J. R. Richard

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James Rodney "J. R." Richard (born March 7, 1950) is a former Major League Baseball starting pitcher for the Houston Astros. Richard was excellent in basketball and baseball in high school. He was drafted by the Houston Astros in the first round of the 1969 amateur draft. He made his baseball debut on September 5, 1971, and pitched a complete game and had fifteen strikeouts. After that, he was one of the top pitchers in the National League, and in all of baseball. He led the league in many pitching categories. They include strikeouts, earned run average (ERA) and hits allowed per nine innings.

On July 30, 1980, Richard suffered a stroke and collapsed while playing catch before a game. He was sent to Methodist Hospital in Houston, Texas and had emergency surgery. The surgery removed a dangerous blood clot in his neck. The next year, Richard tried to make a comeback into baseball, but the stroke had slowed down his reaction time and vision. He then spent the next few seasons in minor league baseball. He was later released by the Astros on April 27, 1984. After baseball, Richard was involved in business. He had a few bad business deals and went through two divorces. This left him homeless in 1994. He then found help in a local church, and then became a minister and baseball instructor for young people in Houston.

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