Houston SABR Notes: June 27, 2016

LARRY DIERKER CHAPTER HOUSTON, TEXAS JUNE 27, 2016

LARRY DIERKER CHAPTER
HOUSTON, TEXAS
JUNE 27, 2016

 

Jim Kreuze did another great program booking job for the June SABR meeting of the Larry Dierker Chapter last night. He recruited former MLB pitchers to speak last night.  Jim Foor, a lefty,  was a 1st round draft pick of the Tigers (1971-72) and he also played a season with the Pirates (1973). Andy Cavazos of the Cardinals (2007) , a righty, also talked at the meeting.- Foor and Cavazos each spoke on their little known, but familiar to thousands of other everyday player roads to the big leagues. In that regard, Foor and Cavazos were sort of like baseball’s version of Rosencrantz & Guildenstern, two minor characters in Shakespeare’s “Hamlet”.  And, hey, that’s big. Most of us never came close to playing in the big leagues, let alone get any mention by Shakespeare in any of his works.

Jim Foor

JIM FOOR, RHP DETROIT TIGERS (1971-72) PITTSBURGH PIRATES (1973)

JIM FOOR, RHP
DETROIT TIGERS (1971-72)
PITTSBURGH PIRATES (1973)

Jim Foor also was a member of the original 2008 20th century version of the Houston Babies. He and his wife Sandy Foor were two of our brightest spots of support to our earliest vintage base ball team in the games at Lone Star College up in Conroe. In our first game against the Saw Dogs at the Lone Star field, the Babies were getting initiated into the old-ball game by the more experienced home team. Bob Dorrill and I were both sort of coaching in the opener when, suddenly, Babies pitcher Foor called time out and asked me to come to the mound for a conference. I walked out there and all the infielders joined us.

“What’s up, Jim?” I asked.

“Coach,” Foor answered with a tongue-in-cheek question of his own. “Would this be a good time for me to start signing autographs? You know, sort of as a strategy for distracting the hitters?”

Jim Foor was not only a pretty fair St. Louis-born pitcher, he was, and still is, a funny and fun guy to be around, as is his irrepressibly sunny, cute and witty wife, Sandy Foor.

At one point in his full-of-laughs presentation, Foor told us the story of his first day in spring camp with the 1973 Pirates. He approached Pirate slugging star future Hall of Famer Willie Stargell and said, “I know who you are!” To Foor’s surprise, Stargell smiled and came right back with “and I know who you are too!”

Spotting former Astro pitching ace Larry Dierker in the crowd, Foor asked, “Hey, Larry, you faced Willie Stargell pretty often, didn’t you?” – “Reluctantly” was Dierker’s one-word affirmation.

Andy Cavazos

ANDY CAVAZOS, RHP ST. LOUIS CARDINALS (2007)

ANDY CAVAZOS, RHP
ST. LOUIS CARDINALS (2007)

Andy Cavazos was just as funny and entertaining in his own way. Andy was there last night with his beautiful wife, Sonja Cavazos, and his parents. After being drafted by the Rangers, the young Texas-born Sam Houston State pitcher ended up breaking into the big leagues for his only MLB time in 2007. Andy Cavazos is a big, big man. At 6’3″ tall and full bearded, and wearing a Colt .45s baseball cap, he impressed me as a double-take copy of Evan Gattis. In fact, once planted, that doppelganger-from-a-distance resemblance to the current Astros DH/C  became an image I never fully expunged. The difference was kept clear by Andy’s modest, but very funny stories about his short time with the Cardinals. In my experience, at least, Andy Cavazos is a lot funnier than Evan Gattis ever dreamed of being.

A shy person, anyway, Cavazos says he worried a lot, at first, about being sent back to the minors. Manager Tony LaRussa apparently preferred veterans to rookies. As a result, Andy said that he decided early to be as inconspicuous as possible. “The way I figured it,” Andy said, “if they either forget or don’t know I’m here, they cannot send me down to the minors.” His comment was straight out of the Ensign Pulver character (Jack Lemmon) in the old Navy movie, “Mr. Roberts”. In the movie, the new scary Captain of the ship (James Cagney) was in command for 18 months before he accidentally discovered that Ensign Pulver was even on board.

Hang in there, Andy. You did a great thing to even reach the Cardinals for a single season. You and Jim Foor both were major speaker hits before the members of SABR last night – and those five beautiful minor league championship and all star game rings that you showed us also were very special baseball life accomplishments that few ever get to take home as keepers.But you did. It almost goes without saying, but no one can ever take those accomplishments away from you. You did it, man!

Wayne Chandler

The Astrdome Scoreboard Sowing off part of it's HR display. ~ Just one of its many gifts to the game!

The Astrdome Scoreboard
Showing off part of it’s HR display.
~ Just one of its many gifts to the game!

Wayne Chandler also spoke last night. John was the man who operated the amazing Astrodome scoreboard from 1965 through most of the time that revolutionary feature was in use. Fortunately for Chandler, he was already separated from the scoreboard by going into private business when NFL Oilers owner Bud Adams forced the removal of the scoreboard for additional football seats in the 1990s. Wayne concedes that the scoreboard’s removal saddened him greatly. If you are unfamiliar with this amazing  pioneer work of art in displayable event animation, check out the following  column and audio-visual examples from the Astrodome scoreboard years:

http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=19710

Chandler was the man who made it go for whatever activity was taking place in the dome for years and that included, baseball, football, basketball, boxing, the rodeo, and everything else. When asked which of these things was his biggest moment, Chandler immediately answered that it was the UH-UCLA basketball game of January 20, 1968, when over 50,000 showed up to watch the two top ranked NCAA teams play before the then largest ever college basketball crowd to play the so-called “Game of the Century.” UH won, 71-69, that night, but later lost to UCLA in the first round of the Final Four championship weekend played elsewhere. The 1968 Astrodome game put college ball on the map of network competition for building audiences in prime time for the sport. College basketball would never be a minor commercial interest again.

Chandler also said that he knows a lot of Judge Roy Hofheinz stories that he can never tell, but he said it with a smile. Wayne Chandler feels that Judge Hofheinz Hofheinz has never received the kind of permanent recognition for his accomplishments that he deserves.

Trivia Contest

Mike Vance moderated the trivia contest that was again won by Greg Lucas. Greg will prepare the trivia contest for our next SABR chapter meeting,

Summer Meeting Schedule

Chapter Leader Bob Dorrill implored us all to remember the summer schedule and to get our ticket money for the August MMP game meeting into Jo Russell, ASAP.

There will be no SABR meeting in July 2016.

Our next SABR meeting is scheduled for Saturday, August 27, 2016.

SABR meeting in the Board Room of Minute Maid Park
Start time  4:00 PM
Speaker:  Reid Ryan
Promotion:  Jose Altuve Gold Glove Bobbleheads for ticketholders
Tickets:   $31.00 for the game. No ticket is required for the meeting
Checks should be made out to the Houston Astros
Mail your checks to:  Jo Russell, 15021 Kimberly Court, Houston, TX 77079

Money is due by by August 1st.

____________________

“GO TO BAT FOR MINUTE MAID PARK CAMPAIGN!”

Beautiful Minute Maid Park Of The 436' Deep Center Field We Love

Beautiful Minute Maid Park
Of
The 436′ Deep Center Field We Love

Don’t Forget the “GO TO BAT FOR MINUTE MAID PARK CAMPAIGN!”

If you don’t know what that is, please check out these three groundwork columns in The Pecan Park Eagle and, if you agree with us, please follow through with making your opinion known directly to the Astros, ASAP!

“GO TO BAT FOR MINUTE MAID PARK! – THEN HAND YOUR BAT TO SOMEONE ELSE WHO DOESN’T KNOWN ABOUT THE CAMPAIGN! – THERE IS STRENGTH IN NUMBERS! – AND WE NEED ALL THE HITS WE CAN GET!!”

Save Minute Maid Park

https://bill37mccurdy.com/2016/06/25/the-future-of-minute-maid-park/

https://bill37mccurdy.com/2016/06/27/make-your-voice-heard-on-minute-maid-park/

____________________

eagle-0range
Bill McCurdy

Publisher, Editor, Writer

The Pecan Park Eagle

Houston, Texas

 

 

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