Where are they now? John Byington

Published: Apr. 12, 2017 at 11:56 AM CDT
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John Byington's playing career at Texas A&M started in spring of 1987.

"I got a hit that first at bat as an Aggie. I was the DH. I think I was hitting in the 8 spot. I ended up with three hits that day, but that first time I got on base, the roar of the crowd has always stuck with me, just that feeling of having so many people cheer for you," said Byington.

Byington had success each of the three seasons he played for the Aggies, but his heroics against a tough Texas team his junior year are what some people say define Olsen Magic.

It was a three game series and A&M lost the first game. In the second game, A&M was down by five runs in the ninth inning when Byington came up to bat. Byington hit a grand slam home run to lift the Aggies over the Longhorns 18 to 14, but he didn't stop there. In the final game of the series, Byington created some magic at Olsen.

He hit a three run homer, A&M won the series over Texas, and history was made.

"It was kind of a dream," said Byington after the game.

"I think we are going to get him voted for president if we can. Anybody that can hit two home runs in the bottom of the 9th can solve the far east problem you know," said teammate Terry Taylor after the game.

It's a day he still gets asked about.

"People I do know, some people I don't know, they really build me up and honor me for that. It's a privilege. It's a blessing to be part of history like that," explained Byington.

Byington went on to play seven years in the minor leagues before discovering his passion.

These days, you'll find him in Abilene where he’s the head coach of the McMurry War Hawks.

"I have a great staff and a great assistant that's helping me out right now, a great group of guys to work with. I love it. It's a calling. I enjoy being out here everyday," said Byington.

He has spent most of his life on the diamond and he wouldn't have it any other way.

"Believe it or not, probably what my biggest hobby is is keeping up with the Houston Astros. I guess I am boring. That is what I do in my free time," said Byington.

He's especially thankful for those special memories made in College Station.

"Really the time of my life. It was. Playing at a school like A&M, having the success that we did, I have to say it was a dream of a lifetime," explained Byington.

Byington has three kids with his wife Kimi. One is studying at Abilene Christian University, his daughter is studying nursing at A&M, and his youngest son is a sophomore in high school.