Astros honored at Houston Sports Awards

January 26th, 2023

HOUSTON -- Astros relief pitcher Ryan Pressly emerged from the shadows as lights flashed and Johnny Cash’s haunting song, “God’s Gonna Cut You Down,” bellowed from the speakers. Instead of a wearing baseball cap and clutching a baseball, Pressly donned a cowboy hat while holding a trophy as he took center stage.

“The last time I walked out to that song, we won the World Series,” Pressly said.

With that, the All-Star pitcher who saved Game 6 of the World Series in the clincher against the Phillies, closed out the Houston Sports Awards on Wednesday by announcing Yordan Alvarez had won the award for Athlete of the Year, beating out teammates Alex Bregman, Jeremy Peña and Justin Verlander.

“Congrats to Yordan,” said Bregman, who emceed the event and showed off some of his humor. “What an unbelievable season that was. I mean, it’s fine. I already won the award twice.”

The Astros took center stage literally and figuratively at the Wortham Theater, winning the award for Moment of the Year for their World Series triumph. What’s more, Astros owner Jim Crane was presented with the Executive of the Year by Hall of Famer Jeff Bagwell, manager Dusty Baker was named Coach of the Year and second baseman Jose Altuve won the Sportsmanship Award.

“Now I have to talk,” the soft-spoken Altuve joked before thanking the city of Houston, his family and the fans. “I’m really happy and this means a lot for me. I don’t take it lightly.”

Baker’s busy schedule wouldn’t allow him to attend the award show, but he sent along a video message of thanks.

“I wouldn’t be here to be recognized tonight if it were not for the great work of the players and coaches,” he said. “They are the ones that deserve to be recognized. … Houston has been so good to me and my family. The city has embraced us, and it was very gratifying to help bring this city another World Series championship.

Meanwhile, former Astros pitcher, broadcaster and manager Larry Dierker was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award. He detailed how he struck out Willie Mays while making his Major League debut on his 18th birthday in 1964.

“Striking him out when I was 18, I was innocent,” he said. “I didn’t know any better.”

The annual awards show served as an induction into the Houston Sports Hall of Fame for Houston sports legends Bruce Matthews of the NFL’s Houston Oilers and Elvin Hayes and Calvin Murphy of the NBA’s Houston Rockets.