Norris remembers time with a special fan

HOUSTON -- His high school graduation pictures sits on a table in the middle of the Astros' clubhouse. Curt William England was 19 when he died of cancer on May 19, 2012 and more than a year earlier had met Astros pitcher Bud Norris when the team's annual winter Caravan stopped at a hospital.

England, a pitcher at Memorial High School in the Houston suburb of Pasadena, and Norris talked for about 20 minutes and became friends. Norris invited the family to Minute Maid Park on Wednesday, and his father presented the pitcher with a keepsake of his son.

"He had been an Astros fan his whole life and he talked about the trades of [Michael] Bourn and Hunter [Pence] and he really touched me that day," Norris said. "Unfortunately, I found out he passed. His father contacted me and I let him down on the field at the park the other day through my Candlelighter's Team 20 and got him and his family tickets.

"It was tough. His father got into tears and was definitely touched and it was nice to have him come out here and support the team. I know that Curt was a good kid, always smiling and stuff like that. We had the family out there and had a picture given to me and I have his Little League hat. I know Curt's upstairs and watching over us."

The Candlelighters provide emotional, educational and practical support to children with cancer and their families.

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