George H. W. Bush, one of the Astros biggest fans and a regular fixture at Minute Maid Park, passed away at the age of 94 Friday night in his Houston home.
Most will remember George H. W. Bush as our 41st president, a war hero and the father of the 43rd president, George W. Bush. But here in Houston, we felt a stronger bond, as we frequently saw him and his late wife, Barbara Bush, sitting in Minute Maid Park rooting for the Astros. Barbara Bush would be keeping the scorecard, while the former president would be signing autographs.
We in the Houston community saw him as a loving husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather. We shared his deep passion for baseball, and he will be fondly remembered by everyone, from Jim Crane, owner of the Houston Astros, down to the average fan.
Bush’s love for baseball went all the way back to his days as a varsity player at Yale University. He played first base and served as the team captain. In 1947-48 his team made it to the college national baseball championship finals, only to lose both times. In 1948, Bush met Babe Ruth at Yale Park during a ceremony, when Ruth donated his autobiography manuscript to the Yale Library.
His affection for baseball continued throughout his life, from throwing out the ceremonial first pitch in 1989 at Memorial Stadium in Baltimore, to sharing the first pitch ceremony with son, George W. Bush, right here in Minute Maid Park during the 2017 World Series. While serving his presidency, he kept his well-oiled glove from his Yale playing days in a drawer of his desk in the oval office.
George H. W. Bush may have thrown his last, first pitch, but his spirit will always be on the mound for all of us here in Minute Maid Park.