Craig Biggio and Jeff Bagwell are the two best players the Houston Astros have ever seen, and now they will both be famed forever in Cooperstown. Kokomo native Greg Lucas’ new book, Houston to Cooperstown, tells their story.

In January 2016, Jeff Bagwell was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. This makes Biggio and Bagwell the only two players in the Hall of Fame with Houston hats. Other Hall of Famers have played for the Astros, but these two only played for Houston. Their loyalty to the team and to one another broke records. No other baseball duo has been on the field together as much as Biggio and Bagwell – no one can beat their 2,029 games together over 15 years. This pair set team records all throughout their careers. Now, Bagwell will earn his spot next to his longtime teammate in the Hall of Fame.

Together, Biggio and Bagwell brought the Astros through their golden years. They made the Astros what they are today, and finally both of them will be in the Baseball Hall of Fame. As Bill Brown writes in the foreword of the book, “He [Lucas] is well equipped to take us on the long trip through the best era in the team’s 55 years.” Bagwell’s story, Biggio’s story, and the story of this dynamic duo is chronicled in Houston to Cooperstown.

A graduate of Kokomo High School and Butler University, Lucas was one of the nation’s most versatile and respected radio-TV sports personalities before retiring in 2012. He worked more than 4,000 play-by-play events in Major League Baseball, the National Basketball Association, and college football, basketball, baseball, swimming, tennis, volleyball, and track and field.

Lucas was an NBA radio and television play-by-play announcer for 13 seasons with the San Antonio Spurs, Houston Rockets, Indiana Pacers and Dallas Mavericks, and for 32 seasons with MLB’s Texas Rangers and Houston Astros. He also covered multiple sporting events for the Southwest and Big 12 conferences. His feature on Jerry LeVias, the first African-American scholarship athlete of the Southwest Conference, earned him an Emmy nomination. Lucas also operated sports radio talk shows in Terre Haute, Honolulu, Peoria, Buffalo, and San Antonio.

Athletically, Lucas’ strength was as a baseball player at Kokomo High School, with the Post 6 American Legion team, and the Kokomo Highlanders of the National Baseball Congress. He also played two seasons at Butler University under legendary coach Tony Hinkle.

Lucas will host a book-signing at Barnes & Noble in Carmel (14790 Greyhound Plaza) on Aug. 25 at 7 p.m. He will speak about his Butler and Pacers years as well as his time with Biggio and Bagwell in Houston.

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Dr. Mary Apiafi/Community Howard Regional Health

KOKOMO – Community Howard Regional Health announced today that Dr. Mary Apiafi, a physical medicine and rehabilitation physician trained in sports medicine, has joined the hospital and is now seeing patients in Kokomo.

Dr. Apiafi joins orthopedic physicians Clifford Evans, Courtney Holland and Mohammad Nekoomaram at Community Howard Orthopedic Center, located at 3512 S Lafountain in Kokomo. Dr. Apiafi will practice in Kokomo fulltime and will specialize in sports medicine and the treatment of chronic and acute orthopedic or musculoskeletal injuries.

Dr. Apiafi comes to Community Howard with experience working with high school, college and professional athletes, having provided coverage for both the Cleveland Cavaliers and Cleveland Indians. In addition to her sports medicine experience, Dr. Apiafi is skilled in interventional procedures from the spine to the peripheral joints. She is also trained in regenerative medicine and shockwave therapy.

Dr. Apiafi graduated from the Sports Medicine fellowship program at Cleveland Clinic’s Sports Health Center in June 2017 after earlier completing a residency in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City.

To schedule a consultation with Dr. Apiafi call 765-865-6633.

Not an advertisement/Provided by Community Howard Regional Health

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Kasey Kahne and his team Kiss the Bricks after winning the Brickyard 400 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. (SJ photo/William Gibson)

INDIANAPOLIS – In a race that kept fans on their feet during the tense, wild final laps, Kasey Kahne had to sit down after earning the biggest win of his career.

Kahne passed Brad Keselowski on the final restart in overtime to win the 24th annual Brantley Gilbert Big Machine Brickyard 400 on Sunday at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The epic race started at 2:44 p.m. and finished at 8:58 p.m., just eight minutes before sundown. The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race was halted three times for red flags for a total of two hours, 31 minutes, including a rain delay of one hour, 47 minutes after the first 12 laps were completed.

“The history here, winning at this track is unreal,” Kahne said. “This Farmers’ Insurance Chevrolet was great out front. I just had to get there. Man, I’m exhausted. To win at Indy is unbelievable.”

After being interviewed by NBC after the race, Kahne sat on the ground next to his No. 5 Farmers Insurance Chevrolet, dehydrated and cramping from a long, taxing day in the cockpit. The effort to win was so demanding that he needed intravenous fluids after the race.

Keselowski ended up second in the No. 2 Miller Lite Ford. Indiana native Ryan Newman finished third in the No. 31 Velveeta Shells & Cheese Chevrolet.

Joey Logano finished fourth in the No. 22 Shell Pennzoil Ford, and Matt Kenseth rounded out the top five in the No. 20 Tide Pods Toyota.

Kahne’s decisive pass came on Lap 166, on the second attempt at overtime in the race scheduled for 160 laps. Leader Keselowski chose the outside lane on the restart on Lap 166, with Kahne in second on the inside.

Former USAC open-wheel star Kahne held his line under Keselowski in Turn 1 on the restart and started to pull away. Then an accident less than a mile later, involving Denny Hamlin, Ty Dillon and Paul Menard on the backstretch, triggered the last of a record 14 caution periods and ended the race, with Kahne out front. Kahne cruised under the yellow and checkered flags on Lap 167 as darkness encroached on the 2.5-mile oval, earning the biggest win of his career in his 14th Brickyard start.

“Kasey, he did a heck of a job today and drove a hell of a race,” Keselowski said. “I was happy for him. But of course with the Miller Lite Ford, I thought we were in the right spot. You could see all day, I think, where you could get somebody on your outside and in the corner you got real loose. But he drove in there and just stuck.

“I don’t know, I probably got the wrong lane there or made the wrong call. I’m not so sure.”

Kahne’s victory was an intense climax to a wild final 16 laps, which featured six yellow flags and a red flag.

The first major flashpoint during that stretch run came on a restart on Lap 159. Kahne and Keselowski were side by side in Turn 1, with Keselowski nosing ahead in Turn 2. Kahne got loose in Turn 2, which allowed four-time Brickyard 400 winner Jimmie Johnson to pull alongside Kahne.

The three NASCAR superstars then went three-wide down the backstraight, with Johnson inside, Kahne in the middle and Keselowski on the outside. They entered Turn 3 in that formation, and Johnson wiggled, made light contact with Kahne, who made light contact with Keselowski.

Johnson spun into the SAFER Barrier in Turn 3, ending his chance for a record-tying fifth Brickyard victory. Keselowski and Kahne held on to continue, under caution.

“I don’t know if I spun in my own oil or if it was an aero situation, but I was so close to having a fifth win here at the Brickyard,” Johnson said.

Overtime ensued. Leader Kahne chose the outside lane on the restart on Lap 163, with second-place Keselowski on the inside. But a six-car tangle was triggered on the frontstraight on the restart when Michael McDowell tapped Trevor Bayne from behind, sending Bayne into a spin that collected numerous cars. A red-flag period started on Lap 164 for clean-up.

Keselowski had slipped under Kahne just before the melee with the inside lane and was judged by NASCAR officials as the leader, setting up the final restart on Lap 166, during which Kahne prevailed.

“Everything went wrong,” Kahne said of the penultimate restart. “The final one, everything went right. Once I got to Turn 1, I had good power. It’s pretty crazy.”

Crazy was a perfect description of the final 56 laps of the race.

Pole sitter Kyle Busch and Martin Truex Jr. dominated the first 110 laps of the race. Busch won the first two stages in the No. 18 Skittles Toyota and led 87 of the first 110 laps. Truex chased Busch in second for many of those laps and led eight circuits in his No. 78 Auto-Owners Insurance Toyota.

But Truex got loose on a restart in Turn 1 on Lap 111, sliding up into Busch. Both cars made heavy contact with the SAFER Barrier, ending their races and Busch’s bid to become the first driver to win this event for three consecutive years.

“I was on his outside and got hit and got blindsided and ended up in the fence,” Busch said.

Said Truex: “I just got loose and wrecked him, I guess. I didn’t really realize he was going to drive it that deep. I’ve got to take the blame for that one. Obviously, it was my fault. I hate it for Kyle. He had a great car.”

The Busch-Truex melee wasn’t the only disappointing early departure of the race. Fan favorite Dale Earnhardt Jr. was eliminated from his final Brickyard 400 start in the No. 88 Nationwide Chevrolet after 76 laps due to an accident. Earnhardt, who is retiring after this season, placed 36th.

“I certainly want to come back here and enjoy this racetrack and maybe see the Indy 500 one day,” Earnhardt said. “Definitely not too upset with Indy. I wish I could have run a little better here several times. 

“You don’t like how you finished, and you don’t like the result. But life’s bigger than this, goes on past what happened today. I definitely want the fans to know throughout the rest of the season how much we appreciate them. We’ll be giving lots of hats away and signing lots of autographs, I’ll promise you.” 

Courtesy of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway

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