HOUSTON, TX — Former Astros All-Star pitcher J.R. Richard will be one of five individuals inducted into the Ted Williams Hall of Fame and Museum this evening during a ceremony at Spectrum Field in Clearwater, FL, which is the Spring Training home of the Philadelphia Phillies.
Joining Richard for induction will be Tony Perez, Ron Guidry, Dick Allen and Charlie Manuel. Richard will be the third former Astros player inducted into the Ted Williams HOF, joining Craig Biggio (2014) and Billy Wagner (2016). The Ted Williams Hall of Fame and Museum is located inside Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, FL, and is the home of the Tampa Bay Rays.
During his fine career, which spanned from 1971-80, all with the Astros, the hard-throwing Richard was one of the most feared pitchers in the Major Leagues. Standing 6-8 and with a fastball that reached 100 mph on a regular basis, Richard was also one of the most intimidating pitchers baseball history.
In 1976, he established himself as one of the most dominant pitchers in the game, posting a 20-15 record in 39 starts with a 2.75 ERA and 214 striketouts in 291.0 innings pitched. He would reach 18 wins in each of the next three seasons (1977-79) while setting strikeout records along the way. Richard set a club record with 303 strikeouts in 1978 and then set a NL record for right-handed pitchers with 313 K’s in 1979. Additionally, his 2.71 ERA in 1979 was the best in all of baseball.
In 1980, Richard was en route to what appeared to be his finest season, posting a 10-4 mark at the All-Star Break with an outstanding 1.96 ERA. He was named the NL’s starting pitcher for the All-Star Game at Dodger Stadium, putting on an impressive performance with three strikeouts in 2.0 scoreless innings. However, sadly, he would suffer a stroke on July 30 which would end his Major League career at age 30.
Despite the abrupt end to his career, Richard ranks in the top 10 in Astros history in several categories, including career strikeouts (3rd-1,493), career wins (5th-107) and career ERA (T2nd-3.15). His 313 K’s in 1979 remain as the franchise record for a single season.