The Norman Transcript

Community Sports

February 4, 2012

Astro caravan coming to RedHawk Stadium

NORMAN — The Houston Astros, parent club of the Oklahoma City RedHawks, will visit Oklahoma City Monday, as part of the eight-day, 13-city Astros CAREavan tour.

Astros representatives scheduled to visit Oklahoma City include new owner and chairman Jim Crane, former pitcher and manager Larry Dierker and Hall of Fame broadcaster Milo Hamilton. Three of the top young Astros stars are scheduled to attend, including infielder Jose Altuve, pitcher David Carpenter and outfielder J.D. Martinez.

The Astros visit will include two private events at RedHawks Field at Bricktown, a VIP luncheon from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., and an Invitation Reception from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. 

In addition, the Astros will visit the Mercy Health Center Neonatal Intensive Care Unit and Tinker Air Force Base during the day. The final event of the day is an autograph signing at Academy Sports and Outdoors at 7700 South Walker Avenue from 7:15 - 8:15 p.m. The visit to Academy Sports and Outdoors is open to the public.

 Jim Crane was unanimously approved by Major League Baseball owners as the new Astros owner on November 17, 2011. Crane is the CEO and President of Crane Capital Group, Inc., and works with the Crane Foundation, which contributes to local and national charities. In August of 2008, Crane formed Crane Worldwide Logistics (CWW), a premier global provider of customized transportation and logistics services. In March 1984, at the age of 30, Crane founded Eagle USA Airfreight (ECL, Inc.). The company grew from one employee to 10,000 employees with 400-plus facilities in 139 countries before the company was acquired in an LBO transaction in August 2007. Crane played college baseball at Central Missouri State University, posting a four-year record of 21-8 with a 2.42 ERA with the Mules. He is a native of St. Louis, Mo., but has lived in the Houston area since 1982.

 Larry Dierker has over 40 years of service with the Astros organization as a pitcher, front office member, broadcaster and successful on-field manager. In 13 seasons on the mound with Houston from 1964-77, Dierker won 137 games, third-most in franchise history. He also dealt the fifth no-hitter in franchise history on July 9, 1976. After spending one season in the front office and 18 as a broadcaster, Dierker became only the sixth manager in Major League history to win a division crown in his first season. In five seasons as Astros manager from 1997-2001, the Astros won four division titles (’97, ’98, ’99, ’01). His 1998 team won a franchise-record 102 games, earning Dierker NL Manager of the Year honors. Dierker’s jersey No. 49 is retired by the Astros.

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