Baseball stars honor Astros announcer Hamilton


Baseball stars honor Astros announcer Hamilton

HOUSTON (AP) Milo Hamilton and Hank Aaron will be linked forever thanks to the Hall of Fame announcer's call on the slugger's record-breaking 715th home run.

Hammerin' Hank joined Hamilton on Tuesday to celebrate his retirement after 59 major league seasons.

Aaron told Hamilton: ``Your voice goes with me all over the world. Everywhere I go when people start talking about that home run, your voice comes back, and I want to say how much I appreciate that.''

Hamilton called Aaron's 715th home run on April 8, 1974, as a broadcaster for the Atlanta Braves. He said that was the highlight of his career.

``We're kind of joined at the hip with home run No. 715,'' Hamilton said of he and Aaron. ``To have him here and make that effort to come here ... that means a lot to me.''

Aaron called Hamilton a great friend and said that he helped him during his career. He reflected on the record-setting call.

``The more I hear his voice, the more I like it. I wish it had been 780,'' Aaron said with a laugh.

The 85-year-old Hamilton is retiring after 28 years with the Houston Astros. Aaron joined other baseball luminaries such as former Astros stars Craig Biggio, Roger Clemens, Nolan Ryan at a gala Tuesday to honor Hamilton.

``He's been the voice of the Astros for so long and what happens is he becomes the voice and the face that so many people recognize,'' said Ryan, who played for the Astros from 1980-88. ``What he does is he passes the game on from one generation to the next. That's the legacy and the impact that (he) has.''

He was inducted into the broadcasters' wing of the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1992 and the Radio Hall of Fame in 2000.

Hamilton couldn't pick only one favorite memory of his time with the Astros, instead choosing a pair.

``You'd have to make it 1 and 1A with Mike Scott's no-hitter in `86 then won the West, and Biggio's 3,000th hit,'' he said.

Biggio was moved that someone who had called so many games, chose his milestone as one of his top calls.

``The man has seen a lot over the course of his 60 years or so, so for him to say that, that makes me feel pretty good,'' Biggio said of the call in 2007. ``We're really going to miss him. Astros fans are really going to miss him.''

He will remain with the team working mostly on special events, but will make sporadic appearances on radio broadcasts.

Hamilton was overwhelmed by the outpouring of well-wishes on Tuesday night.

``It's kind of humbling when you think about it,'' he said. ``I thought I would just sink into the sunset.''

Hamilton's time calling games in the majors is second all time only to Vin Scully, who just finished his 64th season.

A video tribute from Scully and several other announcers from around the league was played at the event. There was also a video message from former President George H.W. Bush and his wife Barbara.

``Milo was a tremendous broadcaster,'' Aaron said. ``He was great, and his voice reminds you so much of Vin Scully. It was the kind of voice that went through you. He was very, very good.''

He called 11 no-hitters and Ryan's 4,000th strikeout in 1985. He also called the Pirates' 1979 championship season and also when Stan Musial hit five home runs in a doubleheader.

Hamilton has called more than 4,000 spring training, regular-season and playoff games. He stopped traveling with the team in 2006 but occasionally made road trips.

He has broadcast from 59 ballparks, and hopes to return to the booth next season when the Astros move to the American League and visit Detroit, so he can add that park to his list.

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Wizards host students from Stoneman Douglas High School ahead of 'March For Our Lives'

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Wizards host students from Stoneman Douglas High School ahead of 'March For Our Lives'

With a march on Washington planned for this weekend following the mass shooting in Parkland, FL, students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School were invited by the Wizards to attend their Friday morning practice at Capital One Arena.

About 20 of the kids showed up to watch the Wizards practice, took pictures with players, got a tour of the facilities and walked away with Wizards hats and gear. It was a small break away from what has been a tumultous time ever since the massacre at their school on Feb. 14.

Wizards majority owner Ted Leonsis was on hand to speak with the students, who are set to lead the 'March For Our Lives' through downtown Washington on Saturday.


Wizards guard Bradley Beal met with the media after taking photos with the students.

"For us to be able to take their mind off of it for just a few minutes is always a great feeling," Beal said. "At the end of the day, we're all human beings regardless of our careers are and what our jobs are. A lot of us have families, kids, brothers and sisters. The last thing that you want to happen is what happened to several of those families. You can never imagine."

Beal went to college in Florida and has participated in his own forms of activism. He has found inspiration in the efforts by Stoneman Douglas students. They have taken what happened to their school as a catalyst for what they hope produces change in the ability to protect similar attacks from happening again.


Beal, 24, finds that admirable.

"It's amazing sometimes to learn from the youth on how to do things," Beal said. "It's a testament to where our world needs to lead to, to where we need to get to and to come together as a society. It starts with us as the younger generation. We've gotta come together with love and do things like this. I think what they're doing is awesome. It's spreading positive vibes and it's true humanitarian work that they're doing."

The Stoneman Douglas students are expected to attend Friday night's Wizards-Nuggets game as well.

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Bradley Beal sees Phil Chenier's jersey retirement as something to strive for

Bradley Beal sees Phil Chenier's jersey retirement as something to strive for

The relationship between Wizards All-Star Bradley Beal and Bullets legend Phil Chenier goes beyond your average friendship between a current and former player, or a current player and team broadcaster.

Beal and Chenier are close to the point Chenier often offers advice as a fellow shooting guard who helped lead the organization to some of their most important accomplishments.

Beal is always open ears when Chenier is talking and took great honor in being the one to tell Chenier personally that his jersey would be retired by the Wizards.

The day has come for Chenier's No. 45 to be raised to the rafters and Beal feels a unique sense of pride in seeing a man he reveres to the highest degree finally have his day in the sun.

"It's unbelievable. It's more than deserving," Beal said. "I was happy to be the one who told him about it. It's a special night for him. He's been a mentor to a lot of us for many years."


Chenier was a three-time All-Star for the Washington Bullets back in the 1970s. Following his playing career, he became a legendary broadcaster calling Bullets and then Wizards games for over 30 years.

Beal is now an NBA All-Star himself, having earned the honor for the first time this season. He is a shooting guard, just like Chenier.

Chenier was the color analyst for Wizards games for the first five years of Beal's career and Beal has always seen Chenier as a model to follow both on and off the court.

"It's always motivation for me to get better and I feel like this is the final touch of it, having your jersey retired by the franchise that you played a part in their success," Beal said.


The honor Chenier is about to receive is another goal to strive for. Beal wants to achieve a lot of what Chenier has accomplished in his life from winning a championship to making All-NBA to now having his jersey hang in the rafters at Capital One Arena.

"It definitely motivates me for that to be a goal of mine. Especially with the fact we both play the same position," Beal said.


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For more on Chenier's jersey retirement, check out our in-depth interview with him on the Wizards Tipoff podcast: