Former Coach Given 3% Chance of Survival. Breaks Down in Tears as He Returns to Field


Rich Dauer wound up in the hospital on what should have been one of the happiest days of his life.

The first base coach collapsed during the homecoming pep rally celebrating the Houston Astros’ first World Series championship last fall.

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Dauer was rushed to the hospital and diagnosed with an acute subdural hematoma — a severe head injury which causes bruising on his brain.

The doctors raced against time to get Dauer into emergency brain surgery.

He had a three percent chance of survival.

Against all odds, Dauer woke up after three days and was out of the hospital two weeks later.

“I just know that I could have been and the chances were really good that I would be either dead or not be able to function,” Dauer said. “I can function now, so God has something for me.”

Months later, the retired coach returned to Minute Maid Park to throw the first pitch for the Astros’ game against the Baltimore Orioles — who he use to play for.

“It means a lot to be able to do this,” he said. “It’s not just for me.”

He walked out onto the field and immediately became emotional.

Dauer wiped away his tears, and then turned to throw the ball to Astros manager A.J. Hitch. The two friends hug and the rest of the stadium cheers.

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“I have never seen him that emotional,” Hitch told “This guy is as charismatic and joking and laughing, never-had-a-bad-day-type coach, since the day I was with him with the Royals. To see him emotional as he was walking out on the field … the World Series mattered to him. Living mattered more.”

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Erin Coates was an editor for The Western Journal for over two years before becoming a news writer. A University of Oregon graduate, Erin has conducted research in data journalism and contributed to various publications as a writer and editor.
Erin Coates was an editor for The Western Journal for over two years before becoming a news writer. She grew up in San Diego, California, proceeding to attend the University of Oregon and graduate with honors holding a degree in journalism. During her time in Oregon, Erin was an associate editor for Ethos Magazine and a freelance writer for Eugene Magazine. She has conducted research in data journalism, which has been published in the book “Data Journalism: Past, Present and Future.” Erin is an avid runner with a heart for encouraging young girls and has served as a coach for the organization Girls on the Run. As a writer and editor, Erin strives to promote social dialogue and tell the story of those around her.
Tucson, Arizona
Graduated with Honors
Bachelor of Arts in Journalism, University of Oregon
Books Written
Contributor for Data Journalism: Past, Present and Future
Prescott, Arizona
Languages Spoken
English, French
Topics of Expertise
Politics, Health, Entertainment, Faith