John McClain: Astros pitchers share in Mattress Mack’s success

John McClain: Astros pitchers share in Mattress Mack’s success

Mattress Mack knows how to throw a party!

Jim “Mattress Mack” McIngvale brought four Astros pitchers – Cristian Javier, Luis Garcia, Hector Neris, and Rafael Montero – to Gallery Furniture’s flagship store on Sunday night to meet customers who had purchased at least $3,000 worth of furniture that would be “free, free, free” if the Astros won the World Series.

And they did, beating the Phillies in six games for their second World Series title in six seasons.

Not only did Mack win $75 million – the largest payout to an individual in U.S. history – but he needed a wheelbarrow to bring in $10 million in cash to distribute to everyone who participated in his promotion that received nationwide publicity.

And he needed help from Neris to push the $10 million through the doors for fans who lined every pathway through Gallery Furniture’s 100,000-foot showroom floor.

Leave it to Mattress Mack to give his customers more than they bargained for. Rather than write a check and mail it to them, Mack wanted the event to be special for those who stormed the store to buy furniture, including mattresses, to take part in his World Series promotion.

“I brought in the players so Gallery Furniture team members could say thank you to these incredible Astros for making our city so proud,” Mack said. “Also, bringing in Astro players was a great way so our win-it-all customers could take a picture with the players and create a lifetime memory.

“A picture is worth a thousand words. An experience is worth a thousand pictures. The idea is for the players, customers, and Gallery Furniture team members to have a great experience.”

And they did.

Naturally, Mack had to bring in a lot of security because traffic along the I-45 access road was jam-packed, like 5 p.m. rush hour. Security made sure everything was as orderly as possible, and the event came off as smoothly as could be expected.

Excited customers waited patiently before the highlight of the night – Neris assisting Mack with the $10 million in cash.

“He loves our team and believes in our team,” Neris said. “That’s so impressive for myself and my teammates. I wouldn’t do it (bet $10 million), but God bless him.”

Before they joined Mack on the showroom floor, the Astros participated in a session with the media. Montero, who has agreed to a three-year contract worth $34.5 million, said he’d be getting a physical on Monday and then sign the contract that means the Astros’ bullpen – the best and deepest in Major League Baseball – will be back.

Montero, 32, had the best season of his career and was rewarded by owner Jim Crane after appearing in 71 games with 14 saves and a 2.37 ERA during the season. In 10 playoff appearances, he posted a 1.93 ERA.

“I’ve been celebrating a lot,” Montero said through an interpreter about winning the World Series and agreeing to a new contract. “It means a lot to me because I come from a poor family, and I can provide a better life for my family.

“I thank God and Mr. Crane for this opportunity. I’m very grateful.”

Now Crane has to hire a new general manager. He and former GM James Click couldn’t agree on a new contract. Crane also will try to re-sign pitcher Justin Verlander, who opted out of his $25 million contract for 2023.

Each of the players at Gallery Furniture said they were excited manager Dusty Baker signed a new one-year contract to return next season.

“He brings leadership, but he also brings happiness to the team,” Javier said through an interpreter. “Everybody trusts him and will follow him.”

Added Garcia, “We’re happy about Dusty coming back to the team. He’s our leader, the boss. He won his first World Series, and we’re really happy for him.”

The Astros were asked about their goal of becoming the first World Series winner to repeat as champion since the Yankees won three in a row (1998-2000).

“It’s a very difficult thing to do to win it twice in a row,” Garcia said. “We need to be on the same page every day, work hard and try to win every game.”

The Astros finished 106-56 and compiled an 11-2 record in the playoffs. They swept the Mariners in the ALDS and the Yankees in the ALCS.

They have the deepest pitching staff in MLB, even if Verlander signs with another team. They could have the best bullpen again.

In 2022, the Astros’ bullpen had an MLB-best 2.80 ERA. In 54 1/3 innings in the playoffs, their ERA was 0.83 – best in history for relievers with at least 35 innings.

Barring the kind of serious injuries the Astros were able to avoid this season – other than Michael Brantley’s back surgery – they should be poised to make a run at winning their third World Series in seven years.

“I can say to come with the same passion,” Neris said about what it takes to repeat. “Be hungry and follow the same routine. Be together, stand shoulder to shoulder with Dusty, and try to win every day like we did this year.

“If a bad day happens, it can’t affect the team the next day. Try to eliminate the mistakes. Try to come together like family. Prepare your mind and your body to come in to win. The whole team will come to win again, but only God knows what’s going to happen next year.”

Each of the Astros expressed gratitude for the fans who’ve supported them through thick and thin.

“I’m happy for the town,” said Neris, who came to Houston this season from Philadelphia. “I’m happy for my teammates. I know the big burden they’ve been carrying for several years, and with this win, it pretty much proves to the world that we’re champions.”

“Thanks to God and hard work, we were able to give a championship to Houston.”

(John McClain writes four columns a week for He can be heard Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday on Sports Radio 610 and Monday and Thursday on Texans Radio. He does three weekly Houtopia podcasts for 610. He also can be read three times a week on

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