J.R. Claims 100th Victory

April 25, 1980

100 career victories
(c) Houston Astros
Box Score   Play-by-Play

by Darrell Pittman

As pointed out on the All-Time Astros Team page, J.R. Richard was "arguably the best pitcher ever to put on an Astros uniform."  And as also stated, "Batters didn't like facing Nolan [Ryan]. But they FEARED facing J.R."   It's not hard to understand why: at 6'8", he was an imposing figure on the mound. Couple that with a 100+ mph fastball, a wicked, 90+ mph slider, throw in an occasional dash of "effective" wildness, and the result is strikeouts and victories.

After a career year in 1979 -- his second consecutive 300-strikeout season -- Richard faced the New York Mets at Shea Stadium on April 25, 1980, and earned his 100th career victory as an Astro with a three-hit, eight-strikeout masterpiece, beating the Mets 7-4. He became the third Astro to reach the 100-victory milestone, following Larry Dierker and Don Wilson.

Richard left the game with one out in the ninth inning with a sore shoulder. This was quite possibly an omen of things to come later in the season, as he increasingly complained of similar ailments, including a "dead arm." During pre-game warm-ups the following July 30, Richard collapsed on the mound, suffering from a massive stroke. Only emergency surgery (and quite possibly, the proximity of the Astrodome to the Texas Medical Center) saved his life. In 1982, Richard made a comeback attempt, but was not able to regain his old form.

Read more about this amazing pitcher on the J.R. Richard Tribute page.

(c) Houston Astros

J.R. wins 100th in 7-4 victory
by Ed Fowler, Houston Chronicle
James Rodney Richard strung out his bargain-basement merchandise and the New York Mets went for it like beady-eyed ferrets in the garment district Friday night as the Astros secured a 7-4 victory.

Richard's 100th career victory lacked the volatility of one of his hellfire-and-brimstone masterpieces, but he still bamboozled the Mets on three hits before leaving after 8 1/3 innings with soreness in his right shoulder. He struck out eight, all in the first six innings, to hype his Natonal League-high total to 40.

"He didn't have his good stuff," said catcher Alan Ashby. "I think all this does is point out what the big man can do when he doesn't have that good stuff. He flirted with that no-hitter again."

Richard didn't allow a hit until Mike Jorgensen singled leading off the fifth inning. Beginning with the last two outs in that inning, he retired eight straight hitters, but he hit some *s in the eighth, allowing the Mets' second run, and took his leave after walking two of the first three men he faced in the ninth.

"I don't know if the soreness affected his delivery," manager Bill Virdon said, "but he was out of gas when I went out to get him in the ninth. He was struggling the last couple of innings and I didn't think he had very good stuff after the fourth."

The 6-foot-8 pitcher attributed his less-than-phenomenal performance to a Thursday sabbatical.

"My shoulder tightened up," he said. "I was just pumped I took the day off Thursday, an open date, just did absolutely nothing. The next time I'll run. Your body gets in the habit of running and you should run every day."

He said he attached no particular significance to his 100th victory. "A lot of things have happened to me in baseball," he said. "It doesn't faze me, doesn't bother me at all. Maybe one day it'll dawn on me and I'll break up. I give all the credit to God."

He improved his record to 3-0 in four starts, losing a hitless streak at 9 1/3 innings with Jorgensen's hit in the fifth and scoreless run of 13 innings, also in the fifth. He had pitched a one-hit shutout in Los Angeles in his previous start last Saturday. His earned run average -- all four New Yourk runs were charged to him -- rose from 0.82 to 1.60.

Still, an appreciative assembly of 24,140 fans gavehim an enthusiastic ovation for his three-hit, four-walk outing as he left in the ninth. In addition to the one-hitter, he has pitched a two-hitter this year, also against the Dodgers.

Richard leapt to a 4-0 start last season before losing his next four decisions and seven of the next nine. "If I keep getting seven runs a game," he said, "I think I can keep it up this year."

As Richard, 30, improved his lifetime record against the Mets to 9-2, Jeff Leonard struck a blow that someday may prove more significant as he graced the Astros' 12-hit attack with his first major league home run. Leading off the fifth, Leonard mangled Pete Falcone's first pitch, powering it more than 400 feet into the left-center field bleachers.

Leonard said, "I want to dedicate it to my late sister-in-law, Linda Scott, who never saw me play." Miss Scott, who lived in Philadelphia, died at age 20 of heart disease in February, Leonard said.

The strapping outfielder has the physique of a power hitter but did not hit a home run in an outstanding rookie season in 1979. He suffered from what is called an inside-out swing, which usually resulted in his pushing the ball to the opposite field.

"My swing is different," Leonard said. "I feel I can drive the ball more, hit more doubles. I hit that one good. I thought it was a double or a triple."

He saw the ball bounce in an aisle shortly after he rounded first base and slowed into one of the most exaggerated Cadillac routines the game has known, taking the last 10 steps to the plate at a slow walk.

"I wasn't hot-dogging," he said. "I just always do that, did it when I hit one in the minors. Enos (Cabell) was lying down flat in the dugout, like it was a miracle or something."

"He hasn't straightened out his swing entirely," Virdon said, "but he's working at it. He's putting in a lot of time trying to improve."

Leonard also scored a first-inning run when he singled, moved up on Craig Reynolds' sacrifice and scored on Art Howe's two-out hit. Cabell's double and Ashby's two-out single produced another in the fourth. In the sixth, Cabell and Jose Cruz singled. Ashby drew an intentional walk and Richard's ground ball and an error generated two more.

The Astros gave Richard a 7-1 lead in the seventh as Craig Reynolds doubled, Joe Morgan singled, Howe doubled and Cabell singled.

The Mets scored their final two runs in the ninth as Jerry Morales doubled off reliever Dave Smith's first pitch following the two walks Richard allowed in the inning. Smith struck out the next two hitters.

For Richard, victory No. 100 may have been business as usual, but for Leonard home run No. 1 was a magic event.

"I feel," he said, "like I've already done more this year than last."

Box score

     Game of 4/25/1980 -- New York at Houston 
     Courtesy of Retrosheet

  New York           AB  R  H RBI    Houston            AB  R  H RBI  
Taveras F, ss         4  0  0  0   Leonard J, rf         5  2  2  1   
Stearns J, c          4  0  0  0   Reynolds C, ss        3  1  1  0   
Mazzilli L, 1b        3  1  0  0   Morgan J, 2b          4  0  1  1   
Youngblood J, rf      4  0  0  0   Landestoy R, 2b       0  0  0  0   
Jorgensen M, lf       2  2  1  0   Howe A, 1b            4  1  2  1   
Morales J, cf         4  0  1  2   Cabell E, 3b          4  2  3  1   
Mankowski P, 3b       3  0  1  1   Gonzalez J, 3b        0  0  0  0   
Flynn D, 2b           3  1  0  0   Cruz J, lf            4  1  1  0   
Ramirez M, 2b         0  0  0  0   Cedeno C, cf          4  0  0  0   
Cardenal J, ph        1  0  0  0   Ashby A, c            3  0  2  1   
Falcone P, p          2  0  0  0   Richard J, p          4  0  0  1   
Hausman T, p          0  0  0  0   Smith D, p            0  0  0  0   
Pacella J, p          0  0  0  0   
Hodges R, ph          1  0  1  1   
Kobel K, p            0  0  0  0   
                     -- -- -- --                        -- -- -- --
                     31  4  4  4                        35  7 12  6   

New York         000 010 012 --  4
Houston          100 112 20x --  7

  New York             IP  H  R ER BB SO
Falcone P (L)*        5.0  8  5  4  0  8
Hausman T             1.1  3  2  2  1  2
Pacella J             0.2  1  0  0  0  1
Kobel K               1.0  0  0  0  0  1

  Houston              IP  H  R ER BB SO
Richard J (W)         8.1  3  4  4  4  8
Smith D               0.2  1  0  0  0  2
  * Pitched to 2 batters in 6th

Game winning RBI -- Howe A
E -- Flynn D, Mankowski P
DP -- New York 1
LOB -- New York 4, Houston 6
2B -- Cabell E, Reynolds C, Howe A, Hodges R, Morales J
HR -- Leonard J
SB -- Cruz J, Mazzilli L
SH -- Reynolds C
WP -- Falcone P, Richard J
T -- 2:52
A -- 24140

Play by Play

Game of Friday, 4/25/1980 -- New York Mets at Houston Astros 
Courtesy of Retrosheet

Starting Lineups:

   New York                      Houston                       
1. ss Frank Taveras              rf Jeff Leonard                  
2.  c John Stearns               ss Craig Reynolds                
3. 1b Lee Mazzilli               2b Joe Morgan                    
4. rf Joel Youngblood            1b Art Howe                      
5. lf Mike Jorgensen             3b Enos Cabell                   
6. cf Jerry Morales              lf Jose Cruz                    
7. 3b Phil Mankowski             cf Cesar Cedeno                  
8. 2b Doug Flynn                  c Alan Ashby                     
9.  p Pete Falcone                p J.R. Richard                   

METS 1ST: F.Taveras grounded out (C.Reynolds-ss to A.Howe-1b);
J.Stearns struck out (A.Ashby-c to A.Howe-1b); L.Mazzilli struck
out; 0 R, 0 H, 0 E, 0 LOB.  Mets 0, Astros 0.

ASTROS 1ST: J.Leonard singled to center field; C.Reynolds out
on a sacrifice bunt (P.Mankowski-3b to L.Mazzilli-1b) [J.Leonard
to second]; J.Morgan struck out; A.Howe singled to center field
[J.Leonard scored]; E.Cabell forced A.Howe (F.Taveras-ss to
D.Flynn-2b) [E.Cabell to first]; 1 R, 2 H, 0 E, 1 LOB.  Mets 0,
Astros 1.

METS 2ND: J.Youngblood was called out on strikes; M.Jorgensen
walked; J.Morales flied to J.Leonard-rf; P.Mankowski struck out;
0 R, 0 H, 0 E, 1 LOB.  Mets 0, Astros 1.

ASTROS 2ND: J.Cruz struck out; C.Cedeno was called out on
strikes; A.Ashby singled to left field; J.Richard struck out
while A.Ashby advanced to second on a wild pitch [J.Richard to
first]; J.Leonard forced J.Richard (P.Mankowski-3b to
D.Flynn-2b) [J.Leonard to first]; 0 R, 1 H, 0 E, 2 LOB.  Mets 0,
Astros 1.

METS 3RD: D.Flynn grounded out (E.Cabell-3b to A.Howe-1b);
P.Falcone lined to J.Cruz-lf; F.Taveras struck out; 0 R, 0 H, 0
E, 0 LOB.  Mets 0, Astros 1.

ASTROS 3RD: C.Reynolds struck out; J.Morgan flied to
J.Morales-cf; A.Howe flied to J.Youngblood-rf; 0 R, 0 H, 0 E, 0
LOB.  Mets 0, Astros 1.

METS 4TH: J.Stearns grounded out (A.Howe-1b to J.Richard-p);
L.Mazzilli flied to J.Cruz-lf; J.Youngblood struck out; 0 R, 0
H, 0 E, 0 LOB.  Mets 0, Astros 1.

ASTROS 4TH: E.Cabell doubled to left field; J.Cruz struck out;
C.Cedeno struck out; A.Ashby singled to left field [E.Cabell
scored]; J.Richard flied to M.Jorgensen-lf; 1 R, 2 H, 0 E, 1
LOB.  Mets 0, Astros 2.

METS 5TH: M.Jorgensen singled to right field; J.Richard threw a
wild pitch [M.Jorgensen to second]; J.Morales flied to
C.Cedeno-cf; P.Mankowski singled to left field [M.Jorgensen
scored]; D.Flynn popped to A.Howe-1b; P.Falcone grounded out
(A.Ashby-c to A.Howe-1b); 1 R, 2 H, 0 E, 1 LOB.  Mets 1, Astros

ASTROS 5TH: J.Leonard homered; C.Reynolds flied to
J.Morales-cf; J.Morgan struck out; A.Howe flied to
M.Jorgensen-lf; 1 R, 1 H, 0 E, 0 LOB.  Mets 1, Astros 3.

METS 6TH: F.Taveras struck out; J.Stearns struck out;
L.Mazzilli grounded out (A.Howe-1b unassisted); 0 R, 0 H, 0 E, 0
LOB.  Mets 1, Astros 3.

ASTROS 6TH: E.Cabell singled to right field; J.Cruz singled to
right field [E.Cabell to third]; T.HAUSMAN REPLACED P.FALCONE
(PITCHING); J.Cruz stole second; C.Cedeno struck out; A.Ashby
was walked intentionally; J.Richard forced A.Ashby (F.Taveras-ss
to D.Flynn-2b) [E.Cabell scored, J.Cruz scored (unearned) (no
RBI) (error by D.Flynn-2b), J.Richard to first]; J.Leonard
struck out; 2 R (1 ER), 2 H, 1 E, 1 LOB.  Mets 1, Astros 5.

METS 7TH: J.Youngblood grounded out (E.Cabell-3b to A.Howe-1b);
M.Jorgensen flied to J.Cruz-lf; J.Morales popped to A.Howe-1b in
foul territory; 0 R, 0 H, 0 E, 0 LOB.  Mets 1, Astros 5.

ASTROS 7TH: C.Reynolds doubled to right field; J.Morgan singled
to right field (J.Youngblood-rf to L.Mazzilli-1b to D.Flynn-2b
to L.Mazzilli-1b) [C.Reynolds scored, J.Morgan out at second];
A.Howe doubled to left field; J.PACELLA REPLACED T.HAUSMAN
(PITCHING); E.Cabell singled to right field [A.Howe scored];
J.Cruz flied to J.Morales-cf; C.Cedeno struck out; 2 R, 4 H, 0
E, 1 LOB.  Mets 1, Astros 7.

D.Flynn forced P.Mankowski (C.Reynolds-ss to R.Landestoy-2b)
[D.Flynn to first]; R.HODGES BATTED FOR J.PACELLA; R.Hodges
doubled to left field [D.Flynn scored]; F.Taveras grounded out
(R.Landestoy-2b to A.Howe-1b) [R.Hodges to third]; J.Stearns
flied to J.Cruz-lf; 1 R, 1 H, 0 E, 1 LOB.  Mets 2, Astros 7.

REPLACED R.HODGES (PITCHING); A.Ashby reached on an error by
P.Mankowski-3b [A.Ashby to first]; Debut game for Mario Ramirez
NYN says E4; J.Richard lined into a double play (M.Ramirez-2b to
L.Mazzilli-1b) [A.Ashby out at first]; J.Leonard was called out
on strikes; 0 R, 0 H, 1 E, 0 LOB.  Mets 2, Astros 7.

METS 9TH: L.Mazzilli walked; L.Mazzilli stole second;
J.Youngblood grounded out (C.Reynolds-ss to A.Howe-1b)
[L.Mazzilli to third]; M.Jorgensen walked; D.SMITH REPLACED
J.RICHARD (PITCHING); J.Morales doubled to left field
[L.Mazzilli scored, M.Jorgensen scored]; P.Mankowski struck out;
J.CARDENAL BATTED FOR M.RAMIREZ; J.Cardenal struck out; 2 R, 1
H, 0 E, 1 LOB.  Mets 4, Astros 7.

Final Totals      R   H   E  LOB
 Mets             4   4   2   4
 Astros           7  12   0   6