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 thesummer of 2015,heasked him why he chose baseball.

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Michael Hagerty

Michael Hagerty

Senior Producer, Houston Matters

Michael Hagerty is the senior producer for Houston Matters. He's spent more than 20 years in public radio and television and dabbled in minor league baseball, spending four seasons as the public address announcer for the Reno Aces, the Triple-A affiliate of the Arizona Diamondbacks.

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