|Former Astros Hurler J.R. Richard|
Thursday, July 8, 2010
Part 7 of 11
After being used sparingly for most of his early career, J.R. Richard emerged as one of the most dominating pitchers in baseball from 1976 to 1980. During that period, the 6' 8" right-hander accumulated an 84-55 record with a 2.79 ERA.
Richard's big league career came to a sudden end in 1980 when he suffered a stroke while throwing prior to a game. Although he continued to work towards a return, Richard never made it back to the major leagues before finally calling it quits in 1984.
Prior to the debilitating stroke, the towering Richard was an intimidating presence on the mound, featuring one of the best fastballs and sliders in the game. Twice he led the National League with over 300 strikeouts in a season.
Richard fell on hard times after his playing days were over. Two divorces and a failed business deal left him homeless. After finding refuge with his church, Richard went on to become a pastor himself and a leader of youth baseball programs in Houston.