Archive for the ‘History’ Category

Happy 93rd Birthday, Larry Miggins!

August 20, 2018

Larry Miggins Himself
Age: Age 93 Today
Born: August 20, 1925
Birthplace: Bronx, NY
Identity: 1st American Birth Generation Born off the Boat from Ireland; former St. Louis Cardinal & Houston Buff; Current Active Member of the Larry Dierker SABR Chapter; Loyal Husband of the Beautiful Kathleen Miggins and the Father of their 12 Children.



Dear Friends and Readers,

We feel sure that Larry would welcome your personal birthday wishes as either a comment below or as an e-mail to Larry in care of his wife Kathleen’s personal e-mail address at

So, please give Larry and Kathleen some thought and drop him a line at the address provided here. I say “and Kathleen” today because she has been in this long stretch of smiling, loyal, loving, and happy marriage for much longer than even some of us elder members of the baseball community may venture to recall.

God Bless! ~ God Bless us all! ~ But today especially ~ May God Bless Larry Miggins!



Bill McCurdy

Principal Writer, Editor, Publisher

The Pecan Park Eagle

Our Polish-American All Star Teams

August 19, 2018

“I started out as Aloysius Szymanski. ~Do you know my legal adult famous-in-life baseball identity?”


Let’s put it this way. ~ Were it possible, either of the variations offered here is challenge-ably good enough to win any All Star Game they enter by strength of talent alone. The first offering, the one restricted to using only those past MLB Polish-American players whose names end in “ski”, could be more challenged in the event of game injuries to their limited roster, but, come on! ~ If we can bring most of these guys back from the dead with the help of the baseball gods to play a one-shot all-star game, you might think we could also get a little insurance against stubbed toes and Tommy John arm problems suddenly popping up to spoil the fun!

The second roster table has more reserves because we opened the identity gates to include Polish-American MLB vets whose families apparently tried to “Americanize” their surnames by either dropping the “ski” caboose phrase or by simply changing their names to something else.

Lopatynski became Lopat and Szymanski became Simmons. And we don’t personally know what the Musial, Niekro and Konstanty families may have done to change their surnames without further research.

It’s all in fun here. So enjoy. And please feel free to suggest changes or additions.

~ The Pecan Park Eagle

The Warsaw Skis ~ Our Polish All Stars

# Batters L/R Pos Year BA RBI HR
1 Whitey Kurowski R 3B 1945 .323 102 21
2 Troy Tulowitzki R SS 2011 .302 105 30
3 Carl Yastrzemski L LF 1967 .326 121 44
4 Ted Kluszewski L 1B 1954 .326 121 49
5 Greg Luzinski R RF 1975 .300 120 34
6 Rip Repulski R CF 1954 .283 79 19
7 Hank Majeski R DH 1948 .310 120 12
8 Bill Mazeroski R 2B 1962 .271 81 14
9 A.J. Pierzynski L C 2012 .278 77 27
  Pitchers L/R Pos Year ERA W-L Sv
  Stan Coveleski R S 1920 2.49 24-14 2
  Ron Perranoski L R 1963 1.67 16-3 21

The Greater Polish-American All Stars

# Batters L/R Pos Year BA RBI HR
1 Whitey Kurowski R 3B 1945 .323 102 21
2 Al Simmons R RF 1931 .390 128 22
3 Stan Musial L CF 1948 .376 131 39
4 Greg Luzinski R DH 1975 .300 120 34
5 Ted Kluszewski L 1B 1954 .326 121 49
6 Carl Yastrzemski L LF 1967 .326 121 44
7 Troy Tulowitzki R SS 2011 .302 105 30
8 Bill Mazeroski R 2B 1962 .271 81 14
9 A.J. Pierzynski L C 2012 .278 77 27
  Carl Sawatski R C 1961 .299 33 10
  Hank Majeski R INF 1948 .310 120 12
  Rip Repulski R OF 1954 .283 79 19
  Pitchers L/R Pos Year ERA W-L Sv
  Phil Niekro R S 1974 2.38 20-13 1
  Joe Niekro R S 1979 3.00 21-11 0
  Stan Coveleski R S 1920 2.49 24-14 2
  Eddie Lopat L S 1951 2.91 21-9 0
  Ron Perranoski L R 1963 1.67 16-3 21
  Jim Konstanty R R 1950 2.66 16-7 22



Bill McCurdy

Principal Writer, Editor, Publisher

The Pecan Park Eagle

Houston MLB Managers

August 16, 2018

Harry Craft
Houston’s First MLB Manager


Name Years Managed Record
A.J. Hinch 2014-2017 341-307
Bo Porter 2012-2014 107-188
Tony DeFrancesco 2012 16-25
Brad Mills 2010-2012 171-274
Dave Clark 2009 4-9
Cecil Cooper 2007-2009 171-170
Phil Garner 2004-2007 277-252-1
Jimy Williams 2002-2004 215-197
Larry Dierker 1997-2001 448-362
Terry Collins 1994-1996 224-197
Art Howe 1989-1993 392-418
Hal Lanier 1986-1988 254-232
Bob Lillis 1982-1985 276-261
Bill Virdon 1975-1982 544-522
Preston Gomez 1974-1975 128-161
Leo Durocher 1972-1973 98-85
Salty Parker 1972 1-0
Harry Walker 1968-72 355-353
Grady Hatton 1966-68 164-221
Luman Harris 1964-65 70-105
Harry Craft 1962-64 191-280


Top 10 Houston MLB Managers in Wins

Through All Astros Games of Aug. 15, 2018 *

# Manager Won Lost W % W Behind
1 Bill Virdon 544 522 .510 Leader
2 Larry Dierker 448 362 .553 96
3 A.J. Hinch * 415 354 .540 129
4 Art Howe 392 418 .484 152
5 Harry Walker 355 353 .501 189
6 Phil Garner 277 252 .524 267
7 Bob Lillis 276 261 .514 268
8 Hal Lanier 254 232 .523 290
9 Terry Collins 224 197 .532 320
10 Jimy Williams 215 197 .522 329

* As the only active manager with a dynamic record in 2018, A.J. Hinch’s record also includes the 74 wins and 47 losses he’s added through 8/15/18 to his career Houston mark beyond the 341 wins and 307 losses he has registered in our first table of this managerial data through the complete regular season win mark that all managers had achieved through 2017.

Win Records here do not include post-season games.

Bill Virdon, whose field leadership took the Astros to their first serious “ball hangs at the lip of the cup on the 18th hole” fashion” runs at the World Series in the late 1970s and 1980, is still the all time wins leader with 544 regular season victories.

Larry Dierker’s .553 winning percentage tops all Astros managers with serious time at the helm.

The addition of these 2018 still-in-progress season wins-to-date allows A.J. Hinch to move from 5th to 3rd place on the all-time (let’s call it what it is) Astros regular season wins list.

On the morning of August 16, 2018, an off-date, the Astros have played 121 regular season games and they have 41 games left to play. It is possible, but not probable, that Hinch will catch Dierker for 2nd place this year. The Astros would have to go 34 and 7 in their final 41 games to make this happen, but that doesn’t matter, anyway. Either way, they are both part of the brainy baseball-wise mosaic that has taken the Houston Astros to the top of the baseball world in ways too numerous to list here.

I’m also a big fan of Bill Virdon, Art Howe, Phil Garner and the Roman Candled temperament of Hal Lanier for the goose he gave our aspirational sails back in 1986.

Anyway, the information here is for your own reveries on all we’ve had to go through to get where we are today. In reality, managerial success is an art form that isn’t dependent so much upon which manager had the most wins, but what they each in their own ways brought to the canvas of baseball as THE great American game.

Enjoy the day off from Astros baseball, everybody. And let’s hope the Astros pack those clubs they found useful in the Wednesday night, 12-1, execution of the Rockies at MMP. There are some hungry division title seals awaiting us in both Oakland and Seattle this trip, and we will need all the clubs our guys can bring to bear against the opposition.


Babe Ruth Died 70 Years Ago Today:

August 16, 1948. 

Babe Ruth Hour Glass 2

Thank You for the Important Reminder, Tom Hunter ~ Time Flies Far Too Quickly ~ Even for Heroes like The Babe. I was 10 at the time and I had to run to my room to cry in private when I heard the news on the radio. I wasn’t yet old enough to know that it was sometimes OK to cry in front of your friends when somebody very special passed away. Tons of us fans still love and miss you, Babe! ~ Hope you are at peace, wherever you may be. ~ If I hadn’t given up my anthropomorphic view of Heaven many years ago, I could probably still see you hitting monster shot homers up in the clouds. ~ But that’s OK. ~ I can still hear the sound of your bat making contact with the ball in my mind. ~ It is a sound that I never got to hear in person on earth. ~  It is so cool!



Bill McCurdy

Principal Writer, Editor, Publisher

The Pecan Park Eagle

The Smells-A-Little-Fishy Lineup

August 14, 2018


Couldn’t find a Perch or a Minnow in the entire MLB player batch ~ and we also passed on nicknames like “Catfish” and “The Human Crab” to come up with a slightly less potent (on paper) ~ Smells-A-Little-Fishy Lineup!

It is lamentable that the big leagues, so far, have missed out fielding at least one single  ballplayer whose surname is “Snapper.” If there ever is a Snapper, especially if his DNA runs back to those port city Vikings that long ago came, conquered, and stayed in Ireland in places by the sea ~ is there any doubt as to what his nickname most likely would be?

Today we’ll just have to find consolation in this negatively aromatic lineup of the mind. Perhaps the rest of you can submit nominations for other roster additions that could make it smell better or even worse.

Here it is in its original lineup form:

The Smells-A-Little-Fishy Lineup

# Batting Order Year Pos BA HR RBI
1 Ralph Garr 1974 LF .353 11 54
2 Kevin Bass 1986 RF .311 20 79
3 Mike Trout 2016 CF .315 29 100
4 Tim Salmon 1995 1B .330 34 105
5 Mickey Rivers 1977 DH .326 12 69
6 Geronimo Gil 2002 3B .232 12 45
7 Eddie Lake 1945 SS .279 11 51
8 Bert Whaling 1913 C .242 0 25
9 Sam Fishburn 1919 2B .333 0 2
Pitchers Year Pos Won Lost ERA
P Dizzy Trout (R) 1944 P 27 14 2.12
P Eddie Fisher (R) 1965 P 15 7 2.40

Tim Salmon at 1st and Geronimo Gil at 3rd are playing out of position for the sake of filling out the defensive needs of the club, but large outfielders have been known to make the move to 1st OK in many other instances ~ and where else do you put a slightly slower catcher when you want him in the lineup ~ and 1st is already filled? – Third Base! ~ Of course! ~ That’s right.

You know what else is fishy? ~ It’s watching the Astros go through this period in which they look like they belong at the bottom of the American League ocean. ~ Maybe tonight they will break out of it. After all, they are only playing the Rockies ~ and all the Rockies are doing these sweat-heavy days of mid-August Houston heat is running tied with the Dodgers, one game back of Arizona in the NL West. ~ How fired up are they going to be on the heels of knowing that the Mariners just pulled the Astros back into a tighter division race than anyone saw coming prior to the pile up of all our local team player injuries?

Baseball moves in mysterious ways. ~ Have a bite on this little Smells-A-Little-Fishy Lineup. ~ It’s all we’re serving up for a late baseball afternoon “afunch” today at The Pecan Park Eagle Bar & Grill.


Bill McCurdy

Principal Writer, Editor, Publisher

The Pecan Park Eagle


Que Sera, Astroturf

August 9, 2018

Que Sera, Astroturf

(Go to the tune of “Que Sera, Sera”, almost as sung by Doris Day. I relocated some of the musical note phrasings in both the melody and the italicized chorus voice version here. If I could sing it for you, you would immediately hear how each word fits each note used in exactly the right place. If we are ever in the same place, and this script is available, I will be happy to demonstrate. ~ And pardon me for trying too hard. ~ I just never got over the need to give everything I do my best effort. I’m convinced. If I could have thrown the ball 100 mph, I might have been one hell of a closer ~ and without once slugging my own jaw on days that things didn’t go well.)


When I was JUST an Astros Pup,

I played the outfield ~ out in the Dome!

On a field of sensation ~ first in the nation,

Heat had no place ~ to roam!


Que Sera, Young Pup,

We’ve got you all covered up!

Our roof is a ~ canopy,

For our full blast ~ real big ~ AC!


When I ran UP ~ to catch a ball,

I raised my BUG EYES ~ and WHAT did I see?

Nothing like baseballs ~ Round falling baseballs!

That’s when it dawned ~ on me!


I cannot SEE ~ the ball,

Just girders and glare ~ that’s all!

Now fearing a mighty fall

From a ball that finds me ~ so small!        


Then they got busy ~ fixing things up,

Painting the ROOF ~ did SURE save this pup!

We all could see again ~ catches not “E”s again,

Grinning wide ~ like a VIC-tory cup!


Que Sera, Green Grass,

Your time now is ~ sure to pass,

With no sun ~ the grass must go,

Que Sera, Green Grass!


Then they found ~ AS-tro-TURF,

In Mon-SAN-to’s ~ door-mat surf,

Blew-it=up ~ to a field-sized girth,

Que Sera, ~ Astroturf! *

And not too many copycat covered stadiums down the road from these early Que Seras, people started to miss real grass playing fields. So, they started building these newer coliseums of covered and air-conditioned comfort with movable roofs that opened and closed to sunlight at will. That way, people could have their real grass back. All they had to do was keep their roofs open long enough during the daylight hours to keep real grass alive and thriving on the field of action. And that’s pretty much the current wisdom on the subject in 2018, but the educational part of this lesson began in Houston, 53 years ago, with the grand opening of the mother of them all, the Astrodome.

 The People of Houston don’t have to change their apartments to change the world. Judge Hofheinz and all the folks at the Houston Astros did that for them, starting back in 1965 with the opening of the Astrodome, or even earlier, whenever it was that the Judge’s mind committed to tying Houston’s bid for major league baseball to the construction of a covered and air-conditioned stadium …. Que Sera, Astroturf!


Author’s Note: Please don’t blame my artist brother, John McCurdy, for the cartoon I used in this column. I did it about three years ago, long before my brother ever appeared in print here. It just happened to fit the parody subject of today’s freshly born take on a very old Astrodome legendary historical story. ~ Thanks for your patience and support. ~ Bill McCurdy



Bill McCurdy

Principal Writer, Editor, Publisher

The Pecan Park Eagle



















A Snapshot of SABR Members in Houston

August 8, 2018
Microsoft Word - Document1

A red dot shows where each member of the Larry Dierker Chapter of SABR live in the Metro Houston Area. ~ Prepared by SABR Member Chris Chestnut. ~ Thanks, Chris!

“The Society for American Baseball Research had its beginnings in Cooperstown, New York. It was the brainchild of L. Robert Davids, who on August 10, 1971, gathered 15 other baseball researchers at the National Baseball Hall of Fame to form the organization.

“From this modest start, SABR membership has broadened steadily. A decade later, it had reached 1,500; today, it totals more than 6,000 worldwide. Who belongs to SABR? Many major and minor league baseball officials, broadcasters and writers, as well as numerous former players. Primarily, the membership consists of “just plain fans” — anyone interested in baseball can join. While the original purpose of SABR was to band together baseball historians, statisticians and researchers, it is not necessary to engage in research to become a member.

“Ernie Harwell, the late Detroit Tigers broadcaster, said: “SABR is the Phi Beta Kappa of baseball, providing scholarship which the sport has long needed. … An excellent way for all of us to add to our enjoyment of the greatest game.”

~ introductory excerpt from “The SABR Story”. You may enjoy reading the rest ~ and a whole lot more at

Get this straight though. – You don’t have to be a genius researcher, a Ph.D in Baseball, or a former big league player to be a member of SABR. – Like the rest of us, you just have to be a deep fan of the game who might enjoy a steady diet of contact with others who also share many of your own baseball interests, but each in their own differing ways.

SABR covers all the bases – from math – to culture – to history – to literature – to philosophy – to drama and the kind of legend-building that develops from its own unfolding. And you also gain the opportunity to read plenty of published material that arrives in your mail from time-to-time at no extra cost – plus the monthly chance at each of our regular meetings to break bread with others and meet a few baseball people you may never have expected to meet.

What does SABR membership cost? “A 1-year membership costs $65, with discounted rates available for seniors, students under 30, and for 3-year memberships. Current members can also choose to renew for 5 years at a discounted rate if they choose to opt out of receiving printed publications.” (SABR site quote)

Local Contact: If you already were a local member, you would have been able to attend a SABR chapter meeting at Minute Maid Park this coming Saturday prior to the big game the Astros are playing against Seattle at 6 PM – and listening live at the meeting to a talk on the status of the team by GM Jeff Luhnow – and then enjoying the game with many other members.

For a more personal contact about our local chapter, feel free to contact our SABR chapter leader, Mr. Bob Dorrill at

Come join us in the baseball fun. Collectively, we are much more than just a bunch of red dots on a map of Houston.


Bill McCurdy

Principal Writer, Editor, Publisher

The Pecan Park Eagle







Hits, Heroes, and Storybook Homers (Improved)

August 7, 2018

Altuve Hard To Catch ~ Even 10 Days Into DL Status

 Jose Altuve hasn’t played since he left a game on Wednesday, July 25th with a knee strain. He’s been on the DL since Saturday, July 28th, and his return to action date is still uncertain. Now, on August 7th, and 13 days into this unfortunate period, Altuve still leads the American League in total hits and he also has a strong hold on 2nd place in the batting average competition, trailing only Mookie Betts of the Red Sox for the top spot in that important category. Betts is hitting .342 and Altuve is temporarily frozen at .329. We look for that chase to heat up as soon as Altuve gets back into action.

Here’s the 2018 hit leadership top ten list for American League batters:

AL Hit Leaders thru 8/06/2018

# Piayer Team Hits
1 Jose Altuve Astros 134
2 Jean Segura Mariners 133
3t Francisco Lindor Indians 132
3t J.D. Martinez Red Sox 132
5 Eddie Rosario Twins 131
6 Whit Merrifield Royals 129
7 Mookie Betts Red Sox 125
8t Andrew Benintendi Red Sox 124
8t Nicholas Castellanos Tigers 124
10 Jose Rameriz Indians 122


 This time, ace researcher Darrell Pittman comes up with a look at fan giveaways and special game offerings at the Astrodome from over a half century ago. The money value of all matters, of course, has changed, but the idea is still its golden perpetual self. ~ Baseball fans are “attachment” people. We like to have souvenirs that have a direct connection to our team, our heroes, and our community. These things, or a large number of them, at least, may wind up in garage sales down the line, but they will still be worth the feelings we got one fine Houston summer day from the simple exercise of bringing them home one night from the Dome or MMP ~ or wherever else it is we worship in the Church of Baseball.

This article, which Darrell Pittman found in the August 13, 1966 edition of the Victoria (TX) Advocate gives us a pretty good look at the early days of the “game day giveaway” art:





~ Marwin Gonzalez ~ His 3-run HR with 2 outs in the top of the 9th in SF on Monday, 8/06/18 gave the Astros a surprising 3-1 win over the Giants.

A Sandlot Dream Came True for Marwin Gonzalez. His 3-run HR with two outs in thetop of the 9th in SF on Monday, 8/06/18 gave the Astros a surprising baseball-gods-aided 3-1 win over the Giants in a game that was all but lost to Houston until Marwin did his Mudville redemption act.

Had you been an Astros fan in the left field stands, what would you have done with the Gonzalez’s game-winning homer ball, had you been there to catch or retrieve it? Would you have given it to the sad little kid stranger sitting next to you when he saw that you had caught the ball that he also had hoped to catch? And let us know, if you don’t mind sharing this little glimpse into the normally flawed territory of human nature.

Thanks. And enjoy Tuesday’s game from Frisco. It starts soon. At 2:00 PM.


Bill McCurdy

Principal Writer, Editor, Publisher

The Pecan Park Eagle

August 5, 2018 Lagniappe

August 5, 2018

The 1950 Pecan Park Eagles
Back: Charles Willis, Billy Sanders, Billy McCurdy, Pepsi (McCurdy dog), Eileen Disch, Johnny McCurdy.
Front: Kenny Kern, Raymond Giese, Jackie Perkins, Randy Hunt.

Brand New John McCurdy Sketch of the Pecan Park Eagles

This artistic rendering of the 1950 Pecan Park Eagles by my artistic brother, John McCurdy, arrived in yesterday’s Saturday mail. When he and I talked about his great work earlier this morning, he quite unnecessarily explained his reasons for taking liberty with reality – one more time.

We never had uniforms like that. ~ We never had uniforms of any kind – not even caps. We were a club of “Shoeless Joes” – with toes and soles as tough as nails – and most often tougher than the loose nails, broken beer bottle glass, and runaway garbage tins that so often ended up on our sacred playing ground. All we needed was the time it took to rinse the foot-cut from the faucet in Mrs. McGee’s flower bed and to make sure that the bleeding had stopped and we’d be back at it – full swing.

Way to go Eagles and thank you again, Brother John! – Today’s gift is both a mighty sweet contribution to the folklore surrounding the brief but passionate life of The Pecan Park Eagles ~ and a major step up the line to our little 1950 team gaining eventual acclaim as the Action Comics Mid-20th Century Juvenile Heroes who would best help lead the fight for “Truth, Justice, and the American Way” among their peers.

The Action Comics recognition, of course, was all part our now retroactive dream, but it was easy to find because, at that time, the Pecan Park Eagles were the only kid sandlot baseball team in Houston we know of that also had a girl who played for them as a star pitcher. Her name was Eileen Disch.

And, oh yeah! Eileen also was the only one who always kept her shirt on at Eagle Field. Her personal uniform was blouse and shorts. Otherwise, she was barefoot in the park like the rest of us.


Lance McCullers, Sr. & Jr.
Minute Maid Park, Houston.

Junior Now has One More Career Win Than Senior

Through all games of August 4, 2018, Lance, Jr. still has a one career win edge over his long ago retired dad at 29 to 28. The comparison is a little irrelevant from the standpoint that Junior a total al starter and his dad was almost exclusively a reliever over similar periods of time ro date.

One thing’s for sure when you look at what both of these men have done and where they’ve done it over time is still pretty clear. – They’ve both got MLB pitching ability flowing through their shared DNA.

A Father & Son MLB Numbers Comparison

Of Lance McCullers, Senior and Junior

Through All Games of August 4, 2018:

Senior 206 9 28 31 3.25 526.1 252 242 47
Junior 80 80 29 22 3.69 451.1 178 505 35


“Just Brushing My Teeth, Dear!” ~ W. C. Fields. It was a line inspired by too much W.C. Fields drinking time in a locked bathroom at home and a snoopy wife who inevitably asked the “what are you doing in there” question.

“Never Give a Sucker an Even Break!” ~ W.C. Fields

When reached at his present home in a paranormal time dimension beyond our own, here’s what W.C. Fields told our farthest roving reporter when asked if he planned to advise his great-grandson, a Houston Astros season ticket holder for many years, as to what action he should take to the sharp increase in ticket prices for Astros season tickets next year.

Here’s how Fields responded:

Fields: “Help him out? ~ Yes! ~ Good question! ~ Well, I’m not sure I can do that now. ~ You see ~ I just received a handsome consultant fee from the Astros for sharing a piece of advice with them on how this very event might be received by the general public. ~ Yes, it’s pretty tricky territory here! ~ Had to be careful! And fair! ~ After all, the Astros are good, honest people that deserved credit for bringing a World Series title to Houston! ~ And, as everybody knows, it’s going to take some money to keep the championship here!” And keeping the World Series title here benefits all of Houston!

TPPE: “Well, what did you tell the Astros, Mr. Fields?”

Fields: “Sorry, sonny, nothing comes free in this old globe of yours. ~ In other words,  my little little ‘pluck-a-bee’ ~ come up with the dough ~ and I’ll let you know!”

TPPE: “Must be some heavy reading, sir.”

Fields: “It’s not heavy. That’s my cover. ~ The thing’s lighter than air ~ one sentence long ~ all easy words ~ and all put there to shape the heart of every fire-breathing salesman who ever sensed when the fish were jumping into the boat to bite the hook – whether it had a worm on it ~ or not.”

TPPE: “No kidding?”

Fields: “No kidding, my little jabber-wocky! ~ Why, the Astros were so happy with my advice ~ they even gave me a bonus. ~ It’s a tailor-made golf clothes outfit ~ and it comes with two pair of pants ~ just in case I get a hole in one.

“Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got to find the men’s room. It’s time to brush my teeth.”



Bill McCurdy

Principal Writer, Editor, Publisher

The Pecan Park Eagle




August 3, 2018


By Maxwell Kates

As promised, if it’s Friday, August 3, 2018, it must be time for answers to the Pecan Park Eagle Trivia Contest I first issued in June that the Eagle again published again yesterday as a restatement of the questions alone. Today you finally get the answers. Remember, there were fifteen questions, mostly relating to my columns with the Pecan Park Eagle within the past year. ~ In the words of the Great One, Jackie Gleason, “…and away we go!”

(1) Which Hall of Famer was the subject of a recent biography by Marty Appel?

The Hall of Famer was Casey Stengel and the book was entitled “Casey Stengel: Baseball’s Greatest Character.” Casey (and Marty) were integral to the 2017 SABR convention held in New York. There was a Casey Stengel panel and also a book signing at Citi Field with Marty Appel before a Mets game. Marty was also integral to my New York experience, having run into him in Central Park on the 4th of July.

Marty Appel with Casey Stengel Book.

(2) In what major league stadium did Willie Mays hit his 600th home run in 1969?

San Diego Stadium. As I wrote last August, “Giants’ manager Clyde King told Padres President E. J. “Buzzie” Bavasi that Mays would rest for the first game, on a Monday night. The Padres’ front office decided to open the left field bleachers for the second game of the series, offering a new Chevrolet to any fan lucky enough to catch Mays’ 600th home run. More than 1,200 tickets already had been sold when King called on Mays to pinch hit in the top of the ninth of Monday. Facing Mike Corkins, Mays hit his 600th home run into a sea of empty bleachers. Promotion ruined.”

Willie Mays hit HR #600 at San Diego Stadium.

(3) Justin Verlander pitched two no-hitters for the Detroit Tigers. Who were the opponents?

Milwaukee Brewers, June 12, 2007 (in Detroit). Toronto Blue Jays, May 8, 2011 (in Toronto). I remember exactly where I was for both no-hitters: in Vienna, Austria for the first and in my living room for the second.

Last out of Justin Verlander’s 2nd no-hitter.

(4) Which Astros player hit 53 leadoff home runs in his major league career?

Craig Biggio, in a career spanning 20 years from 1988 to 2007. It’s still a franchise record, though if Connecticut George hits enough Springer Dingers…

Craig Biggio

(5) Roy Halladay was the third Toronto Blue Jays’ pitcher to win the Cy Young Award. Name the other two.

Pat Hentgen was actually the first, having outdistanced Deer Park resident Andy Pettitte for the American League Cy Young Award in 1996. He was followed by another Houston-area resident, Roger Clemens, who won the Cy Young in 1997 and again in 1998. Roy Halladay, who was killed in a plane crash in 2017, won the Cy Young for the Blue Jays in 2003.

Clemens and Hentgen

(6) Who won the American League Most Valuable Player Award in 1953?

It was Al Rosen of the Cleveland Indians. Leading the league in both home runs and RBI, Rosen narrow missed the Triple Crown when he lost the batting title to Washington’s Mickey Vernon when he hit .336 to Vernon’s .337. Rosen later became a general manager, including 1980 to 1985 with the Astros.

Al Rosen as Astros General Manager, 1980-1985.

(7) Five members of the 1982 Houston Astros, four in uniform and one in the broadcast booth, also managed the team. Name them.

You’ll find them all in the Astros’ 1982 yearbook:

  • Bill Virdon (manager, 1975-1982)
  • Bob Lillis (manager, 1982-1985)
  • Art Howe (manager, 1989-1993)
  • Larry Dierker (manager, 1997-2001)
  • Phil Garner (manager, 2004-2007)

Phil Garner.

(8) According to Irish folk legend, what is the surname of the only man capable of killing a local man-eating sea serpent?

This was from a book by Michael Spencer Bown called “The World’s Most Travelled Man.” His final country was Ireland, where he writes about the legend in question:

            “A local legend says that a man-eating sea serpent lives nearby and can only be slain by a man             named McCurdy wearing clothing made of calf skin, wielding a club with three nails in it that have never been used to shoe a horse.”

             It was written in the Pecan Park Eagle about the ancestor, presumably named Liam, No one in our family has read the book – and the McCurdy ancestor it references never read any books –  but we do still have this sketch of him holding the club we also still possess. – Do we still need to dispatch that Irish sea serpent?”

Liam McCurdy ~ strolling ~ in the early days of the Emerald Isle.
~ Once Upon a Time, Liam McCurdy charmed the snakes into an unconscious state. His recent descendants have since learned that sometimes a carefully worded blog column can accomplish the same end, … but only on snakes, mind you; only on snakes.

 (9) What five Astros represented the team at the 1994 All-Star Game?

 The five Astros’ All-Stars were Jeff Bagwell, Craig Biggio, Ken Caminiti, Doug Drabek, John Hudek. Not to be outdone are the five Astros at the 2018 All-Star Game: Jose Altuve, Alex Bregman, George Springer, Gerrit Cole, and Justin Verlander.

1994 Houston Astros

(10) How many African American pitchers have won 20 games in a season. Which of the ‘Black Aces’ won 20 games for the Astros one season?

There were 15 ‘Black Aces,’ African American pitchers to win 20 games in a season. The Astro was J. R. Richard, who went 20-15 in 1976.

The One and Only J.R. ~

(11) What village in upstate New York hosted the first SABR convention in 1971?

It was Cooperstown, on August 10, 1971. SABR 1 was attended by 16 members. One of the 16, Tom Hufford, is still a member, having attended the 2018 SABR convention in Pittsburgh.

Cooperstown, New York

Editorial Note: On our far too brief only trip to Cooperstown in the summer of 1994, I had to ask one of the baseball item storekeepers what he did during the cold, often snowbound, months of winter. His answer came back with the ring in a voice that you only hear from people who get asked the same question all the time.

“Inventory,” said the Cooperstown merchant. (TPPE)

(12) Name two members of the Larry Dierker Chapter, both of Irish heritage, who played professional baseball before the formation of the Houston Colt .45s. (Note that I didn’t say MALE baseball players.)

The two were Larry Miggins and Red Mahoney. Miggins, born in the Bronx in 1925, played in parts of two seasons (1948, ’52) with the St. Louis Cardinals. After playing in parts of four seasons with the Houston Buffs (1949, ’51-53), Miggins and his wife Kathleen, along with twelvchildren, settled in the Houston area.

Meanwhile, Emily Marie “Red” Mahoney (1924-2016) was a lifelong Houstonian, the only native of the Bayou City to play in the All American Girls’ Professional Baseball League. Red was an outfielder for the South Bend Blue Sox and the Ft. Wayne Daisies, 1947-1948.

Miggins claims that his childhood acquaintance Vin Scully called half the home runs he hit in a major league uniform (he hit two). {Editor’s Note: Larry Miggins’s “claim” is true and it has been verified many times over by his childhood friend and Fordham Academy classmate, Vin Scully. – Scully made the prediction while the two were still in high school that ~ one day ~ Miggins would play in the majors and that he (Scully) would be at the mike to broadcast it and the HR that followed. It happened that way on May 13, 1952 in Ebbets Field when Larry Miggins, batting for the Cardinals, hit his first MLB homer off Preacher Roe of the Dodgers, as a very young Vin Scully made the radio call for the home town Brooklyns.} ~ TPPE

Has Anybody Here Seen Larry L-A-Double-R-Y???

(13) Who is the only living Hall of Famer to work as the director of a funeral home?

Andre Dawson. Andre and his wife Vanessa have owned the Paradise Memorial Funeral Home in the Miami area since 2008. He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2010.

Thanks to Russell R. Hansen for this trivia question.

Andre Dawson is the only Hall of Fame member who also operates a Funeral Home as the owner and funeral director.

 (14) What pitcher surrendered Rick Monday’s decisive home run in Game 5 of the 1981 National League Championship Series for the Los Angeles Dodgers?

Steve Rogers. He was brought in to pitch the ninth inning. Despite a solid effort by starter Ray Burris, the Expos scored only one run in eight innings, the same as the Dodgers.

Steve Rogers.


(15) Finally, who was the winning pitcher in Game 7 of the 1964 World Series?

Bob Gibson. He pitched a complete game victory over the Yankees.

Bob Gibson, 1964 World Series.

The Percy Fielding Prize

How you did is all a matter of fun, but we would enjoy your comments on trivia quizzes? Do you like them, loathe them, or simply see them as a take-it-or-leave-it part of baseball group life?

As for our early June challenge for answer submissions to these same questions by e-mail to the writer, we do have a winner to announce. The winner is Victoria Riggsbee, who reads the Pecan Park Eagle in Raleigh, North Carolina. Vickie wins a baseball card of Percy Fielding. And that will be mailed to her by yours truly, Maxwell Kates.

Percy Fielding
(Prince Fielder)

Congratulations to Victoria, and thanks to everyone who reads the Pecan Park Eagle. I hope everyone enjoys the balance of summer 2018!

It doesn’t go without saying. For baseball fans of contenders, a lot of your September enjoyment now rides on how your club handles the largely remaining rest of August. ~ Right, Astros fans?


Maxwell Kates

Bonus Question and Answer:

Oh yeah, Here’s the pictorial answer to the Bonus Question: “What was the name of Publisher Bill McCurdy’s 1950 east end Houston sandlot baseball team?



Bill McCurdy

Principal Writer, Editor, Publisher

The Pecan Park Eagle


Pecan Park Eagle Trivia Contest Questions

August 2, 2018


1st Annual Pecan Park Eagle
Baseball Trivia Contest
By Maxwell Kates

Questions Today, Thursday, August 2, 2018.

Answers Tomorrow, Friday, August 3, 2018.

Note: Please do not post your answers in the Comment Section of today’s Question Phase of the quiz. We would like to keep this thing open and fun without help for all who wish to play. ~ Posting your answers or thoughts about the quiz tomorrow in the Answer Phase is both invited and encouraged.  ~ TPPE.

Sharpen your pencils, it’s time to play the first annual Pecan Park Eagle Trivia Contest. But first, some baseball nostalgia for you. Most of the questions relate in some way to columns I have written for the Pecan Park Eagle in the past year. Good luck to all those who play.

(1) Which Hall of Famer was the subject of a recent biography by Marty Appel?

(2) In what National League stadium did Willie Mays hit his 600th home run in 1969?

(3) Justin Verlander pitched two no-hitters for the Detroit Tigers. Who were the opponents?

(4) Which Astros player hit 53 leadoff home runs in his major league career?

(5) Roy Halladay was the third Toronto Blue Jays’ pitcher to win the Cy Young Award. Name the other two.

(6) Who won the American League Most Valuable Player Award in 1953?

(7) Five members of the 1982 Houston Astros, four in uniform and one broadcaster, also managed the team. Name them.

(8) According to Irish folk legend, what is the surname of the only man capable of killing a local man-eating sea serpent?

(9) What five Astros players represented the team at the 1994 All-Star Game?

(10) How many African American pitchers have won 20 games in a season? Which of the ‘Black Aces’ won 20 games one season for the Astros?

(11) What village in upstate New York hosted the first SABR convention in 1971?

12) Name two members of the Larry Dierker Chapter, both of Irish heritage, who played professional baseball before the formation of the Houston Colt .45s. (Note that I didn’t say MALE baseball players.)

(13) Who is the only living Hall of Famer to work as the director of a funeral home?

(14) What pitcher surrendered Rick Monday’s decisive home run in Game 5 of the 1981 National League Championship Series for the Los Angeles Dodgers?

(15) Who was the winner pitcher in Game 7 of the 1964 World Series?

Bonus Question:

“We DO have a bonus question for you ~ and we promise ~ it WON’T take much of your valuable time.”

What was the name of Bill McCurdy’s east end Houston 1950 sandlot baseball team?



Bill McCurdy

Principal Writer, Editor, Publisher

The Pecan Park Eagle