Two-time National League strikeout king J.R. Richard is dead. The Houston Astros announced their former ace died Wednesday evening at 71 years of age. Richard won 20 games in 1976. He struck out a league-high 303 batters in 1978 and topped that by striking out 313 in 1979. He led the league that year with a two-point-71 ERA and finished third in Cy Young voting.
He was having another superb year in 1980, posting a one-point-90 ERA in 17 starts to earn his first All-Star Game selection. However, he complained of numbness in his fingers.
He later collapsed while working out in Houston. A CAT scan revealed he had suffered three strokes. He never pitched again.
Photo: Former Astros All-Star pitcher J.R. Richard speaks during a ceremony as he was inducted in the Astros Walk Of Fame on June 1, 2012 at Minute Maid Park in Houston, Texas.(Getty Images)