– remembering the Astros, or at least their beer
At San Jose Muni they play minor league ball
In keeping with the game there are many promotions you might call
But one stands out above all
A “beer batter” is designated on the opposing team
Strike him out and they’re 2 for 1, know what I mean?
Imagine the entire crowd in a frenzy of Hey Batter chatter
All the fans in the stands focused on the matter, see?
Will they get one free?
It’s a trip back in time for me
Long before in the middle 1970’s
The Houston Astros had problems with attendance at home
This is back when they played in the dome
So their solution was a thing called the foamer
Free beer the rest of the night if an Astro hit a homer
Since that wasn’t likely they also picked a beer batter
Yo Ray, like San Jose
The twist was they had a big digital clock in center field
Only if it happened on an even number would the deal be sealed
And a free beer yield
This story involves a Houston pitcher named J. R. Richard who was quite the strikeout artist, right?
So I got tickets for Foamer Night
They were playing the Pirates
And the beer batter was clean up hitter Richie Zisk
Richard, in fine form in the first
Got everyone feeling their thirst
After striking out the first two on three pitches each
Richard suddenly got wild and on four straight balls the next hitter reached
Up steps Zisk and oh what a greeting
He gets two quick strikes on two quick heaters
So oh-and-two and Richard doesn’t want to pitch
He looks back at the clock on an odd number and now he’s got an itch
He walks to the rosin bag at the back of the mound
After some stalling he turns his head around
Still odd, so what does he do?
He kneels down and ties his shoe
Finally the clock changes to an even minute
And quick as a cat, Richard is on the rubber and back in it
And fast as you please, Richard fires a rocket
Zisk swings from his heels and hits only breeze
While the crowd, a couple of thousand of us
Explodes, euphoric and raucous
Free beer the rest of the night!
The rush up the aisles was quite a sight
But the rest of the night becomes a blur, as the Astros uninspired play ruins the fun
All I remember now is yelling to Bob Watson, and this is true:
All the Astros stink except you!
Of course a few years later Richard had a stroke and never recovered his masterful style and might
The way he pitched the first inning of Foamer Night
What a shame when he’d finally found fame and started his first game as an All Star
Well I’ll never forget and always admire how he took care of the fans that night, good old J.R.