Five Astros pitchers have had their numbers retired, including two, Nolan Ryan and Don Wilson, who won fewer games with Houston than you did. Why isn’t your number 50 retired at Minute Maid Park?
That question I cannot answer. I do not have anything to do with that. Really, the same question has often been offered at me — why? But I cannot ask myself too many questions about that, I don’t try to seek the answers, because at this time, I really don’t know. And I have a lot of people, everywhere I go asking me the same question — why? And I have no answer.
Richard’s career was tragically cut short by the stroke he suffered at the age of 30, and it is well-chronicled that the Stros management at the time did a poor job of arranging for a proper diagnosis of Richard’s condition that might have prevented the stroke. That led Richard to undertake some questionable treatment on his own, including a trip to a chiropractor on the day he suffered the stroke.
However, as good as Richard was from the age of 26 to 30, he was not as good as current Stros ace, Roy Oswalt. In those five seasons, Richard saved a total of 73 more runs than an average National League pitcher would have saved pitching the same number of runs as Richard pitched (Runs Saved Against Average — "RSAA"). In his seasons from age 26-30, Roy O’s RSAA was almost 137, almost twice that of Richard’s.
Interestingly, Nolan Ryan, who was Richard’s teammate at the time of Richard’s stroke, had an RSAA for the same period in his career of 77, just slightly better than Richard’s.