HALL PASS

Fred Faour: Houston's Sports Hall of Fame is a great idea, but they better have a LOT of room

Hakeem Olajuwon is perhaps the greatest athlete in Houston's history. Photo by Tim DeFrisco/ALLSPORT/Getty Images

Last week’s Houston Sports Awards were a rousing success. Several of Houston’s best were honored, including the three “34s,” Hakeem Olajuwon, Earl Campbell and Nolan Ryan. As an offshoot, the Houston Sports Hall of Fame was announced, with those three as the first inductees.

The Hall is an excellent idea. It will be a cool addition to Houston’s downtown area and a great way to highlight Houston’s greatest. There will be no shortage of deserving athletes. As with any Hall, the question will be who is voting, what is the criteria and who will be eligible?

Campbell and Olajuwon are no-brainers. Ryan’s selection is a little questionable, as he had his best years in California and Arlington and is in the baseball Hall of Fame as a Ranger. But he is a legend in the city and would no doubt be inducted at some point, and he played into the “34s” theme, so no real complaint there.

But who else should be in there? You could induct more than 30 additional athletes/contributors right now. Astros Hall of Famers Craig Biggio and Jeff Bagwell are locks. So, too, is Warren Moon. The Rockets have no shortage of additional potential honorees such as Clyde Drexler, Yao Ming, Rudy Tomjanovich and Calvin Murphy. Olympian Carl Lewis might be the most accomplished athlete this city has ever seen and gets overlooked in any “best of” list. Mary Lou Retton and Laura Wilkinson should make it as Olympians. If you consider Tara Lipinski as part of Houston, she is in. Simone Biles has already done enough.

Andre Johnson will be the Texans representative. The Oilers could also offer up Robert Brazille, Dan Pastorini, Bruce Matthews and Mike Munchak.

You could also devote an entire wing to University of Houston quarterbacks. Andre Ware won a Heisman. David Klingler shattered many records, including Ware’s. Case Keenum’s UH career topped them both. Greg Ward, Jr. was the most successful of all of them.

The Cougars also had several basketball players who belong besides Drexler and Olajuwon. Elvin Hayes and Don Chaney in particular should be in.

As for coaches? Guy V. Lewis and Bill Yeoman. Wayne Graham at Rice. Bum Phillips. Dave Williams, the legendary UH golf coach.

If you put in owners? Les Alexander was already honored with a lifetime achievement award and would also belong. So, too, would Bob McNair, simply for bringing the NFL back to Houston.

Boxer George Foreman and race car driver A.J. Foyt are Houston legends and absolute locks as well.

In 2004, the city saluted 38 legends as a tie-in to Super Bowl 38. You could certainly argue against many on that list, but there have also been several new faces since then. After all, that was 14 years ago.

As John Granato wrote last week, the city has more star power than anyone right now, so when the current crop becomes eligible, you already have several players who would be first ballot, starting with Jose Altuve, J.J. Watt and James Harden. DeAndre Hopkins, Jadeveon Clowney and Deshaun Watson are Texans who could someday make enough of an impact to qualify. The Astros are loaded with young talent and could easily dominate the Hall in a few years. Having already won a title, guys like Carlos Correa and George Springer are well on their way.

For a city short on championships, Houston has no shortage of great athletes. The Hall of Fame better have a lot of room.

 

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Kyle Tucker had a big day at the plate on Sunday. Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

After splitting the first two games of the series, with one team or the other putting on a solid offensive performance in each, the Astros tried to win their fourth series in their last five by taking the rubber game on Sunday against the Blue Jays. Thanks in part to a big day from Kyle Tucker, who played a significant role in the early offense they used to power to the win, they would accomplish their mission.

Final Score: Astros 7, Blue Jays 4

Astros' Record: 18-16, second in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Bryan Abreu (2-1)

Losing Pitcher: Nate Pearson (0-1)

Kyle Tucker helps lead the offense to seven unanswered runs

Houston did not go easy on Nate Pearson in his 2021 debut. After a scoreless first, the Astros loaded the bases on two walks and a single, then brought the first run of the day home on an RBI walk by Michael Brantley. Another walk opened the door in the bottom of the third, and Kyle Tucker capitalized with an RBI triple to make it 2-0, followed by an RBI single by Robel Garcia to make it a three-run lead, ending Pearson's day one out into the bottom of the third.

Things didn't get easier for Toronto's pitching in the next inning, as Jose Altuve would lead off the bottom of the fourth with a solo homer. A single and a walk then set up another big hit for Kyle Tucker, a three-run dinger to make it seven unanswered runs and giving Tucker four RBI on the day.

Blue Jays pound Greinke in the fifth

After four shutout innings to start his day on the mound, working around a few hits along the way, Zack Greinke tried to cash in on his team's offense to get another win on his record. He wouldn't be able to get it done, though, as Toronto would get after him in the top of the fifth. They would score four times amongst five batters that came to the plate, with a solo homer by Rowdy Tellez, a two-RBI double by Bo Bichette, and an RBI single by Vladimir Guerrero Jr.

That made it a 7-4 game, and with Greinke still not having recorded an out in the frame, Dusty Baker would lift him at 88 pitches in favor of Bryan Abreu, who would get a pop out and a double play to end the inning and keep the lead at three runs. Greinke's final line: 4.0 IP, 9 H, 4 ER, 0 BB, 4 K, 1 HR, 88 P.

Houston takes the series

No more runs would come on either side the rest of the way, with Kent Emanuel working around a single for a scoreless sixth, Ryne Stanek getting a 1-2-3 seventh, and Andre Scrubb doing the same in the eighth to set up Ryan Pressly for the save. Pressly would get the job done, sending the Blue Jays down in order, including two strikeouts to wrap up the win and giving Houston the series victory.

Up Next: The Astros will stay at home to continue this homestand, welcoming in the Angels for three games starting Monday at 7:10 PM Central. The opener will feature a pitching matchup of Alex Cobb (1-2, 5.48 ERA) for Los Angeles and Luis Garcia (0-3, 3.28 ERA) for Houston.

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