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Old 09-17-2015, 05:00 PM   #1
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Houston Astros fans remember legendary announcer Milo Hamilton

Hall of Famer broadcaster Milo Hamilton is being remembered not only by the sports world, but also his millions of fans in Houston and across the nation.

As the Astros put it, Hamilton was the soundtrack of fans' summers for more than 25 years. The team said he passionately described the Astros' wins and challenges.

As word spread Thursday of the loss of the legendary voice of the Astros, fans felt like they lost a friend who was always there, at every game, for decades.

"Lots of enthusiasm. Who can forget 'Holy Toledo' and all of his catch phrases?" James Lehmann said. "Very sad. I had heard that he had been in ill health for a while. I guess they have recent on-game ceremonies and people had mentioned that he was not doing well."

"I was just listening on the radio on the way to the stadium. Big loss for the Houston family," Jose Martinez said.

As fans came to the Minute Maid Park box office to buy their weekend tickets, they thought about what it will be like now that a broadcasting legend and Astros great is gone. When he was 84, he announced that the 2012 season would be his last working full time after 28 years as the radio play-by-play voice of the Astros.

"He was a great man. What else can you say?" said another fan.

Hamilton was more than just a loyal customer at Truluck's Seafood restaurant in the Galleria area. To the staff and servers he was a dear friend. They said when Hamilton would walk into the restaurant, he would light up the entire room. The hostesses would greet him with a kiss on the cheek and a hug.

"If you looked up the world gentleman in the dictionary, you'd see his face. Then after that you'd see a fun-loving, caring, giving sweet man," Anne Gerner, who waited on Hamilton for years, said.

Hamilton never commanded attention but the staff and other guests were always drawn to him. He always sat at Table 60 and was a huge fan of the stone crab and lobster bisque.

"We'd go up the table, even if you weren't waiting on him, you'd go up to him and sit down and talk to him. He'd pull up a chair and come chit-chat with us for a while. He was just like family, " server Rick Stanley said.

Hamilton's smile, energy, charisma and humor is what they said they'll miss most. Hamilton was big on giving back to the community and often worked with Truluck's on charity events.

"Check presentations, golf tournaments, Make a Wish foundation, Covenant House. So he was really involved with the community and with Truluck's helping the needy," assistant manager Daniel Byrne said.

Former President George H.W. Bush issued a statement that read, "Barbara and I mourn the loss of Milo Hamilton, a genuine baseball icon, a Hall of Fame sportscaster -- and, happily for us, a good friend. In time, Milo became his own Houston institution, and the countless good causes he helped made him one of the brightest Points of Light we knew. It was hard for him, and indeed all Astros fans, when Milo stepped away from the booth in 2012 after his legendary career, but from this day forward we can take comfort that he will always have the best seat in the house. Holy Toledo, what a good man he was -- and we were fortunate to know him."

Hamilton was 88.

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