Opening Day with Jimmy Wynn Was Great Fun

April 3, 2017: Clay Walker sang Our National Anthem. Craig Biggio threw out the first pitch to – who else – newest Astro Hall of Famer Jeff Bagwell.

The Pre-Game Stuff

And two military jets buzzed the open spring skies over the fresh green fields of home prior to the game – with their roaring sound arriving overhead about two seconds prior to their physical eye-blink blaze-over the few of us who caught them in sight as they were passing. Seen or not, the sound of them and the reminder of who really makes all our freedoms work on a daily basis was inescapably connected to the joy and pride and gratitude we all got to feel. – Thank you for your service to all of us, brave men and women!

The first pitch moment was special too. It had to be really big too for Bidge and Bags, as Jeff gets ready to join Craig this summer in the Hall they’ve both deserved for many years. When we inducted both men together into the Texas Baseball Hall of Fame in 2004, during my tenure as Board Chair and Executive Director of that organization, I remember telling both of them that this moment too was their first chance to polish what they really needed to say again to the world and each other once they both entered the Big Hall in Cooperstown together some day. I failed to take into account that baseball politics might someday alter that timeline – and then make us all settle for serial inductions – but that’s OK. This time – with the help of the baseball gods – the writers got it right – and now we have another reason to make Cooperstown in July our two out of three years running vacation destination.

Good Friends. Marie Wynn and Norma McCurdy had a great time visiting and shopping at the gift store. Jimmy and I both acquired new Colt .45 caps as gifts. The girls were great and very patient with the desire that Jimmy and I shared of actually watching some of the game.

MMP-OD-040317-01

Bill McCurdy and Jimmy Wynn ~ From the deepest row of Keuchel’s Corner.

 

The Game Itself. 

What a start! We send one man to the plate in the bottom of the first – and four pitches later – George Springer tags a Crawford Box homer that gives us a one-run lead that we never surrender. We early get a second run on a sac fly to center and then, another short while later, Carlos Correa crushes one to Crawford Street because of the open roof circumstance and we then have what shall be the final score of 3-0! Astros win – and they are now tied for first place with whomever else in the division won from the AL West opening day segment of things.

The highlight for me, whenever this kind of game company situation works out for us, was again – just being with my dear friend Jimmy Wynn. It is a lesson about the long reach of love and appreciation Houston fans have for the players that turn out be top-level human beings in addition to great players for our local team.

Put this in perspective – especially if you weren’t even alive when Jimmy Wynn Last played for the Astros. Jimmy’s last season in Houston was 1973 – that’s 44 years ago – but still the fans who remember seek him out to express their love and appreciation for all he did here as first a Colt .45 and then an Astro from 1963-1973. Our seats were located in one of those areas which offers wheel chair accessibility, with portable folding chairs for Marie, Norma, and me. A stream of people came by to speak or get photos taken with Jimmy, and many came with clear ancient memories of his past accomplishments. To make it short here, not a one of those people went away disappointed. Jimmy’s ability to give of himself to others in kindness is invariably unshakeable. Even when some repeat, as often happens with athletes, facts and feelings that a thousand others before them already have proclaimed, Jimmy listens as though it’s the very first time he’s heard the comment. – And he does so, not merely because he speaks in the name of love, but because he listens in the name of love too. It’s not just an honor to be at a game with the man. – Heck! It’s an honor to be on the same planet with him. And the same goes for his wife, Marie. Marie Wynn is the spiritual battery that re-charges Jimmy’s soul, with a lot of love and encouragement left over for the souls of her friends and other company too. And all of this does not impair one’s ability to also watch baseball. It just takes baseball to another level of spiritual grace upon the green fields of our hearts and minds. Perhaps, you’ve heard of it. It too – is a place called “soul” – for all who enter its realm.

The Astro Players

As for the players we watched, they all looked great. Dallas Keuchel pitched deep and gave up no runs, while also fielding like the “gold glove fiend” that we know him to be. Ken Giles looked like the kind of closer we need him to be. The boys were fast and slick in the field. I was specifically impressed with how well Yuli Gurriel scooped up some triple bounce throws to first base that got us out of a few jams. And on and on and on.

When you begin the season on top from the first batter up, it’s at least an encouraging start.

Our New MMP Center Field is no longer an issue. Tal’s Hill is gone. The Astros are going to need big money someday, if it’s not already too late,  to have any chance of keeping Jose Altuve on our side. Question is, what are our chances if we don’t sign him to a new long-term deal before he wins a third AL batting title this year?

Minor Milestone and Notice

Today’s column is number 2600 since we started The Pecan Park Eagle in 2009.

One of our readers and close friends, Tom Hunter of Denver, e-mailed me the following overnight: “What happened to The Pecan Park Eagle blog?  I can’t find it.”

I cannot detect any problem here and was able to access both of yesterday’s columns and all others through the links sent out regarding each of those pieces. If you are having trouble accessing or “finding” this blog in any way, please let me know.

  • The Pecan Park Eagle …. houston.buff37@gmail.com

____________________


Bill McCurdy

Publisher, Editor, Writer

The Pecan Park Eagle

Houston, Texas

Tags:

3 Responses to “Opening Day with Jimmy Wynn Was Great Fun”

  1. bobcopus Says:

    I watched it on TV. The atmosphere seemed great.

  2. Marsha Franty Says:

    Great start to the new season! So glad that you were able to share it with Jimmy and Marie, two of the nicest people in the baseball world.

  3. Tom Hunter Says:

    I’m reading this column while sitting at my desk and looking at a ball I caught in the Astrodome on July 2, 1971: Jimmy Wynn’s 175th career home run off Cincinnati Reds pitcher, Gary Nolan–in a game the Astros won 3-2. Jimmy signed the ball for me 17 years later at an old timers game at Mile High Stadium in Denver.

    As well as with his pitching performance, I was most impressed with Dallas Keuchel’s extraordinary Gold Glove fielding.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: