I was never much of an Astro fan, but in the late 90’s and early 2000, you couldn’t help but be a Jose Lima fan. He was just fun to watch. I always have had two Lima Time stories that I knew were probably not unique to me.
I couldn’t believe when I had head of his passing this past weekend. Listening to talk radio today, it seemed like everyone had a Jose Lima story. I just wanted to share my two.
The first was at the dome in 1999. We were in the mezzanine for batting practice and Lima was shagging fly balls in the outfield. There was a guy on the front row who had a ball hit his bare hands and fall to the field.
Lima started giving the guy a hard time.
“How can you come to batting practice and not bring a glove?” Lima yelled at the guy with that great Lima accent. “That is why we have gloves. If it was easy to catch barehanded, we wouldn’t use gloves. This is just embarrassing. Use my glove.” And Lima tossed his glove to the guy. About five minutes later, another ball headed to the same guy. He reached out with Lima’s glove – and dropped the ball. Lima Time really let the guy have it after that, and said he wanted his glove back before the guy cursed it.
A year later when the Astros moved into Minute Maid, we were going to a lot of games. One day in the Crawford boxes, Lima was out shagging fly balls, and had a big bag of seeds in his back pocket. I asked him if he could come off a bag. At first he just laughed and said he didn’t think so. I told him I was a poor college kid and the Astros weren’t going to miss one bag of seeds.
About 15 minutes later, Lima came back out and yelled to me “seed boy.” I looked down and he tossed me a bag of seeds. I thanked him and told him he was awesome. The best part of the story is I was back about two weeks later in the Crawford Box for batting practice. After being there for about 20 minutes, I hear “Seed boy.” I look down and Lima Time is pointing at me. I give him a point back and he tosses me a bag of seeds. He then told me I better graduate college, especially for how much time I am spending at Astros games.
I don’t think there will ever be a cooler pro athlete than Jose Lima. About every five nights I was a Houston fan. He passed away much too soon. He still had a lot to give to the sport and the fans as well. He will be missed, “Believe It.”