Retire #50? I’d Rather Not.
The Houston Astros did a very honorable thing earlier this year—they created a “Walk of Fame” outside of Minute Made Park to honor the good—but not necessarily great—players in franchise history. And today, June 1st, the team is honoring former Astros pitcher J.R. Richard with a plaque. Great achievement, right? Not for J.R. Richard. He said he wants his jersey retired now.
Anyway, I got to thinking about it and I’ve come to the conclusion that the Astros shouldn’t retire J.R. Richard’s number—ever. In fact, it’s an absolutely horrible idea. Here are 5 carefully thought-out reasons why:
1) The Astros already have too many retired numbers. You know how many championships the Seattle Mariners and Rockies have? Zero. You know how many retired numbers they have? Zero. Clearly, there is a correlation there. The more numbers you retire, the worse your franchise is because of it. And you know what? It drives off the fans when they see there’s too many retired numbers and no hardware to go with it. I would really like the Astros to win a World Series at some point soon in my lifetime, so please—I beg you—DO NOT retire anymore jerseys anytime soon.*
*Unless that jersey is for Lance Berkman.
2) J.R. Richard was probably the laziest pitcher the Astros ever had. Oh, sure, he never missed a game because of his lackadaisical approach and poor attitude, but jeez, he just set such a bad example. Need proof? On July 30, 1980 Richard just laid down and quit—QUIT—right before a baseball game! Can you believe that guy? The team made the playoffs but ended up losing because Richard just wanted to lay on his couch all day!
3) Oh, so now you’re telling me what happened was he had a stroke in 1980. That’s why he didn’t finish playing? Well, if he just went ahead and died on the field, that might be a different story. Hey, you know what other Houston players died an early death? Jim Umbricht and Don Wilson. You know what else? JERSEYS RETIRED! Even Darryl Kile, who wasn’t even playing for the Astros anymore when he died a premature death, got a nice little pennant on the left-field facade of Minute Made Park. Not J.R. Richard, though! He was too lazy to even die! Unbelievable!
4) J.R. Richard wasn’t Nolan Ryan. You know how many years Nolan Ryan pitched? 27. You know how many J.R. Richard pitched? Ten!—barely. And you know what else? Unlike Nolan Ryan, he never won a Cy Young award either! And he never put Robin Ventura in a head-lock and body slammed him like the Ultimate Warrior! And he never owned the Texas Rangers either!
5) J.R. Richard was never inducted in the Hall of Fame—like every other Astros player who’s had their jersey retired. When J.R. gets in to Cooperstown like Mike Scott, Jimmy Wynn, and Jose Cruz have, then I might consider it. Until that times comes, J.R. is just another crappy has been that doesn’t deserve to have his jersey retired. End of discussion!