Sports

J.R. Richard, former Houston Astros All-Star pitcher, dies at 71

Houston Astros legend J.R. Richard has handed away, the staff introduced Thursday. He was 71. Mark Berman of Fox 26 experiences Richard handed away Wednesday evening at a Houston hospital.

“As we speak is a tragic day for the Houston Astros as we mourn the lack of one in every of our franchise icons, J.R. Richard,” the Astros stated in an announcement. “J.R. will perpetually be remembered as an intimidating determine on the mound and as one of many best pitchers in membership historical past. He stood shoulder to shoulder with membership icons Larry Dierker, Joe Niekro and Nolan Ryan, to type a couple of of the very best rotations in membership historical past. Sadly, his enjoying profession was minimize brief by well being points, however his 10 years in an Astros uniform stand out as a decade of excellence. We ship our heartfelt condolences to J.R.’s spouse, Lula, his household, mates and numerous followers and admirers.”

“J.R. was one in every of my good mates,” longtime Astros teammate Jose Cruz stated in an announcement. “That is very unhappy to listen to. I have nice reminiscences of J.R. He was one of many best Astros ever. When he was pitching, we knew that we had been going to get a ‘W.’ I did not get too many balls hit to me within the outfield when he pitched as a result of he was so dominating. He was a fantastic pal and a fantastic teammate. I ship my condolences to his spouse and youngsters”.   

Richard, a right-handed pitcher, was raised in Louisiana and he turned down a number of school basketball scholarships affords to pursue baseball after the Astros chosen him with the No. 2 decide within the 1969 novice draft. He reached the large leagues in 1971 and made a fantastic first impression, hanging out 15 batters in a whole recreation win over the Giants in his first MLB recreation on Sept. 5. The 15 strikeouts are tied with Karl Spooner for essentially the most in an MLB debut.

It wasn’t till 1974 that Richard joined the rotation full-time and caught within the large leagues for good. From 1975-80, he was merely among the finest pitchers in baseball. Richard had a 3.01 ERA in over 1,400 innings these seasons, and through his peak from 1976-79, Richard pitched to a 2.88 ERA and averaged 18.5 wins with 261 strikeouts and greater than 280 innings per season. Richard is without doubt one of the final pitchers to publish consecutive 300-strikeout seasons (303 in 1978 and 313 in 1979).

Richard was an All-Star in 1981 and he completed prime 10 within the Cy Younger voting in 1976 (seventh), 1978 (fourth), and 1979 (third). He additionally obtained MVP votes in 1976 and 1979.

At age 30, Richard’s profession got here to a untimely finish when he suffered an enormous stroke throughout pregame warmups within the outfield in late July. He missed time earlier within the season with a blockage in an artery that prompted his arm to go numb. Richard tried a number of comebacks from 1981-83 however by no means did make it again to the large leagues.

By any measure Richard is without doubt one of the best pitchers in Astros historical past. He ranks among the many franchise’s prime 10 in nearly each significant pitching class, together with innings (1,606), wins (107), strikeouts (1,493), and WAR (23.1). Richard spent one yr on the Corridor of Fame poll, receiving 1.6 p.c of the vote in 1985, and he was inducted into the Astros Corridor of Fame in 2019.

Following his enjoying profession, Richard misplaced tons of of hundreds of {dollars} in a enterprise rip-off, and in addition needed to pay near $1 million in a divorce settlement. He was homeless in 1994 and 1995, and lived underneath a freeway overpass in Houston. In 1995, Richard grew to become eligible to obtain his MLB pension, and he grew to become concerned with a neighborhood church and different group endeavors.

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https://www.cbssports.com/mlb/information/j-r-richard-former-houston-astros-all-star-pitcher-dies-at-71/ | J.R. Richard, former Houston Astros All-Star pitcher, dies at 71

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