Cardinals. The Buffs, who played in the Texas League until 1958, switching to the American Association form 1959-1961, occupied the stadium continuously until the arrival of major league baseball in Houston, when the Colt .45 franchise was awarded to the city in 1962.

In 1963, Buff Stadium was sold to Sammy Finger, who demolished the facility, which was damaged during Hurricane Carla, and built a new showroom and warehouse on the site to house his business, Finger Furniture. In a move to preserve Houston sports history, he constructed the Houston Sports Museum in the basement of his new showroom, with a plaque on the floor marking the spot where home plate at Buff Stadium was located.

The museum became home to Finger's personal collection of sports memorabilia, assembled during his many years as a loyal follower of sports in Houston. Fans can see baseballs autographed by Babe Ruth, Jackie Robinson, and Mickey Mantle, along with a pair of spikes which were worn by Dizzy Dean.

Finger Furniture
4001 Gulf Freeway

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