RIP Larry Joe Miggins, Grand Irish Texan and Vintage Baseball Player

Larry Joe.jpg
"It's for the love of the game that we all play," Larry Joe Miggins told me this past Cinco de Mayo.

We were at a Pony League field out in Katy, where Miggins had just spent four or five hours under a sweltering sun playing first base for the Houston Babies, the Bayou City's 1860s-style baseball team.

For Miggins, who died Friday in a car accident, all of life was all about "the love of the game." Or as he loved to say, "I am no longer scared of dying but more scared of not living."

Miggins was not content to be a history buff. It was not enough for him to kick back in an easy chair and crack open a dusty tome about the Battle of San Jacinto or the Goliad Massacre, nor to debate their fine points with his fellow historians. He had to live those events out, and hardly a re-enactment passed without Miggins lining up with his musket and Bowie knife.

Miggins especially loved to re-enact the Battle of Sabine Pass, where his fellow Houston Irish hombre Dick Dowling and a few dozen of his countrymen routed a Yankee naval invasion during the Civil War. (The Miggins family, along with the Ancient Order of Hibernians, has long helped keep and preserve the Dick Dowling statue in Hermann Park.)

Miggins brought the same enormous gusto to baseball.

Larry Joe2.jpg
Bill McCurdy
Larry Joe Miggins, still full of pep even after a doubleheader under a sweltering sun.
Where the vast majority of men of his 52 years are content to pore over box scores or kick back in the bleachers, Miggins was still out on the diamond. And not the softball diamond, either.

"Longball" Miggins took his baseball the way he consumed life: straight, with no chaser. There are no gloves or helmets in vintage baseball. In addition to being the team's most-feared slugger, Larry Joe most often played first base, easily the toughest position on the field in that variant of the game. Not only does the first sacker have to field his share of sharp grounders, but also dozens of hard pegs from his fellow infielders. Each game would leave his hands looking like tenderized steaks, but for Miggins, the bruises were purple badges of courage.

What joy he brought to those games! He was a champion trash-talker to teammates and opponents alike -- his nonstop chatter and taunts were hilarious and never malicious. (His generosity was legendary. It is said of some people that they would give you their last dollar. Larry Joe would have given you his last thousand.) His attention to period detail went beyond simply donning an old-timey uniform and swinging a clunky old bat. Larry Joe went the extra mile, proudly donning 19th-Century sunglasses

September 11 marked the birthday of his late big brother, the equally colorful and larger-than-life Rory Miggins. Larry Joe's devotion to Rory was absolute and his grief eternal. But still, he loved to say that Rory not only taught him how to live, but also how to die.

Larry Joe passed away Friday on his way back to Houston from the Texas Gatorfest in Anahuac. Police believe his truck hydroplaned off a partially submerged highway and careened into heavy brush, killing him on impact. (So heavy that his body was not found until yesterday.)


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acleach
acleach like.author.displayName 1 Like

Larry's untimely passing has stilled a giant voice, in the history of Houston.

He kept always the memory of beloved Rory alive, along with The Local Charm music venue, and the Houston Musicians Benevolent Society. Larry's knowledge of Texas history, the battles of the Texas Army, native Texan music in all it's variants, Irish heritage, which Larry and I shared, and his Rice University campus was unsurpassed.

And, of course...baseball. Larry could talk history, strategy, and statistics until, well...my eyes would just glaze over! I take great comfort in the thought that he and Doug Sahm are rehashing some great game, right about now...with Rory looking on, with a slice of carrot cake in hand.

So many memories, Art Car Balls, parades, so much more I could say....we laughed and watched as Rosie Flores played Pete Grey's place, last Tuesday on September 11, 2012. He had come from Rory's memorial Mass. It was one of the few times I recall, we actually discussed religion.

His faith was constant, unwavering.

Thanks to those who lead the search, on Smith Point....Mike, Thomas, Jennifer and all the others. It is a wild, natural beautiful place, as John mentions, Texas coastal prairie, his attraction to the area was obvious..

 

My 'brother' has 'gone on ahead", as Albert Collins liked to say....we'll meet again someday.....

 

My thoughts and prayers are for his wife Cheryl, Thomas and Jennifer, and Laura, his parents, brothers and sisters, and to all of the Miggins family, who have opened their hearts to me all of these years. The world is a better place, because for 52 years, Larry Joseph Miggins was in it....

 

I will miss him always, and I owe him five dollars.....

Love to all, never forget.....

Alan Craig Leach

keschex
keschex

Will miss you so much Larry-

love Tigger and Pud

tpotter
tpotter

Patti Fletcher

I'm having a hard time typing anything!  My deepest sympathies to all family......I can only imagine your pain...I was with Tom...Larry was in good spirit...He will be missed & NEVER forgotten.....I am also saddened beyond comment

tpotter
tpotter

This is absolutely sad---My condolence to all family members.I talked to him right after we finished our set at the Gator Fest. He was a great friend. Tom Potter w/ Zydeco Dots

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