Houston Astros: A unique perspective of ‘The Process’ from a baseball fan

WEST PALM BEACH, FL - MARCH 09: Justin Verlander #35 of the Houston Astros (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)
WEST PALM BEACH, FL - MARCH 09: Justin Verlander #35 of the Houston Astros (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images) /
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1986: Nolan Ryan
1986: Nolan Ryan /

Part 1: The beginning of Henry Albright

Chapter 1

One rainy day in a suburb just outside of Houston, Mr. and Mrs. Albright were feeling very happy because they had just had their first son named Henry. The reason that they named him Henry was that although they were a Caucasian family, Mr. Albright’s favorite baseball player was Henry “Hank” Aaron. The first thing that was given to Henry was a soft toy baseball. On that very day, Henry fell in love with the game of baseball.

Age 3

This happened during the 1980’s when the Houston Astros had made a few playoff appearances. The Albright’s were huge Houston Astros fans as well as fans of the Rockets and the Oilers. When Henry was three, his father started to teach him how to hit a bat and play. Henry got pretty good at baseball. If you had a hitting contest for three-year-olds, there’s no question Henry would hit the ball as close to the outfield fence to win.

A Five-Year-Old Legend

Over the following years, Henry would continue to get better at baseball to the point where as a five-year-old, he was on a team of eight and nine-year-olds. He was better than most of the other kids, but hardly got playing time because of his age. When he did play, he surprised everyone by nearly hitting a home run out of the park.

First Pitch Love

While Mr. Albright found time to pitch to his son, Mrs. Albright made sure that Henry was getting a good education. He started school at six years old. While there, he met a little girl named Lyla Ann Daniels. Lyla Ann was not a baseball person although her father had previously worked for the Dodgers. But the two of them struck up a friendship. Spoiler alert, it leads to romance later on.

Chapter 2

1994-95 Rockets

One night, Henry and his family along with two other siblings in Jerry and Betty, went out to dinner. The Houston Rockets had won their first championship and they were invited to go to the White House. It was on TV and everyone was proud to see the Rockets there except for one man who wasn’t proud. He didn’t like the Rockets went there while the then-president was there. This led to a situation to hard to explain and the man was eventually ridiculed for it.

A Promise Made to Parents

On the way back from dinner, Henry made a promise to his dad that he would be on the Houston Astros when they win their first World Series championship. Mr. and Mrs. Albright smiled and said go for it. Mr. Alrbight even made sure to tell his son that Henry would go with the team to the White House regardless of who is in charge and whether or not they are liked. Henry promised.

Chapter 3

Building A Name For Himself

As time went by, Henry continued his baseball career. He nearly played on a team that could’ve gone to Williamsport, Texas for the Little League World Series. But he would soon start having some pro scouts coming out to see him at 13-years old. One scout from the Florida Marlins believed he was better than some of the high-school prospects.

It also helped that Henry and Lyla Ann had their first kiss at 10. But they didn’t start dating until they were 12. Well, 14 at least since they didn’t know what a date really was at 12. But Lyla Anna always supported Henry and she even became a baseball player herself. She once pitched a no-hitter on the same team as Henry, who was her catcher that day.

As Henry went into high school, he would help lead them to a state championship in two consecutive seasons. By the time his senior season came to an end, Henry was receiving scholarship offers and was drafted by the Montreal Expos. But he chose to go to college to honor a deal he made with his mother about getting an education.

College Whiz

Four years of college went by for Henry and they were a blast. The one unfortunate thing was that Henry and Lyla Ann were attending different colleges. It was an hour drive or so between the two, but they made it work. Henry was always an intelligent kid and continued to be that way. He finished college with a 3.74 GPA and got his degree.

Baseball-wise, Henry continued to improve. After leading his team to a College World Series appearance as a junior, he was drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals. Yet, Henry made the commitment to stay all four seasons and he would do just that. By the time Henry was through with college, he was picked in the MLB Draft again. This time, by the Houston Astros. And this is where the story continues on the next slide.