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Loel Passe, longtime Houston Astros broadcaster, dies of cancer at 82

July 16, 1997

HOUSTON (AP) _ Longtime baseball broadcaster Loel Passe, whose homey ``Hot ziggity dog and sassafras tea!″ was known to two generations of Houston Astros fans, died Tuesday of cancer. He was 82.

Passe, who spent almost a half-century in Houston, died at his home.

Passe was working at a Birmingham, Ala., radio station owned by Harris County Judge Roy Hofheinz when he was hired in 1950 to broadcast the minor league Houston Buffs games for Hofheinz’s station KTHT.

In 1962, Passe joined Gene Elston and Al Helfer as the original broadcast team for Houston when the then-Colt .45s joined the National League. He remained with the Colts and the renamed Astros through 1975 but left the air after Hofheinz lost control of the Astrodomain empire.

Passe, pronounced ``pass,″ worked briefly in the Astros’ front office before entering private business, where he worked until retirement.

Passe is survived by his wife, Margaret, and a son, Loel Passe Jr.

Services were scheduled for Thursday in Houston.