Former Astros Pirtcher Larry Dierker shares his favorite Minute Maid Park memory with Alyson Footer:
“My favorite memory wasn’t when I was managing, it was when I was up in the stands and they beat the Braves to get past the first round [in 2005], which we were never able to do when I was managing here. I’ve ben here since the opening of the Astrodome, trying to get in the World Series. To win that game with a home run and go to the next round, it meant a lot to me.
“Like I said when I retired/was fired — I’m not going to be out there looking for other jobs, other places. I’m just going to be here. I just think this is my team, and I’m more like a fan now. When Burke hit that home run, I was jumping up just like any other fan. We did win the division when I was there, but of the great moments, it’s probably that one and on a personal level, when they retired my number in 2002.”
Jose Valverde shares his favorite Minute Maid Park memory with Alyson Footer:
“My best memory from Minute Maid Park was when I was hit in the face with a line drive but stayed in the game (May 24, vs. Phillies). I remember the ball [a line drive from Pedro Feliz] hit me, and I touched my face, to make sure I wasn’t bleeding. When I saw there was no blood, I said, “I’m good right now.'”
“I remember the trainers coming out to see if I was OK. I was laying on the ground for, I think, a couple of seconds, maybe a minute. I was a little dizzy. Honestly, I don’t know how long I was on the ground.
“I felt some pain once the game was over, but it meant so much to me to stay in the game and get the save. The next day, my face was sore, but after that, I was fine.”
Come celebrate 10 Seasons at Minute Maid Park!
Former Astros manager Phil Garner shares his favorite moment at Minute Maid Park with Alyson Footer:
“The one memory that stands out in my mind, one that I think about all the time, is from the 18-inning game [Game 4 of the Divison Series with the Braves in ’05]. I looked down at the bullpen after it was already in extra innings and there was Roger Clemens, sitting all by himself, just waiting. I think Brad Ausmus said it best: “He’s going to come in and win the big game, then he’s going to go save a third-world nation.”
“In the eighth or ninth inning, I said to [pitching coach Jim] Hickey, “I don’t like the feel of this game. It feels like it’s going to be a long game.” I said, “We don’t have the best of luck in the these 15, 16, 17 inning games.” Hickey said, “Nah, Clemens will come in and hit a home run before it gets that far.” We were somewhat disappointed that didn’t happen.
“But we knew he’d pitch as many innings as it took to win this game. If we went 15 more, he’d pitch 15 more.
“I don’t want to downplay Chris Burke’s homer, but Clemens is what I think about more than anything. You just knew he was never going to let them score another run. I think about that all of the time.”
Come make your very own Minute Maid Park memories and catch a game!
Lance Berkman shares his favorite memory from Minute Maid Park with Alyson Footer:
“Honestly, my favorite memory was when we turned the miracle double play to end Game 4 of the NLCS in 2005.
“It was first and third, and John Mabry was the hitter. When he hit the ball, my first thought was to maybe try to cut the ball off and throw home. That’s how slow it was hit and it was close to me. Then when Eric Bruntlett caught it, I was thinking he should throw it home. When he turned to throw it to second, I was like, ‘Oh man. We’ve got no chance at this.’ Then it was so ligthening quick, him getting it to Adam Everett, and Adam made an unbelievable turn. And it was bang-bang at first, and when the umpire punched him out, the place went nuts. That’s my favorite memory. Nobody but Adam and Bruntlett could have turned it.”
Carlos Lee shares his favorite memory from Minute Maid park with Alyson Footer:
“My favorite memory was Biggio’s 3000th hit. Anytime you have an opportunity to see history in basball like that is great. To see a guy the same night get 3,000 hits, and a five-hit game, that’s amazing. The emotions didn’t get to him, he concentrated at the plate and kept playing hard. Also, remember that he was the one that kept the game alive with an infield single. There were two outs, he got an infield single all of a sudden the bases were loaded.
(Lee eventually hit a walkoff grand slam to win the game)
“The special part was watching Biggio’s 3,000th, but to be able to contribute to a great night was really neat for me personally.”
Craig Biggio shares his favorite Minute Maid Park moment with Alyson Footer:
“For me, it would be the 3,000 hit game. We won the game, I had five hits and got to 3,000 hits…it was just one of those magical nights in baseball. To get it done in front of your home fans and teammates and family, it was probably the greatest day for me personally. Looking back, it’s kind of a blur. You play the game for 20 years and there are some things burned in your mind. Three thousand hits is one, a lot of the failures are the others.”
Jeff Bagwell shares his favorite Minute Maid Park Entry with Alyson Footer:
‘I’d have to say my favorite memory was watching Bidge’s 3,000th hit. I was in the GM’s box. I had been out of town. I only came back for him. I told him, ‘You have two days, or I’m leaving.’ He said, ‘I’ve got to get three hits in two days?’ At that point, he was on the pace of getting one hit every couple of games. Then he got a hit his first at-bat, they gave him a hit his second at-bat, and he got the final hit.
“I have never felt like I felt that night when he did that. Darryl Kile’s no-hitter in 1993 was the same kind of feeling for me. I never felt so happy for somebody as I did then. Then that whole thing when Craig pulled me on the field — that obviously was not planned. But I really felt that I needed to say something to him when he got the hit. Then of course he dragged me on the field, which was horrifying.
“As long as I’ve known Craig, you just don’t see him let his guard down much. But you could see it in his face when he got it, the relief that he had finally gotten it. That was a big moment for me.”