1964: Houston’s 4th MLB Dinner

Umpire Jocko Conlan pulled double-duty at the 4th annual Houston MLB Dinner, srving as both the MC and the recipient of the Bill Klem award.

Umpire Jocko Conlan pulled double-duty at the 4th annual Houston MLB Dinner, serving as both the MC and the recipient of the Bill Klem award.

After a ticket price of $10.00 each for the first three annual Houston MLB Dinners at the Shamrock Hilton Hotel on South Main, the per ducat price jumped 25% to $12.50. Even more shocking was the news that the reigning king of Houston MC’s, Morris Frank, for the first time in his life, bought his own. – What is the world coming to?

Also, as has become the case in the early history of these Houston Baseball dinners, the lineup of honored stars is again sprinkled, if not saturated this time, with the presence of future Hall of Fame members.

SANDY KOUFAX 1964 WINNER FOR 1963 SEASON DICKIE KERR AWARD

SANDY KOUFAX
1964 WINNER
FOR 1963 SEASON
DICKIE KERR AWARD

______________________________

Morris Frank to Make History at Baseball Fete

Houston, Tuesday, January 21, 1964,

Morris Frank, the Sage of East Texas, took the night off as MC in Year 4, even buying his own banquet ticket  for the first time in 61 years.

Morris Frank, the Sage of East Texas, took the night off as MC in Year 4, even buying his own banquet ticket for the first time in 61 years.

 At least a football lineup of starting Baytown baseball fans will be at the Shamrock (Hilton) at 6 p.m., Tuesday ((tonight) for the annual Houston Baseball dinner sponsored by the city’s baseball writers.

Eleven reservations had been made by Baytown fans.

One of the principal reasons for extreme baseball interest as well as the sellout possibilities at the dinner is (that) a history-making event will be recorded. 

Morris Frank of the Houston Chronicle, famed Texas humorist, raconteur, master of ceremonies and after dinner speaker, has bought his own ticket.

It is the first time in history that the former sage of Lufkin ever bought a ticket to a dinner.

How he will react has the fans on edge.

It will be Frank’s final appearance before leaving for engagements in Gadsden, Ala., Philadelphia, and New York.

 

WILLIE MAYS 1964 WINNER FOR 1963 SEASON TRIS SPEAKER AWARD

WILLIE MAYS
1964 WINNER
FOR 1963 SEASON
TRIS SPEAKER AWARD

Since the Baytown Sun has no paid circulation in either of (any of) these spots, it will not prejudice talker Frank’s opportunity to crash these engagements without having to buy a ticket.

“This is the first time in 61 years I ever bought a ticket,” Morris said Monday at a preliminary luncheon, “but I figure that anything I do not do more than once in 61 years cannot become a habit.”

Baseball greats like Whitey Ford, Ron Perranoski, Jackie (Jocko) Conlan, Hal Woodeschick and Willie Mays will try to help Frank get his $12.50 worth.”

~ Baytown Sun, Tuesday, January 21, 1964, Page 2.

______________________________

WHITEY FORD 1964 WINNER FOR 1963 SEASON EDDIE DYER AWARD

WHITEY FORD
1964 WINNER
FOR 1963 SEASON
EDDIE DYER AWARD

Wednesday, January 22, 1964 …

Major Leaguers Get Awards at Houston Baseball Dinner

By Kenneth Carr

Houston (UPI) – Houston baseball writers Tuesday night passed out awards to Los Angeles pitcher Sandy Koufax and other major leaguers at their 4th annual major league dinner.

Dodger relief pitcher Ron Perranoski received the annual Dickie Kerr award for 1963 for Koufax who was unable to make the banquet.

Other major leaguers honored included Willie Mays, Whitey Ford, and Hal Woodeschick.

HAL WOODESCHICK OUTSTANDING RELIEF 1963 COLT .45'S

HAL WOODESCHICK
OUTSTANDING RELIEF
1963 COLT .45’S

Mickey Wright Honored

The Associated Press honored female golfer Mickey Wright as woman athlete of the year and St. Louis Cardinal manager Johnny Keane as manager of the year.

Umpire Jocko Conlan received the Bill Klem award.

RON PERRANOSKI RELIEF PITCHER OF YEAR 1963 SEASON

RON PERRANOSKI
RELIEF PITCHER OF YEAR
1963 SEASON

Perranoski left the dinner with his own award – a bronze fire hose nozzle for his relief role. Mays received the Tris Speaker award and Ford the Eddie Dyer award for spirit in the game.

Umpire is MC

Woodeschick, who came out of nowhere last season in the National League, won plaudits as an outstanding reliefer for the Houston Colts.

(Jocko) Conlan acted as master of ceremonies at the $12.50 a plate dinner, and (he) brought down the house with his anecdotes.

He told the audience (that) he was responsible for putting paper cups in the concession stands at Ebbets Field. He said he feared a repetition of a soda bottle barrage he got in his early days as an umpire.

JOHNNY KEANE ST. LOUIS CARDINALS MANAGER OF YEAR

JOHNNY KEANE
ST. LOUIS CARDINALS
MANAGER OF YEAR

Houston Colt owner Judge Roy Hofheinz said (that) ticket sales were ahead of last year, showing the interest in Houston’s nearly completed domed stadium. The stadium will be air conditioned. 

Colt General Manager Paul Richards predicted a good year  for the (1964) Colts and said that some of his young players would come into their own.

~ Brownsville (TX) Herald, Wednesday, January 22, 1964, Page 6.

______________________________

As for Jocko Conlan …

Carl Warwick of the Colt .45′s tells this great story about the night he was hitting against Gaylord Perry at Colt Stadium. According to Carl, saliva was flying off the ball as it made funny dips and dives at the plate. Finally, a pitch hit the dirt and rolled behind the catcher. And Carl says he could see it picking up a ring of dirt from the spit that had been on the ball. Then home plate umpire Jocko Conlan picked it up with two fingers and threw it out of play in exchange for a fresh ball.

Conlan had a smile and a comment for Warwick as he returned to his position behind the plate.

“Kind of humid tonight, isn’t it, Carl?” Conlan offered.

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4 Responses to “1964: Houston’s 4th MLB Dinner”

  1. Rick B. Says:

    Conlon’s comments reminded me of the 1950 classic “Kill The Umpire” with William Bendix. May I assume that you’re familiar with that one, Bill? On the extreme off chance that you’re not, it would be worth picking up a copy on DVD. According to Bendix’s character, being an umpire is “the lowest a man can get.” At least, he thinks so until he becomes one himself.

  2. Tom Hunter Says:

    Bill: Do you remember “From the Morris Chair”? I believe it came on TV on Sunday nights, with Morris Frank holding forth on various topics in his inimitable humorous style. It seems like the Sage of Lufkin cultivated the same reputation as that other supposedly penny-pinching character, Jack Benny.

    • Bill McCurdy Says:

      Great memories, Tom!

      Morris Frank was wonderful – a true one-of-a-kind character. His personal charm worked as an MC, as a Buff Stadium PA announcer, as a radio/tv guy, as a columnist, as a one-on-one point-maker,, as a hobnobbing ambassador from Houston to the world at large, and, of course, it worked in his support of local charities. They don’t make ’em like Morris anymore because they only made one Morris Frank in the first place.

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