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Former Astros greats slated for Hamilton tribute

Former Astros greats slated for Hamilton tribute

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Former Astros greats slated for Hamilton tribute
HOUSTON -- Former Astros greats J.R. Richard, Bob Watson, Jose Cruz and Roger Clemens have been added to the guest list to attend A Blue Star Gala, a tribute to Hall of Fame broadcaster Milo Hamilton on Oct. 16 at Minute Maid Park.

The night will be a once-in-a-lifetime gathering of many former Major League stars, including baseball legend and Hall of Fame slugger Hank Aaron, whose record-breaking 715th home run was called by Hamilton in 1974.

Other former Astros that are scheduled to attend the gala include Craig Biggio, Larry Dierker, Enos Cabell, Jimmy Wynn, Phil Garner and Billy Doran. Houston owner Jim Crane will also be in attendance.

More than 600 tickets have been sold to this tribute to Hamilton, who retired following the 2012 season after more than 55 seasons calling Major League Baseball games. He just completed his 28th season as the radio voice of the Astros -- his last in a full-time capacity.

The night will include special video tributes from former President George H.W. Bush with wife Barbara, Emmy Award-winning sportscaster Bob Costas and Hall of Fame broadcasters Vin Scully, Bob Uecker and Marty Brennaman.

The event will also include a silent auction featuring unique experiences and autographed memorabilia from Hamilton, Aaron and other Hall of Famers. Proceeds will benefit the Astros In Action Foundation. Auction items will include:

• A 2005 World Series Package featuring baseballs signed by Andy Pettitte and Roy Oswalt, an official game-used lineup card and a commemorative 2005 World Series baseball, pin, program and media guide.

• A set of baseballs signed by six Hall of Famers representing clubs that Hamilton called games for during his long career: Stan Musial (Cardinals); Billy Williams (Cubs), Carlton Fisk (White Sox); Aaron (Braves); Bill Mazeroski (Pirates); and Nolan Ryan (Astros).

• A "Swing For The Fences" package that includes a batting practice session at Minute Maid Park, two field passes to watch Astros batting practice and two dugout level tickets to an Astros game on a mutually agreeable date.

Franci Crane, wife of Jim Crane, Terri Havens and Sara Morgan, all Astros in Action board members, are serving as the co-chairs of the gala.

Sponsorship packages and tickets for the gala can be purchased at www.astros.com/community or by calling 713-259-8975. Sponsorships begin at $5,000 and individual tickets start at $150.

Hamilton began his Major League career in 1953 with the St. Louis Browns and later worked for the Cardinals (1954), Cubs (1955-57, 1980-84), White Sox (1961-65), Braves (1966-74) and Pirates (1975-79).

Along the way, he called some of baseball's most memorable moments, including Aaron's record-breaking 715th home run in Atlanta, and he served as play-by-play announcer for the 1979 World Series champion Pirates. He also called 11 no-hitters, Ryan's 4,000th strikeout in 1985, Barry Bonds' 70th home run in 2001 and Biggio's 3,000th hit in 2007.

In addition to receiving the Ford C. Frick Award in 1992, Hamilton is a member of the Texas Baseball Hall of Fame (1994), Radio Hall of Fame (2000), Texas Radio Hall of Fame (2002) and the Iowa Baseball Coaches Hall of Fame (2011).

A native of Fairfield, Iowa, Hamilton graduated from the University of Iowa with a degree in radio speech and began his radio career with the Navy in 1945. He later called basketball and football games for Iowa and Minor League games for the Quad City Tigers, as well as Quad City Black Hawks basketball games.

Brian McTaggart is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Tag's Lines. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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