HOUSTON -- Astros owner Jim Crane, a St. Louis native who was a star pitcher that helped the University of Central Missouri to the NCAA Division II College World Series, will be inducted into the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame on Sunday in Springfield, Mo.
Among those being inducted with Crane are former St. Louis Cardinals speedster Vince Coleman, former Kansas City Royals outfielder Amos Otis and former Chiefs quarterback Bill Kenney, along with the Central Missouri baseball program.
"It's an honor and I'm excited about it," Crane said. "A bunch of my old buddies look like they're going to show up, and it's nice to have old friends and remember some of the things you did in the past."
Crane played at Central Missouri from 1973-76, going 21-8 with a 2.42 ERA. He ranks first in career complete games (23), shutouts (seven) and third in career strikeouts (215). He still holds the program's single-game strikeout record (18), and in 1997, he was inducted into the Central Missouri Athletic Hall of Fame.
Meanwhile, Crane was the primary underwriter of a $1.2 million renovation in 1998 of the Mules' baseball field, now named the James R. Crane/Robert N. Tompkins Field. In 2015, he upgraded the field with a new synthetic turf playing surface. Crane also funds annual enrichment scholarships to honor students at UCM.
"I've been associated with the school for a long time with the baseball program, and I think what's really nice is they're inducting the whole program," Crane said. "In looking at this record, the school has an unbelievable track record of getting into the World Series and winning the World Series a couple of times, and the record is one of the best in NCAA baseball, both I-A and AA.
The Central Missouri program won the 1994 and 2003 NCAA Division II College World Series and has a combined 1,832-723-9 record in 61 seasons. It also has won 17 regional championships and 25 Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association titles.
The Mules will be among six Division II baseball teams competing in the Houston Winter Invitational Feb. 17-19 at Minute Maid Park.
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.