Archive for the ‘Baseball’ Category

Rare Footage of ’62 Colts First Game

July 21, 2018

Opening Day ~ April 10, 1962
Colt Stadium in Houston
Bayou City Big League History Begins

I’m learning that it sometimes pays to simply ask YouTube what they have on any given specific past event. This is a clip I found this morning when I asked about film material on the first Houston Colt .45 game on Opening Day 1962. The film direction is extremely poor by today’s standards, but this was April 10, 1962. Fans lacked access to video equipment and we all had to rely upon the professionals to produce really limited amateurish material for history.

There is no voice explanation of what is going on by player name on the field, but you should be able to figure out that what you are looking at early in this brief clip is Bobby Shantz (#42)  performing as the first pitcher in Houston MLB history as he strikes out a left handed Lou Brock (# 24) for the Chicago Cubs. It also features Bob Aspromonte (#14) getting what is most probably the first hit in Houston MLB history; Al Spangler (#21) collecting the first triple in team history;  and Roman Mejias (#25) rounding the bases and returning to the dugout on the heels of the first Houston MLB home run.

Enjoy and have fun. – Here’s the video link:



Bill McCurdy

Principal Writer, Editor, Publisher

The Pecan Park Eagle

A Time Travel Trip to 1931 Yankee Stadium

July 20, 2018

Yankee Stadium, 1931 ~ Timely site photos are great, but you have to see and hear the people in motion to feel the times. This film clip with sound helps get us there.

Before you immediately click the link, please give us a moment to try and put in perspective what we are about to see. It’s quite rare for the era, but what’s in store is a fresh, raw look a long ago Opening Day of the early Depression period, but one that comes in the form of a 14-minute motion picture with the actual sound of what is going on at Yankee Stadium from prior to the Yankees hosting the Red Sox on April 14, 1931.

It’s mostly pre-game stuff, with great shots of Ruth and Gehrig taking batting practice, the field announcer setting things up for the mammoth crowd with little more than great voice projection, superb articulation,  and a hand-held megaphone.

Everybody in the house is in full dress ~ everybody whose adult is wearing a hat (and none of these express “NY” in the loving-letters position) ~ and practically everybody, including the ladies, smokes from wherever they happen to be sitting.

New York playboy Mayor Jimmy Walker is shown throwing out the first pitch from his field box front row seat to, most likely, Bill Dickey, the Yankee catcher, and a uniformed band shows up to escort the raising of the American flag on a tall pole down the left side as they move right into a nice job of playing Our National Anthem without anyone in sight taking a knee.

The Yankee black pinstripe on white with bold numbers on the back of all jerseys looks pretty much as it does today, but the players of 1931 and not yet forgotten that the socks are part of the uniform too. There was no effort back then made to pull the pants down to cover the sox to ankle descent depth. The 1931 Yankees displayed the “NY” letter party on their caps, but did not yet show them at all on the heart-side of their uniform blouses. – Did I mention that the uniforms were far blousier in 1931 than they are now? – That one’s pretty obvious.

We were still wearing those blousy and heavy wool uniforms when I was playing CYO League summer ball in the mid-1950s. By the time we finished a game in the Houston summer heat from all the sweat our clothing had absorbed, it felt like we had gained about twenty pounds playing ball. The big leaguers of 1931 got to feel that way pretty much every day.

As for what we can see about the ’31 Red Sox player uniforms, on the other hand, these displayed a long presumably red stocking on the body face of their caps. Their uniforms were blousy “light wool” too, of course.

Managers Joe McCarthy of the Yankees and Shane Collins of the Red Sox were filmed and recorded extending each other a few good sport wishes prior to the first game start, but the season would soon show that neither club had what it took to stop the pennant roar of the 1931 Philadelphia Athletics. The Yankees fished second to the A’s, 13.5 games back; the Red Sox would get lost in the second division dungeon that year, and end up a whopping 45 games behind the Men of Mr. Mack.

To actually see a pan of the Yankee Stadium outfield from 1931 is to invite amazement. The left field stands seem to jut out early, creating an avenue for short homers down the line. Then, as the field moves further to center, the stands disappear, turning the left-center-to-center outfield area into the “death valley” it came to be for so many home run fly ball outs.

The Wisdom of the Bleacher Fans Story.  The 1931 recorded announcer also made a comment that inferred that the people in the outfield bleachers probably know more about baseball than the people seated in the prime seats. – I didn’t realize that this impression as such had been around as long as it obviously has. It is, however,  not surprising at all. I think it’s tied to a larger social lesson about the fruits of class warfare: “The poor man gets the lesson ~ and the rich man gets the land.”

Finally, here are three more facts to help personalize your trip to the April 14, 1931 game:

(1) The Box Score of the Game below comes to us courtesy of Baseball Almanac.Com. That’s right. The Yankees won 6-3 behind the pitching of future Hall of Fame right hander Red Ruffing. And yes, Babe Ruth did homer in the game.

(2) Make sure you have your sound turned on before you click the link. It makes for an almost surreal landing to arrive, seeing and hearing the world as it was that long ago day in the Bronx.

(3) On this same date, living just a few blocks away from Yankee Stadium, our own favorite native of the Bronx and most venerable member of our Larry Dierker SABR Chapter, Mr. Larry Miggins was then only a 5-year old Irish street kid. ~ Well, our wonderful Larry Miggins is gearing up to turn age 93 next month on August 20th. ~ Expect to hear more from us on that moment for celebration as the time draws even nearer.

Thanks to Patrick Callahan, another of my Eagle brothers from the St. Thomas HS Class of 1956, for calling my attention to the best 14-minute time travel experience that you too are about to see and enjoy. – It’s a beautiful world when we have people like Pat Callahan doing all he can to spread all the good and true joys that are out there.

The Box Score

April 14, 1931 Game Link: Boston Red Sox @ New York Yankees


Please comment. We’d love to know how this experience registered with you. Can you imagine how this crowd might have reacted to a few contemporary fans walking into the stadium in 1931 wearing Yankees caps and jerseys from that era? Who knows? A uniform with # “3” on the back might have produced an earlier birthdate for the phrase “new revenue stream.”


Bill McCurdy

Principal Writer, Editor, Publisher

The Pecan Park Eagle

Bregman Stats Climbing at the Break

July 19, 2018

What Alex Bregman may look like someday when he’s too old to play any more baseball.

Well, he may not really be Paul Newman, but Alex Bregman is still playing a Cool Hand Luke brand of baseball these days. He works hard at his craft and he fights back fiercely at everything that fate and pitching dementia throws at him, apparently against all odds.

That first observation also begs for another Newman-driven movie title here to theorize why things first stuck in adversity so often bounce back Bregman’s way. ~ Maybe, yes, just maybe, ~ “Somebody Up There Likes Him.”

What happened Monday and Tuesday in Washington was typical of the snapback pattern this guy has in his determination to make something good happen. Monday night, as the only American League contestant in the Home Run contest, Alex had to beat out this mad grinning, much bigger Bluto of a guy from the Cubs in the first round. He pretty much came on like Popeye in the process. With time running out, Alex needed one more homer to force a tie that he probably could have then broken for a first round win in the bonus time he had earned en route.

Alas, the last long drive to deep left center fell about two feet short and Bregman was done. For Monday night, at least. As for how this low AL interest in the Monday Home Run Derby started, we may have gotten our answer Tuesday. Some of them apparently were saving their homers for the Tuesday game itself.

Maybe it just takes a guy like Alex Bregman to see and then take best advantage of every golden opportunity that comes his way. It also helps to be lucky – and also to have a manager like A.J. Hinch, a guy who knew that putting Bregman in the lineup as a sub at shortstop could make a difference at a critical moment late in the game. And wouldn’t you know it? The home boy NLs tied up the game at 5-5 through nine – forcing about the dreaded extra innings and a kid named Alex Bregman leading off the top of the tenth – and standing squarely in the way of the game reaching a player over-use crisis.

Bregman took the count to 2-2 – long enough for Joe Buck to start yakking about the problems of all-star games and player over-usage when – all of a sudden – it didn’t matter.

Remember, the pitcher had two strikes on Alex. ~ Bregman had him right where he wanted him. Alex drove the next ball over the left field fence and into the bullpen. The face and fire of joy took over the Bregman body and soul as he answered every slap of congratulations from his teammates with resounding force and deliriously happy fury.

Somewhere now standing from the best seat in the house, Commissioner Manfred had to be upright for as far as he can rise, applauding, and grinning his head off as he silently screamed his newfound mantra: “Thank God for Alex Bregman! ~ Now I’m off the hook for my own embarrassing Bud-Selig-All-Star-Game tie moment in the bottom of the 17th inning! ~ And, Oh YES!  Thank You too, George Springer! Why, I only had to rise once to see the Astros serve the turkey and dressing ~ and then they also quickly poured gravy on it too! What a beautiful, butt-saving, flying-frito deal this is turning out to be! ~ Don’t go far away, Mr. Alex Bregman! You don’t know it yet, but you just won the MVP award, if this lead holds!”

You just read what happened next in the Commissioner’s mind. There was barely time for Bregman to celebrate alone because Astros teammate George Springer then walked to the plate and took the very first pitch thrown since the last dinger went yard and crunched it even deeper to right for an opposite field homer.

The Bregman-Springer two-pitch back-to-backs would stand as a baseball version of the old one-two punch-out to both cheeks of the NL pitching face. The AL then used a series of hits to add the only run scored without homer aid as the game retired to the bottom of the tenth with an 8-5 AL lead looming large. The NL found a way to add their 5th HR for the 10th record homer of the game, but AL 8 – NL 6 would hold up as the final score.

Wow! And wouldn’t you know it! Mr. Bregman was named the game’s MVP. He even got to select a Chevy Camaro as part of the gift package. The rest of the gift was the fact that he got to be seen by millions as he gave the car in person to his mother, who happened to be at the game with his father.

Raise your hands if you have a kid who ever gave you a Camaro?

Yep. Tuesday came with all the character we Houston fans have come to enjoy. It toyed with all the elements we need around here for pleasant dreams from all the “walk-off” redemption wins we’ve enjoyed, courtesy of Alex Bergman. In fact, the first such game of note involving Alex Bregman that most us will remember forever is worth its weight in ways that go way beyond gold or the even lesser value of any new Chevy Camara or Chevy truck.

It was called Game 5 of the 2017 World Series.

Offense Leaders at the All Star Break

The following table shows where the Astros are relative to AL offensive categorical leadership at the 2018 All Star break. Jose Altuve remains the only Astros leader, but even Jose is off the mark in the important batting average category.

As for whose hanging close to the leaders in 2018, it is now Alex Bregman’s name that is appearing most often as the closest Astro in the chase. Bregman is also now hitting .288 and he seems to be on a steady climb from his earlier plateau around .260. If he keeps it up, he’s well on his way to the magical .300 mark gate.

2018 AL Offensive Category Leaders

And Astros Contenders in Each:

BA MookieBetts BRS .359 Jose Altuve 2 .332
GAMES Jose Altuve Astros 99 Bregman/Springer 4t 96
HITS Jose Altuve Astros 129 no one close
1BH Jose Altuve Astros 95 no one close
2BH E. Escobar Twins 35 Alex Bregman 2 31
3BH Y. Sanchez CWS 9 Marwin Gonzalez 10t 3
HR JDMartinez

J. Rameriz

BRS Indians 29 (1t) Alex Bregman 12t 20
RUNS F. Lindor Indians 85 Alex Bregman 7 67
RBI JDMartinez BRS 80 Alex Bregman 6t 64
WALKS Mike Trout Angels 86 Alex Bregman 5t 56
SLG % MookieBetts BRS .691 Alex Bregman 8 .539
OB % Mike Trout Angels .454 Jose Altuve               Alex Bregman 5         8 .394 .389
OB+SLG% MookieBetts BRS 1.139 Alex Bregman 8 .928



Bill McCurdy

Principal Writer, Editor, Publisher

The Pecan Park Eagle


Night of the Hunter: Bregman is All Star MVP

July 18, 2018

Alex Bregman
2018 All Star Game

Stirred on quietly by the ancient force of Astros fan Tom Hunter’s clairvoyance that something akin to “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington” was about to unfold when Alex Bregman took the field Tuesday evening for the MLB All Star Game, the young man with cold blue ball-killer eyes took the field with that glinting frozen smile that also inevitably presides on such nights for this young man. It was about to be ~ the most special night for this stealth-filled hunter in his career as a killer of the cowhide-covered orb.

Alex did not come alone with that salivating design.

On a a big game hunter’s night ~ one in which 50% of the 20 total game hits collected by both All Star Clubs were home runs, Alex Bregman of the Houston Astros delivered the great difference-maker with the score tied at 5-5, leading off the top of the 10th for the American League. Bregman’s homer made it 6-5, AL – with Astros mate George Springer immediately following Alex’s blow to left with an opposite field homer of his own to right.

By the time the full extra stanza had been played, the AL had defeated the NL by 8-6, and Mr. Cold-Steel Blue Eyes, Alex Bregman himself, had been named as MVP of the 2018 All Star Game at Washington, DC.

In a night of great power balance, the American and National League teams each registered 5 home runs each.

For further details, please look elsewhere. This js most simply a morning-after visual post of another fresh major moment in the redundantly unfolding joy that is now suddenly available to Houston Astros fans in this era of great talent and accomplishment capacity.

We do want to congratulate our good friend and Pecan Park Eagle reader, Tom Hunter, for calling the shot on Alex Bregman’s big night, several hours prior to the game. Hunter suggested that Bregman was on the brink of drawing attention to himself at the game ~ and in a way that could be tantamount to the spotlight that actor Jimmy Stewart once attained in the movie remembered today as “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.”

It turned out to be “The Night of the Hunter”. By mysterious hunch. By design. By the number of explosions. As an extension of the Home Run Derby. And by the look that could be seen in those Cool Hand Lukish Paul Newman eyes of Alex Bregman.

Late last night, not the night before, Alex Bregman not only affirmed that powerful spiritual hunch of Denver-based supporter Tom Hunter, he flat-out took the Washington evening and turned it into “The Night of the Hunter” for all AL and Astros fans.

Look again into those cool deliberate eyes that you see in the graphic above you, Astros fans, and just be glad and grateful that young Mr. Alex Bregman is on our side!



Bill McCurdy

Principal Writer, Editor, Publisher

The Pecan Park Eagle

Houston Sports Poll: Influence or Expectation?

July 17, 2018

Dashaun Watson is No. 1 Pick in 2018 Poll That Alleges Him To Now Be the Most “Influential” Houston Sports Figure.


(All of the tabular information shown here, plus all of his previous six year rankings, from 2012 thru 2018 were published in Sunday’s July 15, 2018 Houston Chronicle.) ~

The 2018 List

Rank Name Role Club Level
1 Deshaun Watson QB Texans NFL
2 Jim Crane Owner Astros MLB
3 Jeff Luhnow GM Astros MLB
4 Jose Altuve 2B Astros MLB
5t James Harden MVP Rockets NBA
5t Chris Paul Guard Rockets NBA
5t Daryl Morey GM Rockets NBA
8 Justin Verlander Pitcher Astros MLB
9 J.J. Watt Defense Texans NFL
10 Ed Oliver Defense Cougars NCAA


People who control the money and the flow of resources that produce championships ~ and people who devise long-term plans that actually result in championships ~ each share a common bond among fans and the media. Nobody really hangs their hats of hope on requests for patience and time to prove the efficacy of whatever they happen to be doing. Then ~ once in silvery orange-blue moon ~ along comes a logistics savant owner like Jim Crane and a baseball genius like Jeff Luhnow and it’s like the baseball gods left the locks off the doors at their hall of baseball cookie miracles.  ~ The result? ~ Here’s your baseball miracle as promised, Houston! ~ Delivered on time, as promised three years earlier, here are your 2017 World Series Champions!

That isn’t the stuff that gets you the number one spot with Dale Robertson. Robertson is listening to the Houston fan heartbeat for great expectation, and, as much as I hate to say it, but have to admit it, Dale is sniffing football, and mainly NFL football, most of the time at the top spot. In the seven seasons that Dale Robertson has been doing these rankings, he’s picked someone from the Texans five times as his number one ranking figure.

Here’s the tabular rundown on # 1 picks:


2012 Wade Phillips Def. Coach Texans NFL
2013 Dwight Howard Player/Center Rockets NBA
2014 Bill O’Brien Head Coach Texans NFL
2015 J.J. Watt Player/Defense Texans NFL
2016 Brock Osweiler Player/QB Texans NFL
2017 Dallas Keuchel Player/Pitcher Astros MLB
2018 Deshaun Watson Player/QB Texans NFL


This movie title in a film featuring an earlier Dale Robertson stands well as a headline in a year following a poll when someone other than a Texan was picked for the top spot.

As a matter of fact, it’s a title that works well pretty much any year for describing the #1 pick as most “influential” sports figure in Houston in July, when the appetites of those awaiting the forthcoming NFL season are frothing at the mouth for a QB who comes along and fulfills the “great expectation” of Houston winning a Super Bowl.

Oh yes, making the world forget about Tom Brady in the process also wouldn’t be frowned upon by Houston Texan movers and shakers and other local NFL Joes. 

  • see the “Editor’s Footnote at the end of this column.

About that seasonal help to the poll when the picks are made in July. Some of Dale’s picks may have been helped by the seasonal impact of when lists were made. By July of each year, Houston basketball fans are usually too busy digesting their still recent disappointments to build any new peak expectations for next year. Although, based upon Dale Robertson’s approach ~ and had the Rockets signed LeBron James, it’s easy to see King James pushing Dr. Watson back to the #2 hole in 2018, with no arguments from anyone, but that’s not what happened. And, here we are, at the time of year when we Houston baseball fans are too busy exchanging our fantasy hope for the reality of watching the defending World Champs play ball.

And that leaves the large legion of Houston football fans, many of whom happen to be crossover all Houston sport team fans, where the bait is still the player who can drag his tail in the water like a silver spoon flipper and lure the masses of football fan fishers in numbers through the stadium game dates in the fall.

This year, the heroic Deshaun Watson is the QB of allure. A couple of years ago, it was the forgettable Brock Osweiler.  Is Watson for real? He could be, but all we know for sure is that he will have to do more than share time with J.J. Watt and “Scott the Marketing Man” ~ making TV commercials for HEB ~ before Houston has its latest great expectation either finally realized or crushed again.

As one who has been reading Dale Robertson since the time he was roughed up by former Oilers QB Dan Pastorini in an interview that ran into sensitive ground at a tough moment in the season a thousand weeks ago, I already believe that he’s a much bigger football and tennis fan than he seems to be of baseball, but he keeps on trying to cover all the bases that go with his job. ~ I give him lots of credit for his durability, even when I do not agree with his conclusions in this set of rankings for the wrong reason.

That being said, I think we disagree mainly because we interpret the word “influence” differently.

“Influence” always translates to me as “power” and, in that regard, there are no others on this list with more “power” over the fortunes of the three Houston big sport teams than Masseurs Crane, Fertitta, and McNair. That is why I personally would have chosen Jim Crane as my #1 pick in 2018. Crane is the guy who used his power to set up the ground for optimal on-term success in Houston baseball.- How did that work out? And how could it have worked at all, had Crane’s ego needed to take more direct credit for all that Jeff Luhnow did? On the other hand, if we are talking about the “specific influence” of one being able to attract fans by great expectation, it is almost always going to be a player or head coach or field manager that takes the #1 spot. And, most of the time, a magical and talented new QB for the Texans is going to stir up our NFL crazy fans to the Great Expectation (GE) of a Super Bowl ride. – Viewed in that hungry light, I would have to agree with Robertson’s pick of Watson for the top spot as the “GE” giant influence upon that large group of Houston crossover sports fans. Only LeBron James could have beaten Deshaun Watson in Houston from this point in 2018 going forward from mid-July.

Hang in there, Dale Robertson. Maybe Deshaun Watson will finally come through as your cash cow pick.

  • Editor’s Foot Note: Thank you, Tom Hunter, for setting in motion the serendipity that spread from your reminder to me that there once was a Grade B movie actor, also named Dale Robertson, that once starred in a movie entitled “Return of the Texan”. Due credit is all yours that it lead me to find the movie poster for that less than august film that served here as a visual guide to the extra comments included  in conjunction with the movie poster’s use here as a result.


Bill McCurdy

Principal Writer, Editor, Publisher

The Pecan Park Eagle


Memories of Loel Passe

July 16, 2018





Houston Buffs Radio Broadcaster, 1950-1961;
Houston MLB Broadcaster, 1962-1976.


Thank You, Darrell Pittman, for finding and submitting this article for note and credit to Jim Bishop and the Victoria Advocate for their earlier publication on July 20, 1997. Large parts of Houston Baseball history would otherwise be lost were it not for writers like Jim Bishop and this also history-energized South Texas newspaper.

Yeah, we know. The print was a little small, but if you knew, or remember Loel as a broadcaster, we hope it will be worth the squint. Loel was one of the lights that filled in the landscape before we even came close to the level that now fills the house of the current World Champions, the 2017 Houston Astros.


Bill McCurdy

Principal Writer, Editor, Publisher

The Pecan Park Eagle

Hero of the 1950 All Star Game

July 15, 2018

Red Schoendienst and Bill McCurdy (L)
Cardinals Club Suite
Busch Stadium II
May 1998

In that limited time I had with Red Schoendienst

In the limited time I had with Red Schoendienst in the Cardinals Suite back in 1998, I was able to tell him how his 14th inning NL game-winning home run in the 14th inning back in the 1950 All Star Game made our entire little Houston sandlot team happy. Red answered my news with a patient smile and a two-pat light slap on the shoulder. All I needed to hear could be seen in the sincerity of the man’s eyes.

That 1950 All Star Game, which we could only “watch” over the radio in Houston during those pre-television days, kept us tied to our home radios for most of the afternoon. And when it was done, we all had some welcome steam to play us away into the darkness of a later than usual stopping point.

The 1950 All-Star Game

(Excerpted precisely from Baseball Almanac.Com)

As the All-Star game entered its third decade, the National League was tired of being baseball’s perennial loser. Trailing 12-4 in All-Star Games and losing the three previous World Series, the National League did not have the fans or American League players respect anymore.

Inspired by their poor showing in the previous decades, the National League resolved to make this year different. The 1950 All-Star Game turned out to be the first to go into extra innings, featured two dramatic home runs and produced some of the finest All-Star pitching ever. As usual, the American League was leading (3-2) in the top of the ninth. Then, Ralph Kiner led off with a long home run that tied the score and set the stage for a three-inning pitchers’ duel.

Larry Jansen pitched for the National League into the eleventh inning while giving up one hit in five innings. Allie Reynolds matched him, taking the American League into the twelfth and giving up one hit over three innings. Pitcher Ted Gray took over for the American League in the thirteenth and maintained the status quo. In the fourteenth, however, the National League fired another leadoff rocket off the bat of Red Schoendienst. He was an unlikely hero as he had sat for ten innings while Jackie Robinson played second. Entering the game defensively in the eleventh, Schoendienst stepped up in the fourteenth and homered into the left-field stands. Even more disheartening was the American League loss of Ted Williams. While making a running catch of a Kiner drive in the first inning, he ran into the wall and broke his elbow. He stayed in the game, visibly injured, and went one-for-four. Later he underwent surgery and didn’t play again until September 15. The National League had gone the distance and made a statement. Finally, they had established a momentum that would last for several years.

1950 All-Star Game1950 All-Star Game Program
1950 All-Star Game Official Program

Game Number


Date / Box Score



Comiskey Park

Attendance (Rank)


1st Pitch

Connie Mack

M.V.P. Award

Not Awarded Until 1962

Starting Pitchers

Vic Raschi

Robin Roberts


Casey Stengel

Burt Shotton


Frankie Crosetti

Jake Pitler

Bill Dickey

Milt Stock


1950 All-Star GameLine Score


1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 R H E


0 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 1 4 10 0


0 0 1 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 3 8 1

Robin Roberts
Don Newcombe (4th)
Jim Konstanty (6th)
Larry Jansen (7th)
Ewell Blackwell (W, 12)

Vic Raschi
   Bob Lemon (4th)
Art Houtteman (7th)
Allie Reynolds (10th)
Ted Gray (L, 13th)
Bob Feller (14th)

Ralph Kiner (9th)
Red Schoendienst (14th)



Houston Baseball Affinity History Notes

15-16 years later, NL right hander Robin Roberts would start and win 8 games for the 1965-66 Houston Astros. … NL shortstop Marty Marion would earlier serve as principal owner and President of the last group to own and run the minor league Houston Buffs from 1959 to 1961 over the last three years prior to the city’s emergence as a 1962 NL expansion club.

The Schoendienst eventual game-winning homer in the top of the 14th at Comiskey Park during the afternoon of the 1950 All Star Game gave the spirit of the Pecan Park Eagles an extra boost as we went into afternoon sandlot competition a little later than usual.



Bill McCurdy

Principal Writer, Editor, Publisher

The Pecan Park Eagle


Houston ’98: Stadium Work on Schedule

July 14, 2018

Excerpt from the Victoria (TX) Advocate, July 24, 1998:

As the Astros sign to remain in Minute Maid Park through 2050, here’s another timely historical contribution by the always keen researching mind that is Darrell Pittman.




Bill McCurdy

Principal Writer, Editor, Publisher

The Pecan Park Eagle

Our Manifest Destiny Redefined

July 12, 2018



Wednesday, Wednesday, July 11, 2018: “Manifest Destiny” by fine artist Opie Otterstad nears completion for its grand display at Minute Maid Park.

Remember the night all our ancient Houston Baseball Dreams came true? It was a starry, starry night in Los Angeles on November 1, 2017. The Houston Astros had just defeated the Los Angeles Dodgers in a seven game World Series as the the 4-3 play from Altuve to Gurriel drove the final nail into the heart of  all there was to any remaining blue hope as the final play.

A half second later, the scene depicted in “Manifest Destiny” cut loose, winding itself forever into our Houston psyche in so many similar and diverse ways. Houston baseball destiny had finally done it, sailing far above – and far over – the glorious rainbows of our own creation.

We may have still been “strangers in a strange land” emotionally – as far as the business of Houston and World Series victory were concerned – but now we had all the time in the world to get over that limited and forever from this day forth refuted limited perception of ourselves. All had now changed forever. And our challenge as Houstonians is to give everything right, loving, passionate, and creative we now do our best effort for as long as we draw the breath of life.

The 2017 Houston Astros are now the World Series Champions of Baseball – and in serious contention for a repeated crown in 2018. As fans of our local teams – and as industrious survivors of “Harvey” – we are Houston.

Being all he could be as Astros manager AJ Hinch’s bench coach in 2017 got Alex Cora the job of manager of the Boston Red Sox in 2018. That seems to be working out pretty well for him.

“Houston Strong” needs to thrive as a way of life, even when we are not working together to survive the immediate threat of a weather crisis. And our job is to give everything we do our best effort for as long as we live.

As a fiery phrase, Manifest Destiny gained popularity in 1845 from its use by journalist John L. O’Sullivan, who used the term to strongly advocate the annexation of Texas and Oregon into the Union, and in great alignment to the principles put forth earlier in the Monroe Doctrine.

Opie Otterstad has done well to choose Manifest Destiny for his title on the work that now, soon, and forever lives in glorious visible testament to that greatest moment in the history of Houston and Houston Astros joy. Houston is now free of a 55-year separation from its ultimate goal. The Houston Astros are – now and forever – the 2017 World Series Champions of the baseball world. And now we have tasted baseball goals accomplished to their point of highest completion. Our manifest destiny for this attainment has been harvested and tasted.

That painting is the picture of the very first delicious bite.

I also like the idea that our big World Series moment in Los Angeles on the night of November 1, 2017 also personifies our “manifest destiny” as individuals to simply live our lives to the fullest while we’re still here. And if we are not doing things in the name of love, to realize that we are missing out on our greatest possible personal destiny we could ever engage.

We need to be – all that we can be – and never settle for less. We all can’t be – or need to be – Jose Altuve. We just need to be all of who we are – and nothing less.

Thank you, Houston Astros and artist Opie Otterstad – for showing all of us both the way – and the light that shines forth from those paving the road.




Bill McCurdy

Principal Writer, Editor, Publisher

The Pecan Park Eagle

Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is.

July 11, 2018

Darrell Pittman

The following item was found in the July 19. 1896 edition of the Houston Daily Post by crack baseball researcher Darrell Pittman and donated for our notation and use in The Pecan Park Eagle:



A Spot Cash Offer with a Quick Delivery of Goods


There was a great deal of life in the grand stand yesterday. Of course, the people of Houston were interested in the home team and each successive play of advantage made by the Buffaloes was loudly applauded. Kline’s home run raised a howl of delight from them all, but when little Charlie Becker put it over the fence two separate times, the applause was deafening. Everybody went wild. Paris did not seem to have an admirer in a hundred yards of the plate. But they did, nevertheless.

There was a party of traveling men grouped in one corner of the grand stand. The traveler is always on the side of the stranger in a strange town. He is a stranger himself and always believes he gets the worst of it, but he don’t, and so this aggregation of good-natured drummers began to root for the visitors. Every good play made by the Midlands was given a good strong hand.

In the fifth inning, Payne and Mulkey were on bases (for Houston). Van Dresser had struck out and Cathey came to the stick. “Five dollars for a home run,” called out one of the drummers. Cathey tried to make it, but he only hit to Kline. He got first, however, filling the bases.

When Zeis walked up to the plate, stick in hand, the drummer raised his bet: “Seven dollars for a home run.” It looked like it would be a safe proposition as Zeis had two strikes on him but he got an easy one. He caught on the nose and lifted it above the heads of the scattered ballplayers Barker went back to the fence to pull it in, but he couldn’t. It lifted a little, made a down shoot, and dropped just without the enclosure.

Zeis had called the bet.

He had an easy walk around and then went to the grand stand. Of course, the drummers put up. They made the proposition and when they were called, showed their hands. They “went south”, as the expression goes and “dug up the coin.” It was unexpected to them. They were trying to enthuse matters. They did.

After the home run they quieted down and mentally figured the profits as Ivory soap and groceries from Marlin and Galveston. Will Richards, a prominent traveling man who makes Houston his headquarters and roots for the Buffaloes then went after them. He brought about forty small boys into the grand stand and they made life miserable for those (Houston-foreign) drummers.

There probably will be no more cash offers for spot home runs. The delivery is too sudden.



Bill McCurdy

Principal Writer, Editor, Publisher

The Pecan Park Eagle