Oswalt’s impact reaches River City|[10/26/05]

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Roy Oswalt, the pitching superstar from tiny Weir, a town of fewer than 600 between Starkville and Kosciusko, may have been destined to star for the Houston Astros.

After all, not many players’ grandfathers are named Houston.

&#8220Isn’t that something that Roy would pitch for Houston and that was the name of his granddaddy, and my uncle,” Roy’s first cousin and Vicksburg resident Randy Oswalt said as he watched his cousin retire the Chicago White Sox in the first inning of Game 3 of the World Series from his den at his home off Great Lake Road.

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Randy Oswalt has been watching every minute of this World Series, but Tuesday’s game was a little more intense with Roy on the hill.

In the second inning, Randy gets a call from a neighbor, Richard Stuart, who invites him over to watch the game on his big screen TV just down the road.

By the time he arrives, the Astros are extending a 1-0 first inning lead to 2-0. Things are looking good. Roy Oswalt has a good third inning, keeping the White Sox off the board.

&#8220They were making a big deal out of the roof being open, but Roy has that determined look. I’ve been at his mother’s house, watching Roy pitch, and she is just wonderful. She can tell just what Roy is thinking by watching his facial expressions, but the way she does it, it’s really comical,” Randy relates.

Randy has seen Roy pitch live twice this year. Once was in Houston and the other, this past summer, in Arlington against the Texas Rangers.

&#8220It was real hot but Roy pitched great and won 1-0,” Randy said of his cousin.

Yet following his famous cousin is not what Randy and his wife do for his retirement. Randy, 67, maintains a busy life, helping senior citizens with their fitness. He helped develop Sta-fit, an elastic exercise tool that helps tone both the upper and lower body. He does several fitness seminars in New Orleans and on cruises for seniors.

When he’s not working, he visits family and that’s how he keeps in touch with the rest of the Oswalt clan in Weir.

&#8220I get back to Weir twice a year, mainly to see one of my aunts,” he said. He also runs into Billy Joe, Jean, Roy, and his wife, Nicole.

As a child, Randy used to visit his cousin Billy Joe, Roy’s father, and uncle, Houston, in Weir. Randy landed in Vicksburg while Billy Joe married Jean and stayed in Weir.

&#8220Roy just built a house in Weir. It’s on 40 acres on land owned by his granddad, Houston. The last time I saw him in person was in Ackerman when he was getting insurance for his truck.

&#8220His daughter had just been born and my granddaughter had just been born, we talked about that. Family is a priority to us. When we were in Houston, we were there to visit our daughter, the game was kind of secondary. The one in Arlington came about because we were there for a wedding in Dallas,” Randy said.

In the bottom of the third, Oswalt drops down a sacrifice bunt, moving an Astro runner to second. Craig Biggio later drives in the runner to make it 3-0.

&#8220Roy knew he needed to work on his bunting, good thing he got that one down,” Randy says.

Roy Oswalt did not get the win Tuesday night and the series can be concluded this evening if the Chicago White Sox can beat the Astros in Game 4 of the series.

Oswalt has already earned the National League Championship Most Valuable Player trophy, which is sitting at his parents’ home in Weir. The trophy was awarded to Roy after the Astros defeated the St. Louis Cardinals.

&#8220He gave the award to his dad, thanking him for not missing a game, when Roy was younger. Billy Joe would log 12 hours a day, but would go out and watch Roy play baseball at night,” Randy said.