HARRIS COUNTY – HOUSTON SPORTS AUTHORITY INSIDER

Can the second annual Houston sports awards top the first? Stay tuned

Last year's Houston Sports Awards were a big success. Courtesy photo

The Harris County – Houston Sports Authority Insider will take you inside Houston Sports each Friday because #WeAreHoustonSports!

How do we top last year’s inaugural Houston Sports Awards?  

That’s the question I’ve been asked for the last seven months.  

There’s absolutely no way to one-up a night that honored our legendary 34s – Earl Campbell, Hakeem Olajuwon and Nolan Ryan – and ended with the announcement of the creation of the Houston Sports Hall of Fame. And with the news that those icons would be the inaugural class of inductees.

Or is there?

To us, it’s a labor of love. #WeAreHoustonSports. We know what we accomplished that first night was amazing – from the dual red and blue carpets to the dazzling Hall of Fame rings to the honorees. So it’s no wonder it took us the better part of seven months to come up something as creative and eye-popping for No. 2, which will be Feb. 6 at the Hilton Americas.

First off, we’ll be honoring uber-Houston sports fans President George H.W. Bush and his late wife Barbara, who are near and dear to everyone’s hearts. There isn’t a big sports event they haven’t attended over the past seven decades.

George presided over Super Bowl coin flips, while Barbara, who passed away in April, was a fixture behind home plate at Minute Maid Park – feet-up, keeping score. They both threw out first-pitches, sat courtside at Rockets games and had lunch with and watched the best golfers in the world at the Houston Open.

As for the theme? The logical thought, to a lot of folks including Clyde Drexler, was go with another iconic number. Like 22, worn by Drexler, Roger Clemens and Sheryl Swoopes.

But why repeat ourselves?

Instead, we’ve thought long and hard and decided to take you on a stroll through the most outstanding moments from the last eight decades of the city’s rich sports history.

From Jackie Burke’s first professional win in1949 to those infectious Luv Ya Blue Oilers in 1979, a pivotal 2009 season for the Houston Texans, and everything in between. We’ll certainly pack a lifetime of moments and sports legends into this one special night.

Now that we have your attention with those little tidbits, start thinking about who or what we might single out from those years that end in 8 or 9 from the thirties, fifties, sixties, eighties and nineties.  As we reveal them over the next few months, you can see how many you got right.

And, no, we’re not counting the current decade. We’ll be honoring moments from 2018 with awards like Moment of the Year, Player of the Year (professional, college and high school categories), Executive of the Year and Coach of the Year. To name just a few.

Finally, people are already asking about the 2019 Hall of Fame class. Specifically, will any of the inductees be among those moments we already mentioned?

All we can say is maybe yes, maybe no, but mostly maybe.

And here’s one more maybe. Maybe we can’t top the 34’s.  They are after all, arguably the greatest three athletes in Houston Sports History.  But we can be creative, and we can wow you once again in ways you never imagined.  And maybe, just maybe, we top it all.

Challenge accepted.






 

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Houston dropped two of three

Astros drop series finale to Oakland, A's win series

Jose Urquidy couldn't hold Oakland back on Saturday. Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

With Oakland finally ending their drought against the Astros on Friday night to split the first two games of the series, and with the Angels staying in step with them as both teams started the day 6-2, the Astros needed a win to keep momentum in their favor on Saturday.

Instead, Oakland would outslug Houston once again to take the series finale and take the series win. The loss moves Houston to 6-3 and down to second place, at least for now, until the 6-2 Angels complete their game on Saturday evening.

Final Score: A's 7, Astros 3

Astros' Record: 6-3, second in AL West

Winning Pitcher: Frankie Montas (1-1)

Losing Pitcher: Jose Urquidy (0-1)

Urquidy gives up four over six

Much like the night before, Oakland was able to bring in runs against Houston's starter, this time Jose Urquidy, Saturday afternoon in their second time through the order. Their first time through, Urquidy was cruising, allowing just one baserunner in the first three innings on a single in the top of the third.

Things shifted in the top of the fourth, with the A's getting back-to-back singles to set the stage for a two-run frame with dual RBI-singles to take a 2-0 lead. Oakland doubled that in the fifth, getting a two-out single to set up a two-run homer by Ramon Laureano to make it 4-0. Urquidy would go on to finish six innings, but with no run support to that point, would leave in line for the loss. His final line: 6.0 IP, 7 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 0 BB, 7 K, 93 P.

A's pad their lead before Houston gets on the board

Meanwhile, although getting five hits, the Astros could not get anything on the board against Frankie Montas through six innings. Brandon Bielak took over out of the bullpen for Urquidy in the top of the seventh, but after loading the bases, he would allow a dagger two-RBI single to make it a 6-0 deficit for Houston.

With Montas starting the seventh looking to face a batter or two before Oakland moved to their bullpen, Kyle Tucker would finally get Houston on the board with a leadoff solo home run, cutting the lead to 6-1 and ending Montas' day. Houston would get a two-out rally going, with an RBI-double by Jose Altuve followed by an RBI-triple by Michael Brantley to make it a three-run game at 6-3.

Oakland takes the series win

Ryne Stanek tried to keep it a three-run game and give the Astros a chance to stay in it in the top of the eighth but instead would give up a two-out solo home run to push Oakland's lead back to four. That 7-3 score would go final as Houston would go scoreless in the eighth and ninth.

Up Next: Houston will have a day off on Sunday before continuing this homestand Monday night by welcoming in Detroit and former manager A.J. Hinch for three games. In the series opener, the Tigers will send young star Casey Mize (0-0, 2.25 ERA) to the mound, while the Astros will get another start by Zack Greinke (1-0, 1.38 ERA).

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