Gurriel’s 7 RBI are 2nd Best in Astros History

September 22, 2018

J.R. Towles set the Astros franchise record by banging out 8 RBI in an 18-1 win over the Cardinals on 9/20/2007. ~ Last night, Yuli Gurriel bagged 7 RBI in an 11-3 win over the Angels for the 2nd best one-game mark in team history.

Baseball is a game of almost all possibility ~ that we go to see in the hope of witnessing one of those great moments of supreme improbability as it materializes and comes to be ~ in the face of our watching ~ as it incredibly unfolds before our astonished-since-early-childhood eyes ~ and in ways that prompt reactions within us which range all the way from quiet simple pleasure to full-blown hysterical euphoria.

We Astros fans had one of those moments at Minute Maid Park Friday night, September 21, 2018. Astros first baseman Yuli Gurriel had a 7-RBI night on a first inning grand slam, a third inning two-run homer, and a fifth inning single-run RBI of a runner from third base from a runners at first and third situation.

Those seven RBI were enough to plate all of the Astros’ first scores on their way to an 11-3 trouncing of the LA Angels on a night in which Gerrit Cole pitched great over a seven-inning course that also produced 12 strikeouts.

Had Gurriel managed the Ruthian-level improbable, and made that third trip to the plate a 3-run homer, he would have claimed 9 RBIs on the night – thus besting the current all time record of 8 one game RBIs, set by former short term Astros catcher J.R. Towles on September 20, 2007 – almost 11 years to this date earlier than the Gurriel new second place challenge record.

(See how it so often happens with these BIG improbables? – Even when they materialize, we continue to think of ways they might have been improved. Had Gurriel managed 4, 2, and 3 runner homers in his first three times up, we probably would have moved up the expectation dial just a tad and started hoping to see a bases-empty shot on his fourth AB – you know – just to be able to say that we had seen Gurriel hit for the cycle of all HR RBI possibilities in a single game.)

Back to planet earth. What follows is a brief AP clipping account of the J.R. Towles record game, plus a link to the box score of the Towles 8 RBI game, plus the usual up-to-date material we try to cover here about the current AL West title chase.

Have a great weekend, everybody, and don’t forget to watch today’s Angels @ Astros game because – “you never know.”

The J.R. Towles 8-RBI in One Game Record Moment:

September 21, 2007 (AP) Colorado Springs Gazette, Page 65:

Houston 18 St. Louis 1 (Thursday, September 20, 2007)

At St. Louis, Houston rookie Justin Towles went 4-for-4 with a franchise-record eight RBIs and the Astros reached season highs in runs and hits.

Behind a 23-hit attack, the Astros won for the fifth time in 15 games and surpassed their previous best for runs (15) and hits (22) established Sunday against the Pirates (September 16, 2007). The Cardinals, last year’s World Series champions, have lost 13 of 15 in a September swoon.

Link to Baseball Almanac.com Box Score of Houston 18 St. Louis 1 Game:

http://www.baseball-almanac.com/box-scores/boxscore.php?boxid=200709200SLN

********************

Top Ten AL Batting Averages 

Thru Games of Fri., 9/21/18: 

BATTING AVERAGE

1. Betts • BOS ~ .339

2. Martinez • BOS ~ .330

3. Trout • LAA ~ .316

4. Altuve • HOU ~ .314

********************

AL WEST SCORES, 

Thru Fri., 9/21/18:

Houston 11 – LA Angels 3.

Oakland 7 – Minnesota 6.

Texas 8 – Seattle 3.

 ********************

AL WEST STANDINGS

Morning of Sat., 9/22/18

TEAMS

WON

LOST

PCT.

GB

Houston

96

57

.628

 —-

Oakland

93

61

.604

   3.5

Seattle

84

69

.549

 12.0

LA Angels

75

79

.487

 21.5

Texas

65

88

.421

 31.0

********************

SCHEDULE BALANCE FOR

HOU, OAK & SEA:

DATE

HOU

OAK

SEA

9/22

LAA

MIN

@TEX

9/23

LAA

MIN

@TEX

9/24

@TOR

@SEA

OAK

9/25

@TOR

@SEA

OAK

9/26

@TOR

@SEA

OAK

9/27

@BAL

TEX

9/28

@BAL

@LAA

TEX

9/29

@BAL

@LAA

TEX

9/30

@BAL

@LAA

TEX

 

********************

Bill McCurdy

Principal Writer, Editor, Publisher

The Pecan Park Eagle

Oakland “Raiders” Way Back into Hunt

September 21, 2018

“Listen up, Lunk Heads! The A’s won a game by 21-3 over the Angels last night! ~ If we can’t do better than that this weekend playing football, we are going to be the unfunny laughing stock of Oakland, California!”

Winning big at home by the football score of 21-3 over the LA Angels on Thursday, the Oakland A’s have battled back to within 3.5 games of the Houston Astros in the AL West with only nine games left on the schedule. Maybe a closer look at the A’s bench would have revealed that A’s manager Bob Melvin had drafted Oakland’s NFL Raiders skipper John Gruden as his baseball bench coach for a miraculous stretch run.

We Astros fans hope not, but we also hope that what the A’s did yesterday at least rings a bell that’s loud enough to awaken our own offense against the Angels, who had to take that beating Thursday before getting on a plane and flying to Houston for the rested Astros’ final 3-game home series of the 2018 season, starting tonight. With any luck, our guys could run into some tired Angel bullpen arms. It also will not register well either if we fall back into our often seen home range of a 0 to 2 runs game at home.

It’s also important that our Astros start making an offensive statement of their own. The season ends a week from this coming Sunday on November 30, 2018. This is no time to lose our grip on this always rare opportunity.

And left’s face it. If the Astros win it all again this year, they are going to have to do it without their ordained offensive trinity of Altuve, Springer or Correa having the kind of lights out year they each enjoyed as young and uninjured players. You know the story. All have been injured this year and none have played as well this season, either before or after getting hurt. Altuve probably will finish in the low .300s; Springer seems headed for the .260s, about 13-18 points down from last year; and Correa is off the cliff down, with an average of .238 – or .077 points down from his final total of .315 in 2017. Correa has the kind of back injury that will keep him from recovery until (if or when) he regains the flexibility to reach those low outside pitches that the league now knows he can no longer reach in time.

Other than that, Bregman, Gurriel, Gonzales, White, Reddick, Gattis, McCann, and Kemp all need to pick up the tempo of the lost offense that took us all the way last year. It would be a double shame to lose because we couldn’t offensively support the great pitching staff that Astros GM Jeff Luhnow has put together this year. 

The lack of an early offense has been really rough on Astros starters. Too often, our starters have been forced to high pinch count their ways through five qualifying innings, just to hang in the hunt for a 1-0 or 2-1 win, if the lead holds. Other times, when the low one-run difference favors the other team early, the departing Astros starter just gets hung with the loss. With a steadier stream of high early scoring, this 2018 Astros club could have 2 to 3 guys closing in on 20-win seasons, instead of none.

********************

Top Ten AL Batting Averages 

Thru Games of Thu., 9/20/18: 

BATTING AVERAGE

1. Betts • BOS ~ .334

2. Martinez • BOS ~ .331

3. Trout • LAA ~ .317

4. Altuve • HOU ~ .315

********************

AL WEST SCORES, 

Thru Thu., 9/20/18:

Houston (Did not play.)

Oakland 21 – LA Angels 3.

Seattle (Did not play.)

Texas (Did not play.)

 ********************

AL WEST STANDINGS

Morning of Fri., 9/21/18

TEAMS

WON

LOST

PCT.

GB

Houston

95

57

.625

 —-

Oakland

92

61

.601

   3.5

Seattle

84

68

.553

 11.0

LA Angels

75

78

.490

 20.5

Texas

64

88

.421

 31.0

********************

SCHEDULE BALANCE FOR

HOU, OAK & SEA:

DATE

HOU

OAK

SEA

9/21

LAA

MIN

@TEX

9/22

LAA

MIN

@TEX

9/23

LAA

MIN

@TEX

9/24

@TOR

@SEA

OAK

9/25

@TOR

@SEA

OAK

9/26

@TOR

@SEA

OAK

9/27

@BAL

TEX

9/28

@BAL

@LAA

TEX

9/29

@BAL

@LAA

TEX

9/30

@BAL

@LAA

TEX

 

********************

Bill McCurdy

Principal Writer, Editor, Publisher

The Pecan Park Eagle

More-Famous-Elsewhere Houston MLB All Stars

September 20, 2018

 

1950 Phillies
Looks Right!

I remember it well. It was 1965 and I had just picked up an early Astros game over the radio in New Orleans. “What do they mean, “Houston pitcher Robin Roberts looks in for

1965 Astros
Looks Wrong!

the sign?” ~ I still had failed to get used to the sound of Robin Roberts’ name being spoken as a pitcher for our newly re-christened Astros. The guy was the crown jewel pitcher for the 1950 Philadelphia Phillies club they called “The Whiz Kids.” ~ These Houston Astros were closer as a match to being a club that might qualify in 1965 by Roberts’ current age of 38 for re-designation as “The Wheeze Kids”.

The following is simply a nine-man roster of former Houston MLB players who were far more famous for their big league work elsewhere. Four of them (Roberts, Rodriquez, Fox, and Mathews) were even great enough to make the Baseball Hall of Fame.

 

The More-Famous-Elsewhere Houston MLB All Stars

Pitcher ~ Robin Roberts

Catcher ~ Ivan Rodriguez

1st Base ~ Pete Runnels

2nd Base ~ Nellie Fox

3rd Base ~ Eddie Mathews

Shortstop ~ Felix Mantilla

Left Field ~ Tommy Davis

Center Field ~ Tommy Agee

Right Field ~ Willie Crawford

********************

Top Ten AL Batting Averages 

Thru Games of Wed., 9/19/18: 

BATTING AVERAGE

1. Betts • BOS ~ .334

2. Martinez • BOS ~ .331

3. Trout • LAA ~ .317

4. Altuve • HOU ~ .315

********************

AL WEST SCORES, 

Thru Wed., 9/19/18:

Seattle 9 – Houston 0.

Oakland 10 – LA Angels 0.

Tampa Bay 9 – Rangers 3.

 ********************

AL WEST STANDINGS

Morning of Thu., 9/20/18

TEAMS

WON

LOST

PCT.

GB

Houston

95

57

.625

 —-

Oakland

91

61

.599

   4.0

Seattle

84

68

.553

 11.0

LA Angels

75

77

.493

 20.0

Texas

64

88

.421

 31.0

********************

SCHEDULE BALANCE FOR

HOU, OAK & SEA:

DATE

HOU

OAK

SEA

9/20

LAA

9/21

LAA

MIN

@TEX

9/22

LAA

MIN

@TEX

9/23

LAA

MIN

@TEX

9/24

@TOR

@SEA

OAK

9/25

@TOR

@SEA

OAK

9/26

@TOR

@SEA

OAK

9/27

@BAL

TEX

9/28

@BAL

@LAA

TEX

9/29

@BAL

@LAA

TEX

9/30

@BAL

@LAA

TEX

 

********************

Bill McCurdy

Principal Writer, Editor, Publisher

The Pecan Park Eagle

The MLB One-Game Cup-of-Coffee Club

September 19, 2018
blank-gravestone-granite-headstone-cartoon

To Be Inscribed on the Featured Marker: “Here Rests John Doe, The Only Man to Appear in a Big League Game After His Own Death. ~ To Find Out How, Read The Pecan Park Eagle.”

I watched “Field of Dreams” for the first time in a long while the other day. And I was reminded of Burt Lancaster’s brief, but beautiful job of romanticizing Moonlight Graham as the cornfield comeback player who gives up his spot on the most heavenly diamond that is Iowa to save the little girl from choking to death. It was almost enough to make me feel sorry for the former New York Giant who only got to play a half inning in the outfield on 6-29-1905 as his full MLB career without ever getting a chance for a big league time at bat. I say “almost” ~ even still care about the man’s legend. It’s simply that I’m a little more knowledgeable today of how large the One MLB Game Cup-of-Coffee Club truly is. ~ 1,531 men have played one-game MLB careers, including one I was privileged to get to know a little bit during the last chapter of his ninety plus years lifetime. Others beyond Graham also suffered deprivations from their own limited big league time.

Buddy Hancken

Buddy Hancken

The following two links make for some interesting perusals. Check out all the guys who got to play, but never bat, in their one-game moments. As a New York player, it figures that Moonlight Graham’s deprivation would receive more critical attention than most, but he was not alone. I remember the late Buddy Hancken, also a former Astros coach, tellling me of his own one game MLB experience. While he was briefly with the Philadelphia Athletics, coming in once to catch the bottom of the 9th of a 9-7 A’s win at Cleveland on 5-14-1940. but never getting into another game in which he might’ve had a chance to bat. One more time ~ why isn’t Buddy Hancken as well known today as Moonlight Graham? That’s right. ~ Hancken played in Philadelphia. Graham played in New York.

********************

The One-Gamer Charts

999 Batters with One-Game MLB Careers (1st Link),

532 Pitchers with One-Game MLB Careers (2nd Link):

Batters with only one career game in the majors 

Pitchers with only one career game in the majors

******************

I did not find anyone, other than Larry Yount, who came into MLB as a pitcher who didn’t actually pitch to a single batter ~ or participate through a single play in the field ~ as a one-game wonder. All Yount did was injure his arm warming up prior to the game, forcing his removal after being announced as the pitcher of record in the game that was being played between Atlanta and Houston on 9-15-1971.

Goose Bump Territory

Larry Yount may be best remembered as the human being who first innocently found a non-demeaning way to “get something for nothing!” The man gained eternal recognition as a former big leaguer without actually doing anything more than qualifying by an MLB rule covering the status of players who are announced as game participants but then cannot play ~ for whatever reason. Once you’re announced, you’re in the game, whether you actually ever get there or not.

In other words ….

If Larry Yount had been struck dead by lightning while warming up for his announced relief pitcher appearance, he could have been the only dead man in baseball history to have become a participant in an MLB game that did not actually start until after he died.

How is that for a real goose-bumper conclusion?

********************

Top Ten AL Batting Averages 

Through Games of Tue., 9/18/18: 

BATTING AVERAGE

1. Betts • BOS ~ .337

2. Martinez • BOS ~ .328

3. Trout • LAA ~ .319

4. Altuve • HOU ~ .316

********************

AL WEST SCORES, 

Thru Tue., 9/18/18:

Houston 7 – Seattle 0.

LA Angels 9 – Oakland 7.

Tampa Bay 4 – Rangers 0.

 ********************

AL WEST STANDINGS

Morning of Wed., 9/19/18

TEAMS

WON

LOST

PCT.

GB

Houston

95

56

.629

 —-

Oakland

90

61

.596

   5.0

Seattle

83

68

.550

 12.0

LA Angels

75

76

.497

 20.0

Texas

64

87

.424

 31.0

********************

SCHEDULE BALANCE FOR

HOU, OAK & SEA:

DATE

HOU

OAK

SEA

9/19

SEA

LAA

@HOU

9/20

LAA

9/21

LAA

MIN

@TEX

9/22

LAA

MIN

@TEX

9/23

LAA

MIN

@TEX

9/24

@TOR

@SEA

OAK

9/25

@TOR

@SEA

OAK

9/26

@TOR

@SEA

OAK

9/27

@BAL

TEX

9/28

@BAL

@LAA

TEX

9/29

@BAL

@LAA

TEX

9/30

@BAL

@LAA

TEX

 

********************

Bill McCurdy

Principal Writer, Editor, Publisher

The Pecan Park Eagle

 

The Ecstasy and the Agony of Baseball

September 18, 2018

“I had to hit that pinch hit grand slam against the Astros last night! – With my season stats at Seattle, I was well on the way to being out the door and back to living in a van ~ down by the river!” ~ Dan Vogelbach (not Chris Farley)

The Ecstasy of Marisnick and the Agony 0f Vogelbach

That sums up how we got to feel it in Houston last night. It was Seattle’s turn to feel the happy ending version of the same script. For our rendition here, it was a tale of a few 8th inning numbered pitches.

TOP OF THE 8TH, Hector Rondon now pitching, Astros still holding on to the 1-0 lead they’ve precariously protected from the Bottom of the 4th inning ~ to this moment. ~ Here’s what happened in a nutshell of pitches:

SEATTLE BATTING …. Hector Rondon pitching his first inning in relief for Houston:

Pitch #2: Lefty Nelson Cruz laces a single to center field.

Kristopher Negron enters as a pinch runner at 1st for Cruz.

Pitch #4: RHB Ryon Kelly is retired on a diving shoestring catch in center by Jake Marisnick!

Pitch #6: LHB Kyle Seager dumps a dying quail single to left field as Negron moves to 2nd.

LHB Robinson Canoe enters as pinch hitter for Cameron Maybin.

Pitch #8: Robinson Can is retired on a second diving shoestring catch in center by Jeff Marisnick!

Pitch #12 : On a 1-2 pitch, Denard Span takes an arguably missed strike to call to go 2-2 in the count.

Pitch #14: Span walks; Seager to 2nd; Negron to 3rd; bases loaded!

LHB Dan Vogelbach enters as a pinch hitter for Guillermo Heredia.

Pitch #17: Vogelbach hits a grooved middle-of-the-plate Grand Slam HR into the Astros RCF bullpen.

The Mariners take a 4-1 that will hold up as the final, most disappointing-in-Houston final score! The fielding heroics of Jake Marisnick are wasted and lost as a legend with a happy ending! The chance for Houston to expand its lead over 2nd place Oakland is gone for the day! And now one of the club’s deadly late game relievers has to both put this game’s outcome on short memory while he tries his hardest to remember that waist-high over the middle of the plate is no place to deliver a fastball ~ especially when the other team has the bases-loaded and he’s trying to hold on to a one-run lead late in the game.

********************

Top Ten AL Batting Averages 

Through Games of Mon., 9/17/18: 

BATTING AVERAGE

1. Betts • BOS ~ .337

2. Martinez • BOS ~ .328

3. Trout • LAA ~ .3181

4. Altuve • HOU ~ .3179

********************

AL WEST SCORES, 

Thru Mon., 9/17/18:

Seattle 4 – Houston 1.

Tampa Bay 3 – Rangers 0.

 LA Angels (did not play).

Oakland (did not play).

********************

AL WEST STANDINGS

Morning of Tue., 9/18/18

TEAMS

WON

LOST

PCT.

GB

Houston

94

56

.627

 —-

Oakland

90

60

.600

   4.0

Seattle

83

67

.553

 11.0

LA Angels

74

76

.493

 20.0

Texas

64

86

.427

 30.0

********************

SCHEDULE BALANCE FOR

HOU, OAK & SEA:

DATE

HOU

OAK

SEA

9/18

SEA

LAA

@HOU

9/19

SEA

LAA

@HOU

9/20

LAA

9/21

LAA

MIN

@TEX

9/22

LAA

MIN

@TEX

9/23

LAA

MIN

@TEX

9/24

@TOR

@SEA

OAK

9/25

@TOR

@SEA

OAK

9/26

@TOR

@SEA

OAK

9/27

@BAL

TEX

9/28

@BAL

@LAA

TEX

9/29

@BAL

@LAA

TEX

9/30

@BAL

@LAA

TEX

 

********************

Bill McCurdy

Principal Writer, Editor, Publisher

The Pecan Park Eagle

Other Buff Stadium Idiosyncrasies

September 17, 2018

Buff Stadium in Houston; Looking in from Center Field in the 1950s.

Other Buff Stadium Idiosyncrasies

Buff Stadium was the home of the Houston Buffalos/Buffs from 1928 through 1961. My discovery of the place, courtesy of my father, did not occur until 1947, when he took both 9-year old me and my 5-year old brother John to this local baseball cathedral to be absorbed into the magic of baseball, from then to eternity for me.

The other we wrote of the architectural adornments of the basilica. Today we will hit upon some of the other sensory immersions that anyone from that time and space who actually went inside would experience, whether these took hold of their souls or not:

  1. The turnstile clank. You couldn’t miss it. The sound it made as you walked through and registered your 9-year old presence clearly stated ~ “Clank! The kid made it spin! Let him in! Let him in!”
  2. The food fragrances. They mixed, but rarely were ruled by one smell over another for very long with any mobile person, presenting hot dogs, condiments, pop corn, peanuts, Cracker Jack, hamburgers, cotton candy, and beer in flows against and with each other. If all odors could be differentially colored, the air beneath the grandstands might otherwise have appeared, to one and all sighted persons, as a variously color-mixed unification of multi-directional rainbows, all held together in wind-paths of constant allure to one taste pallet or another.
  3. Not in Kansas Anymore. Walking up the ramp to the lower grand stands on the first base side was like the “Landing-in-Munchkin City” scene in the movie, “The Wizard of Oz.” By the time you reach the top of the ramp and stare out at the whole field for the first time, everything about life to this point has shifted from the gloom of everyday sepia tone to richly robust technicolor. You have never seen a greener bigger expanse of manicured grass in your life as the one that unfolds before your eyes. The infield dirt is an even toned sandy brown color and the bases and foul lines are the whitest you’ve ever beheld with your novice time eyes. Then it occurs to you also. – Even the billboards on the outfield walls are colorful, even if the apparel of these 1947 Houston fans is still a little bit on the drab, devoid of color side. You can even see the red neon-lighted outline of the Fair Maid Bakery sign that is one block away, above their two-story business site beyond the center field wall. Then the smell of freshly baking bread hits you as a reminder that it’s already been there with you – helping the sale of hot dogs and burgers.
  4. The Ballpark Organ Music. Organist Lou Mahan happily is working the crowd. She has them watching infield and outfield fungo bat practice, knocking out sounds and notes that match the speed, power, and contact points of a ball in flight. It is both her challenge and the theme. Even balls that get fungoed foul and go up and down the protective screen behind home plate get a matching ride up and down the note scales as they travel. Soon, as the game begins, we first time-at-the-park kids will be introduced to how organist Mahan is about to write and play a whole baseball opera of songs that will match up with the flow and needs of tonight’s game and, if the Buffs win, especially if they pull the game out in the 9th, we’ll get to hear her play the ever popular “Happy Days Are Here Again.”
  5. The Other Energy Sounds. You both hear and feel the sounds and energy of everyone whose there at the ballpark as players, coaches, fans, and vendors. The peanuts are as fresh and hot as the fans need them to be. If the fan’s need for a win is great enough, the peanuts are always fresh and hot. So listen up! – Just take me out to the ballgame! Take me out with the crowd! Buy me some peanuts and Cracker Jack! I don’t care if I never get back! So let’s root, root, root for the home team! If they don’t win its a shame! Cause it’s one! Two! THREE STRIKES YOU’RE OUT ~ at the old ballgame!

********************

Top Ten AL Batting Averages 

Through Games of Sun., 9/16/18: 

BATTING AVERAGE

1.

Betts • BOS

.337

2.

Martinez • BOS

.328

3.

Altuve • HOU

.319

4.

Trout • LAA

.318

5.

Segura • LAA

.308

6.

Brantley • CLE

.307

7.

Merrifield  * KCR

.302

8.

Smith • TBR 

.300

9.

Andujar • NYY

.298

10.

Duffy • TBR

.297

********************

AL WEST SCORES, 

Thru Sun., 9/16/18:

Houston 5 – Arizona 4.

Tampa Bay 5 – Oakland 4.

 LA Angels 4 – Seattle 3.

San Diego 7 – Texas 3.

********************

AL WEST STANDINGS

Morning of Mon., 9/17/18

TEAMS

WON

LOST

PCT.

GB

Houston

94

55

.631

 —-

Oakland

90

60

.600

   4.5

Seattle

82

67

.550

 12.0

LA Angels

74

76

.493

 20.5

Texas

64

85

.430

 30.0

********************

SCHEDULE BALANCE FOR

HOU, OAK & SEA:

DATE

HOU

OAK

LAA

9/17

SEA

@HOU

9/18

SEA

LAA

@HOU

9/19

SEA

LAA

@HOU

9/20

LAA

9/21

LAA

MIN

@TEX

9/22

LAA

MIN

@TEX

9/23

LAA

MIN

@TEX

9/24

@TOR

@SEA

OAK

9/25

@TOR

@SEA

OAK

9/26

@TOR

@SEA

OAK

9/27

@BAL

TEX

9/28

@BAL

@LAA

TEX

9/29

@BAL

@LAA

TEX

9/30

@BAL

@LAA

TEX

 

********************

Bill McCurdy

Principal Writer, Editor, Publisher

The Pecan Park Eagle

The Yount Brothers: MLB Extremes

September 16, 2018

Larry Yount: One of the few former major leaguers with less MLB field experience than Moonlight Graham.

Larry and Robin Yount were brothers whose MLB family experience with MLB is not likely to repeated again anytime soon, if ever.  This summary note we received from friend and devoted researcher Darrell Pittman the other day sums it up to a tee:

September 15, 1971: “Today in 1971, Larry Yount (Robin’s older brother) entered a game for Houston to pitch against the Braves for his MLB debut. He took the mound and injured himself throwing warmup tosses. He was taken out of the game, never having thrown an official pitch to a batter, but he’s in the official record, having been announced. He never returned to the big leagues (he pitched in the minors until 1975), while his little brother had a 20-year Hall-of-Fame career.” ~ Darrell Pittman.

For further edification of this phenomenal development, please use this link to read the excellent article by longtime baseball writer Ray Kirby on this happening:

http://astrosdaily.com/players/Yount_Larry.html

If you also want to check out the box score on Larry Yount’s one-game-entry MLB career of September 15, 1971, here’s the Baseball Almanac rather meaty version of that most primary base of all baseball records accounting:

http://www.baseball-almanac.com/box-scores/boxscore.php?boxid=197109150HOU

Maybe the young sibling Younts should have listened to bystander Forrest Gump as they waited for the bus to life and the roads that would lead each brother to the big league fields of sweet destined or bitter fated possibility.

You do catch the reference, don’t you? ~ “Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you are going to get.”

********************

A Peek at the AL Batting Average Race 

Through Games of Sat., 9/15/18: 

BATTING AVERAGE

1.

Betts • BOS

.338

2.

Martinez • BOS

.328

3.

Altuve • HOU

.318

4.

Trout • LAA

.318

5.

Segura • LAA

.308

6.

Brantley • CLE

.307

7.

Merrifield  * KCR

.303

8.

Smith • TBR 

.303

9.

Andujar • NYY

.299

10.

Duffy • TBR

.297

********************

AL WEST SCORES, 

LAST THREE DAYS

(1) Thru Thur., 9/13/18:

Houston (did not play).

Baltimore 5 – Oakland 3.

Seattle 8 – LA Angels 2.

Texas (did not play).

********************

(2) Thru Fri., 9/14/18:

Arizona 4 – Houston 2.

Oakland 2 – Tampa Bay 1 (10).

Seattle 5 – LA Angels 2. 

Texas 4 – San Diego 0.

********************

(3) Thru Sat., 9/15/18:

Houston 10 – Arizona 4.

Tampa Bay 7 – Oakland 5.

Seattle 6 – LA Angels 5. 

Texas 6 – San Diego 3.

 

********************

AL WEST STANDINGS

Morning of Sun., 9/16/18

TEAMS

WON

LOST

PCT.

GB

Houston

93

55

.628

 —-

Oakland

90

59

.604

   3.5

Seattle

82

66

.554

 11.0

LA Angels

73

76

.490

 20.5

Texas

64

84

.432

 29.0

********************

SCHEDULE BALANCE FOR

HOU, OAK & SEA:

DATE

HOU

OAK

SEA

9/16

@AZ

@TB

@LAA

9/17

SEA

@HOU

9/18

SEA

LAA

@HOU

9/19

SEA

LAA

@HOU

9/20

LAA

9/21

LAA

MIN

@TEX

9/22

LAA

MIN

@TEX

9/23

LAA

MIN

@TEX

9/24

@TOR

@SEA

OAK

9/25

@TOR

@SEA

OAK

9/26

@TOR

@SEA

OAK

9/27

@BAL

TEX

9/28

@BAL

@LAA

TEX

9/29

@BAL

@LAA

TEX

9/30

@BAL

@LAA

TEX

 

********************

Bill McCurdy

Principal Writer, Editor, Publisher

The Pecan Park Eagle

 

Oh Give Us a Home Where the Buffalos Roamed

September 15, 2018

How the End of Baseball Season Once Looked
Back in the Day at Buff Stadium

If you were traveling north by auto on the Gulf Freeway post its 1948 completion, this is how a close up of Buff Stadium would appear on the right as you crossed Cullen Blvd at its intersection with I-45 South.

The Spanish architecture of the club offices, with their red tile roofs, are perched just above the main entrance and turnstiles.

And, as you’ve heard me describe them many times before, the upper perimeter of the roof, from far down each of the left and right field lines to this visible middle portion near the front grand entry, are a few of the 36″ diameter steel buffalo medallions that once graced the decorative facade of Buff Stadium from its 1928 first season to its 1961 finale. Each medallion featured a brown buffalo silhouette, surrounded by a perimeter circle of inwardly pointing orange triangles.

For this nine-year old first time fan visitor to Buff Stadium with his dad and little brother, John, in 1947, those buffalo medallions were the stuff that dreams are made of.

When they were tearing down Buff (later Busch) Stadium in the early 1960’s period of Houston’s first years as a big league club, untold numbers of the buffalo medallions fell to their destruction in the process. Somehow, and thankfully, many were salvaged and sold to individual fans and collectors who had come to witness “the sad times takedown” on a daily basis for the doable price of $4.00 each.

Wish I could have been there, but graduate school at Tulane in New Orleans made that possibility out of the question for me.

A close up look at one of the buffalo medallions described here.

Nobody knows for sure how many have survived to this day, but we do know that the Houston Astros are now in control of two medallions (see above) that have reached them as part of their fairly recent artifacts collection of items once owned and displayed by the Sammy Finger family at the Houston Sports Museum that once existed at the Finger Furniture store that once existed on the site of the former Buff Stadium. It is hoped that the Astros eventually will have a plan for displaying these important artifacts from the city’s earlier baseball history.

And thank you, Larry Hajduk, for bringing this favorite photo of the Buffalo Stadium exterior again to mind.

 

********************

Bill McCurdy

Principal Writer, Editor, Publisher

The Pecan Park Eagle

Early Buffs TV Ad Harbors Memories

September 13, 2018

Buffalo Stadium 1953, Houston, Texas; KPRC-TV, CHANNEL 2
Had Been Covering Houston Buffs Baseball Since Their 1st Year on the Air in 1949 as KLEE-TV.

Thank you, Larry Hajduk, for sending me several photographic reminders the other day of that early precious time in my Houston Baseball Memory Book. Channel Two was the first and only TV station in Houston from 1949 forward, but they were soon joined by KGUL-TV (11) in Galveston and KTRK-TV (13) in the 1950s. Channel 11, of course, eventually moved to Houston and reorganized itself as KHOU-TV.

Unfortunately, one of those memories was quite shocking and forever sad.

Here’s a link to a brief column I wrote nine years ago on early televised Houston baseball and the time a man actually committed suicide by a self-inflicted fatal gunshot wound to the head, almost completely on camera, back on June 11, 1950. My dad and I were there that night, sitting only about twelve rows back from where this desperate act took place. We saw none of it, but we heard all of it. The sound and startle reflex we all had from the shot still rings home the whole upsetting memory for me. And yes. I used the same photo then that I’m using today. The picture of the camera man is pretty accurate to where he was situated that same night in reality, right next to the small table they set up with a mike for solo broadcaster Dick Gottlieb.

When the man standing next to the camera man shot himself in the head, the camera guy is said to have reflexively wheeled around and caught him in time for viewers at home to see some of the man’s body slumping to the ground. What a sad night it was.

Here’s the other article link: Suicide at Buff Stadium

Finally, what are the “Then and Now Bottom Line Differences Between Watching Baseball on TV at Home or at the Ballpark in 1950 and 2018?”

In 1950, watching baseball at home on TV made you want to go to the ballpark where you could much better see what’s happening. ~ In 2018, watching baseball at the ballpark makes you want to go home and watch baseball on HD, multi-camera angle perspective TV where you can much better see what’s happening.

********************

A Peek at the AL Batting Average Race 

Through Games of Wed., 9/12/18: 

BATTING AVERAGE

1.

Betts • BOS

.340

2.

Martinez • BOS

.329

3.

Altuve • HOU

.318

4.

Trout • LAA

.315

5.

Segura • LAA

.310

6.

Brantley • CLE

.307

7.

Smith  * TBR

.303

8.

Merrifield • KCR 

.302

9.

Andujar • NYY

.299

10.

Duffy • TBR

.297

********************

AL WEST SCORES, 

LAST TWO DAYS

(1) Thru Tue., 9/11/18:

Houston 5 – Detroit 4.

Oakland 3 – Baltimore 2.

San Diego 2 – Seattle 1.

LA Angels 1 – Texas 0.

********************

(2) Thru Wed., 9/12/18:

Houston 5 – Detroit 4.

Oakland 10 – Baltimore 0.

San Diego 5 – Seattle 4. 

LA Angels 8 – Texas 1.

********************

AL WEST STANDINGS

Morning of Thur., 9/13/18

TEAMS

WON

LOST

PCT.

GB

Houston

92

54

.630

 —-

Oakland

89

57

.610

   3.0

Seattle

79

66

.549

 12.5

LA Angels

73

73

.500

 19.0

Texas

62

84

.425

 30.0

********************

SCHEDULE BALANCE FOR

HOU, OAK & SEA:

DATE

HOU

0AK

SEA

9/13

@BAL

@LAA

9/14

@AZ

@TB

@LAA

9/15

@AZ

@TB

@LAA

9/16

@AZ

@TB

@LAA

9/17

SEA

@HOU

9/18

SEA

LAA

@HOU

9/19

SEA

LAA

@HOU

9/20

LAA

9/21

LAA

MIN

@TEX

9/22

LAA

MIN

@TEX

9/23

LAA

MIN

@TEX

9/24

@TOR

@SEA

OAK

9/25

@TOR

@SEA

OAK

9/26

@TOR

@SEA

OAK

9/27

@BAL

TEX

9/28

@BAL

@LAA

TEX

9/29

@BAL

@LAA

TEX

9/30

@BAL

@LAA

TEX

 

********************

Bill McCurdy

Principal Writer, Editor, Publisher

The Pecan Park Eagle

Bill Gilbert Obituary and Funeral Plan

September 13, 2018

Bill Gilbert

William “Bill” C. Gilbert Obituary

William C Gilbert, age 82, passed away September 6, 2018 at his home in Austin, surrounded by his loving family. He was born in Denver, Colorado in 1935 to John and Freda Gilbert. During World War ll the family relocated to California and Florida while his father served as an engineering officer in the navy. After the war, the family settled in Denver where Bill finished from South High in 1953. He then attended the University of Colorado and graduated with honors in Chemical Engineering in 1957. He served as an officer in the United States Navy in Japan from 1957-1959. After his service, he joined ExxonMobil in Baton Rouge, LA, where Bill met Evelyn Campbell of Ville Platte, LA, a graduate student at LSU, who became his wife of 57 years.

Bill retired in 1992 after a 35-year career with ExxonMobil in engineering and managerial positions in both Refining and Marketing. Most of these assignments were in Houston and Baytown, Texas, where he eventually settled to raise a family. After retirement, he worked for Tal Smith Enterprises on the baseball salary arbitration team, representing numerous MLB teams, while also writing articles on baseball for various publications. Left to honor Bill are his wife and their four children: John, Paul, Susan and Patrick and 9 grandchildren (Allie, Caleb, Evan, Grace, Zoe, Leah, Kara, Will, and Casey).

Before all else, Bill was a devoted husband and father. His lifelong passion was baseball. He was instrumental in the formation of the Society of American Baseball Researchers (SABR) chapters in Austin and Houston, where he made many lifelong friends. Bill felt a strong obligation to give back to the community in the many service and church volunteer organizations in which he was involved. He was a member of Emmaus Catholic Church in Lakeway, Texas, where he was a lector and choir member for many years. Bill also served in numerous capacities for many other organizations, including: President of the United Way of Baytown, a member of the Baytown Municipal Development Board and the Baytown Parks and Recreation Board, a Paul Harris Fellow in Rotary International, Little League Baseball as a coach and League Director for 15 years, Big Brothers Big Sisters Advisory Council, President of the Baytown Area Senior Softball Assoc., Tutor for Partners in Education and the GAP Program After School, Project Coordinator for the Executive Service Corps of Houston, YMCA Basketball coach, and Loaned Executive for the United Way of Texas Gulf Coast.

Bill will be dearly missed by all who had the good fortune to know him. To quote an old SABR baseball friend, “Bill’s passing leaves a hole in the lineup that will never be filled.”

The funeral Mass will be held at Emmaus Catholic Church in Lakeway, Texas on September 21, 2018 at 12:00 PM, followed by a reception in the church Great Hall. A Memorial Service will be held at 4:15 PM at Longhorn Village in Steiner Ranch, Austin where Bill and Evelyn reside.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the American Heart Association.

*********************

Memorial Mass

Friday, September 21
12:00 PM

Emmaus Catholic Church
1718 Lohmans Crossing Rd.
Lakeway, TX 78734
(512) 261-8500

********************

Link to the Bill Gilbert Obituary and Funeral Service Plan,

As It Appears Above, with Options for Your Participation

At the Funeral Planning Website:

http://wcfish.tributes.com/obituary/show/William-C.-Gilbert-106412336

********************

Farewell, William Gilbert.

We shall miss your softly spoken, affably sonorous voice,

And your ability to size up baseball perplexity into edible pieces

While there was still time for those sliced observations to matter.

We shall miss you, the baseball answer man king of timely comment.

~ Farewell in the Name of Love, Your distant close friend, Bill McCurdy.

 

********************

Bill McCurdy

Principal Writer, Editor, Publisher

The Pecan Park Eagle