Another Dierker Tale Spins SABR

Larry Dierker Addresses SABR
February 19, 2018

Larry Dierker. – The guy’s ingenuity, smarts, sense of humor, baseball wisdom, and genuine human ability to care is just incredible. It made another manifesting whole presence appearance again last night in a lead-off talk to the members of his namesake Larry Dierker Chapter of SABR. About 40 people showed up. It was the February 19, 2018 monthly meeting of SABR at our current stomping and Italian food chomping eatery, the Spaghetti Western Ristorante on S. Shepherd in Houston, about two blocks south of the Katy Freeway.

If people remember nothing else, they will remember Dierk’s tongue-in-cheek (we think) suggestion for resolving the hell-or-limbo status question that continues to blank out Pete Rose, the game’s all-time hit king, from a full life in baseball.

The Dierker Rose-Selig Prescription: “Give Pete and former Commissioner Bud Selig each a pair of boxing gloves and let ’em go at for as many rounds as it takes. If Selig wins, Pete has to either go away of shut up forever about not being in the Hall of Fame. If Rose wins, Selig and all other obstacles get out of the way and leave the door open from here to eternity for Pete’s total return to the game.”

“What a great idea,” smiled my listening mind. “I’m putting my dime on Pete to take Bud in less than 1 minute and 30 seconds of the 1st round.”

SABR/SIBR. Bob Dorrill led a brief discussion of the movement in place to change the name of SABR to one which more vividly expresses our organization’s interest in the growth of the game worldwide. Cast me among those who find themselves less than enchanted with a change to “Society for International Baseball Research” (SIBR for belibbering short). I’m strongly on the side that says leave our unchangeable identity alone. We ARE “American Baseball” – no matter where we spread to play in this world. Our original identity is immutable – even as the worldwide love for our American Game continues to grow internationally. This trans-borders migration movement does not obliterate the American roots of our game – nor should we yield to the politically correct idea that “Made in America” as a hashtag should be removed from anything American that works so well anywhere it travels – and just to do so as a matter of deferential cultural modesty.

Please. – We ARE – The Society for American Baseball Research – anywhere the game is played.


Post-Publication Inclusion, 5:30 PM, CST, Wed., Feb. 21, 2018, 46 Hours Post-The Meeting Covered. >

Three hours ago, I heard from Jacob Pomrenke, SABR’s Director of Editorial Content at our national office, with a very important clarification by e-mail. It follows here verbatim:

Hi Bill,

Thanks for this fine recap and all the great photos from the Houston chapter meeting. Just wanted to clarify one quick point in your article, in case there was any confusion:

The suggested name change for the organization that the Board of Directors asked all local chapters to discuss was “Society for the Advancement of Baseball Research” — which still keeps the familiar and beloved acronym, SABR, that we’ve always used. That alternate name was originally suggested by the founders at the very first meeting of SABR back in 1971, but after considerable debate, they voted to use “Society for American Baseball Research” instead. The name change has come up again and again over the past 40+ years and with the tremendous growth in our global membership over the past decade, the Board thought it was a worthy topic to bring up for discussion now.

The phrase you used in your article, “Society for International Baseball Research” (SIBR), has never been suggested, nor is it being considered, as a possible name for our organization.



Thanks, Jacob, for that very important clarification. The proposal either wasn’t made clear, or wasn’t heard clearly by me at the meeting, and I reacted to what I heard – with one of those possibilities suggested by someone there whom I now I cannot recall mentioning the “Society for International Baseball Research” possibility.

My apologies are offered with a combination of grief and joy. Grief shrouds the spread of wrong information; joy embraces the relief that the De-Americanization of our game’s identity is not quite as ruthless as I feared it might be.

My first blush reaction is easy to express: I still prefer the name that fully describes our game for what it is and who we are: The “Society for American Baseball Research”.

“Society for Advancement of Baseball Research” remains inoffensive to our comfortable acronym identity, but it promotes the idea that we are here as an organization to research ways to advance the game, either by territorial expansion or the pursuit of superior rule changes – like putting the game on the clock – or putting a runner on 2nd base in the tenth inning for no better reason than ending the game more quickly.

Advancement? I don’t think so. Baseball is not Star Trek – and SABR is not the Good Ship Enterprise, going places where no other game has previously ventured by interference guised as advancement.

Others may disagree, but I’ll take my SABR for what it exactly says it is now.

Thank you, anyway, Jacob for clearing up the misunderstanding.

I’m also going to run this exchange between us here as tomorrow’s column for the sake of those who don’t see it here as an improbable second read of yesterday’s column on our February SABR meeting in Houston.


Scott Barzilla

Scott Barzilla presided over a feisty discussion of “wins in replacement” as a more meaningful way to discuss the value of players relative to the other players on their team. Best example, by question, which Scott also provided: (1) Were the 1955 Dodgers better because they had Gil Hodges playing first base? Or was Gil Hodges better because of the great players on his team who pulled him up to a higher performing level?

I admit to some 1950s “batting averages were good enough for me” bias to not being fully charmed or in depth informed of how this dynamic of analytics works in baseball over the career distance, but I am able to apply the questions to my experience in the mental health field. (1) I do think my mentors and peers were important to the growth of my own abilities as a therapist over time, but (2) the most important teachers I had were – and will always be – my patients. (3) The harder things get to be, the more you have to grow into what is needed in response to the challenge. (4) And that only happens when you both really care about the results of your work – with an understanding of your own strengths and limits – and with an understanding that you will win some, lose some, and in some cases, be the guy who needs help from the mental health bullpen. And it all sums up far more on the feeling level like the same row that has to be plowed by career baseball hitters and pitchers. I can’t really think of it as something we could have measured better by our own therapeutic team replacement theories. We could have, however, given you a pretty long jargon picture on ways to do things differently in different situations.

Karen Walker
The Astros Scrapbook Lady

Karen Walker was our last speaker of the evening – and what a refreshment she turned out to be. Karen is well-known to a number of Astros and the off-season followers of the Astro Line radio program as “The Scrapbook Lady.” If something appears in a local Houston publication about the Astros, it has an apparent 90% chance of ending up in one of the many scrapbooks she brought to show us. Karen is a teacher in the Cy Fair School District. If she teaches like she talks Astros baseball, she’s giving those kids a model for the kind of passion they will need to find joy in their own devotion to work, love, and creativity.

She also shares my sentimentality for hallowed ground. Karen has a bottle of dirt from the pitcher’s mound at Minute Maid Park that former manager Phil Garner helped her collect. I have a bottle of dirt from the sandlot home plate area of the Pecan Park Eagle Field in SE Houston from 1950 that Bob Dorrill helped me collect.

Joe Thompson

Our Baseball PhD-to-be, Joe Thompson, served up last night’s Trivia Quiz. Can’t tell you who won because I had to leave while the quiz was still in motion.

A Membership Renewal Reminder. Bob Dorill also reports several local SABR members need to settle up and pay their current annual dues to avoid the loss of goodies and privileges from SABR. Please take of your stuff, guys. We need you.

Bill Brown

ASTROS GAMES NOTICE. Get ready for the TV action from West Palm Beach. The Astros and Nationals will be on the air this Friday and Saturday in their first two games of the Spring Training season. Bill Brown will help doing some of the ST telecasts. We are unsure of his availability for these first two.




Photo Credits. The lead photo of Larry Dierker in lecture gear and the small photo of Bill Brown in the audience were donated to us by Mike McCroskey. The other photos and “art” work are our own Pecan Park Eagle stuff.



Bill McCurdy

Principal Writer, Editor, Publisher

The Pecan Park Eagle


2 Responses to “Another Dierker Tale Spins SABR”

  1. maxwell1901 Says:

    Down goes Selig! Down goes Selig!

    Cause there’s something about an Aqua Velva Man!

  2. The Possible SABR Name Change | The Pecan Park Eagle Says:

    […] Astros, Baseball History, and other Musings of Heart and Humor « Another Dierker Tale Spins SABR […]

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