An Iconic Voice Goes Silent

It's never easy to write about the death of a person that you've known. But today I find myself having do that.

J. Fred Duckett, the former Public Address Announcer for the Houston Astros, died last night in a Houston hospital.

I had the pleasure of working with J. Fred during his last several seasons with the Houston Astros. He was a funny man. He was well-read. He could converse on hundreds of subjects. He liked his job with the Astros, and he liked being known as the "Jose Cruuuuuuuuuuuuuuzzzz" man. But there were several things that he loved more than the Astros: his family, Rice athletics, and track-and-field.

I can remember sitting next to J. Fred during boring Astros games -- ones in which the team was invariably losing -- and he would start talking about some kid that he'd seen at some track meet the other day. And I distinctly remember how thrilled he was when he was asked to be involved on the stat side of the 1996 Olympics.

I also remember how he would torment him after the latest lopsided Rice football loss. He would always take it with good humor.

There's a lot I would like to say about J. Fred. There's a lot I should say. But I'm actually at a loss for words. So I guess that I'll just write that I'm going to miss him. The Houston sports scene just isn't going to be the same.

God speed, J. Fred. – John Royal

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