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JoeC
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« on: August 06, 2019, 07:17:36 PM »

Sorry for this "downer" of a story but what a talent this guy was in his prime. Written by one Wesman Todd Shaw. Talking about J.R. Richard!

"The 1980 season started well for Richard and he had Nolan Ryan on the team with him—providing the Houston Astros with the two most powerful right-handed flame throwers in all of baseball. However, it wasn't long before J.R. would report to his staff that he wasn't feeling quite right. He wasn't feeling as strong and powerful as he was used to and his complaints and requests for examination were either ignored entirely, (or) brushed off with derision. The Houston media said J.R. was just moody, and they even went so far as to say he was jealous of Nolan Ryan, who'd become the first pro athlete to make $1,000,000 per year that season. Richard was seriously ill, but team trainers and physicians hadn't noticed the problem—a growing blood clot in his neck.

On July 14, 1980, he would pitch his final major league game. He started well and strong but left in the fourth inning due to complaints of blurry vision and numbness in his fingers. He was placed on the 21-day disabled list. On June 25, he was sent to Methodist Hospital in Houston, and despite obstructions in his arteries, it was determined that no surgery was needed. June 30 saw Richards having a practice throwing session at the Houston Astrodome—he tried to shake off the loud ringing in his ears but he soon collapsed on the AstroTurf, a victim of a stroke.

He would never recover from the stroke he had at the age of 30. The Houston television media apologized repeatedly for having questioned whether or not he was truly ill. He would win a racial discrimination lawsuit against the Astros worth a huge sum of money, but he'd wind up homeless and living under a bridge just the same."
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doctordoowop
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« Reply #1 on: August 07, 2019, 12:30:29 AM »

Sad  Joe--but I have  to admit that  minorities  WERE  &  prob still are--treated differently than white pts.  In the  80s prob every doc for JR  was a white Texan--they  most likely  considered  JR  to be at best hypochondriacal, or worse  malingering.  Sad to say--but  that's  my opinion.
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JoeC
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« Reply #2 on: August 07, 2019, 07:20:04 AM »

Doc, you are right. Still, wasn't Houston Methodist Hospital considered one of the best in the country for Cardiovascular care? So, it seems like the Astros sent him to the right place. Guess J.R. didn't get Dr. DeBakey though.
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doctordoowop
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« Reply #3 on: August 08, 2019, 01:43:25 AM »

Joe--but by then prob too  late.

Debakey  heart surgeon  would  not have examined JR--would have been neurologist  &  vascular surgeon.

BTW,medicine has  made  AMAZING  strides in past 20-30 yrs--MRI,  ulrasounds, angiograms of carotids  etc..  In JRs  case--too much "opinion"and not enough  scientific tests. Poor guy..
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JoeC
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« Reply #4 on: August 08, 2019, 08:13:02 AM »

Yeah, I knew DeBakey was a famous heart guy. Read an article on him though where I recall he also did pioneering work with Carotid problems too. When I read JRs clot was "in the neck," I remembered that article. As you say, though, in those days (not THAT Long ago) all those advances you named were not available.

I do recall that it was not only the local Houston papers that called JR out as a malingerer. That was pretty much the national opinion.
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doctordoowop
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« Reply #5 on: August 09, 2019, 12:17:32 AM »

Rite Joe--as medicine has gradually  become  more science  than art,  much harder NOW  to fake a serious   medical-physical  disorder.Except psych--much harder to  detect   deceitful  dishonest patients.

The above is NOT about JR--he clearly  had  a serious  medical   disorder that went undiagnosed  way too  long.

How he ended upis indeed very sad.  BTW, is he alive?
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JoeC
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« Reply #6 on: August 09, 2019, 08:21:17 AM »

Rite Joe--as medicine has gradually  become  more science  than art,  much harder NOW  to fake a serious   medical-physical  disorder.Except psych--much harder to  detect   deceitful  dishonest patients.

The above is NOT about JR--he clearly  had  a serious  medical   disorder that went undiagnosed  way too  long.

How he ended upis indeed very sad.  BTW, is he alive?

Good question. I looked it up and, yes, he is still with us at age 69. Apparently, he overcame being destitute for decades and is now a minister.
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doctordoowop
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« Reply #7 on: August 09, 2019, 03:40:20 PM »

Great--& I hope Astros  help him  out.
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jp05
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« Reply #8 on: August 09, 2019, 07:40:12 PM »

Since the story has the Texas Heart Institute (Houston Methodist Hospital) is mentioned, I want to report that as of my "visit" in 1997, they did a great job keeping me alive with a quad bypass. I knew the then CEO of the hospital and he suggested I visit them when my local (Boston) cardiologist was tentative with a diagnosis. It's now 22 years and I still feel great!

Beyond that, I'm very surprised that Richard is still with us!

JP10
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JoeC
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« Reply #9 on: August 10, 2019, 07:23:51 AM »

JP, great that you have done so well. You obviously made the right call in who to see.

I was surprised about JR Richard still being alive as well. I'd forgotten about his attempted comeback too.

Here's more, excerpted from an article by Neil Harrington:

"Doctors and fans alike did not take J.R. seriously. How could he be hurt with 119 strikeouts and allowing less than two runs per game? Some called him lazy; others said he was a drug user or suffering from “emotional problems.” Richard denied it all, saying something was seriously wrong.

A few weeks after the all-star game, in what was supposed to be a light workout, the 30-year-old suddenly collapsed. A portion of his carotid artery was completely clogged resulting in a near fatal stroke. J.R. underwent emergency surgery -- not to save his career, but his life!

He later attempted a comeback but never pitched in the big leagues again.

With his career over, it all came crashing down -- first a divorce and then so-called friends all wanted a piece of him.

“A lot of bad investments, trusting a lot of people. They get your money, and then they’re gone.”

J.R. lost everything.

Just a few miles from the overpass at 59th and Beachnut in Houston, Texas, J.R. Richard would dominate hitters when he took the mound for the Astros. But when he hit rock bottom, he was homeless and living under that bridge. Thousands of fans who passed by here everyday likely had no clue that the man sleeping on the side of the road was their hero, J.R. Richard.

J.R. says, “I was forgotten. For a while [it hurt], but then you get over it. You’ve got to look at the goodness. It made me look more deeply at myself, to realize it isn’t about your friends, it isn’t about materialistic things in life. It isn’t about the car, the nice house or whatever."

J.R. Richard is now Associate Pastor at Mt. Pleasant Church. 

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doctordoowop
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« Reply #10 on: August 11, 2019, 09:06:53 PM »

JP-great.  I also quite  surprised tha JR  is stillhere. Like to  hear  him in church.
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