Bob Dorrill Award Goes to Larry Miggins

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The first annual 2016 Bob Dorrill Distinguished Service to Baseball Award last night went to the most deserving candidate our SABR group could possibly consider. By unanimous vote at our December meeting, and in sworn secrecy by all from early disclosure to our choice of his selection, the attending members of our Larry Dierker Chapter of SABR in Houston gave the nod at the 2016 Sugar Land Skeeters Hot Stove League Banquet to fellow SABR member and former Houston Buff and St. Louis Cardinal Larry Miggins. Larry’s absence from the meeting that night due to his late 2015 fall and leg injury made it possible for us keep that confidence until Chapter President Bob Dorrill disclosed our pick to him by phone last week.

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The always bright, always funny, and always modest Mr. Miggins expressed his gratitude to Bob Dorrill over the phone, but he also noted that he was “flabbergasted” to have been our choice. When Bob told me of Larry’s reaction, it was not a surprise. Modesty rules this good man and great friend in all matters. The man who once took his first collegiate coaching directly from Honus Wagner at the University of Pittsburgh, the man who played third base for Newark in Jackie Robinson’s first 1946 game across the color line with Montreal, the man who hit his first major league home run for the Cardinals in Brooklyn in 1952 while his old New York high school classmate, Vin Scully, fulfilled a 10-year old prophecy that this moment would one day occur for the two of them, this man who was a key figure in the success of the 1951 Houston Buffs’ drive for a Texas League pennant, this man who went back to school for two college degrees and a post-baseball career as the chief federal probation and parole official in Houston, this man who raised 12 wonderful children with his even more Irish wife, Kathleen, this man who coached and even wrote a book on the secrets of power-hitting, this man who started my life as a childhood hero, but later became one of my dearest late-in-life friends, this man of over 90 years well lived, this man of God who has given himself to the Houston community in so many generous ways, this man, Lawrence Edward Miggins, “himself”, turned out to be the only answer we could find to the question: “Who most deserves this first preciously given Bob Dorrill Award?”

Two of Larry Miggins' 12 children, Eileen Holt and brother John Miggins, proudly accepted the Bob Dorrill Award in their father's good name. Eileen delivered an eloquent acceptance speech.

Two of Larry Miggins’ 12 children, Eileen Hohlt and brother John Miggins, both proudly accepted the Bob Dorrill Award in their father’s good name. Eileen spoke eloquently in her dad’s behalf.

Still recovering from his leg injury, Larry wasn’t able to attend the banquet, but two of his adult children, daughter Eileen Hohlt and son John Miggins were present to accept the presentation from Ira Liebman of the Skeeters, with Eileen speaking for her father with all of the genetic Miggins eloquence at her disposal. I wish time and space made it practical for my recap here, but I would prefer to get my hands on a copy of her full remarks and present them to you separately as a column unto themselves in the very near future. With help of Ira Liebman, I feel sure that we will find a way to get that goal accomplished.

We don't have the attendance figures, but the Insperity Room at Constellation Field was filled to overflowing.

We don’t have the attendance figures, but the Insperity Room at Constellation Field was filled to overflowing.

The Panel Discussion. The banquet also provided a lively hot stove baseball discussion panel chaired by Brett Dolan of the Sugar Land Skeeters. Members of the panel included Allyson Footer of MLB.com, Manager Gary Gaetti of the Sugar Land Skeeters, former MLB player/manager/coach Jackie Moore, current player Chad Huffman, and UH Associate Head Coach for women’s softball, Kristen Vesley. – One memorable quote will have to suffice due to time and space: “When I got my first big league hit for Detroit, it came as a base hit that I got as a result of missing a take sign on a 3-2 count. As a result, my first big league hit came with a $25 fine for not following my manager’s orders.”

The Ray Knoblauch Coaching Award went to Tom McPherson.

The Marie Red Mahoney Significant Achievement Award also was made, but the name was announced at the banquet and I forgot to take notes. If any of readers know the name and school or other affiliation of the winner, please let me know and I edit this little matter of unfinished business here. Also, if anyone knows the coaching connection for Tom McPherson above, please let me know that too and we will also amplify the identity of the winner in that category.

The banquet also presented their 2016 Pre-Season Boys’ Baseball and Girls’ Softball Teams. Mighty important too. Those young people are the face and form of baseball’s future!

Jim Kreuz (center) is one of the most dedicated SABR biographers in our chapter. He and his kindred spirits made a nice show of support for the banquet and, to no one's surprise, Jim personally asked the panel some of the best questions they fielded.

Jim Kreuz (center) is one of the most dedicated SABR biographers in our chapter. He and his kindred spirits made a nice show of support for the banquet and, to no one’s surprise, Jim personally asked the panel some of the best questions they fielded.

Thank you, Ira Liebman and the Sugar Land Skeeters! Thank you SABR! And, last, but not least, Thanks You, Banquet Sponsors, for making the fourth Sugar Land version of an ancient Houston winter baseball banquet aspect of our local baseball culture come to life again. As far as we are concerned, what you guys are doing is invaluable.

Carve this in marble somewhere:

“Those who give of themselves to the game of baseball are the same people, players and fans, who make it worth our passionate support!”

____________________

Larry Miggins

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One Response to “Bob Dorrill Award Goes to Larry Miggins”

  1. Joe Everitt Says:

    Congratulation from the Everitt family. Holy Rosary and St Anne’s.

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