Houston Matters

Still Throwing Heat: Former Astro J.R. Richard’s Story of Redemption

Tonight (July 12, 2016) is Major League Baseball’s All-Star Game. The Houston Astros have two players representing them in this year’s midsummer classic: second-baseman Jose Altuve and relief pitcher Will Harris. But more than 25 years ago, in 1980, one of the players that represented them in the All-Star Game was pitcher J.R. Richard. He […]

JR Richard Still Throwing Heat Book CoverTonight (July 12, 2016) is Major League Baseball’s All-Star Game. The Houston Astros have two players representing them in this year’s midsummer classic: second-baseman Jose Altuve and relief pitcher Will Harris.

But more than 25 years ago, in 1980, one of the players that represented them in the All-Star Game was pitcher J.R. Richard. He was a mainstay in the Astros’ rotation throughout the 1970s, one of the dominant pitchers of his era, who saw it all vanish when he suffered a stroke at the age of 30.

The descent was sharp – filled with aborted comeback attempts, continued health challenges, divorce, depression, economic woes and – for a time – homelessness. But Richard’s story is also one of redemption. Faith and a new love helped him turn his life around.

He talks about this rise, fall – and rise again – in his memoir, Still Throwing Heat: Strikeouts, the Streets, and a Second Chance. As a young man, Richard excelled in numerous sports. So, when Houston Matters host Craig Cohen spoke with him in the summer of 2015, he asked him why he chose baseball.

Share