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Legendary Astros Pitcher Dead at 71

Former Houston Astros pitching ace JR Richard passed away on Thursday, August 5, at the age of 71.

He was hospitalized with complications from COVID-19 last month, a family member told the Houston Chronicle.

Richard played his entire career with the Astros until a stroke ended his career in the middle of the season in 1980.

"Today is a sad day for the Houston Astros as we mourn the loss of one of our franchise icons, J.R. Richard," the team said in a statement. "J.R. will forever be remembered as an intimidating figure on the mound and as one of the greatest pitchers in club history. He stood shoulder to shoulder with club icons Larry Dierker, Joe Niekro, and Nolan Ryan, to form a few of the best rotations in club history."

The 6-foot-8-inch tall pitcher could throw a 100 MPH fastball during his heyday. He led the league in strikeouts in back-to-back seasons in 1978 and 1979.

He also set a franchise record in 1979 with 313 strikeouts. His record was held until 2019.

Richard still holds the second-highest career ERA (3.15) in franchise history

"I have great memories of J.R. He was one of the greatest Astros ever. When he was pitching, we knew that we were going to get a ‘W.’ I didn’t get too many balls hit to me in the outfield when he pitched because he was so dominating," said former teammate Jose Cruz.