HOUSTON -- The Astros held a moment of silence prior to Tuesday's game with the Mariners in memory of groundskeeper Mike Richardson, who died suddenly Monday night at Minute Maid Park. Fellow groundskeepers wore a black ribbons on their shirts in honor of Richardson.
"It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Michael [Mike] Richardson -- one of our loyal and beloved groundskeepers," the team said in statement. "Mike had been a part of the Astros family for the past 15 seasons. We extend our heartfelt condolences to his family members and many friends. Our thoughts and prayers are with them."
Richardson made news several years ago for voicing his displeasure of a third-strike call during a game, and umpire Hunter Wendelstedt had Richardson removed from the field. Richardson joked for years about the incident, which was an example of his love for the Astros and his good nature.
The Astros, like the rest of baseball, are still reeling from the death of Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez on Sunday.
"Our organization was touched last night by the loss of one of our groundskeepers, Mike Richardson. Any time something like that happens, it's the only thing that we can do is to pay tribute to the people that we're around the most," Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. "In our clubhouses and in clubhouses around the league, Jose Fernandez is very symbolic to a lot of what's right and a lot of what the brotherhood that we bring to the ballpark every day. For our players to want to do that and remember others that have passed throughout our sport, it's really the only gesture we can do to make sure his family knows they're in our thoughts and prayers."
Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.