Richard Hyatt

Changing suits for a day

Glenn Davis had some big hits in the 1980s. So did Kool and the Gang. But the funky band never had to dress like a rainbow when it performed.

The Houston Astros did. Their colorful uniforms were the talk of the Major Leagues and so was Davis, one of the premier power-hitters of the decade.

On Saturday, Davis hangs up his Columbus Council duds and puts on No. 27 again. He’ll be part of a 1980s night at the stadium by the bay in Tampa. Kool and the Gang will be there for a post-game concert.

“Those uniforms might not have been in style but nobody has forgotten them,” said Davis, who’ll throw out the first pitch before his Astros play the Rays.

When Houston unveiled those uniforms it was honoring its friends at NASA. The color scheme made a fashion statement in baseball — a sport that had done little to change the uniforms its players wore since the days of Cobb and Ruth.

The multi-colored jersey was hanging in Davis’ locker when at the tail end of the 1984 he arrived in St. Louis to join the big club for the first time.

“I wasn’t going to argue about it,” Davis said. “That’s what they gave me and that was the big leagues.”

Until Davis began to talk about his trip to Florida, he didn’t realize this was a retro night. To him, those experiences feel like they were yesterday.old. I remember when I was playing ball and they had one of these promotions the former ballplayers always seemed ancient,” said Davis, a youthful 47.

Replaying the 1980s would be a dream for the former first baseman. Houston drafted him first in the 1981 draft and by 1985 he was on the verge of stardom.

In his six full seasons during that decade, he hit 166 home runs and several times was among the candidates for the National League’s most valuable player.

“I put up some great numbers in those uniforms,” he recalled.

By the time the 1990s began, his numbers began to decline as his injuries increased. He hit only 24 homers in the new decade. He played his final game in the majors in 1993 and finished his career in Japan three years later.

When he gets to Tampa today, he’ll meet up with some old friends on the Astros before going to work. He’s booked for talk shows today and has a full day on Saturday.

That night, he wears the rainbow one more time. The Tampa organization called and asked him what size he wears. These days he requires a Double-XL. At the stadium, he’ll sign autographs and do some play-by-play.

That old Astro jersey is part of the promotional material the club has produced as for one night they try to recapture the 1980s. “I’m excited,” he said. “A whole generation has never seen these uniforms.”

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