Today’s Leaders and Look-A-Likes

June 23, 2018

“We Represent – the Back-To-Back-To-Back Guild!
And….
We Wish to Welcome You To – Minute Maid!”

2018 American League Batting Average Leaders

 Through Games of 6/22/2018:

# Leaders Team G AB H BA
1 Jose Altuve Astros 77 306 106 .346
2 Mookie Betts Red Sox 58 225 77 .342
3 Jean Segura Mariners 71 296 99 .334
4 Mike Trout Angels 75 259 86 .332
5 JD Martinez Red Sox 73 278 90 .324
6 Matt Duffy Rays 59 234 75 .321
7 Eddie Rosario Twins 71 282 89 .316
8 Michael Brantley Indians 63 258 81 .314
9 John Jay Royals 73 293 91 .311
10 Andrelton Simmons Rays 65 238 73 .307
  • Astros Above shown in bold type.

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LOOK-A-LIKES

Actor Ed Harris

New Rice Baseball Coach
Matt Bragga

Matt Bragga is the new Rice baseball coach. Proving yet again, in spite of our seemingly almost infinite capacity for looking differentially separate from one another, that there are still only a relatively few archetypes from which all these variations we occupy all evolve. Then along comes a face, smile, body type, and language/speech pattern that is DNA-remindful that Matt Bragga may be somehow related to a generationally older, but still working actor named Ed Harris.

If Bragga is anything as a coach that is remindful of a typical Harris movie character, Rice baseball foes better prepare to take a few slugs to the gut in seasons to come.

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People watching. It’s still our most popular universal pastime, but that’s also another reason why baseball is so big and now growing as an international sport. More than any other sport we know, baseball offers the observer a better long-time look at both the face and character of its players through the unfolding of each three-act play we fans call “the game.”

It even helps us survive games like the 1-0 Astros loss to the Royals last night. The Astros didn’t simply lose a winnable game at MMP Friday night. More accurately tuned to the way the whole contest played out, from the start of an Astro fan perspective, in the end, the Astros failed to win a losable game. They just played their part through 27 outs as a team that was on its way to losing until that final result was the one they reached – in spite of a gazillion aborted chances they failed to grasp as happier ultimate alternatives.

Today’s another day. We won’t begin to see today’s game script face until somebody throws the next pitch that counts.

When we do see it, it will not be the first time we see its ugly to handsome archetype configurations, while it is also establishing itself as like no other game we’ve previously ever seen.

Baseball. Gotta love it.

 

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Bill McCurdy

Principal Writer, Editor, Publisher

The Pecan Park Eagle

 

A Little Help, From and For Our Friends

June 23, 2018

The Wonderful Darrell Pittman Brings Us The Following Report….

 

From Darrell Pittman (Via E-Mail) ~

“It seems that the Galveston paper thought the name of the Travis Street ballpark was ‘Herald Park.’

“Evidently, the temporary ballpark at the Houston Driving Park on Harrisburg had the left field fence in so close that balls hit over it were declared to be doubles.”

~ Galveston Daily News, June 19, 1904.

 

The Magnificent Maxwell Kates Has a Colt .45 Research Request ~

From Maxwell Kates (Via E-Mail) ~

“Bill,

        “Hope all is well with you.  I am writing to follow up on an e-mail I sent on May 26 about the SABR book Bill Nowlin and I are working on about Expansion Teams.  As you know, it is slated to come out this October or November in time for my Houston visit.  We’ve got the text side of it under control. What we’re looking for is material we can use for graphics – photographs of the expansion draft, photos of the organizing group, any graphics at all (newspaper notices, pamphlets sent out to possible investors or sponsors, early season ticket solicitations, etc.). Bill has been copied on this message.

“Do you have anything along those lines for the Colt .45s from your photo archive at the Pecan Park Eagle? Are there other people to whom you can direct me who might be historians – individuals, or libraries – and who might have an item or two, or even a good collection?

“Even coming up with one or two things would be very helpful.

“I would greatly appreciate any suggestions.  Thank you for your assistance.

“Sincerely,

        “Maxwell Kates”

Dear Pecan Park Eagle Readers:

Beyond newly made retro caps, I don’t have a photograph, a scorecard, pennant, signed ball, or bobble head from the Colt .45 period. If you do have anything that could be photographed and sent to Maxwell by attachment for inclusion in his project, please do so soon.

We need to reach out and help him. Beyond Maxwell Kates, I cannot remember anyone else whose outsider early interest in our Houston area baseball history converted so rapidly into the kind of quality research and writing that Maxwell Kates brings to the table. And this thing he’s doing on the Colt .45s is the biggest leap he’s made to date.

You may contact Maxwell through his e-mail address so please do so, no matter how small you think your contribution may be. If it exists, no matter how small, it’s part of our Colt .45 history and it deserves to be connected to the larger family tree of things.

The e-mail address for Maxwell Kates is maxwelliankates@hotmail.com

If he wants to add other e-mail, address, or phone options, Maxwell is free to post those contact options as a comment at the end of this column.

Thank you.

Bill McCurdy

The Pecan Park Eagle

 

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Bill McCurdy

Principal Writer, Editor, Publisher

The Pecan Park Eagle

Back-To-Back-To-Back is Lima Reminder

June 22, 2018

ALTUVE USES THE FINAL “BACK”  IN A “BACK-TO-BACK-TO-BACK” 
TO OPEN HIS LEAD IN THE BA RACE ~ BY AN ORANGE-TINTED CRACK!

2018 American League Batting Average Leaders

Through Games of 6/21/2018: 

# Leaders Team G AB H BA
1 Jose Altuve Astros 76 303 105 .347
2 Mookie Betts Red Sox 57 221 76 .344
4 Jean Segura Mariners 71 296 99 .334
3 Mike Trout Angels 75 259 86 .332
5 Eddie Rosario Twins 7O 278 89 .320
6 Matt Duffy Rays 58 230 73 .317
8 JD Martinez Red Sox 72 273 86 .31501
7 Michael Brantley Indians 62 254 80 .31496
9 Andrelton Simmons Rays 64 235 73 .311
10 Nick Castellanos Tigers 72 295 89 .302

* Astros Players Above Featured in Bold Type.

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Shades of Jose Lima

“I ain’t afraid of no back-to-back-to back nightmare when I pitch! Now get in there and try to hit what you ain’t going to see! ~ “I wll even pitch to you with one paw tied to my tail! ~ That’s how confident I am!!”

Jose Lima never gave up any triplet run of consecutive homers in the year 2000, but he did give up a few back-to-backs that are remindful of how close he lived to that possibility.

Lima had four back-to-back games as an Astros pitcher in his scary opening year of Enron Park, but he just couldn’t bring the whole house down in his descent into a pitcher’s hell. Explanations of how he avoided any back-to-back-to-back MLB meltdowns too are thinner in credibility than the duct-taped waistline of a Houston Texans cheerleader. It was right there — waiting to happen all year in his career collapsing season of 2000 — it simply beat the law of odds and averages for astounding defiance.

Lima’s 4 Back-To-Backs in 2000

# DATE IN HR DUO vs. LIMA FOE H/A RESULT
1 4/10/00 3 Renteria-Lankford SLC H L, 7-8
2 4/15/00 3 Martin-Jackson SDP A L, 3-5
3 4/27/00 1 Young-Gutierrez CC A L, 3-12
4 9/11/00 1 Kent-Snow SFG H L, 7-8

Make no mistake. Lima of 2000 gave up home runs in cluster patches. We did not stop to count them all while we did a brief stop-and-see run through yesterday into every home and away box score in the 2000 Astros season, but we noted many games in which Lima allowed a single batter to interrupt many other double homer innings by getting one batter, by hit or out, to do something other than simply split a back-to-back chance or do the straight three homer thing.

About our data, please remember too: We simply are not threatened by our own possible honest errors of fact or perception, so please feel free to point them out if you discover any and we will correct what is confirmable as error and in need of correction.

Clusters is definitely the descriptor for Lima’s HR surrender pattern. According to Baseball Almanac.Com, Jose Lima holds the National League single season record for home runs surrendered as a result of the 48 he gave up in 2000.

One more thing. None of these observations should be taken as diminishment’s of Jose Lima’s talent. The guy was a talented pitcher with some good stuff — before the club moved from the Dome to the downtown ballpark we all know now as Minute Maid Park. His 21 wins for the 1999 Astros speaks loudly for him. As for 2000, he just seems to have been one of those guys who got caught up in the fear of how a certain change (the short porch in left at the new park) was going to hurt his performance — and then he couldn’t let it go. And it didn’t just hurt him at home. Half of his four back-to-backs from 2000 happened on the road – not at Enron Field.

I had the enjoyable opportunity of meeting Jose at a baseball function some time after his days with the Astros were done. What a wonderful, funny, and friendly guy he turned out to be.  I was quite saddened by the news of his early death in 2010.

Just know this, Jose. — Even our bad memories of what you brought you into our lives were good. And your broad range of good guy talent will be forever appreciated by many os Astro fans.

 

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Bill McCurdy

Principal Writer, Editor, Publisher

The Pecan Park Eagle

 

 

A Merkling of the Mind

June 20, 2018

 

“If my drive into the gap gets us a walk-off win, do I really have to run all the way to 2nd base, just to get credit for a double”  ~ Charlie Brown.

2018 American League Batting Average Leaders

 Through Games of 6/19/2018:

# Leaders Team G AB H BA
1 Jose Altuve Astros 75 299 102 .341
2 Mookie Betts Red Sox 55 211 71 .3365
3 Jean Segura Mariners 70 292 98 .3356
4 Mike Trout Angels 74 257 86 .3346
5 Michael Brantley Indians 61 250 80 .320
6 Matt Duffy Rays 58 230 73 .31739
7 JD Martinez Red Sox 61 223 71 .31698
8 Eddie Rosario Twins 69 275 87 .31636
9 Andrelton Simmons Rays 63 231 72 .312
10 Nick Castellanos Tigers 71 290 89 .307

* Astros Players Above Featured in Bold Type.

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The Winning Streak Stops at 12. It pretty much ended when the 400 feet fly ball out to dead center retired pinch hitter Jose Altuve in the bottom of the 9th with the potential tying run on first base in the presence of Josh Reddick and the potential winning run at the plate in the presence of Himself, Altuve the Great. Had the ball gone to dead left, it would have easily cleared the Crawford Boxes as the confetti-unleashing climax to a victory # 13 on the Astros’ club winning streak that now ceases to be.

Mike Stassi followed Altuve and demonstrated the fine art of taking a called strike three on a full count and then Jake Marisnick did what he does so well. He followed his game ending infield pop fly out with a shrug of mock self-surprise and disgust and then walked quietly off to the clubhouse.

The Tampa Bay Rays had done what blind hogs always do eventually, according to former UT football coach Darrell Royal. They sniffed their way up to an acorn of opportunity and consumed it — in the form of a 2-1 victory over the far more talented Houston Astros on their own home turf.

Justin Verlander pitched well enough to have earned a win last night. He also lasted a mighty 120 pitches over 6 and 2/3 innings at MMP. He simply got no support on offense – and not much more than thin help on defense. As much as I like Yuli Gurriel as a hitter and first baseman, his fill-in game for Bregman at third was a wee bit slow-moving and costly. An 8th inning not-so-fast bounder over Gurriel’s upstretched glove tipped its way into shallow left, allowing the Rays to score a man from third for what then held up as the winning run in a 2-1 Tampa Bay victory.

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A Night Before Note Merkles My Mind. 

24 hours earlier, the Astros had won a 5-4 walk-off game over the Rays when Alex Bregman’s smash into the left field gap with the bases loaded in the bottom of the 9th scored the tying and winning runs from third and second. On his way to second, Bregman was overtaken by Astro player celebrants who wanted to dance and smile and hug. Bregman fell right into the spirit of the jubilant moment and never made it to second base.

Nevertheless, here is how the official scorer’s line accounts for Bregman’s hit at Baseball Reference.com:

2B: Carlos Correa (15, off Matt Andriese); Jose Altuve (19, off Matt Andriese); Alex Bregman (22, off Sergio Romo).

Bregman still got credit for the double, even though he never completed the double with a physical contact with second base.

Would Bregman have received a token credit for a home run, had he knocked the ball out of the park and similarly been prevented from making the trip around the bases by a celebration committee before he reached second base?

I don’t think so.

So, did Bregman get credit for the double by some kind of clear ruling today on such plays? Or was this scoring the result of casual and indifferent attention to the current rule about this kind of play?

The common ground between Alex Bregman and Fred Merkle of the 1908 Giants is that both men failed to complete base running trips to second base because it was obvious they each could make it there without any trouble from a timely response.

With Bregman, the game was won. There was nothing the Rays could do, anyway. With Merkle, however, he needed to touch second base to make his safety confirmed and his team’s win decided. Merkle still didn’t go. The Cubs took advantage and retired him at second on a complicated, much disputed force out at second base. Today, there can be no walk off wins if runners leave the field without closing all the doors on force out situations.

But what about Bregman’s double in Game One with the Rays? Should he really get credit for that 2BH? And, if so, why should a “walk off homer” batter be forced to run and touch all the bases to get credit for a  long ball? If the game cuts a short cut deal with runners who don’t bother completing runs to third and second on plays that end in pandemonium game celebrations?

Just wondering as I Merkle my way to the lunch hour. Who said you have to wait til noon?

 

Upon Further Review

Thanks to comments from Mike Vance and Greg Lucas, plus an even better shot of the “double” via a complete bottom of the 9th watch on YouTube, I am now convinced that I may been victimized for multi-tasking other column work with simultaneous live baseball game watching in this instance and, in this matter, failed to see it, clear as day.

The celebrating teammates caught up with Bregman between second and third, not between first near second. It doesn’t show him actually touching second base, but you can see by his gait and the third base line that appears ahead of him that he is sauntering in the direction of third base by the time the party starts.

Hope the hypotheticals posed above don’t plant any ideas with Commissioner Manfred. I would hate to see “walk-off homer” jogs around the bases eliminated as another baseball time-saving device.

Please forgive me too. I will try to be more observant next time.

 

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Bill McCurdy

Principal Writer, Editor, Publisher

The Pecan Park Eagle

Altuve Takes Batting Lead; Gets Night Off.

June 20, 2018

Here….Comes….Altuve!

2018 American League Batting Average Leaders

Through Games of 6/18/2018:

# Leaders to 6/18/18 Team G AB H BA
1 Jose Altuve Astros 74 298 102 .342
2 Jean Segura Mariners 69 288 98 .3402
3 Mookie Betts Red Sox 54 209 71 .3397
4 Mike Trout Angels 73 256 85 .332
5 Michael Brantley Indians 60 246 79 .3211
6 Eddie Rosario Twins 68 271 87 .3210
7 Andrelton Simmons Angels 62 227 72 .317
8 JD Martinez Red Sox 69 260 82 .315
9 Matt Duffy Rays 57 226 71 .314
10 Nick Castellanos Tigers 70 287 89 .310

* Astros Players Above Featured in Bold Type.

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Res Ipsa Loquitur! ~ The Thing Speaks for Itself!

For the first substantive counting period in the early season, Jose Altuve has taken his accustomed seat in the MLB BA Game of Thrones. Propelled by a 3 hits for 4 at bats night against Tampa Bay on Monday, Altuve now rests tonight at .342,  atop an old familiar listening chair to other echoes of news that 1.5 plus million fan votes as second baseman for the AL have now been cast for him in this year’s July All Star Game.

 

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Bill McCurdy

Principal Writer, Editor, Publisher

The Pecan Park Eagle

 

Astros Not Close to Win Streak Record

June 19, 2018

John McGraw, Manager
New York Giants
McGraw’s 1916 Giants hold the regular season MLB record for most consecutive wins without a loss at 26.

With 12 straight regular season wins now in the can, the 2018 Houston Astros are still 14 wins shy of tying the all time regular season wins record of 26 established by the 1916 New York Giants. Last year’s 2017 Cleveland Indians did get close enough to take the 2nd spot on the list with 22, but most of the Top Ten clubs, except for the #5t 2002 Oakland Athletics with 20 wins, were teams from fifty plus years ago to earlier 19th century times.

Four of the Top Streak teams, including the #1 leading Giants, had tie games that interrupted, but did not perish their win streaks along the way, since ties don’t count in baseball, but that always bugged the perfectionist that never truly dies within me. I just don’t like the idea that the 1916 Giants had to play 27 games to win 26 games in a row.

Here’s the tabular picture of the Regular Season Top Ten Consecutive Game Winners in MLB History:

RANK WINS TEAM SEASON RECORD
1 26a New York Giants 1916 86-66
2 22 Cleveland Indians 2017 102-60
3t 21a Chicago White Stockings 1880 67-17
3t 21 Chicago Cubs 1935 100-54
5t 20 St. Louis Maroons 1884 94-19
5t 20 Providence Grays 1884 84-28
5t 20 Oakland Athletics 2002 103-59
8t 19a Chicago White Sox 1906* 93-58
8t 19 New York Yankees 1947* 97-57
10t 18 Chicago White Stockings 1885 87-25
10t 18a Boston Beaneaters 1891 87-51
10t 18 New York Giants 1904 106-47
10t 18 New York Yankees 1953* 99-52

The streak pattern above is based upon regular season games only. The two utilized codes apply only to the teams denoted:

a = Denotes streaks that contain unofficial tie(s) not included in the win totals that did occur during the period of the streak at least once.

* = Denotes streak seasons in which a team won the World Series.

Data Notes: Beneath the 13 above tabled teams that currently hold the lead as the Top Ten consecutive regular season game winners, 17 other clubs follow to fill the #s 14 through 21 spots that fill the (undisplayed here) second ten consecutive wins record teams for regular season play. All these clubs have either 17 or 16 as Regular Season consecutive win totals.

For further details, check out the far more detailed “Regular Season” list at this link:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Major_League_Baseball_longest_winning_streaks

If there are any Regular Season clubs that then follow with Regular Season straight win streaks that total 15 to 13, they are not shown at this reference site.

And that brings us to the 2018 Houston Astros, who currently find themselves sitting on a 12 regular season win streak total following that exciting bottom of the 9th, 5-4, comeback win over the Tampa Bay Rays on Monday night, June 18, 2018.

An Uprising of Baseball Hearts. Following the fortunes of one’s hometown baseball club may be painful and difficult for years, — and all of a sudden — and seemingly out of the blue – along comes a fine collection of field and front office talent, in combination with a club owner whose wisdom for what works best through others seems to surpass the fiery needs of raw ego that some powerful people have for inhaling all personal credit and – voila – we “suddenly” have a World Series winner in town that apparently hungers for more.

Keep it up, Jim Crane. Keep it up, Jeff Luhnow. Keep it up, Reid Ryan. Keep it up, A.J. Hinch. Keep it up, Jose Altuve. Keep it up, Justin Verlander. Keep it up too, all of you other Houston Astros. Keep it up, Mike Acosta, and all other spirited members of the Houston Astros administrative family. And keep it up too, all of you other wide and deep orange and blue to the core Houston Astros fans.

Peace. Love. And “Play Ball, Astros!” Our time is at hand.

Our time is now.

 

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Bill McCurdy

Principal Writer, Editor, Publisher

The Pecan Park Eagle

AL 2018 Batting Title Race Heats Up

June 18, 2018

Jose Altuve, 2018
Building Up for A Run at 4th Batting Title

 

2018 American League Batting Average Leaders

 Through Games of 6/17/2018:

# Leaders to 6/17/18 Team G AB H BA
1 Jean Segura Mariners 69 288 98 .3402
2 Mookie Betts Red Sox 54 209 71 .3397
3 Jose Altuve Astros 73 294 99 .337
4 Mike Trout Angels 72 253 83 .328
5 Eddie Rosario Twins 78 261 87 .321
6 Michael Brantley Indians 59 241 77 .320
7t Andrelton Simmons Angels 61 223 71 .318
7t Matt Duffy Rays 56 223 71 .318
9 JD Martinez Red Sox 69 260 82 .315
10 Nick Castellanos Tigers 70 287 89 .310

 * Astros Players Above Featured in Bold Type.

Thanks to Baseball Reference.Com for keeping these

kinds of basic charts up-to date and easy to use.

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If This Were a Horse Race

If this were the Belmont Stakes, we might look for the top four horses now crowding each other at the far side back track turn to be the competition for the AL batting championship after the pack clears the final counter-clockwise turn and comes pounding down the long stretch. It will take speed, strength and a reserve of determination on hand for the winner to emerge, come September.

Mr. Altuve, who bears far more physical resemblance to a jockey than he does to the thoroughbred actual athlete he truly is, will need to be up to the expected charge of the now healthy big fish that is on his tail and expected to hang in there through the rest of the run — and right up to the finish line.

It’s time to “justify” your growing reputation as a champion among champions, Jose! You can do it, if you can save and even build upon the stamina reserve you are going to need in three months.

 

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Bill McCurdy

Principal Writer, Editor, Publisher

The Pecan Park Eagle

Curt Walker: A Timeline into Father’s Day

June 17, 2018

Happy Father’s Day 2018, Everyone!

16.5 years after the fact, Rob Zimmerman (R) receives the induction plaque awarded to his great-grandfather, Curt Walker, by the Texas Baseball Hall of Fame in December 2001.
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Photo by Bob Dorrill

If they asked me, I could write a book. But they didn’t ask. So, we will settle for a small column on the rich subject of Curt Walker as a timeline into the even taller topic of how culturally bound up the game of baseball was to so many of us when it came down to having a good father figure available when it came down to having a working father figure present in our lives — in some form, or forms — during our critical early time as innocent, but loving-needful boys and girls.

I had to look no further than my own father and his childhood experience to see the waves of paternal need placed into motion in my dad’s life by the loss of his own father early in life. In May 1913, at the age of 2 1/2, and as the 3rd oldest of four children born to William and Elizabeth McCurdy of Beeville, Texas — and only boy — my grandfather William McCurdy died of TB, leaving his family in the hands of my very strong grandmother, but without his presence as a model paternal presence. Grandad was the founder. publisher, editor, and principal writer of The Beeville Bee, the town’s first newspaper.

As a result, Dad got shipped off to boarding school almost as soon as his school age days began. It was there that he discovered his skill and affinity for baseball, a game he also played on the sandlots of Beeville every summer that he was home. It was an interest among the boys of Beeville that found strong reenforcement in the fact that three other slightly older town boys had played their ways to the big leagues by 1925.

Melvin Bert Gallia (YOB: 1891; MLB: 1912-1920), Curt Walker (YOB: 1896; MLB: 1919-1930), and Lefty Lloyd Brown (YOB: 1904; MLB: 1925, 1928-1937, 1940) were the native Beeville trailblazers to big league ball. Because of his own enjoyment of hitting, and also influenced by the fact that he shared the same BL/TR outfield post, easily converted Dad into becoming a big fan of Curt Walker, a condition which apparently worked fine for Walker, who became something of a 14 years older big brother figure to Dad as the two men’s friendship grew over time.

The presence of baseball gave Curt Walker and my dad the basis for a relationship that would last a lifetime. From the late 1920s summer times of Dad and his buddies going down to the Western Union or the Beeville Bee-Picayune offices to get the late afternoon scores for the Cincinnati Reds because that was Curt Walker’s team — to all the cups of coffee they shared later as grown men regular customers of the American Cafe — baseball was healing cultural water that brought new strength to areas of life that could hurt so bad.

Rob and Stacy Zimmerman of Charleston, SC included Houston on their family roots tour of South Texas to participate in the induction materials luncheon ceremony at the Jax Bar and Grill on Shepherd, held as part of our June SABR meeting.
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Photo by The Pecan Park Eagle

We owe a debt of gratitude this Father’s Day to Rob and Stacy Zimmerman of Charleston, South Carolina. Had Rob’s pursuit of information, lost and found, about Curt Walker, the man who turned out to be his great-grandfather, we may have lost the opportunity forever to have been reminded of why baseball is so important to the strength and structure of American culture. Had Stacy not been the patient life partner to Rob that she very obviously is, he might have been inclined to have abandoned the pursuit after we almost got together for a transfer of these awards to him years ago.

To that, I must say this about our newly found brother and sister, with a salute to the service they have each put forth in commitment to the rest of us:

“Nothing can stop the U.S. Air Force ~ especially when its aims are supported by patience and resilience!”

A tight framed 8×10 bust of Curt Walker from this September 1919 photo of his brief stay with the Yankees at the tail end of his rookie season was also presented to the SC couple during the ceremony, along with a few other historical goodies and a round of Curt Walker stories. – Photo compliments of the National Baseball Hall of Fame Library Collection, Cooperstown.

In addition to the 2001 Curt Walker Induction plaque from the Texas Baseball Hall of Fame. Rob Zimmerman accepted possession on Saturday, June 16, 2018, of an 8×10″ tightly framed facial profile of 23 year old Curt Walker dressed out as a 1919 New York Yankee. He also received a replica copy of Curt Walker’s 1926 Cincinnati Reds cap, a signed copy of Curt Walker’s Louisville Slugger bat, and a few books to read on Houston baseball history.

December 15, 2001. The Curt Walker Louisville Slugger bat was signed by Will Clark and all the other living fellow inductees from 2001, plus MLB stars likes Bobby Brown and Texas League icon Bobby Bragan. (Photo by Bob Dorrill.)

The room of our Saturday meeting overflowed with love, appreciation, and good feelings yesterday. And that’s as it should be. Today, Ron and Stacy are in Beeville, where my brother John McCurdy will show them where Curt Walker once lived – and then take them to Glenwood Cemetery to see where Curt Walker is buried.

Baseball is the great uniter of different people, even rivals, who are bound together – even in difference – to the importance of historic connectivity – and our shared commitment to the great game of baseball as the saving grace of us all.

Peace. Love. And Play Ball!

And Happy Father’s Day too!

 

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Bill McCurdy

Principal Writer, Editor, Publisher

The Pecan Park Eagle

Beer Added to Astros Future OF Commitments

June 15, 2018

Seth Beer, OF
Clemson Tigers
1st Round Draft Pick
Houston Astros 2018

Beer Added to Astros Future Outfielder Commitments

Along with the prospective outfield talent that Kyle Tucker already appears to be, and on top of the fact that the ever flexible and productive Marwin Gonzalez and sporadically hard-hitting and always hustling Josh Reddick are both still available with some apparent gas left in each of their tanks, — to say nothing about the also already on the scene good bat and athletically skilled Tony Kemp, — the Astros aren’t taking any chances on not having several possible answers for their near and distant futures at every position on the field.

Here’s how the Astros release message expressed it relative to their long range needs for power-hitting outfielders, especially along the two down the line positions :

The Houston Astros have signed 2018 first-round MLB Draft selection OF Seth Beer today. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. The announcement was made by Astros Assistant General Manager, Player Acquisition, Mike Elias.

“Seth Beer has been college baseball’s premier slugger for the past three years; his resume speaks for itself,” said Elias. “We feel his productivity will translate well to the professional game and see him as a potential impact bat for our lineup. We are delighted to add Seth to what is already one of baseball’s strongest farm systems.”

Both Beer and Elias will be available to credentialed media today at 5:45 p.m. on the fifth floor of Union Station at Minute Maid Park. Media should enter Union Station on Crawford Street utilizing the employee entrance, where an Astros Communications staff member will assist with entry.

The Astros drafted the 21-year-old junior out of Clemson University with the 28th overall pick in the draft. In 2018, Beer hit .301 (68×226) with 11 doubles, 22 home runs and 54 RBI while posting a 1.098 OPS (.642 SLG/.456 OBP) in 63 games for the Tigers. He walked 54 times, compared to just 36 strikeouts this season. 

For the past three seasons (2016-18), Beer has been one of the top hitters in the nation, displaying considerable power and outstanding patience. He combined for 56 home runs and 180 walks, while striking out just 98 times. In 2016, his first season on campus, Beer had an historic season, becoming the first freshman ever to win the prestigious Dick Howser Trophy after hitting .369 with 18 HR, 70 RBI and 62 walks while striking out just 27 times (1.235 OPS). Beer won several other awards that season, including ACC Player of the Year and All-American honors.

Beer had another stellar season as a sophomore in 2017, hitting .298 with 16 HR, 53 RBI and 64 walks with just 35 strikeouts (1.084 OPS). That summer, he was selected to play for the USA Collegiate National Team. 

ABOUT SETH BEER
Position: Outfielder
Bats/Throws: Left/Right
Height/Weight: 6-3/195
Age: 21
College: Clemson

~ Italicized Excerpt from MLB Media News, Wednesday, June 13, 2018

 

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Bill McCurdy

Principal Writer, Editor, Publisher

The Pecan Park Eagle

A Brewster McCloud Review by Wayne R. Roberts

June 12, 2018

Brewster McCloud Soars Again
In the Astrodome, 1970.

A Brewster McCloud Review

By Wayne R. Roberts

Thank you, Wayne, for including me as a recipient of an e-mail that was really an Astrodome and Houston history column that cried out loudly for publication. ~ i.e., Welcome to The Pecan Park Eagle as another fine contributing author! ~ Bill McCurdy, Publisher.

I’ve been waiting for 12 years to get Brewster McCloud from Netflix but for some reason they haven’t carried it.  I was tipped that it is now available on Amazon in a new remastered DVD and ordered it.

In the event you haven’t seen it I’ll spare telling the plot of this surrealistic film made in Houston in 1970 by legendary director Robert Altman.  Never his most popular flick, it apparently was done immediately after MASH and uses many actors that appear  over ad over in Altman movies: Bud Cort, Sally Kellerman, Michael Murphy, John Schuck, and Stacey Keach and introduces Shelley Duvall who Altman discovered in early film preparation when she was a clerk in the Greenspoint Mall Foley’s.  It also includes Margaret Hamilton who was the wicked witch in, yes, The Wizard of Oz.

Not particularly politically correct (was Altman ever?), it is a must for those who lived in Houston at that time.  For me, the shots in Astroworld are breathtaking—made in the area in which I groundskept, though not when I was there.

Quickly, here’s what I took away in this first viewing in 20 years, in no particular order:

  • Houston skyline, whoa, was it different
  • The Medical Center sure was smaller
  • Chase scenes occur in the South Main, Loop 610, OST area and the cow pastures and fields are shocking
  • Brewster lives in the bomb shelter in the Dome
  • Incredible behind the scenes shots of the Dome
  • On the radio: Hudson & Harrigan and KILT news
  • 1970 Houston Chronicle
  • Drive along South Main includes Ye Olde College Inn
  • North Main includes the old M&M Cotton Exchange (now UH-Downtown)
  • Love Street/Allen’s Landing
  • Astroworld Hotel exterior and rooms
  • Astrodome gift shop, Domeskeller, The Countdown Cafeteria
  • Houston Zoo
  • Game shots of the Astros from the screen where you passed to go from the outfield bleachers to the Mezzanine (or tried to sneak through)
  • Weingarten’s in Montrose
  • Mecom Fountain
  • Pre rehab buildings along Montrose Blvd
  • Uncrowded freeways—many many driving scenes of downtown and SW Houston, OST-Fannin area chase scenes
  • Humble and Esso gas stations
  • Brays Bayou
  • Allen Parkway at early Tranquility Park (I think that’s its name)

For us old-timers, this is a must watch.

This is worth a more elaborate McCurdy report after you see it!

 

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Bill McCurdy

Principal Writer, Editor, Publisher

The Pecan Park Eagle