1970: 10th Houston Baseball Dinner Picks Bench

The Houston Baseball Dinner was held at the Astroworld Hotel in 1970. Tickets still sold for $12.50 each

The Houston Baseball Dinner was held at the Astroworld Hotel in 1970. Tickets still sold for $12.50 each

In the 10th winter offering of the Houston Baseball Dinner, the growing-in-popularity event finally made a move – not on price or the quality of its inductees – but on its location. The event moved from the Shamrock-Hilton to the Grand Ballroom of the Astroworld Hotel at Kirby and 610 South, just southwest and down the street from the Astrodome. We shall presume that the move had some connection to Judge Roy  Hofheinz’s ownership interests in the new host venue. The dinner date was set for January 30, 1970.

JOHNNY BENCH 1970 WINNER EDDIE DYER AWARD

JOHNNY BENCH
1970 WINNER
EDDIE DYER AWARD

As announced by local BBWAA Chairman John Wilson of the Houston Chronicle, Johnny Bench, the National League’s 1969 All Star catcher, was chosen to receive the Eddie Dyer Award “for exemplifying the competitiveness, sportsmanship, and determination that the award represents.” MLB sophomore Bench suffered no performance slump in 1969 after taking Rookie of the Year honors in 1968. In 1968 he was both the National League’s most dangerous hitter, but also the league’s Gold Glove winning catcher for his defense.

STEVE CARLTON 1970 WINNER DICKIE KERR AWARD

STEVE CARLTON
1970 WINNER
DICKIE KERR AWARD

Steve Carlton was named to receive the Dickie Kerr Award for his outstanding 1969 achievement of striking ut 19 batters in one game.

Prior to the banquet, tickets were listed again at an affordable-for-most-fans $12.50 by mail to those who sent a check or money order to: Baseball Dinner, PO Box 288, Houston, Texas 77001.

~ Mexia Daily News, January 11, 1970, Page 10.

REGGIE JACKSON 1970 WINNER NAMED FOR DYER ALSO, BUT MOST LIKELY WON ROGERS HORNSBY AWARD FURTHER RESEARCH NEEDED

REGGIE JACKSON
1970 WINNER
NAMED FOR DYER ALSO,
BUT MOST LIKELY WON
ROGERS HORNSBY AWARD
FURTHER RESEARCH NEEDED

In a contrary report from another source, it was also reported that Reggie Jackson would also be honored for his 47 HR in 1968 with the same Eddie Dyer Award. Unless this was one of those rare instances of planned honoree over booking, our first guess is that one of these players, Reggie Jackson, is really there to pick up the Rogers Hornsby Award. We shall soon see if further research here can clear up the issue.

~ Childress Index, January 15, 1970, Page 10.

BEANS REARDON 1970 WINNER BILL KLEM AWARD

BEANS REARDON
1970 WINNER
BILL KLEM AWARD

Former MLB umpire Beans Reardon was on hand to experience the irony of being honored with a tribute that bore the nae of a man he apparently hated in real life. As winner of the Bill Klem Award for umpires, Reardon said in his acceptance speech, “I don’t think he (Klem) was the best umpire of all time, but he was the greatest there ever was at running a ball game. I was glad to receive the Klem Award, but I must tell you that Klem hated my guts and I hated his guts.”

LARRY DIERKER 1970 WINNER ASTROS MVP AWARD

LARRY DIERKER
1970 WINNER
ASTROS MVP AWARD

Larry Dierker, a 20-game winner in 1969, was also named as the MVP of the Houston Astros.

~ Traverse City Record Eagle, January 31, 1970, Page 13.

Unfortunately for history, the Beans Reardon “hate” speech captured the fancy of United Press International reporter on January 30, 1970, relegating the rest of the evening’s honorees to mention, if at all, in this concluding lack-of-specificity-as-to-their-awards-except-for-Dierker paragraph:

“Others honored at the annual dinner were Reggie Jackson of Oakland, Harmon Killebrew of Minnesota, Steve Carlton of St. Louis and Jim Breazeale of Atlanta, Johnny Bench of Cincinnati and Larry Dierker of Houston, the Astros’ most valuable player.”

~ Connellsville Daily Courier, January 31, 1970, Page 7.

The confusion will need further clarification from Houston news sources from that era which, unfortunately at this writing, are  still only available via a physical trip in the future to a brick and mortar library facility. In the meanwhile, let’s keep searching the digital sources and put reasoning into play for a few better than wild guesses.

HARMON KILLEBREW 1970 WINNER TRIS SPEAKER AWARD

HARMON KILLEBREW
1970 WINNER
TRIS SPEAKER AWARD

This just in from the research troll. – Harmon Killebrew was the recipient of the Tris Speaker Award.

~ Daily Capital News, January 31, 1970, Page 9.

JIM BREAZEALE 1970 WINNER TEXAS--BORH MINOR LEAGUER OF YEAR

JIM BREAZEALE
1970 WINNER
TEXAS–BORN
MINOR LEAGUER OF YEAR

By deductive reasoning, and with the help of Baseball Reference.Com, we have another “most probable” pick in tow. Once examined further, it wasn’t hard to determine that Houston-born Jim Breazeale was most probably there in 1970 as the Texas-Born Minor League Player of the Year.

http://www.baseball-reference.com/minors/player.cgi?id=breaze001jam

Last words. It’s true. Newspapers don’t write for history, but, over time, they remain as the main voice that speaks from a first-hand perspective on what was happening long ago. Unfortunately, as with the Beans Reardon “hates Klem” story today, what is most entertaining shoves what is most complete to history away to the side or completely out of the way. Similarly, errors are made and published and never corrected. For whatever reason, Johnny Bench were both named in different source and publication date reports as winners of the Eddie Dyer Award. I elected to accepted the local area Baytown Sun’s detailed description of why the Dyer Award was going to Bench because I also knew that the deeply involved Fred Hartman family was responsible for the description. I’m reasonably sure that Reggie Jackson was honored with the Rogers Hornsby Award for sluggers. The facts here need further checking for certainty in the non-digital Houston newspapers.

We are almost to a point in which historical research is as easy as falling out of bed, armed with a computer and Internet connection to special research programs. We’re just not quite there yet. Extra time, travel, and shoe leather are still requirements of the job.

If you do know the answers to the 1970 awards questions pertaining to Bench and Jackson, and you have evidence to support  your conclusions, please leave a comment to this report column. Your input would be most welcome.

Have a great week too!

 

 

 

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One Response to “1970: 10th Houston Baseball Dinner Picks Bench”

  1. Tom Hunter Says:

    On May 30, 1972, I sat behind the visitors dugout on the third base side in the Astrodome and saw Johnny Bench line a ball into deep left field, which took a weird carom off the outfield fence and resulted in an inside-the-park home run–the only one of his career, I believe.

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