Houston Baseball and Music Connected in 1888

August 4, 2015
The Langholm, Scotland  Brass Band probably never came to Houston , but their dress style and selection of instruments was typical of musical groups from that era.     A news story from the always helpful and generous Darrell Pittman.

The Langholm, Scotland Brass Band probably never came to Houston , but their dress style and selection of instruments was typical of groups from that era.
~ A news story from the always helpful and generous Darrell Pittman.

One-Hundred and Twenty-Seven years ago today, the Galveston Daily News reported on a union in Houston that came early and stayed forever. Baseball and music had found their way together in the first fully professional and leagued offering of the “national pastime” in Houston and had even found its way into notability through an article published in the Island City newspaper on August 4, 1888:

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MUSIC AND BASE-BALL

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HOUSTON’S DEPARTURE

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Houston, Tex., August 3. The management of the Houston Base-ball association met with such success to-day in the way of patronage that they have decided to give a free concert every day next week. Ladies will admitted to the grounds free of charge. an admission fee of 25 cents, however, will be charged for seats in the grandstand.

The following is the programme, arranged by Charles Lewis, conductor of Herb’s Band, for to-morrow’s rendition. The concert will begin at 4 o’clock and the game of ball will be called promptly at 5 o’clock: March, Our Champions; S. Bill, Polka: Caliors, Boyer’s Medley; Overture, Zimmerman; Song and Dance, E. Fox; waltz. Nantasket, Farbach: quickstep, Garden City; serenade, Hayden; gallop, Niebigs.

~ Galveston Daily News, August 4, 1888.

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The music at Houston professional baseball games has been continuous ever since those humble beginnings in 1888, but it did take well over a century for the music to transpose polka, quick step, and marches to hard rock, Taylor Swift and hip-hop.

Update: In case you are wondering, I’m doing a lot of sleeping. Yesterday, I saw both my primary doctor and my ophthalmologist. The eye specialist is watching for potential eye damage to my now closed right eye. It seems that shingles has the ability to spread into the ocular system. Producing today’s handed-to-me column by Darrell Pittman felt great. Anytime my fingers touch the keyboard, my mind abandons all else, temporarily deadening the pain process. And that’s a good thing. I have enormously appreciated all of your expressions of concern, your positive thoughts and your prayers – and I will try to get back to all of you when I am able. For now, however, “I’m like a one-eyed cat – peakin’ at a blog-site screen!” – and low on energy.

I do want to thank Tony Cavender for putting my Friday colonoscopy, followed by the Saturday shingles outbreak in perspective. Tony says, “Your experience on Friday and Saturday of last week sounds like the first two games of a typical Astros road trip!” He didn’t say it exactly like that, but that’s how it landed. – And, thank you, Tony, for making me smile!

So, by Tony’s measure, I guess Monday night in Arlington was the Astros’ version of my colonoscopy.

Let’s hope not.

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Bill Gilbert: Astros Sweep Halos, Regain 1st Place

August 3, 2015
Bill Gilbert is a veteran member of SABR, a respected and exceptional baseball data analyst, and a free lance reporter for The Pecan Park Eagle. His monthly Astros Reports during the season are spot on accurate.

Bill Gilbert is a veteran member of SABR, a respected and exceptional baseball data analyst, and a free lance reporter for The Pecan Park Eagle. His monthly Astros Reports during the season are spot on accurate.

Astros Sweep Angels to Regain First Place

By Bill Gilbert

After losing six straight games prior to the All-Star break, the Astros surprising reign of 84 straight days on top of the AL Western Division came to an end. The offense disappeared during the losing stretch but it reappeared after the break and the team kept pace with the Angels for the next nine days before a three game series with the Angels in Houston beginning July 28. The Astros played some of their best baseball of the season and swept the three games to take a two-game lead in the Division.

The month of July was full of ups and downs for the Astros. It started badly on July 1 when George Springer suffered a broken wrist when hit by a pitch that will probably put him out of action for 2 months. The club then lost eight of the next ten games but recovered with a five game winning streak later in the month including a three game sweep of the Boston Red Sox. Overall the team was 12-12 in July, the first month this season that they did not have a winning record. The four game lead over the Angels at the end of June was reduced to two games at the end of July.

The team has continued to play well in most facets of the game with good defense, timely hitting and consistent pitching. They have scored an average of 4.42 runs per game while allowing 3.69. They continue to lead the major leagues in home runs (143) and are third in stolen bases with 74, an unlikely combination. However, they continue to rank near the bottom in batting average and on-base percentage and are second to the Chicago Cubs in striking out and are on pace to break their major league record of 1535 set in 2013.

The starting pitching received a shot in the arm with the trade for Scott Kazmir and the strong performances of rookies Lance McCullers and Vince Velasquez, promoted from Class AA Corpus Christi. Kazmir made two starts in July and has yet to allow a run in 14 innings. The Astros won four of the seven games started by McCullers and Velasquez in July. The Astros also acquired pitcher, Mike Fiers, from Milwaukee in a trade, and he is expected to join the rotation in early August.

The relief pitching, a season long strength, faltered somewhat In July, converting only three saves in nine opportunities. The Astros were rumored to be actively seeking a trade for a top closer prior to the non-waiver trade deadline but were unsuccessful. Overall, the Astro bullpen ranks third in the majors with an ERA of 2.72.

The leading hitter for the Astros in July was utility player, Marwin Gonzalez, batting .364 with a slugging average of .582. Jose Altuve and rookies Preston Tucker and Carlos Correa also batted over .300 for the month. Tucker and Correa each hit six home runs to lead the club in July. Altuve stole six bases to retain the league lead in that category. Outfielder/rapper, Carlos Gomez, highly sought by a number of clubs, was obtained from Milwaukee in a deadline trade and will probably start in center field.

The minor league system continues to be very productive. The teams are doing well and have provided several players to the Astros that have been instrumental in the team’s success (Correa, Tucker, McCullers, and Velasquez). The system also provided six prospects that were used in the trades for Kazmir, Fiers and Gomez.

General Manager, Jeff Luhnow, still receives criticism for releasing J. D. Martinez last year but it is hard to find fault with his work this year. His selection of A.J. Hinch as manager was unpopular at the time but it appears that Hinch was the right man for the job and he has set the right tone. The off-season acquisitions, Evan Gattis, Luis Valbuena, Colby Rasmus, Jed Lowrie, Hank Conger, Luke Gregerson, Pat Neshek and Will Harris have helped and the timely promotion of minor league prospects has been very successful.

It’s too early to evaluate the deadline trades. For now, they look promising but they could backfire because the Astros gave up six top prospects in the deals.

8/2/2015

Bill Gilbert

bgilbert35@yahoo.com

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Shingles Strikes the Pecan Park Eagle

August 2, 2015

“It ain’t pretty when it comes out.
~ Terry Bradshaw ~
Talking about Shingles in that public service clip he does about the disease.

This morning I learned, or had confirmed at the Urgent Care Clinic, that I do, indeed, now have Shingles.  It started innocently enough in my office last Wednesday when I suddenly caught a sudden sharp pain on the right side of my face, near my eye. The sensation was a cross between a bee sting and a high and tight pitch from Don Drysdale. It hurt bad, but there was no explanation for it. It got a little better, but the stinging sensation could be re-initiated if I put even minor pressure on the area near my right eye.

I let it go. Hoping the thing would just go away. I was scheduled for a colonoscopy on Friday and didn’t want to have to cancel that unpleasant, but necessary once-a-decade spot check to another time.

Thursday and Friday came and went. I got through the preparation and actual procedure of the colonoscopy and passed it with flying colors for someone my age as a life-long carnivorous male with the usual advice: Eat more fiber.

I also noticed that the pain in my head now seemed to be spreading up to my scalp – and that the area around my right eye was slightly swollen. I also was developing a dull headache that Tylenol could nothing to ease. By Saturday night the swelling in my right eye was increasing, as was the intensity of the pain and area of coverage. It now went all the way beneath my hairline on the right side too. It was too late to see my own doctor and I didn’t want t the cost and all night wait of a hospital emergency room, so my wife and I decided I would go to the nearby “urgent care” clinic on I-10 near Dairy Ashford. By the time I awoke today, my right eye was totally shut. I had to really work on cleaning it to get to open to a squinting level.

The experienced physician at Advanced Medical Specialists confirmed our diagnosis. It was Shingles. – I got Shingles – in spite of the fact that I took the Shingles vaccine last spring. For those of you who don’t know, Shingles is a viral disease that only happens to adults who once suffered from Chicken Pox as children. The virus that later comes out as Shingles lies dormant in the body from the time a person had the chicken ox s a child. I was one of those kids, as was my brother and sister, mother and father. I am the only one yet to contract Shingles. And, not just by the way, I am also the only one in my biological family to ever have taken the Shingles vaccine.

The doctor that examined me today was very candid when I asked him: “Could I have gotten Shingles from taking the vaccine?” “That is possible,” he said, but he added that causation cannot be specifically proven. Weakness in one’s immune system, aging resistance factors, and stress are considered major to causation.

My specialist today said that I need to see my ophthalmologist, ASAP, because of the potential damage this thing could do to my right eye. I’ll follow up on that one tomorrow, as well as check in with my system’s primary physician. I’ve been given a powerful anti-viral medication. to start things. And we will go from there.

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Correction: Thank you, Cliff Blau for your dedication to accuracy in matters of baseball and health. I’m so accustomed to taking anti-biotics  because of my history with Endocarditis that I misspoke. Yes, I am taking an anti-viral medication. and have now corrected that statement in the previous paragraph, thanks to you.

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August is now going to be recovery time for me. Until I get my strength back and am certain that I cannot be a Shingles carrier to anyone who had chicken pox earlier in life. (Again, I am not a contagion threat to anyone who did not have chicken pox earlier), I will avoid social and business contact altogether until my doctors clear me. Stay tuned.

I will continue to write from home and try to fan the wings of The Pecan Park Eagle, as best I able, with stories and news that is, at least, human virus free – starting with the little diddy I’m about to compose as my parody statement on  “Jingle Bells” as my comment on today’s close-to-home reinforcement of one of life’s greatest lessons: “The older you get, the more you realize – that in life – it’s always something!”

Shingle Cells,

Shingle Cells,

Resting in my brain.

They ain’t so pretty when they come out,

So don’t you bother to complain.

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“What a revoltin’ development this is!”
~ William Bendix as Chester Riley ~
In TV’s “Life of Riley Show”
Circa 1952-54

What Price Glory?

August 1, 2015

“Dynamic Pricing”
Nothing New Under the Sun!

What Price Glory?

The Astros have announced that prices for season tickets are going up by slightly under 10% for current subscribers next year and will increase to the 12% higher level for new season ticket-holders in 2016. As they always say, it’s the price of winning, and who could argue that one? The salaries that go to World Series competitive players are astronomical when viewed in relation to the average family’s annual income.

Winning teams will still fill the parks in MLB, even if the prices go up, if the local economy can stand it. Teams may not get better informed fans with higher prices, but they will get fans with thicker wallets.

A Great New Euphemism

MLB teams also have brought us one of the greatest new euphemisms of the 21st century. They call it “dynamic pricing” when the cost of a ticket to watch your club play the Yankees or Red Sox over what you paid to watch the Brewers or Rockies during the same season. The term is derived from a much more ancient basic marketing philosophy, which at its thinnest ethical level of contact is an attempt to express the principle that the law of supply and demand is always at play, even when,we, the fans, are asked to pay differential prices for games played against different teams during the same season of play. In reality, it goes back to pricing practices of the carnival world and the international petroleum industry: (1) Take what you can get at all times, even if you have to come up with a less greedy sounding phrase to obscurely justify your actions; and (2) by all means, never give a sucker an even break.

The Next Baseball Dynasty Club

Unless it’s the Yankees, Dodgers, Red Sox, or Angels – or any club backed by the fortune of a Bill Gates or a Warren Buffet level guy, it will not be a Money-Ball Club, whose scientific roster building only works to shape a winner on top of a pyramid scheme of player control until the best of the lot among those players have choices of their own about where they play on a “dynamic pricing” strategy of their own.

It seems to be the answer may be found by any non-major market club that successfully figures out a strategy of selling loyalty and quality of life to those top essential players they need to keep. Quality of Life contains many variables, including factors like tax advantage, the city’s natural beauty, if any, the weather, educational opportunities, the culture, a player’s involvement in local charities, or whatever attraction goes beyond money alone as a reason for working in any given place.

Unless all major league baseball stars are psychopaths, and they are not, money alone cannot be everything. When one invests their heart and history of satisfaction in one place, it makes it harder for many to not be bought away to some less desirable place for a difference in money offers alone. Clubs battling to keep these same essential players do not always have to automatically match the offer of a rival bitter, but they do have to be close enough in their offer to give their man pause to think about what he’s giving up by leaving the team.

Have a Nice Weekend – And “GO ASTROS!”

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Who is the Bobble Head Supposed to Be?

July 31, 2015
The New Crag Biggio Bobble Head

The New Craig Biggio Bobble Head

This is going to be a short column because of some routine medical tests scheduled for me this Friday morning.

This subject doesn’t need words. A single look at the bobble head pictured up top will do. It’s the same one the Astros plan to give away in honor of Craig Biggio.

But who does he really look like? – Take the following one-question quiz and go straight to the head of the class!

Multiple Choice: Who does the Craig Biggio bobble head most closely resemble?

(a) Craig Biggio

(b) George W. Bush.

(c) George H.W. Bush

(d) Jeb Bush

Please leave your answer in the comment section below.

Someone with the Astros must have commented something like the following when this shipment arrived and was first opened: “Holy Toledo! We ordered Craig Biggio – and look who we got!”

Also, please feel free to leave your own comments below on how this may have happened.

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Correa to Altuve to Whomever Spells Greatness

July 30, 2015
Carlos Correa, SS Houston Astros 2015

Carlos Correa, SS
Houston Astros
2015

Look. We’ve been around the block with successful and failed baseball blue bloods all our lives. We also recognize that we are looking at a couple of guys very early in both their careers, but we will say it anyway. It doesn’t take a genius to see that 20-year old rookie shortstop Carlos Correa – and 25-year old five-year veteran second baseman Jose Altuve – may just be shaping up even this early as one of the finest middle infields any club ever enjoyed pairing up on the same defense at the same time, from youth and still growing on their individual and joint play ways to a still unreached prime for both by age and experience.

Altuve is now hitting again like the little monster that won the AL batting average championship in 2014 with a .341 mark. His .305 mark through 7/29/15 is now only 110 hits short of the 225 total he compiled last year; his 9 HR already are 2 more than he had for the entire 2014 season; he leads the AL in stolen bases with 28 in 2015 (exactly half his 2014 total); and he is adjusting beautifully to the AL pitchers’ book adjustments made to him after last year’s breakout at the plate.

Correa is playing like a veteran at the plate and in the field. He already is showing hi ability to adjust to the initial adjustments that the pitchers have mad on him and is now hitting .299 on 50 hits in 42 games, with 9 homers, same as his full season keystone partner, Altuve.

On defense, the 6’4″ Correa and the 5’6″ Altuve are playing ball at an astounding level. No random “Mutt and Jeff” size-contrast pairing could ever hope to have played the way these guys play by instinct and natural ability. In less than a week’s time, Correa and Altuve both have shown us two of the most incredibly brilliant, and as Bill Brown expressed it last night on the ROOTS Network telecast, “almost impossible” individual plays on defense that some of us ever have seen completed successfully on a baseball field at critical points in two critical plays.

Last Saturday, Carlos Correa went deep into the hole at shortstop to field a ball that seemed sure of scoring the winning from third base for the Royals at home in the bottom of the ninth with two outs. He somehow managed to make the grab and swirling, gyrating throw to first in time to get the runner and send the game into extra innings. The Astros didn’t win the game, but it was to no fault of young Mr. Correa that they did not. It was the most amazing play I think we’ve ever seen.

Until last night.

Jose Altuve, 2B Houston Astros 2015

Jose Altuve, 2B
Houston Astros
2015

Last night, Wednesday, 7/29/15, Jose Altuve chased a sharply hit grounder up the middle that seemed destined for center field and a rally hit for the visiting rival Angels here at MMP. Almost leaping, he snared the ball as he stumbled to the ground in the process, with his body moving away from first and seemingly in no position to do any further damage  to what now, in a nanosecond, appeared to be shaping up as an infield single.

But no!

Suddenly, Altuve is lunging to another falling knee stand as he whips the ball through the air on a true, speedy, but short of the mark course to first. Kudos to Astros first baseman Jon Singleton here. Singleton scoops up the miracle throw with a ground-sweeping catch and the “seeing eye single” had been sent to the baseball optometry office of Dr. Altuve for a “4-3, GO” prescription.

I have never seen – any second basemen, anywhere, at any time, under any tougher circumstance,  since 1947 – make a better play!

As we already most recently discovered, there is a certain hallowed hall in the northeastern forests of America that honors MLB players who can do this sort of thing for twenty years. Let’s just hope that these two incredibly athletic and intelligent young men will be here to elevate the middle infield of the Houston Astros forever as the best shortstop-second baseman combination of all time.

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Altuve Play Video Addendum: Mark W. was kind enough to post this link to a replay of the Altuve web-gem in the comment section. Thanks, Mark! That one deserves a seat up here too:

http://espn.go.com/video/clip?id=13343286

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Mike McCroskey: Who Should the Astros Go For?

July 29, 2015
Professor Mike McCroskey wants to know: Who should the Astros try to acquire prior to the July 31st trade deadline/

Mike McCroskey wants to know: Who should the Astros try to acquire prior to the July 31st trade deadline?

Good friend and Super Astros Fan Mike McCroskey sent me a group e-mail that he apparently mailed to several other SABR members late last night. I liked it so much that it became an easy pick as our primary Pecan Park Eagle subject in our column for Wednesday, July 29, 2015. Here it is, exactly in the form that Mike framed it by e-mail. – What do the rest of you Astros fans think of Mike’s pick? And who – or what need – would you like to see the Astros try to fill before the July 31st trade deadline – and what cost?

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Trade Deadline Nears (July 31st)

By Mike McCroskey

Just for fun as the trade deadline nears.  Who would you like to see the ‘Stros trade for and why would this person be available?

I think we have enough pitching and am not a fan of the payroll that Cole Hamels would command as we have a lot of kids approaching arbitration.

My pick, even though we have Springer and Lowrie set to come back soon, would be Adrian Beltre of the Rangers. He’s 36, still one of the best fielders in the game. Colin Moran is supposedly our 3rd baseman of the future in about 2 years. The Rangers are fading and may be in the market for some prospects and willing to dump him in order to rebuild. He would definitely be an improvement over one of our .198 hitters.  I would give up Valbuena in the deal.

What do y’all think, and who would be your pick to acquire?

Mike McCroskey

Please post your picks and thoughts in the column section that follows this column.

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IMPORTANT SECOND BUSINESS SUBJECT! SABR members, please read and ACT TODAY!

One More Deadline is Coming on July 31st for members of the Larry Dierker SABR Chapter who said they wanted tickets for the big game that follows our August 22nd SABR meeting at MMP. If you don’t get your money in to Mark Hudec by this Friday, you will have lost your ticket to a game that looms to be a sellout for a strategic contest in the AL pennant race by that date:

Please read and act upon the following message today! The deadline is only two days from now!

7/28/15: Urgent Message to Larry Dierker SABR Chapter Members from Chapter Leader Bob Dorrill:

This coming Friday, July 31, is the deadline for submitting your check, if you have not already done so, to attend the SABR meeting and Astros game on Saturday, August 22nd.

Please mail your check at $46.00 per ticket to:

Mark Hudec

235 River Grove Road

Sugar Land, TX 77478.

The game is sure to be a sellout with the pregame ceremony for Craig Biggio and the free Biggio jerseys for the first 10,000 attendees.

As previously announced, GM Jeff Luhnow is our special guest and we will also hear reports on the Hall of Fame weekend just past. Our meeting starts at 4:00 PM.

Thanks to all who have already reserved seats. As of today we have 47 signed on. You do not need a ticket to attend the meeting.

Bob Dorrill
bdorrill@aol.com

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Old Timers Games Go Back To The Good Old Days

July 28, 2015

Galveston Daily News, July 30, 1921:

Thank you again, Darrell Pittman, for your research contribution of the following wonderful story.

Thank you again, Darrell Pittman, for your research contribution of the following wonderful story.

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OLD TIMERS TEAM WINS BY 11 TO 6

Cy Young, Lajoie, Altrock, Jess Burkett and Other Bygone Stars Play.

By Associated Press

Cleveland, July 29 (1921). – Old time professional baseball players, some of whom played with Cleveland as far back as 1878, today defeated a team of veteran sand lotters by 11 to 6, the event being one of the features of Cleveland’s 125th anniversary celebration.

This earlier 1910 photo Cy Young at Cleveland made hm look as though he were already in shape for an old-timers' game.  (Photo by Photo File/Getty Images)

This earlier 1910 photo of Cy Young at Cleveland made hm look as though he were already in shape for an old-timers’ game.
(Photo by Photo File/Getty Images)

Cy Young, the only pitcher who ever won 500 major league games, went to the box at the outset of the contest with Chief Zimmer, his old catcher, behind the bat. Each was well over fifty years of age. The famous old battery worked two innings, being followed by younger pitchers and catchers, including Nick Altrock, the comedian of the Washington American league club, who was an added feature.

Only two hits were made off Young. He struck out two batters and gave one base on balls.

The old timers’ infield was the same that played for Cleveland in 1902, 1903, and 1905. Charlie Hickman on first, Nap Lajoie on second, Terry Turner at short and Bill Bradley on third. Not an error did it make. In the outfield such famous old stars as Jess Burkett, now coach for the New York Giants; Harry Bay. Elmer Flick, Ollie Pickering, Larry T. Mitchell and Bunk Congalton.

Others who participated were Neal Ball, who alternated at shortstop; Fred Gatch, Paddy Livingston and Rosenbach, catchers, and Earl Moore, Albert Nelson and Heinie Berger, pitchers.

~ Galveston Daily News, July 30, 1921

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Yesterday’s Moment in the Cooperstown Sun

July 27, 2015
THE CLASS OF 2015: Left to Right ~ Craig Biggio, John Smoltz, Randy Johnson, and Pedro Martinez.

THE CLASS OF 2015: Left to Right ~ Craig Biggio, John Smoltz, Randy Johnson, and Pedro Martinez.

New Hall of Fame inductee Pedro Martinez spoke warmly of his three brothers at the Cooperstown ceremonies on Sunday, July 26, 2015. His older brother Ramon Martinez may have lacked his younger sibling’s numbers over the course of his own 14 year (1988-2001) MLB career, but he still finished with 135 wins against only 88 losses, highlighted by the 1990 season in which we won 20, lost 6, and worked 234.1 innings at a 2.92 E.R.A. rate and led the NL as a LA Dodger with 12 complete games.

A younger than Pedro Martinez brother narrowly missed pitching in the big leagues and a third brother apparently never came close, but Pedro thanked them all. And openly told them of his love for them during his Hall of Fame induction speech. For the Martinez brothers, it was a proud and happy day for family and a large contingent of fans and supporters from the Dominican Republic that made the trip to Cooperstown to show support for their native son and the chance to take pride in the baseball accomplishments of their island nation.

It was a great finale moment when Pedro Martinez called upon the older fellow Dominican Hall of Famer, Juan Marichal, to come forth to the podium and hold with him their nation’s flag as a way of giving the individual moment over to the celebration of his honor as a Dominican Republic national accomplishment.

The love for his family, his country, and the game of baseball was visible in the words, eyes, and spirit of Pedro Martinez as he addressed the crowd of his family and fans at Cooperstown yesterday. And their love and support for Pedro shown back unto him in smiles, cheers, tears, and shouts of national joy. It was a beautiful day all the way around. Even from home, those of us who comfortably watched in HD TV over the MLB Network also got to run the bases on one more reminder of why the game of baseball is so special to us.

The people who play our game care deeply. An intense, closer-to-the-vest expression of love for family came through in the more somber delivery of Randy Johnson. Randy did raise the pitch a might when he said that his two months in Houston at the end of the 1999 season were his best moments in baseball. He proudly acknowledged that his ten wins against only one loss as an Astros ace were his most effective career season moment. And John Smoltz came through like the big joyous kid he apparently still loves to be in his approach to life, but the love poured freely from him too. The son of two accordion teachers in Lansing Michigan had grown up to be a Hall of Fame pitcher with the unique ability for succeeding as both a starter and a killer closer.

Then there was our Houston guy, Craig Biggio, the lead-off induction speaker. The Hall of Fame program planners must have liked their chances with Biggio leading off. He did yesterday what he has done so often during his career. He got the program started by hitting a home run with every thought and full emotion he expressed. I’ve already written the following as a comment of my own on yesterday’s column, but it bears repeating here. – Craig’s induction speech was the most eloquently anchored, humble, honest and acknowledging acceptance talk I’ve ever heard from an inductee at Cooperstown. I’m pretty sure I heard MLB host Harold Reynolds say it was the best he’d ever heard too – and that was just after Biggio had concluded what he had to say. – Craig even told former second base coach Matt Galante that “if it weren’t for you, I wouldn’t be here today.” – Matt was moist eyed and another sentence short of a full cry. – What a great, great total moment for Craig Biggio, his family, the Astros, the fans, and the whole City of Houston. And, as “Ole Diz” always liked to say, “It was a great day for baseball!”

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Congratulations, Craig Biggio!

July 26, 2015
He was the kid from Seton Hall that the Houston Astros drafted with the 22nd pick in the 1987 amateur draft.

He was the kid from Seton Hall that the Houston Astros drafted with the 22nd pick in the 1987 amateur draft. (Shown here at the start of his career with Steve Russell, Director of the Mid-Mon Valley Hall of Fame in Donora, PA and son of former big leaguer Jim Russell.)

He was the 20-year fighting heart of the Houston Astros who Just happened

He was the 20-year fighting heart (1988=2007) of the Houston Astros who Just happened” to collect 3,060 career hits along the way! Along the way, in 2004, he was inducted into the Texas Baseball Hall of fame.

He was, and still is, the man who put the light into the lives of the Sunshine Kids!

He was, and still is, the man who put the light into the lives of the Sunshine Kids!

He was the good father, tjhe important mentor, and great coach who celebrated his MLB retirement by leading the St. Thomas Eagles and his two sons to two state baseball championships.

He was the good father, the important mentor, and great coach who celebrated his MLB retirement by leading the St. Thomas High School Eagles and his two sons to two state baseball championships.

In early 1965, he and three other derving others, Randy Johnson, John Smoltz, and and Pedro Martinez, were lected to the Baseball Hall of Fame.

In early 2015, he and three deserving others, (L-R) John Smoltz, Randy Johnson, and Pedro Martinez, were elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Today, Sunday, July 26, 2015, Craig Biggio and the three other members of his class will be induxted into the Baseball Hall of Fame at beautiful Cooperstown, NY.

Today, Sunday, July 26, 2015, Craig Biggio and the three other members of his class will be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame at beautiful Cooperstown, NY. – Congratulations to them all, but especially to our heart of Houston guy!

THE CLASS OF 2015: Left to Right ~ Craig Biggio, John Smoltz, Randy Johnson, and Pedro Martinez.

THE CLASS OF 2015: Left to Right ~ Craig Biggio, John Smoltz, Randy Johnson, and Pedro Martinez.

Please add your own congratulatory note to Craig Biggio to the comment section that follows this column. It’s time to go public with our appreciation for what this one humble, quiet-spoken man has meant to the Astros, our local baseball culture, the history of baseball, the City of Houston, and the lives of so many children born to affliction that they certainly did not deserve.

Biggio-HOF2biggio-sths-2

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EAGLE FIGHT NEVER DIES!

EAGLE FIGHT NEVER DIES!


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