An A-list lineup of past Astros stars turn out to honor a true original.

The old gang: Craig Biggio, Dennis Liborio, Mike Hampton.

Working for one company for 32 years is no small feat, but to be in one spot for so long and be loved by just about everyone you worked with should come with some sort of badge of honor.

That’s how it is for Dennis Liborio, the Astros’ longtime clubhouse manager who retired from his post with the Astros several weeks ago. It was a sad goodbye for generations of colleagues, but the party celebrating his colorful career was in no short supply of laughter, friendship and, as an added bonus, star power.

On Monday, dozens of players whom Liborio looked after during his three-plus decades of service as the all-knowing “key master” of the Astros inner-world flocked to Damian’s Cucina Italiana to pay tribute. The soiree, organized by Astros travel chief Barry Waters and hosted by Frankie Mandola, Dan and Susan Sessions and many friends from the Texas Italian American Sports Foundation, featured an A-list guest list rife with stars from nearly every decade of Astros baseball.

Nolan Ryan, Art Howe, Larry Andersen, Craig Biggio, Jeff Bagwell, Phil Garner, Jose Cruz, Charley Kerfeld, John Hudek, Mike Hampton, Woody Williams, Bob Aspromonte, Enos Cabell, and on and on. The broadcasting side was represented by television announcers Bill Brown, who emceed the event, and Jim Deshaies, also a Dennis favorite from the mid-80s Astros. A slew of executives past and present were also peppered in the crowd, including Gerry Hunsicker and Tal Smith. Even one umpire – Joe West — joined the party.

It was like a class reunion, only with much cooler people.

The tributes and stories flowed freely from the crowd of nearly 120, as the did the vino, compliments of Firriato Sicilian Wines. Donations were welcome, with proceeds going to the newly-named Dennis Liborio Texas Italian American Sports Foundation Scholarship. The Astros kicked in $5,000 as a tribute to their long-time employee.

Brownie emceed the speech portion of the evening.

Jose Cruz, Nolan Ryan, Liborio, Charley Kerfeld.

Liborio and Ryan, friends for three decades and counting.

Liborio, Kerfeld.

Andersen, not surprisingly, had quite a few funny Dennis stories to share.

Lifelong friends and laughter. Is there anything better?

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7 Comments

It was a real pleasure for this old lady of 82 to see the group of former Astros. Thank you Allyson for the A-List of Past Astros stars turn out to honor a true original.

Yes it is really an unusual thing to work for one company that long. I can relate as i spent 50 years for one company and retired two years ago, not by choice of mine. I loved working and doing something to that produced a quality product everyday. Cameron Iron Works, Cooper, Wyamn-Gordon and PCC. The name changed put the quality work never did.

Everyone is having such a fun time. This is the best of the best! Congratulations to Dennis and only good wishes being sent his way!

Great story, Directrix. Gonna be strange packing the truck next week without him, huh? Best wishes to Dennis.
Peace from the Great NorthWet.

Just looking at that group of guys, you can’t help but remember what an AWESOME
team they made! What a neat trip down memory lane! Thanks Alyson :) Becky

No Allen Ashby.
Maybe the new owner can bring him back.

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