OKLAHOMA CITY - Select members of the Houston Astros organization will be signing autographs at a special public appearance at Academy Sports + Outdoors Friday evening.
From 6-7 p.m., fans can come to the Academy located at 7700 S. Walker Ave. for free autographs from pitcher Jordan Lyles, outfielder Justin Maxwell, and pitcher Bud Norris. The players will be joined by Hall of Fame broadcaster Milo Hamilton as well as former Astros pitcher, manager, and broadcaster Larry Dierker.
The autograph session is part of a visit to Oklahoma during the 2013 Astros CAREavan tour.
The CAREavan is a five-day event spanning seven additional cities around Texas, focused on community outreach and connecting with fans.
The full schedule of events in Oklahoma City is as follows:
*11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. - Private VIP Luncheon at Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark
*2:00 p.m. - 3:30 p.m. - Visit to Will Rogers Elementary in Edmond as part of Mercy's "Cooper's Healthy Hawks" health-oriented kids club (1215 E. 9th Street)
*4:00 p.m. - 5:30 p.m. - Youth baseball clinic at YMCA of Greater Oklahoma City (1220 S. Rankin Street; Edmond)
Members of the media are welcome at all events. To coordinate interviews with Astros or RedHawks representatives, please contact Alex Freedman at (405) 218-1000.
About the attendees:
Pitcher Jordan Lyles became a regular member of the Astros starting rotation in 2012. After beginning the season with the RedHawks, Lyles ranked third on the Astros in starts and innings. In his final start of the season, Lyles tossed his first career complete game shutout against the Milwaukee Brewers on September 30. Lyles made his Major League debut on May 31, 2011 at iconic Wrigley Field in Chicago and was the youngest player in the Majors at that time. Over the past two seasons, Lyles went 8-3 over 19 games for the RedHawks. He was taken with the 38th overall pick by the Astros in the 2008 draft from Hartsville High School in South Carolina.
Outfielder Justin Maxwell made a big impression during his first season with the Astros. Maxwell clubbed a team-leading 18 home runs and added a career-high 53 RBIs. Maxwell was claimed off waivers by Houston in April, 2012. He has also spent time with the Washington Nationals and New York Yankees. Maxwell was drafted by Washington from the University of Maryland in 2006. He played in three games with the RedHawks while on a rehab assignment in 2012.
Pitcher Bud Norris was one of the top pitchers for the Astros in 2012. He led the team in strikeouts and ranked second in wins, innings, and starts. Norris has been a regular member of Houston's starting rotation for the last three seasons. While pitching at Triple-A Round Rock in 2009, Norris was named Pacific Coast League Pitcher of the year. He made a rehab start for the RedHawks on June 23, 2012 and earned the win in the RedHawks' 4-3 victory over Omaha. Norris was drafted by the Astros in the 6th round of the 2006 draft from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo.
Broadcasting legend Milo Hamilton concluded a 59-year Major League broadcasting career following the 2012 season. He spent the final 29 years of his career in Houston and was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1992. Among many memorable calls, Hamilton broadcast Hank Aaron's historic 715th home run in 1974, Roger Maris' 61st home run in 1961, as well as 11 no-hitters. Hamilton continues to be active with the Astros in several areas, including hosting the offseason live talk show "Astroline."
An Astros icon, Larry Dierker has more than 40 years of service with the organization as a pitcher, manager, broadcaster, and front office executive. He pitched for 13 seasons with Houston and owns team records for innings pitched, starts, complete games, and shutouts. Dierker managed the club for five seasons (1997-2001) and guided the team to four division titles. He also spent 18 years as a broadcaster. In 2002, the Astros retired his jersey number, 49.