The Houston Astros had a lot to celebrate during their 2018 home opener. The club not only took a moment to acknowledge their 2017 World Series championship, but they also saw one of the key members from that team make an emotional return to the field.
Former Astros first base coach Rich Dauer threw out the first pitch just prior to the start of the game. It was his first appearance at the park since he nearly died after a fall at home caused blood to collect near his brain during the offseason.
It was an emotional return to the field today for Rich Dauer.
We couldn't be happier to have you here, Coach! pic.twitter.com/AeD7Q5rwjg
— Houston Astros (@astros) April 2, 2018
Dauer was rushed to the hospital after feeling ill during the team’s World Series parade. There, he had surgery for an acute subdural hematoma. Doctors said he had just a three percent chance of survival.
Dauer not only survived the surgery, but made a miraculous recovery. There were some struggles, as he remained in the hospital with fluid in his lungs for some time. But he avoided brain damage, which doctors feared following the procedure.
All of that led to an emotional scene at Minute Maid Park when Dauer returned to throw out the first pitch before the team’s home opener.
Dauer was already emotional as he walked onto the field. He wiped tears from his eyes on his way to the mound. Once there, he raised his arm to the crowd and tossed the ball to manager A.J. Hinch at home plate. Hinch approached the mound, and the two men shared a lengthy hug.
Hinch led Dauer off the field with his arm around the former coach. They were met by Carlos Correa and the rest of the Astros, who came out of the dugout to show their love and appreciation for Dauer.
Dauer clearly made a huge impact on the team during their World Series run. Both the players and Hinch made that clear during his first pitch.
That picture pretty much says it all.
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