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Roy Mark Hofheinz (April 10, 1912 – November 22, 1982), popularly known as Judge Hofheinz or "The Judge", was mayor of the city of Houston, Texas from 1953 to 1955. He previously served as the County Judge of Harris County, Texas.

Contents

Biography

A flamboyant and successful orator, broadcaster, developer and sportsman, he was part of the group that created a Major League Baseball franchise the Houston Colt .45s (which later became the Houston Astros) to Houston, as well as built the Harris County Domed Stadium, known as the Astrodome, the first large covered baseball and football facility in the world. Known in his youth as the "boy Mayor," at 23 he was the youngest county administrator in the state. He acted as campaign manager for Lyndon B. Johnson during his rise to the position of Congressman and then Senator.

After World War II Hofheinz pioneered FM radio and built a network of radio and television stations in the Texas Gulf coast area, and made a business of salvaging the slag from steelmaking, crushing it and selling it as roadbuilding aggregate. Later, after the "Dome" was built, he worked with engineers at Monsanto Corporation to develop Astroturf, an imitation grass now widely used where natural grass does not flourish. In the 1960s he purchased, along with Israel and Irving Feld, the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, later selling his interest to Mattel, Inc. His giant southwest Houston development project, the Astrodomain, included the first major theme park in coastal Texas, Astroworld. This development came at hard times just before the recession during the early 1970s. His son, Fred Hofheinz, served as mayor of Houston in the 1970s.

Judge Roy Hofheinz was a driving force behind the effort to obtain the Major League Baseball franchise for Houston, along with oilman Craig F. Cullinan, Jr. who had been involved with the failed attempted "Continental League" and who was chairman of the Houston Sports Association executive committee, a syndicate of local businessmen dedicated to bringing a pro baseball team to southeastern Texas. On October 17, 1960, Houston was awarded the Colt .45 franchise in the ten-team National League.

He also owned the Houston Stars professional soccer team, which was actually the imported Bangu Atlético Clube from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Hofheinz Pavilion—a multi-purpose arena on the University of Houston campus—is named in his honor.

In 2006, Roy Hofheinz was inducted in the Texas Baseball Hall of Fame.

See also

External links

Bibliography

  • Reed, Robert. A Six-Gun Salute: An Illustrated History of the Houston Colt .45s. Houston, TX: Gulf Publishing Co., 1999.
Preceded by
Oscar F. Holcombe
Mayor of Houston, Texas
1953–1955
Succeeded by
Oscar F. Holcombe
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