Houston Babies Take July 4th DH from Katy

July 4, 2012 / George Ranch Deep Pasture / Sugar Land, Texas: The Houston Babies defeated the Katy Combine by scores of 14-7 and 12-2 in an 1860s rules vintage base ball doubleheader in the holiday heat. A good time in nothing less than good sportsmanship was had by all. The Babies say: “Hats off to the valiant combatants of Katy, who gave it their last ounce of valor in fighting the good fight all through the morning and noon temperatures.”

The Deep Pasture Field at the George Ranch was hotter than a firecracker by the time the Houston Babies began the first game of their double-header with the Katy Combine yesterday, the Fourth of July.  Before a small crowd of cranks (fans), the two vintage base ball clubs finally got underway about 10:30 AM. Due to limited shade and seating facilities, both clubs and fans took up residence in the two grandstands under the big oak tree along the first base line. We had to be careful though. Once we discovered that a large knothole n the oak was actually the front door for a large hive of wild bees that had taken up occupation of the same space long before we all arrived, but it worked out. We didn’t bother the bees. And the bees didn’t bother us.

In respect for the fact that we were all here to freely celebrate the 236th anniversary of our great nation’s birth in a way of our own choosing, we

Against the background of the great house from 1891, a Katy player takes his cut at the pitch in Game One.

spent a few pre-game moments acknowledging the fact. Then we all rose to our feet as Houston Babies curmudgeon and tenor superb Mike McCroskey led us through a singing of Our National Anthem.

It was a great moment. Thank you, Michael McCroskey, for the instillation of all that reverence for all that is right about America. The mood just seems to flow through the bloodstream that serves the needs of your glorious God-Given pipes.  (Yeah, I know. I’m writing in the flowery style of many 19th century reporters today, Just want you to know it’s intentional from the git-go.)

The Babies took both games, going away, by scores of 14-7 and 12-2. Ancient Babies hurler Bob Blair (1-0) showed up hurl the Babies to a win in Game One and “Old Reliable” Larry Hajduk (5-0) took the second pitching win with last inning relief help from Mike McCroskey.

Solid pitching and barbarous hitting were the order of the day, Led by Alex Hajduk (7 for 9) and his 3 doubles and 2 homers, plus a 7 for 8 day by Larry Joe Miggins and a 5 for 7 day by Zach Hajduk, the Babies cranked out 26 runs on 41 hits in the two games we played. Zach Hajduk also came close to a home run, but he missed the credit when he failed to touch home plate on a clearly safe play at the plate and was then tagged out as he walked away.

Due to the heat, the first game was shortened to 6  innings; the second game was halted after 5. Nobody had any complaints about lost opportunity.

I say “we played” in reflexive deference to the fact that I was acting yesterday as interim manager in the absence of the vacationing field manager, Bob Dorrill. Ordinarily, I’m just the Houston Babies’ General Manager. Taking over the Houston Babies for Mr. Dorrill was like taking the wheel of a well-oiled machine. All I had to do was wind up a lineup and let it fly. The Babies bolted from the gate like a box of exploding fire crackers.

Once they started, the Babies-Red Machine didn’t stop. Thanks for getting them ready, Mr. Dorrill. the Babies’ hot  pursuit of victory and their protection of perfection in 2012 has been relentless. And now, with the hot and sweaty hand of August closing in tight, it appears that the Babies will most likely not risk loss again prior to the October fall weather season.

Tom Murrah made the “Catch of the Day.”

Right fielder Tom Murrah of the Babies made the catch of the day when he went back on a high fly ball and caught it as he backed himself into a space-hurdling  fall into a sitting position upon the pastoral green.

Murrah held onto the ball for the third out. He jumped up quickly and then offered a quick glance back at the spot where he had landed, probably to see if part of his spine or tailbone had been left behind at the point of impact. – Wish we had “the catch” on tape. It was a great one. Tom Murrah also went 2 for 3 on the day.

Assuming that I have deciphered the scoring information properly, the rest of the Babies hitters went this way on the hits per times at bat beam yesterday: Jo Hale, 3 for 7; Phil Holland, 2 for 8; Bill Hale, 3 for 5; Robert Pena 1 for 3; Bob Stevens, 3 for 4; Mark Hudec, 2 for 5; Larry Hajduk, 1 for 5; Bob Blair, 1 for 4; Jimmy Disch, 3 for 3; and Mike McCroskey, 1 for 1, a double made possible by the bare-footed speed of McCroskey’s pixie-sized, roadrunner-fast, but “Sweet Caroline” beautiful daughter. She was as cute as a little water bug and twice as fast on the base paths – or, about fifty times as fast as her sweet, but molasses slow-of-foot father. “Miss McCroskey stretched her father’s good hit into a double and then came into score upon the hitting of other Babies players.

Mark Hudec filled in beautifully at first base for the injured Larry Joe Miggins. Larry had to play left field to better protect his injured catching hand, Hudec is an athlete who appears ready to strengthen the team at several defensive spots on the club.

After the games, many of the players gathered in the open patio near the offices and big house for a holiday lunch of  hot dogs, potato salad, Fritos, and Blue Bell ice cream dessert. A rain came up to put us on the run for covering, but we managed. It was the 4th of July. Things like an unexpected rain were supposed to happen.

July 4, 2012: The Houston Babies celebrate like it’s 1888!

Best wishes this morning to Tom Flores, the Katy mentor who spent Game One behind the plate as our Blind Tom (umpire) in Game One. Tom  almost passed out and had to be rescued from heat damage late in the game. Hope you are OK today, Tom Flores. We all want to thank you too for giving the new cranks (fans) the general rundown on the basic rules that make our game a little different from contemporary baseball.

Also, atch for ongoing news about the Houston Babies and vintage base ball in Houston, right here in the column-world of The Pecan Park Eagle.Well have more to report over time as things happen.

July 4, 2012: The George Ranch Deep Pasture Field.

The Houston Babies – simply want to say; “Happy Birthday, – USA!”

Plus one post July 4th thought: The Astros finally got rid of Carlos Lee’s big fat contract and, when they did, GM Jeff Luhnow pulled the string with Miami upon Lee’s approval – and it all happened on Independence Day, 2012. Let’s hope that irony is prophetic of better days ahead, ones with fewer frog-sttrangling multi-year deals with marginal stars.

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4 Responses to “Houston Babies Take July 4th DH from Katy”

  1. Robby Martin Says:

    Congrats to the Babies on the wins. Hopefully my thumb will be healed and ready to go the next time we play.
    Robby Martin

  2. Tom Flores Says:

    Thank you for your concerns my fellow participants!
    Blind Tom is back in action and ready to go! Come watch a few of us tonight immediately following the Skeeter’s game for the big ” Casey at the Bat” presentation as I will be once again behind the plat calling the shots! Tonight will be a great salute to our military at Skeeter field and if you show up in uniform you get in free.
    Look for us as we act out the presentation on the field and remember we have a commitment from the Skeeter’s to play Vintage Base Ball there in late September. Thank you Deacon Jones for making this happen!
    To the Houston Babies, I say thank you for the fun and fellowship. Our times together get better and better and for those of you, young and old, boys and girls, wondering if you should play this game, well,,, just ask someone who has!

    Let’s keep it alive!
    Tom Flores
    Katy Combines

  3. Michael McCroskey Says:

    Bill, thanks for all the nice comments. My 14 year old, fleet of foot, daughter is named Meghan Grace. That makes her initials MGM and we think that’s just “Grand!”

    Blind Tom Flores suffered a bit of real weather shock exposure, after too many days in his air conditioned office. I’d like to thank him thougth for all he does for Vintage Baseball. His brother David Flores ( affectionately known as ” the Human Game Delay”) was actually the shortstop for the Katy Combine, making several strong relay throws during the day, and cutting down 2 of our runners at the plate. Tom recovered nicely following a late inning rest during Game 1; and, aided by some friendly, shade inducing rain clouds, called a flawless and complete Game 2.

  4. Marsha Franty Says:

    Congrats to all the participants! What a wonderful way to celebrate the Fourth!!

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