HOUSTON -- Astros president of business operations Reid Ryan, president of baseball operations and general manager Jeff Luhnow and manager AJ Hinch will lead a contingent of team officials and employees that will greet the casket of former President George H.W. Bush when it arrives at Ellington Field on Wednesday
HOUSTON -- Astros president of business operations Reid Ryan, president of baseball operations and general manager Jeff Luhnow and manager AJ Hinch will lead a contingent of team officials and employees that will greet the casket of former President George H.W. Bush when it arrives at Ellington Field on Wednesday afternoon.
At the request of Bush's office, representatives from the Astros, the Houston Texans (NFL) and the Houston Rockets (NBA) will take part in the ceremony to welcome him back from Washington D.C., where a state funeral was held earlier in the day.
Bush, the 41st president of the United States, passed away on Friday in Houston at 94 years old. He was a regular at Astros games since leaving the presidency and moving to Houston, often sitting behind home plate with his wife, Barbara, keeping score. He would annually invite the Astros for lunch at his office.
"It's an honor to get to represent the Houston Astros at Ellington Field today for the homecoming of President Bush," Ryan said.
Meanwhile, the Astros will have representatives at a private funeral service on Thursday morning in Houston, including Hall of Fame pitcher Nolan Ryan and his wife, Ruth; Hall of Fame second baseman Craig Biggio and his wife, Patty; and Astros owner Jim Crane. Former Astros owner Drayton McLane Jr. said that he would also be in attendance.
Following Thursday's service, Bush's casket will be transported to a train station north of Houston, and it will be taken on a Union Pacific train 70 miles northwest to College Station, Texas, where the president will be laid to rest alongside his wife at the Bush Presidential Library at Texas A&M University.
Crane released a statement on Saturday morning on the passing of President Bush.
"President Bush was a great American who devoted his life to serving his country. He epitomized class and dignity and was a true patriot," the statement said.
"The Houston Astros had the great privilege of hosting President Bush and his wife, Barbara, at Astros games for many years. As loyal fans, they stuck with us through the challenging years and were there to celebrate Houston's first World Series championship in 2017. Game 5 of last year's World Series is considered the most memorable and dramatic game in Astros history. What made it even more special was that President George H.W. Bush and his son, President George W. Bush, were on the field that night taking part in the first-pitch ceremony.
"As our nation mourns his passing, our entire Astros organization sends heartfelt condolences to the Bush family. We will greatly miss him."
Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow <ahref="http: twitter.com/brianmctaggart"="">@brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast.</ahref="http:>