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RIP J. Fred Duckett

Discussion in 'Sports and News' started by alleyallen, Jun 26, 2007.

  1. alleyallen

    alleyallen Guest

    Maybe an obscure reference to many of you under the age of 30, but for two decades J. Fred Duckett was THE voice of the Houston Astros, working as the PA announcer at the Astrodome in the '70s and '80s. He was also an icon within Rice University athletics and announced the track and field events at the 1984 LA Olympics.

    Among Astros fans, he was remembered for his distinctive voice, most notably when announcing fan-favorite Jose Cruz, drawing out the name like "Cruuuuuuuuuuuuzzzzz."

    J. Fred was a chalicer within the Episcopal church and one great guy. I remember being so excited the first time I met him, at a high school playoff game, and I was fortunate to run into him on several other occasions at the Astrodome.

  2. Colton

    Colton Active Member

  3. Johnny Dangerously

    Johnny Dangerously Well-Known Member

    Posted by rallen13 on another thread (and deserving of a place here):

    With full awareness (and sadness) regarding the loss of wrestler Chris Benoit, the sports world has another to remember this day. J. Fred Duckett, longtime PA voice of the Houston Astros, Rice Owls, and PA man for the 1984 Olympics track and field events, passed away yesterday in Houston at age 74.
    J. Fred is probably best known for his introductions of former Astros player, and now coach, Jose Cruz. J. Fred would always intro him as "Jose Cruuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuz". When Cruz retired as a player, he gave J. Fred a bat from his last game and autographed it with about a dozen "u's", just the way he had always heard it pronounced.
    Ducket was a gentleman, a brilliant scholar and teacher, and loved the youngsters. He was a high school football official for many years and served as SFOA (Southwest Football Officials Association, now called TASO, Texas Association of Sports Officials) President for a number of years. When not officiating, you would often find him in the PA booth calling the games at the Astrodome and Rice Stadium.
    I had the great pleasure to also do PA at both venues for over 20 years, and many was the Saturday when J. Fred and I would alternate quadruple-header playoff games. I learned much from him. He was never a 'homer", always respecting both teams. He even had a unique way of making a team that was losing 49-0 take pride in its accomplishments and feel good about itself.
    This was true even in Rice University games. He would give them their due as the home team, but always with respect to the visitor, be it the University of Texas Longhorns or Notre Dame (both of the latter he did announce at Rice Stadium).
    Those who were fortunate enough to have ever heard J. Fred at work will miss his talent and his style, which can only be described as pure class. I heard it for over 30 years and learned from it for 20 more and I miss him already.
    So long, buddy.
  4. alleyallen

    alleyallen Guest

    Thanks, JD. Glad you got my dad's comments copied over.
  5. Johnny Dangerously

    Johnny Dangerously Well-Known Member

    It deserved to be seen here.

    I saw many a game in the Astrodome and can still hear Duckett's voice. I can also still hear this song: "Here come the Astros, burning with desire. Here come the Astros, breathing ORANGE FIRE!"

  6. Jesus_Muscatel

    Jesus_Muscatel Well-Known Member

    I met Mr. Duckett when I got started in the biz in the early '80s, at track and field meets in the Houston area.

    The man loved track.

    J. Fred was a nice man. I remember him from the 'Stros' games, too, but I'll always associate him with UIL track and field meets in Texas, and how he went out of his way to help a young buck like myself.

    (And yeah I needed it.)

    RIP Mr. Duckett.
  7. Bubbler

    Bubbler Well-Known Member

    There's nothing better than those great baseball PA announcers.

    The Brewers have not been the same since Bob Betts passed on. The Milwaukee version of the Astros' Cruuuuuuuz was Betts' drawn out Cecil Cooooooper!
  8. occasionally

    occasionally Member

    Had the pleasure of working with J. Fred on many occasions, at Rice and in track and field, and it should be noted he was one of our country's experts in the latter. No doubt, though, he was a "Rice man" -- when the Owls made it to a bowl game last December for the first time in forever, you could just see how proud he was without his booming voice having to say a word.

    RIP J. Fred.
  9. GuessWho

    GuessWho Active Member

    From a blog in the Austin paper:

    I recall a Southwest Conference indoor championship at Will Rogers Coliseum in Fort Worth sometime in the early 1980s. A false start in a sprint race triggered a barrage of restart pistols echoing through the cavernous old building.

    Over the PA system came that big voice: “Sounds like Houston on a Saturday night.”

    RIP, old friend. Our track meets will never sound the same again.
  10. da man

    da man Well-Known Member

    A truly great character and a terrific guy. The track community and those of us who covered it will miss him.
  11. Armchair_QB

    Armchair_QB Well-Known Member

    I met J. Fred in the late 80s when I was working in Houston and he always remembered me when we crossed paths over the years. A great guy. I have to say I was surprised, in a good way, to see this thread on here. Glad to know so many people remember him.
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