Central Missouri retires Crane's jersey number

Central Missouri retires Crane's jersey number

KISSIMMEE, Fla. -- Astros owner Jim Crane had his college baseball jersey No. 24 retired Friday by his alma mater, the University of Central Missouri. Crane is the first Central Missouri baseball player to have his number retired in program history.

Crane was a standout baseball player at Central Missouri, where he played for the Mules from 1973-76. He went 21-8 with a career 2.42 ERA and still ranks atop the Central Missouri career leaderboard in complete games (23) and shutouts (seven) while ranking third in strikeouts (215). He also holds the Mules' single-game strikeout record of 18, which is also a Division II College World Series record. In 1997, Crane was inducted into the University of Central Missouri Athletic Hall of Fame.

Crane was in Warrensburg, Mo., as Central Missouri officially dedicated the new artificial playing surface at Crane Stadium/Tompkins Field in a pregame ceremony prior to its home opener against Pittsburg State. The new synthetic playing surface was made possible by a gift from Crane.

Crane committed this gift on his visit to the Warrensburg campus last October while in the area during the American League Division Series against the Kansas City Royals. The Mules' stadium is called James R. Crane Stadium at Robert N. Tompkins Field and was renovated in the spring of 1998, thanks primarily to funding from Crane.

Brian McTaggart is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Tag's Lines. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.