COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - After 93 years of life, Chattahoochee Valley Sports Hall of Fame member and former Major League Baseball executive H.B. "Spec" Richardson has passed away.
Richardson died of natural causes at his home in north Columbus on Tuesday, April 12.
During his MLB tenure, Richardson was the vice president and general manager of the Houston Astros and the San Francisco Giants.
In his biography as an inaugural member the South Atlantic League MIBL Class of 1994 Hall of Fame, Richardson is directly credited with the construction of the famed Astrodome. He was also named MLB executive of the year in 1978.
Richardson's career began in Columbus in the South Atlantic League in 1946 as a part of the then Columbus Cardinals organization. The Columbus native had lived in the Fountain City for several years following his career in baseball.
Although baseball was Richardson's passion when he retired from the MLB, he still worked in sports management with the Columbus Cottonmouths.
Cottonmouths Coach Jerome Bechard explained his start and what the Fountain City meant to Spec.
"He started at the ball park and he 'bat boyed,' was the peanut guy, you know all the way to running the organization and moving all the way up," Bechard said. "He lived and breathed Columbus and this was home."
Young front office members of the Snakes were eager to learn from someone who had succeeded at the highest level of professional sports.
"He got me my first right out of college every job decision I have ever made I have talked with him first and spoke with him about," said Ashley Foster, the President of Business Operations for the Cottonmouths.
Bechard echoed her thoughts.
"I think he made people a lot better, and instilled just do your job, everything will be good if you just do your job," Bechard said.
As much as Richardson loved sports, it was clear that family came first.
"He told would always tell me no matter what think about your kids. Think about your family, he definitely is a man of family," said Foster.
Bechard, a very passionate coach and player during his time, once again learned from Richardson that family comes first.
"Having a long career at the pinnacle and knowing how much his family meant to him, it kind of just puts everything into perspective," Bechard said.
He retired in Columbus with his wife, Tommye, who passed away in 2009.
Funeral arrangements have been scheduled for 11 a.m. on Saturday, April 16. His family has released a statement, saying: