Astros fans mourn mustached super-fan Valentin Jalomo
Astros fans mourn Minute Maid Park mainstay Valentin Jalomo
Valetin Jalomo, a retired bilingual teacher who became a popular mainstay renowned for his bodacious mustache at Minute Maid Park, lost his battle with Covid on Tuesday.
His family announced his passing on social media on Tuesday.
Jalomo spent much of his free time watching his beloved Astros, especially after he retired from teaching in 2002. He began watching Astros game at the Astrodome in 1965, but his popularity grew when he was a member of slugger Carlos Lee’s fan group, Los Caballitos.
People from all over the world made pilgrimages to the Minute Maid Park concourse behind left-center field for more than a decade to see Jalomo.
They would come from as far away as China and India and as close as the home clubhouse in search of the man with the impressive mustache, Panama cowboy hat and orange Astros jersey with No. 17 and “Jalomo” on the back.
Whether they were a $100 million slugger like Lee or a fan attending a game for the first time, Jalomo greeted them all the same. He had a ready smile for everybody. And a hug and a pose too for the thousands of fans who asked to pose with him for a photo.
Jaloma, a retired bilingual teacher, was a major part of the Astros’ extended family. All-Star Alex Bregman even sent him a video wishing him well recently.
With a bodacious mustache, he drew plenty of airtime, especially during the postseason. That large following sent out a call for prayers after the 81-year-old was reportedly admitted into a local hospital with Covid-19 and pneumonia.
Hundreds of fans have wished him well on social media. Many of them shared pictures with Jalomo.
The outpouring of support and collection of pictures wasn’t surprising. And it was appreciated, too. “Thank you,” he said via text from his hospital room multiple times.
On Saturday, he even said he was “feeling a little better.”
He leaves countless fans and friends
Many were able to take pictures with him.
Everybody, it seems, had wanted a picture with Jalomo’s impressive mustache, which curled like a handlebar twisting into fine points.
Jalomo had attended Astros games since the Astrodome opened in 1965. He had season tickets in the top deck at Minute Maid Park, but he preferred to stand on the concourse behind left-center field.
Valentin Jalomo was part of Los Caballitos
That was his post since the 2007 season, when he gained a cult following as a member of “Los Caballitos” fan group that galloped on stick horses after each home run by “El Caballo,” Lee.
Lee once presented Jalomo with an autographed bat.
“One year (Lee) even paid for all our season tickets,” Jalomo said before a game at the 2019 World Series.
He was often surrounded by fans during the 2019 postseason all the way through Game 7 of the World Series against the Nationals.
He loved Bregman, Altuve, Verlander
Jose Altuve, Bregman and Justin Verlander were his three favorite Astros in 2019. He said there were too many to name when asked to name his all-time favorite Astros.
When pressed, he named Jose Cruz, Jimmy Wynn and Joe Morgan.
He had seen plenty of Astros baseball over the years. He was in attendance at the Astrodome on Sept. 26, 1981, when Nolan Ryan threw his fifth no-hitter. That game was among his top three favorite memories as a fan.
He actually saw two Astros no-hitters at the Astrodome and one at Minute Maid Park.
The last time Jalomo cut his mustache, Lee hadn’t even been born and Ryan was playing for the California Angels in 1975. He styled the mustache with hairspray.
“It takes me about an hour or so,” he said during the 2019 playoffs. “Like 30 minutes (each side).”
“People from all over the world come here (for a picture with Jalomo),” he said. “From China, Japan, India, Pakistan, you name it. Mexico, the same way.”
Rest in peace, my friend.
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