Larry Joe Miggins Dies in Wreck near Anahuac

Larry Joe Miggins,
“Long Ball”
Houston Babies

Last night, about 7:00 PM, I got one of those phone calls you never hope to receive. It came by voice mail in sad, but metered words, words left there by former Houston Buff and St. Louis Cardinal Larry Miggins. I had only seen Larry the previous night, when we recreated the celebratory song from his 87th birthday party of August 20th at the September meeting of SABR downtown.

Monday night had been such a joyous occasion, but even then, neither of us knew that something tragic already had happened and was just waiting until Tuesday to reveal itself to all who knew and loved the eldest surviving son of Larry and Kathleen Miggins, the one and only Larry Joe Miggins.

Word had come that Larry Joe Miggins, age 52,  had been killed on a rain-slickened wet highway last Friday night, September 14, 2012, as he was attempting to drive home from the annual Texas Gatorfest held in Anahuac. It was just the sort of thing that drove the life of good friend and amazing character Larry Joe. Hunting gators for  population control and human consumption was just the sort of thing that would lure the retired Rice University physical plant engineer in pursuit of another passion. And, if it was anything like his family’s historic preservation of the Dick Dowling statue in Houston, his participation with the Texas Army in recreations of the Battle at San Jacinto for Texas Independence, or his fiery all-heart play for the Houston Babies of 1860-rules vintage base ball, I feel sure that the gators had no chance in the wake of his mighty Miggins presence.

Larry’s truck apparently had hydroplaned off the road during a storm and sailed into the brushes out of sight until its discovery Tuesday by a search team, and nearly four days after the fact of his loss. From the reports we have, he most probably was killed instantly, taken by God’s Will, but to the shocking loss of all the family and friends who knew and loved him.

Larry Joe with parents, Larry and Kathleen, and wife Sherl.

Early death among the twelve children of Larry and Kathleen Miggins is not new. In 2007, the family lost oldest son Rory after a long valiant battle with melanoma. Now they surrender next oldest brother Larry Joe to the violence of sudden death by automobile. We know this to be true. Larry Joe was never quite the same after the loss of his brother – and his grief was never-ending. Those of us family and friends who now survive him can only hope and pray that Larry Joe has now moved on to a state of eternal peace, reunion, and joy.

Larry Joe Miggins was one of those timeless, ageless people who could have survived in any century he might have incarnated. He had a knowledge of history and the basic skills required of those who knew how to handle life in the 19th century and earlier – and he had the intelligence and technological ability that would have suited him just fine in the 25th century.

I will miss my friend – my fellow lover of baseball – and my endless correspondent on all discussions about the Civil War and the relative value of the Lincoln presidency, which Larry Joe abhorred. We very often disagreed along the same union vs. secessionist lines that separated a nation 150 years ago, but we never lost respect for each other’s right to think for ourselves. I will miss his play of logic, backed by the passion of his Irish heart. The two forces were inseparable.

Larry Joe Miggins and John Lomax of the Houston Press.

Then there was baseball. And its poetry. And beauty. And the song that hummed its way through the whole narrative of the game. Larry Joe understood those things because he too was built the same way. He talked, and walked, and lived an eloquent life that was uniquely his own – and he carried it with him until the day he died.

Our Houston Babies are going to miss Long Ball Miggins greatly, but he will be with us in spirit. And we shall do all we are able to make sure that his great driving soul is never forgotten.

Recently, on August 28th, Larry Joe concluded an e-mail to me with these remarks: “I continue to learn from you and your Knowlege of history, daily whether it is in blog or e-mail. I do (battle) re-enactments for my love of history, but to also make the common man and young kids get an idea of the horrors of war.”

I learned from you too, Larry. You were, and still are, as the knowledge of your life shall reveal to others, a great teacher of how to lean heavily into life with caring, courage, character, and commitment. We, your family and friends, simply reserve the right to miss you with all our hearts, minds, and souls.

Our human time together on earth is limited, but love is forever. And you are loved, my friend, by so many. including me, your friend, teammate, and colleague.

Funeral arrangements are pending.

Larry Joe Miggins is survived by his wife Sherl; his two adult children, Thomas and Laura; his parents, Larry and Kathleen Miggins; his surviving ten siblings, Eileen, John, Maureen, Noreen, Matthew, Kathleen, Neil, Robert, Patrick, and Michael; numerous brothers and sisters in-law; numerous nieces and nephews; and numerous aunts and uncles.

“Numerous” – Miggins is thy name.

Larry Joe Miggins (right) with Sam Houston IV (middle) and (left) brother John Miggins at San Jacinto.

Five years ago, the obituary for older brother Rory Miggins wrapped on a limerick that may ring home again:

“Fare thee well, my child, forever.

In this world, we have lost our joy.

But in the next, we will never sever,

There we’ll find our darlin’ boy.”

Good night, Larry Joe, and give it your best. You’re playing in the Really Big League now.

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52 Responses to “Larry Joe Miggins Dies in Wreck near Anahuac”

  1. bob copus Says:

    really sorry to hear this terrible news. We will pray for his family and friends, and for you.

  2. Patrick Lopez Says:

    My heart goes out to his many friends and family .May you rest in peace,,,,
    Larry Joe Miggins.

  3. Bob Blair Says:

    I’m in total disbelief and cannot say how much I will miss sharing the sport he so loved with him.
    Rest well my friend

  4. david m jackson Says:

    Thanks for the Great writeup. Sad news so sad.

  5. John Whiting Says:

    I am Praying that GOD’s Goodness will may it easy on all of us that knew Larry, because we will all miss him.

  6. Zita Witte Says:

    I am so sorry to hear about Larry Joe Miggins. My thoughts and prayers are with the Miggins family.

  7. Carl A Riedel Says:

    As a along time coworker, friend, and partner in the annual Rice horseshoe tournament of Larry Joe’s I say you have done well in describing him. There is now a hole in all of our lives that Larry filled. Good bye my friend. You will be missed.

    Our prayers and thoughts are with the Miggins family.

  8. Loranda Iverson Says:

    We will miss him here at Rice.

  9. Dave Flores Says:

    What a shock to hear the sad news. My condolences to all of his family and friends. Larry “Longball” Miggins was one of the finest ball players you will ever meet with a love and passion of the game of baseball. I had the pleasure to play against him and the Babes for years. How he would make me laugh ever time he grunted when he hit the ball. I will miss you and your sense of humor, the baseball diamond will not be the same without you. Say hello to your big brother, Rory. As Bill said, “You’re playing in the Really Big League now”. May you rest in peace my brother.
    Dave Flores
    Katy Combine and Richmond Giants

  10. Bill Hale Says:

    Jo and I are deeply saddened by this news. Our hearts and prayers go out to the Miggins family. Rest in peace Longball.

  11. Mark deTranaltes Says:

    Such a fine and fitting tribute, you really captured the man and his spirit. Thanks to you for expressing what many feel and thanks to Larry for his example.

  12. Andrew Says:

    I am deeply saddened to hear of this news for Larry. My condolences to his family and friends. He will be forever missed on the diamond field grunting as he would crush the ball deep into the outfield. Rest in peace Longball, you will be missed.
    Andrew Flores
    Katy Combines and Richmond Giants (Catcher)

  13. Tim Collins Says:

    I am in shock with the news of Longball’s sudden death, and the manner of its discovery. I have lost a good friend, solid and dependable. His love of Texas culture was second to none. My sympathies to Sherl, Thomas and Laura, as well as his siblings and Kathleen and Larry – they must all be devastated.

  14. Jimmy Turner Says:

    What a shock! Larry will be sorely missed out on the Vintage Baseball Field.

  15. Jeff Roberts Says:

    There will be an empty place on the field without you Longball. My blood pressure always jumped up a notch when I would play left field and you stepped up to the plate. I can count on one hand how many times I was able to get you out but could never total how many times you either burned one over my head or put it in play in front of me. I will miss those times and always remember the days we played. RIP my friend.

  16. Mario N. Ramirez Says:

    I’ll miss our weekly conversations, our annual
    Get togethers at St. Thomas H.S. during Round-Up, the time we spent planning our class reunions. But most of all I’ll miss you a very dear friend to me my boys and family.
    You left a lot of fond memories for all of us that
    You came in contact with.
    I never forget you Larry Joe “longball”
    Miggins.
    Thanks for memories you are the greatest.
    Your classmate
    Mario N. Ramirez’78
    St.Thomas H.S.

  17. Wayne Roberts Says:

    Wow. My prayers go out to all of the Miggins’.

  18. Theresa Toward Says:

    My heart aches for loosing such a wonderful, crazy friend. I can only imagine the pain the “Miggins” family is dealing with. All my heart and prayers to them.

  19. Sheila Says:

    Prayers for all of his family. Such a sweet guy.

  20. Michael McCroskey Says:

    Larry Joe was one of those dugout guys who could dish it out as well as take it. His humor, as well as his talent, will be greatly missed at future Babies games. I am still in shock from reading this.
    What a great time we had at SABR Monday night celebrating his Dad’s birthday, only to be sombered today by this sudden sad news. My heartfelt sympathies and prayers go out to the entire Mighins family for their loss. I am going to seriously miss my recently met good friend.

    Mike McCroskey

  21. Mark Says:

    I offer my condolences to the entire Miggins family on this painful loss. May you always be comforted by every good memory of him, and may your love for each other be a continuation of all that he meant to you.

  22. GregPalermo Says:

    When they made Larry, they broke the mold. He truly was one of a kind. No parent should ever go through the pain, agony, and heartache of losing a child. Losing two must be unbearable. Heaven couldn’t possibly be a boring place with Larry living there now.

  23. Sam Says:

    Mr. Larry Joe Miggins will be missed but not forgotten. The first time I had the pleasure to meet Larry Joe was at one of the early Houston Babies Vintage Baseball games in Katy, Texas. The game was about to begin and there was a need for an umpire (Blind Tom); he came up and introduced himself to me and declared I would be The Blind Tom and so I did. He was a forthright, fair and an honest man. I enjoyed the opportunity to get know him and watch him play vintage baseball. I will miss him enormously but will never forget the privilege he extended to me to be, The Blind Tom.

    It was an honor and a pleasure to call him, friend.

  24. Terri Clarke Says:

    They didn’t come much better than that — Rory and Larry — They were true gentlemen and heroes to all they encountered — I was just a small recipient of their charms —- God Bless them both and there families,

  25. Lisa Says:

    God Bless the Miggins Family! What a great tribute to Larry Joe!

  26. Jodi Miggins Criger Says:

    Your cousins will never forget you and as another famous cowboy said “Happy trails to you until we meet again (Roy Rogers)

  27. Jodi Miggins Criger Says:

    Larry, all the Miggins’ will never forget you…you were a legacy unto itself…you’re cousins will be waiting until we meet again…Happy trails to you from another famous cowboy, Roy Rogers

  28. Susan & Tommy King Says:

    We were shocked and deeply saddened when our dear friend Frank Mancuso called to tell us about Larry’s accident and death. Larry always greeted us with a smile and hug. He will be deeply missed. Our hearts and prayers go out to Kathleen, Larry and his family.

  29. Rica M. Gardner Says:

    “Uncle” Larry, I will miss you dearly. Watch over your beautiful family here. We will never forget your humor, passion for your Irish roots, the timeless game of baseball or your quirky propensity to collect everything in sight. The piece of turf you gifted me from my years cheering on Rice’s football field will hang proudly on my wall. Once an Owl, always an Owl. Love you forever.

  30. David Beebe Says:

    Thanks for this excellent write-up. You really nailed his spirit spot-on. He is already missed

  31. Ron Pawlik Says:

    Sincere condolences and prayers to the Miggins family.

  32. Barbara Caswell Says:

    Our thoughts and prayers are with Sheryl and family, and the entire Miggins family. This is such a tragedy, our faith will sustain. His light will shine on forever in the hearts of all who love him. Barbara and Mike Caswell

  33. Mike Barfield Says:

    It is very hard for me to hear of Larry’s death. I met Larry through Rory back around 1986 when my old band played the Local Charm on Telephone Rd. which Rory owned and operated. I noticed right off the close bond those two had as brothers. I played many years there and it produced some cherished memories. Larry and I got to be better friends after Rory’s passing and I felt that he admirably carried the torch for his brothers legacy and his own passions. Rory and Larry made a positive difference in their community and I’m so thankful that I had the pleasure of sharing some time on this earth with them. God bless them always and their family. Larry you were an earth shaker.

    Mike Barfield

  34. Darrell Pittman Says:

    I’m so sorry to hear this. I will keep his famliy in my prayers.

  35. Amanda Gross Says:

    God bless all family and friends on this wonderful man. I’m so sorry for the loss. He and Rory are in peace in heaven.

  36. David Ladyga Says:

    We just visited with Larry and Thomas at the SPVFD fish fry/auction. During the live auction, Larry was waiving blindly to the crowd trying to get someone to waive back and raise the bid. I almost bit on the ploy and had to laugh. We will miss ssing Larry when we visit Smith Point.
    David / Donna Ladyga

  37. Edward Michael Miggins Says:

    I’m Ed.Miggins, son of Mike Miggins,and nephew of Jack Miggins. I am sorry to hear this news. the Miggins lost a great spirit. sorry I never met him but remember his father and grandfather well. May God hold him in the palm of his hand,

  38. Larry Joe Miggins: Brief Obituary « The Pecan Park Eagle Says:

    [...] The Pecan Park Eagle Just another WordPress.com weblog « Larry Joe Miggins Dies in Wreck near Anahuac [...]

  39. Anthony Cavender Says:

    My condolences to the Miggins family. These anguished heartfelt messages indicate just how badly he will be misssed by his family and all of his friends.

  40. Tom Flores Says:

    Larry, you were a special guy with special talents, always in good form…… you will be greatly missed by all….Thank you for all you did to help make Vintage Baseball what it is today in the Houston area. I appreciate all you did for us in Katy, Texas to help make The Katy Heritage Festival a special event. All of us who know you are in shock and I pray for your family during this difficult time of loss.

  41. mark stamey Says:

    I met Larry when he was an 10yr old student at St. Anne School, and I was a 21yr old student at U of H, and newly hired coach for the 5th and 6th grade Shamrock football team. From the very beginning, I realized he was quite a character. We had many interactions, both social and business, over the past 42yrs, and they were always laced with humor, but also with respect. He was the ultimate Texas renaissance man. My family, and I, will miss him greatly. Our sincerest condolences to Sherl, Thomas, Laura, and all the extended Miggins family. May he rest comfortably in the arms of the Lord.

  42. Vikki Smith Says:

    A fine & fitting tribute to a guy who was larger than life. My heart goes out to Sherl, Thomas, Laura and all the Miggins family.

  43. Allen Hill Says:

    Beautiful piece. Thank you!

  44. Anna Martin Says:

    I loved Larry as if he was my brother. He was always upbeat and cheerful. After Rory died, he
    kept me updated on anything written about Rory or any event honoring Rory. The last time I saw him was when he played with the retro-baseball team in Luckenbauch. My brother, his wife and I drive down from Austin. As usual, it was an unusual and happy day.

    We can be happy that he and his beloved brother will be running amock now in heaven.

  45. James Pinedo Says:

    Larry was a childhood friend. My heart goes out to Irish, his mother and his siblings. I will be praying for all of you and Larry’s soul.

  46. wally kulecz Says:

    All our condolences and prayers to the Miggins family.

    I’ll always remember the good times playing softball and hanging around Valhalla with Larry.

    Perhaps my fondest memory is the time I wore an old “cowboy” shirt my grandmother gave me when I was moving to Texas. He recognized it as the same style as a famous country rocker and just had to have it. He bought it off my back for like $20 and a Valhalla T-shirt — that’s just the kind of guy he was.

    Future good times will be missing.

  47. Barbara Neely Says:

    We are stunned and saddened by this tragic event. Thinking of and praying for his family.

  48. Cathy Pulpan Briseno Says:

    Maureen, my heart and prayers go out to you and your family during this sorrowful time. Know that the Lord has you and your family wrapped in his loving grace. Cathy

  49. Larry Joe Miggins: Expanded Obituary « The Pecan Park Eagle Says:

    [...] http://bill37mccurdy.wordpress.com/2012/09/19/larry-joe-miggins-dies-in-wreck-near-anahuac/ [...]

  50. tom murrah Says:

    I’m stunned and saddened to read the news about Larry Joe.
    I’d heard many wonderful stories about him…my heart is filled
    with prayers for his family and loved ones. Thanks for memories.

  51. marcus Says:

    So sad to hear. He will be missed and very well remembered. Prayers to the family.

  52. Kevin Daniels Says:

    My condolences to the Miggins family. Larry was a truly terrific man and was so supportive of my Dad’s (A. Pat. Daniels) S.S. Selma Parties in Galveston every year. I remember him having tears at my Dad’s final life celebration…..shows what a great sensitive man he was!

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