In the Seinfeld episode "The Burning," Jerry teaches George the value of going out on a high note. "Showmanship, George. When you hit that high note, say goodnight and walk off," he explains. Apparently, former NBA star and Houston Rocket Tracy McGrady has been watching reruns because he pulled one of the more fascinating high-note walk-offs in show business history.
McGrady, who racked up All-Star nominations, playoff appearances and scoring titles as a talented NBA guard, had been pursuing a career as a minor league pitcher with the Sugar Land Skeeters. McGrady's NBA career over for a couple of years, the huge baseball fan and still Houston resident decided to take a crack at it and the Skeeters were more than happy to oblige, promotional considerations being what they are in all minor league baseball, but particularly for an unaffiliated Atlantic League squad in a suburb of Houston.
For the most part, T-Mac was underwhelming, with a 6.75 ERA through four games and a plethora of wild pitches and walks galore. Nevertheless, the Atlantic League offered him a spot on their All-Star team, making his eight appearances in such games counting his days in the Association. McGrady pitched one and a third innings, striking out one batter, the first of his rather brief time in baseball. After the game, he took the ball as a souvenir and called it a career.
McGrady spoke with Brett Dolan of KILT and CBS Radio afterward. "I told some of the guys that I am going to get a strikeout before I stop playing," McGrady said. "I got it in the second inning. Thank you, Jesus."
Not exactly the "I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the earth" speech, but simple, effective and kinda Texan (praise Jesus).
McGrady was often given grief for the playoff failings of the Rockets during his tenure here. His sometimes gimpy back and ultimately ineffective pairing with Yao Ming led to a number of disappointing seasons for the Rockets. Still, he did give us one of the most memorable dunks in playoff history when he rode Shawn Bradley like a rented mule.
And there was that whole 13 points in 33 seconds thing against San Antonio.
So, if this is his only baseball highlight, I say good for you, T-Mac. Very few of us have ever played any level of professional sports. You played two and one in excellent fashion. Enjoy your high note!
Keep the Houston Press Free... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Houston with no paywalls.