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Refugio’s Dan Firova Honored at Corpus Christi Hooks Winter Banquet | advosports

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Coaching for the World Championships seemed like a pipe dream for Dan Firova.

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Firova watched the matches on TV and couldn’t help but notice when the commentators would show off their World Series rings.

“I remember thinking how cool it would be to have one of those rings, man,” Firova said on the phone from his home in Laredo. “I was always in Mexico and I never thought I would get the chance. I was really old and in my 60s and still training there.”

Firova’s dream became a reality this season when the Astros defeated the Philadelphia Phillies to win the World Series.

Firova, 66, is in his second season as the Astros’ quality control coach and was excited to share the title with manager Dusty Baker, who gave him his first shot at the big leagues as coach of the Washington Nationals.

“The World Series has been a journey in itself,” he said of the 2021 series when the Astros lost to the Atlanta Braves. “I kept pinching myself. It was such a disappointment that we didn’t win. I started to think I’d never get that chance again because they don’t come around often. But we came back this year and we won it and it’s just been a great ride, beautiful.”

Ferova will be honored for his long baseball career when he receives a lifetime achievement award at the South Texas Winter Baseball Banquet on Thursday, January 26, at the Omni Hotel in Corpus Christi.

“It’s just an honor,” Firova said. “I am very appreciative of being recognized by the people in my hometown and my neighborhood. I am glad that they know what I have accomplished in my career.”

Firova played football, basketball, and baseball in high school in Refugio, where he lost his pinky finger on his right hand during his freshman year in a convenience store accident.

But he played baseball at Coastal Bend College and Texas Pan American before being drafted in the second round by the Seattle Mariners.

Firova played seven games with the Mariners before playing five seasons in the minor leagues and heading to Mexico after playing one game with the Cleveland Indians.

Firova has spent nearly three decades in Mexico playing, coaching, and logging countless miles on bus trips.

He managed 10 different teams and won 3 championships, while recording the most wins of any non-native coach in Mexican League history.

Baker hired Firova when he became manager of the Nationals in 2016. Firova was with the national team for two seasons before moving back to Mexico when Baker was released by the team.

Firova got his chance with the Astros in 2021 after Chris Spear retired and called Baker again.

His duties include batting practice, reporting on penning ability for opposing players, and ensuring bench players are ready late in the game.

“I love the game,” Firova said. “As long as they want me there, I am willing to work and do whatever I can for as long as I can. There have been a lot of long bus rides. But it has been a blessing and I am grateful.”

Notes: Refugio’s Krystal Rodriguez and Chadriana Callis will be honored for being selected to the South Texas High School Softball All-Star Team… Juliad Colby Rosenquist will be honored for being selected to the South Texas High School Softball All-Star Team… For ticket information, Call Corpus Christi Hooks at 361-561-4665.

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