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Message is clear for Hinch: Mom is unique

Astros manager reflects on special relationship
MLB.com @brianmctaggart

HOUSTON -- Another win for the Astros means another text message to manager A.J. Hinch from his mother, Becky, who's been nothing short of her son's biggest fan for 41 years. That was true when he was a two-sport start in high school in Oklahoma and when he played in the Major Leagues for seven seasons, and it remained true when he was a baseball executive with the D-backs and Padres.

Now that Hinch has found success in his second act as a Major League manager with first-place Houston, his mother remains as much of a positive influence on him as ever. Hinch said his mother keeps up with the games from her home in Midwest City, Okla.

HOUSTON -- Another win for the Astros means another text message to manager A.J. Hinch from his mother, Becky, who's been nothing short of her son's biggest fan for 41 years. That was true when he was a two-sport start in high school in Oklahoma and when he played in the Major Leagues for seven seasons, and it remained true when he was a baseball executive with the D-backs and Padres.

Now that Hinch has found success in his second act as a Major League manager with first-place Houston, his mother remains as much of a positive influence on him as ever. Hinch said his mother keeps up with the games from her home in Midwest City, Okla.

"I get a text message from her after good games, and she continues to be one of the greatest Astros fans out there," he said.

Both of Hinch's parents were huge influences on him growing up, and Hinch, his mother and sister, Angie, had to lean on each other even more following the sudden death of Dennis Hinch -- A.J.'s father -- on Feb. 8, 1993, from a heart attack at the age of 39.

:: Mother's Day 2015 ::

"I didn't know how much my mother went through losing my dad until later in life when you have your own kids, own marriage," Hinch said. "My mom was married very young. She lost her husband at a very young age, and she's persevered to continue to be an influence for her grandkids and her kids. She's a very lovable woman, and she loves being around baseball. She's the biggest support system you could ask for."

When Hinch was growing up in Oklahoma, his mother made sure he was everywhere he needed to be when it came to sports. If that meant driving long distances for a tournament or a practice, she did it without hesitation.

She was there to pat Hinch on the back and make sure he was loved when things weren't going well, or to keep him in check when he was worrying more about baseball than he was science. As it turned out, he flourished in both the classroom and on the field. Hinch was a three-time All-American, and he earned a psychology degree from Stanford.

"There wasn't a tournament she wouldn't take us to, there wasn't a practice she wouldn't sign me up for," Hinch said. "That kind of love and support, she wanted me to be happy. She knew baseball was part of it. She moved to Stanford with me when I was in college after I lost my dad, and she has remained my biggest fan through baseball and through life. She's a great woman who's gone through a lot."

So when Hinch made his Major League debut as a player with the Oakland A's on April 1, 1998, going 0-for-3, mother and son shared perhaps the most important memory in a life filled with so many.

"I was a young player right out of college and had her in town to see her son," Hinch said. "We both missed my dad at that time. We both knew it was a lifelong goal for me and my family to be able to get to the Major Leagues, and to share that time with her brought tears to everyone's eyes because of all the work and all the things both of us went through to get to that point."

Brian McTaggart is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Tag's Lines. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter.

 

Houston Astros