Lone Stars of the Diamond

One of the all-time most interesting books on Texas baseball history was published in 2007 by Halcyon Press here in Houston. “Lone Stars of the Diamond” by  David King and Chuck Pickard was a landmark documentation of every native Texan who had ever played a single smidgeon second in the big leagues through the 2006 season. There may have some minor additions over the past three uncovered years (2007-09), but not enough to detract from this reference work’s historical value to bedrock students of the game’s past. The book is still available from

Amazon. Com for $24.95, plus tax and shipping, if you’re interested.

The book tracks every native Texan since the first one made it to the big leagues in 1895. Needless to say by name, the two fellows pictured at the the top of this article stand together, alone above all others, as the two greatest native Texan ballplayers in big league history. One is renowned as the greatest right-handed hitter in all of baseball history; the other is remembered as the greatest center-fielder of his time and the all-time leader in doubles. Both men managed teams to World Series wins and each is enshrined in the Hall of Fame at Cooperstown.

This book goes far beyond Rogers Hornsby and Tris Speaker in its treatment of the facts about native Texan roots and accomplishments. It’s so factual, in fact (which is what a reference book is supposed to be), that it could’ve been written in years past by Sergeants Joe Friday and Frank Smith from the old TV show, “Dragnet.”

If you want to know who else reached the Hall of Fame besides Hornsby and Speaker, it’s in there. If you want to know the leaders in a wide range of statistical categories, it’s in there. If you want to know who and how many major leaguers were born in your Texas home town, it’s in there. If you want to know about the great native Texan Negro Leaguers, that’s tight, one more time, it’s in there.

I am walking proof that there’s no way to come even close to knowing all that much about the history of baseball. There’s just too much to absorb from a clear factual standpoint – and that’s why we need the kinds of help we get from people like David King and Chuck Pickard.

I did find one error that I need to address under the list of native Texan big leaguers by city of birth. My birth home town of Beeville is responsible for four native Texan big leaguers. Three of them (Bert Gallia, Curt Walker, and Lloyd Brown) all played in the early part of the 20th century. The fourth (Eddie Taubensee) was a former Houston Astro from the latter part of the 20th century. The “Lone Stars” list also includes Beau Bell as hailing from Beeville, which he didn’t. Beau Bell actually was born in Bellville, Texas. For all I know, his family may have even founded the place before they lost credit as Bellville in “Lone Stars” for their only native son.

(Wait a minute. I think I know what some of you are are thinking and the answer is “No, Ernie Koy was not born in Bellville, the town that became his well-known home through most of his life. Ernie Koy was born down the road at Sealy – which did receive proper credit for him as a birthplace son in “Lone Stars.”)

Mssrs. King and Pickard are to be forgiven here for this minor mistake. The “sounds-the-same” and “looks alike” confusion between Beeville and Bellville is historical. My grandfather, who owned and ran the Beeville Bee back in the 19th century, used to complain in print about receiving mail that was actually intended for the Bellville, Texas newspaper editor. “Beeville and Bellville need to get together and find a way to decide which town changes its name,” Grandfather Will McCurdy wrote back in 1888. “Unless the cities do get together and change one of the town names, people far into the future will still be confusing the two places with each other long after we are all gone.”

The erroneous listing of Beau Bell as a native of Beeville just proves one more time that Grandfather McCurdy was right. It’s still a matter too slight to detract from all the important hard work that went into the making of “Lone Stars.” I have no stake in the matter, but I highly recommend this work to those of you who are members of SABR and also to anyone else who is even slightly interested in the nuts and bolts of Texas baseball history.

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