Archive for the ‘History’ Category

A Century Ago in America

December 10, 2018

Sigmund Freud, The Father of Psychiatry
Steven Spielberg should produce, direct, and star in
the bio-movie of Freud’s life.


Thank you, fellow St. Thomas High School classmate Ed Szymczak from the Class of 1956 for sending me this list of everyday data on different aspects of Life in America back in 1917. Even though these reports are from an era that transpired only a little more than 100 years ago, it’s still hard to wrap the mind around how much life has changed since that version of everyday life was regarded as someone’s “good old days” ~ and even more mind-staggering to consider how things may be from now ~ for those heading into the Christmas of 2118. ~ Do you think there will still be something called “Christmas” that people celebrate a hundred years from now? ~ Well, if Christmas remains tied to the retail gift industry, or whatever they call it in another hundred years, and why would it not be still so joined, my guess is “yes” ~ there will be.

Here’s The 1917 List of Facts about their era. (I have no idea about their efficacy, or who put them together, but they do sound credible):

The average life expectancy for men was 47 years

Fuel for cars was sold in drug stores only.

Only 14 percent of homes had a bathtub.

Only 8 percent of homes had a telephone.

The maximum speed limit in most cities was 10 mph.

The tallest structure in the world was the Eiffel Tower.

The average US wage in 1910 was 22 cents per hour.

The average US worker made between $200 & $400 per year.

A competent accountant could expect to earn $2000 per year

A dentist $2,500 per year.

A veterinarian between $1,500 – $4,000 per year.

And, a mechanical engineer about $5,000 per year.

More than 95 percent of all births took place at home.

Ninety percent of all Doctors had NO COLLEGE EDUCATION! Instead, they attended so-called medical schools, many of which were condemned in the press AND the government as “substandard.”

Sugar cost four cents a pound.

Eggs were fourteen cents a dozen.

Coffee was fifteen cents a pound.

Most women only washed their hair once a month, and, used Borax or egg yolks for shampoo.

Canada passed a law that prohibited poor people from entering into their country for any reason.

The Five leading causes of death were:

  1. Pneumonia and influenza
  2. Tuberculosis
  3. Diarrhea
  4. Heart disease
  5. Stroke

The American flag had 48 stars …

The population of Las Vegas, Nevada was only 30.

Crossword puzzles, canned beer, and iced tea hadn’t been invented yet.

There was neither a Mother’s Day nor a Father’s Day.

Two out of every 10 adults could not read or write

And, only 6 percent of all Americans had graduated from high school.

Marijuana, heroin, and morphine were all available over the counter at local corner drugstore. Back then pharmacists said, “Heroin clears the complexion, gives buoyancy to the mind, regulates the stomach, bowels, and is, in fact, a perfect guardian of health!”

(A TPPE Addition): Back then, Dr. Sigmund Freud prescribed cocaine to patients suffering from depression.

Eighteen percent of households had at least one full-time servant or domestic help…

There were about 230 reported murders in the ENTIRE U.S.A.


Bill McCurdy

Principal Writer, Editor, Publisher

The Pecan Park Eagle

The Tootsie Roll Game: May 4, 1975

December 10, 2018

The Tootsie Roll Game: May 4, 1975

By Maxwell Kates



First, a trivia question, courtesy of former Los Angeles Dodger Wes Parker. Who was the only #8 hitter (as of 2011) to win a Most Valuable Player Award? Maybe this photo can offer a clue.


Who Dat Above? ~ Above, I Say!
Just Two Peeps ~ On a Baseball Day!

The genesis of this article arose from a conversation I had with Bill McCurdy earlier in the year. He asked me to prepare an essay about episodes in Astros history where the players crossed paths twice. For example, the first pitch in Colt .45’s history was thrown on April 10, 1962 by starting pitcher Bobby Shantz to Chicago Cubs’ leadoff hitter Lou Brock. Two years later, on June 15, 1964, the two were traded for one another. Moving ahead to Game 4 of the 1980 National League Championship Series, there was a collision at home plate in which Philadelphia’s Pete Rose bowled over catcher Bruce Bochy of the Astros. Five years later, on September 11, 1985, when Rose broke (*) Ty Cobb’s record with his 4,192nd hit in Cincinnati, catching for the visiting San Diego Padres was none other than Bruce Bochy. In the name of factual accuracy, it should be pointed out that two of Cobb’s hits have since been erased from the record book, meaning that Rose actually broke the record on September 8, 1985 in Chicago with his 4,190th hit. But that’s not important right now.

Research the Astros’ history book, I attempted in vain to find other instances in franchise history where the protagonists would cross paths at a later date. J. D. Davis tightening up on his swing as Archie Bell and the Drells performed at Discovery Green? I don’t think so. Then a lightbulb went off. Fantastic, Holmes! I remembered the name…Bob Watson.

Bob Watson and Cesar Cedeno, 1973.

Until John Olerud matched his record in 2001, Watson was the only player in major league history to have hit for the cycle in either league. He turned the trick for the Astros on June 24, 1977 in a 6-5 victory over the San Francisco Giants. Traded to the Boston Red Sox in 1979, he repeated his accomplishment, hitting for the cycle against the Orioles as part of a 10-2 victory in Baltimore. Could there possibly have been someone other than Watson who was present for both games? Reading further, I discovered another footnote to history involving Watson in 1975 when he played for Houston. Both games were against the Giants.

During the 1974-1975 offseason, Connecticut newscaster Mark Sackler uncovered that 997,513 runs had scored in major league history. Using his new calculator and his MacMillan baseball Encyclopedia, Sackler projected that the millionth run would score sometime in 1975. Tootsie Roll Industries saw enough value in the promotion to sponsor a sweepstakes. Fans were invited to predict who would score the millionth run in baseball, along with when and where. The winner would take home $10,000. Ultimately, Seiko was roped in to co-sponsor the promotion as baseball luminaries Stan Musial, Ernie Banks, and Ralph Branca were called upon for public relations purposes. There was a countdown clock in every ballpark and a mission control centre in Rockefeller Center, New York as telephone spotters were on hand to call in every home run.

Now I realize that Bill McCurdy has already written about this topic in a 2011 issue of the Pecan Park Eagle in his article “An Evening with Bob Watson.” While the focus of the previous article was about the SABR meeting itself, this one will focus on the game in which the run was scored.

Stan Musial, Johnny Bench(?), Ernie Banks, and Ralph Branca. Person in Above Photo,

Article Addendum on the Identity Question of 2nd Figure from Left,

In Above Photo, Submitted by Article Writer Maxwell Kates, 12/10/18:

“I submitted the Tootsie Roll photo to a website called “Vintage Baseball Photos” to determine who that is between Stan Musial and Ernie Banks.  The general consensus is that it’s not Bench.  Some of the guesses (all of them wrong, presumably) include Mel Brooks, Pete Townsend, Garry Shandling, Herb Alpert, Nick Buoniconti, Bob Sakamano from Seinfeld, Garo Ypremian, and Chevy Chase.  This is what I call fun when it comes to baseball research.”  ~ Maxwell Kates, writer.

“It also may be a text book example of what happens to people among the “almost famous” group from an earlier time-limited era. People later may scramble to remember from a single photo who the heck they actually were in the long ago and faraway once-upon-a-time land from whence they came.” ~ Bill McCurdy, Editor, The Pecan Park Eagle.


Robert Jose Watson was born in 1946 in Los Angeles. Watson signed his first minor league contract with the Astros in January 1965, earning a promotion to Houston a year later. He became a regular in 1971 after switching from catcher to left field and later played 1st base. A right-handed power hitter whose aggregate was impeded by the cavernous dimensions of the Astrodome, Watson batted .303 with 122 home runs and 690 RBI in eight full seasons with the Astros. He was selected to his first of two All-Star Games in 1973

Manager Preston Gomez pencilled Watson in as the starting 1st baseman in the first game of a doubleheader on May 4, 1975. Only 9,451 spectators braved the Candlestick Park weather conditions, which remained inhospitable weather after rain curtailed the contest one day prior. Dave Roberts took the starting assignment for the Astros, facing eventual Rookie of the Year John ‘Count’ Montefusco.

A Typical Candlestick Fan Face on a Normal Windy Day?

Half a continent away in Chicago, future Astros’ manager Phil Garner rapped a double off the White Sox’ Jim Kaat in the top of the 5th inning. At 2:26 pm Central Time, Claudell Washington scored home from 1st base for run number 999,999. The next run would be the milestone but who would score it? Would it be Rod Carew? He too was thrown out in a collision at home plate by Al Cowens of the Kansas City Royals. Adding insult to injury – quite literally – the future Hall of Fame injured his leg on the play. Six minutes had passed and nobody had scored the run. Would it be Chris Chambliss? He took off from 3rd base in Milwaukee when Yankee teammate Ron Blomberg rapped a base hit to 1st baseman George Scott. The Boomer decided to go for the lead runner, throwing Chambliss out at the plate.

“We were hoping it would be us,” remembers Marty Appel, then director of public relations for the Yankees. “We weren’t winning pennants then and it would have been a nice moment.” Back in San Francisco, Watson led off the 2nd inning by drawing a walk against Montefusco. He stole second before the Count issued a second base on balls to Jose Cruz. Little did Watson know that he may have been standing 180 feet from immortality as Milt May strode to the plate.

Oakland Had Mr. October. ~ Houston Had Mr. May.

According to Sackler’s research, Wes Fisler of the Philadelphia Athletics scored the first run in major league history on April 22, 1876. Now, as May lifted Montefusco’s pitch into the fog and filthy air before landing in the empty Candlestick Park bleachers, Watson was poised to score baseball’s millionth run. Not so fast, Roll N Roaster. With nobody out in the 5th inning, Atlanta’s Phil Niekro surrendered a home run to Dave Concepcion in Cincinnati. Could the lumbering Watson score from 2nd base in the time it would have taken the limber Concepcion to circle the bases? Living up to his nickname, Watson rounded 3rd and headed for home like a bull in a china shop.

“I got to third,” Watson told Anthony McCarron of the New York Daily News, “and our bullpen was right behind third and the guys were saying ‘Run, run, run!'” On the Cincinnati Astroturf before a packed house, Concepcion was running the bases at full steam, but to no avail. He was rounding 3rd as mission control ruled that Watson’s foot had touched home plate. Depending on the source, Concepcion was anywhere from twelve seconds (Dan Epstein) to a second and a half (Bill McCurdy) short.

Bob Watson Scores the Millionth Run in Baseball History.

For scoring the millionth run in baseball, Watson was awarded one million Tootsie Rolls. As it were Watson’s children were allergic to chocolate so he donated his prize to charity. Since nobody guessed the correct answer in the sweepstakes, he was also given the $10,000 grand prize. There was a catch. The money was denominated in pennies, so he donated those to charity as well. As least Watson got a nice watch out of the promotion. In the aftermath of scoring the millionth run, Watson joked that his fan mail doubled – from four letters per week to eight.

It should be stated that Sackler did not count the National Association, the Federal League, or any of the other ‘third’ major leagues. Therefore, Watson did not actually score the millionth run and it may never be determined who did.

Bob Watson, Bill Virdon and Gary Wilson, 1979.

Watson remained an Astro until his 1979 trade to Boston and filed for free agency at the end of the season. He played another five years with the Yankees and the Braves, retiring as a player in 1984. Watson was appointed general manager of the Astros in 1994, only the second African-American after Atlanta’s Bill Lucas. Also in 1994, Watson was diagnosed with prostate cancer before undergoing successful treatment. In 1996, he left the Astros to become general manager of the New York Yankees, overseeing their first World Series championship since 1978. Watson retired from his position as a Major League Baseball executive in 2010.

For the record, five Giants, Marc Hill, Gary Lavelle, Randy Moffitt (’82 Astros), Derrel Thomas (’71 Astros), and Gary Thomasson, who played in the game Watson scored baseball’s millionth run also took the field the day Watson hit for the cycle. Hill was actually catching the Giants both for the millionth run and the home run of Watson’s cycle. And no player on either team for Watson’s cycle with the Astros appeared in the game when he hit for the cycle with the Red Sox.

Bob Watson as the Astros General Manager, 1994.



Bill McCurdy

Principal Writer, Editor, Publisher

The Pecan Park Eagle

Robbery-Wreck Kills Two Former Astros

December 8, 2018


Luis Valbuena
Rest in Peace


Jose Castillo
Rest in Peace

Two Days Ago, Thursday, December 6, 2018 ~ Another senseless and sad day is upon us as we receive and try to digest the news from Venezueula that ~ upon this day ~ former Astros Luis Valbuena and Jose Castillo both have been killed in a vehicle collision that occurred when their transportation car from a game in winter ball hit a large rock in the road that caused a multiple fatality wreck.

Four men have since been arrested as suspects in an apparently common practice down there in which robbers place these rocks on streets in targeted attempts to stop the cars of affluent travellers for the purpose of their robberies, dead or alive. The bodies of Valbuena and Castillo both had been pillaged at the scene and apparently some to all of their belongings had been found on the personage of the four men arrested.

A friend of mine with some awareness of the harsh conditions that exist all over South America explained it this way:

“South America is a place in which the few ruling class members control all the wealth ~ and some of those got there in the most directly criminal ways ~ like the production, sale and movement of drugs to all places that are reachable by the cartels they have been established to the service of those aims.

“Most of the people live in abject poverty ~ with no middle class ledge inside their countries to inspire hope for any honest pursuit of a stable, secure future.”

And so we leap: Playing baseball was much bigger than a simple career choice for Valbuena and Castillo. It was their chance to rise above the normally poor options of ~ living at home in relative to abject poverty;  going to work for one of the cartels; becoming independent criminals, like the ones whose robbery plan caused their deaths; or, by joining the masses trying to escape these conditions by crashing the US border, becoming two additions, plus their families, to the probable millions still seeking political asylum as illegal aliens who chose to start their own game by “stealing home.”

Here’s a link to one the coverage stories. This one contains some quoted reactions from some Astros people:

Rest in Peace, Luis and Jose! ~ Know too that we fans loved you ~ and that we shall miss ever seeing either of you again playing the beautiful game of baseball!



Bill McCurdy

Principal Writer, Editor, Publisher

The Pecan Park Eagle

Musial’s Take on Hofheinz’s Dome Humility

December 7, 2018


roy hofheinz-1965

Judge Roy Hofheinz at the Astrodome during the pre-1965 infrastructure completion phase of construction. I’m guessing that the place was a lot closer to completion when Stan Musial saw it for the first time at the December 1964 Houston baseball meetings.

Musial’s Take on Hofheinz’s Dome Humility. ~ 

To Darrell Pittman: Thanks for this clip from 1964 on Stan Musial’s first tourist visit to the site of the forthcoming 1965 first season of the Astrodome’s place in new indoor, air-conditioned baseball history ~ or as, we are reasonably sure the Judge must have proclaimed it ~ even that early ~ as the new “Eighth Wonder of the World!”

Nothing like inviting an ego buzz-cut from one of the most humble down-to-earth great ones that ever played his way into the Hall of Fame with no need for boastful help from prideful speech.


Thank You, Stan the Man! ~ On this day that we buried the nation’s most humble and accomplished college first basemen whoever later rose to the office of President (as in POTUS), any reminder of you from any source ~ or any cranny of the mind of your own laid back character is easy to come by. ~ If such things happen wherever you and George now find yourselves, maybe you can invite the guy over for a game of catch sometime.



Bill McCurdy

Principal Writer, Editor, Publisher

The Pecan Park Eagle

Astroball Is a Must Read Book on Change

December 6, 2018

Future Hall of Famer Carlos Beltran.
In 2017, he was a charismatic positive influence upon many of the younger Astro World Series Championship players.

In the December 3, 2018 meeting of our Larry Dierker Chapter of SABR, writer Ben Reiter have a rousing presentation of his new book, “Astroball: The New Way to Win It All” before a packed house of members at the Spaghetti Western Cafe on Shepherd Drive in Houston.

The author started with a well written reading from the text that dynamically addresses how the Astros rose from the depths of a multiple year dip into the well-above 100 season losses early in this decade to becoming World Series Champions in 2017 and an ongoing contender this year forward as a result of the constantly refining influences of a system that combines the best of futuristic analytics and traditional scouting on the talent recruitment and deployment side of things ~ and with an eye toward finding ways to quantify contributing morale factors ~ like the presence of a big positive clubhouse presence of Carlos Beltran as a value to the winning formula.

In 2017, the aging Beltran was often referenced as the guy who just seemed to inspire winning and improved play by the others on the team ~ and, maybe especially among the younger guys, who enjoyed his company on the club, or in the dugout, or the clubhouse, or on the road ~ or any other travel moment when they had a chance to either observe what he was doing during the games ~ or saying to them, both personally and in general.

Does the Beltran 2017 experience suggest that teams should be looking for those kinds of qualities in one or two older players in ways that have only occurred by coincidence in the past?

Good Luck to MLB Thinkers who find an efficacious way to include the intangibles in a more tangible form that does not bastardize the big picture on what it takes to win it all. Otherwise, what good would a definable “charismatic positive influence” be if it left out all those great Yankee champions who apparently hated each other through their ways to World Series victories on the heels of internal discord?

Astroball, the book, is much more than a look into the problems of quantifying the subjective. Ben Reiter has done a first class, thorough job of charting out the change in things from Moneyball through the introduction of Analytics and the integration of new statistical evaluative techniques with traditional scouting evaluations that have gone into putting the Astros championship face together during the successful Jeff Luhnow tenure as General Manager.

Reiter’s book templates an evolving process of change. It’s well written and a must read for everyone who cares about the inner workings of the club and the future of MLB roster planning.

And good luck to you, Ben Reiter, for a book that screams the truth we all seem to put aside too quickly, too often. Life is a constant process of change. And all of us, even the game of baseball, have two choices on how to respond. ~ We can either find a way to participate in and grow with the change ~ or we can just close our eyes and ears and allow ourselves to be swallowed up by it.




Bill McCurdy

Principal Writer, Editor, Publisher

The Pecan Park Eagle

Death of the “CG” Era by the Last 6 Decades

December 3, 2018
6. Larry Dierker

Larry Dierker, Houston Astros

Death of the Complete Game Era by the Last 6 Decades

This is no big news. The “Complete Game” stat is all but a burial away from formal extinction. With the 100-pitches-per-game limit now standing as the great teacher of millennial-aged rookies about what to expect of themselves, even on good days, now the stat to have fun with is ~ is the pitcher one of those new “iron men” ~someone with the stuff, the control, and the stamina to stay in the game to or through seven innings! ~ or is he one of the growing cast of new rocket arms who tries to look good for four, but one who expects rescue after five ~ and really knows that he won’t be around half his starts to even figure in the decision?

Six Decades with the Astros and Complete Game Pitchers

Decade Astros Pitcher W L W% ERA G GS CG IP SO BB
1969 Larry Dierker 20 13 .606 2.33 39 37 20 305.1 247 72
1976 J.R. Richard 20 15 .571 2.75 39 39 14 291.0 214 151
1989 Mike Scott 20 10 .667 3.10 33 32 9 229.0 172 62
1999 Mike Hampton 22 4 .846 2.90 34 34 3 239.0 177 101
2004 Roy Oswalt 20 10 .667 3.49 36 35 2 237.0 206 62
2015 Dallas Keuchel 20 8 .714 2.48 33 33 2 232.0 261 51

I did this little chart this morning just for the fun of it. My goal was to pull up an Astros 20-game winner from each of their six decades in the big leagues and see how the GS-CG stat ratio has held up on the declining CG side ever since one of the last great “CG Men” took the mound to register the franchise’s first 20-game winner season in 1969.

We’re talking here, of course, about our one and only treasured pitcher/broadcaster/manager/author ~ Mr. Larry Dierker ~ who in 1969 once placed the “CG” accomplishment bar at the start of things in our small place in the baseball world at the mountain top of the baseball universe.

Then we simply went through the other five decades that have unfolded since and selected another 20-game winner Astros starter from each period and posted his stats as typical of the entire decade in six instances  to show the down turn change that shows up remarkably clear and self-evident.

There was an instance in the 2001-2010 decade in which we could have chosen Roy Oswalt’s 2005 and that pick would have yielded 4 “CGs” instead of the 2 “CGs” he had in 2005, but that would have been relatively insignificant ~ and in deference to our preference for symmetry, we used 2004 in his case.

The big point that Larry Dierker makes consistently is that the 100-pitch count has changed the game. It has taught rookie starters to expect less of themselves in the matter of how long they are going to be in the game each time they take the mound.

Is that a good thing, a bad thing, or just a difference?

To me, its seems like a big difference, and it’s a difference I think we should be concerned about. Unless throwing more than 100 pitches a game is going to cause one’s arm to fall off ~ or cause cancer or something ~ we are cheating the game and ourselves from ever again seeing the rubber-armed talents that reached the Hall of Fame, at least partially, because of that talent capacity. (See lefty Warren Spahn as a relatively recent example.)

Worse may be the lesson that the 100-pitch count is spreading to young pitchers everywhere.

WOW! As much as we talk patricianly about how baseball offers some lessons that life needs to learn and better use, maybe it’s time to acknowledge that life could teach baseball some lessons that would better serve the interests of these young pitchers as they are learning the game on the 100-pitch count.

Some Personal Reflections

I don’t know anybody whoever succeeded in business on a 100-pitch count ~ and I sure don’t know a soul whoever won their doctoral degree in any academic field on one either. This is about any problem or goal that appears or becomes important to us in life. If it’s valid, if we have the ability and the willingness to resolve or achieve it, and if we are nothing less than relentless in our pursuit of our desired accomplishment, and we have the ability to learn and let people help us when help is truly needed, then there’s nothing that is going to stop us from getting there.

Students have asked me in the past: “When did you actually know for sure that you were going to get your doctoral degree?” ~ My answer was simple: “It happened when I realized that I knew my subject ~ that I had done the work ~ and that there was no one on my faculty doctoral committee that cared more about stopping me than I cared about getting there.”

There are no 100-pitch counts and bullpens in the everyday lives that most of us face.



Bill McCurdy

Principal Writer, Editor, Publisher

The Pecan Park Eagle

Kelly Now Catching for Whomever

November 29, 2018

King Kelly. Hall of Fame
19th Century Master of Deception

Catcher King Kelly, as most of you know, was pretty famous for his acts of deception as a 19th century Hall of Famer, mostly for both Boston and Chicago of the National League. He was famous for his supposedly successful acts of deception bending the rules to the extreme for the sake of winning ~ and, sometimes, just outright lying and cheating for the sake of getting the last out in close games.

The problem is a familiar one to baseball from early on, but probably could not have been worse than it was during the 19th century ~ when it was even harder to build evidence from contemporary accounts as to what actually happened on the field ~ and the issue of separating fact from fiction was at its worst.

The old “Ruth’s Called Shot” fever reigned. ~ There was no New York Replay Review Committee to help with asides like did Babe Ruth really predict his home tin Chicago during the 1942 World Series.

Had there been the kind of digital record coverage in 1932 that we have now, can you just imagine the commentary on screen as the world waited to get evidence on how much the ego and will of Babe Ruth were responsible for this jaw-dropping moment:

A Magical HD Moment in HD Fantasy Form at the 1932 World Series….

Milo Hamilton: “What do you think, Wrangler? Did Babe Ruth just do what we think he did? ~ Whoa, everybody! Did he raise his right hand and point with his index finger to centerfield ~ as if to tell Cubs pitcher Charley Root that he planned to hit that bomb to centerfield exactly where he put it? ~ HOLY TOLEDO! ~ What’s this game coming to?”

Wrangler: “Hold on, Milo. ~ We’re getting New York’s opinion now. ~ New York is saying that Ruth did raise his right hand before the homer pitch ~ but it was the middle finger he was raising ~ and it was pointed straight at pitcher Root ~ with a much wordier message ~ based upon his visible facial movements ~ and it was apparently much more personal.”

Who knows. ~ We could play fact or fiction with Babe Ruth alone for the rest of our tomorrows and never run out of contentious moments in his history.

As for King Kelly, even with far more modest stats, he could rival and probably out-do Babe Ruth on the cheat and lie side of fact-or-fiction.

Sarah Wexler wrote a great column on King Kelly three years ago for the December 4, 2015 edition of The Hardball Times. I completely recommend it as a great read on the fact-or-fiction aspects of this man’s career. Some old news stays fresh.



Bill McCurdy

Principal Writer, Editor, Publisher

The Pecan Park Eagle


LA Baseball in Pasadena CA on Thurs., Nov. 29

November 25, 2018

Friends & Reliquarians:

The Baseball Reliquary concludes its busy 2018 season of exhibitions and programming with a very special evening this Thursday, November 29, beginning at 6:30 p.m. at the Donald R. Wright Auditorium, Pasadena Central Library, 285 E. Walnut Street. The official flyer is attached.

We present “L.A. Baseball: From the Pacific Coast League to the Major Leagues,” a panel discussion and reading related to the new book published by the Photo Friends of the Los Angeles Public Library and edited by longtime Reliquarian David Davis. Featured speakers will include several contributors to the book: Tomas J. Benitez, David Davis, Lynell George, Amy Inouye, Glynn Martin, Bob Timmermann, and Tom Zimmerman.

Copies of “L.A. Baseball: From the Pacific Coast League to the Major Leagues” will be available for $16.39 (which includes CA sales tax), payable by cash, check, or credit card.

We hope to see you next Thursday!

Terry Cannon
Executive Director
The Baseball Reliquary

phone: (626) 791-7647


As a Reliquarian in Houston, we simply want to express our support for your attendance at the last great opportunity in 2018 to experience the fine historical work that the Baseball Reliquary does for fans living in the Greater LA area ~ and also the many travelers to that hub US city. If you are subscriber to The Pecan Park Eagle ! and are going to be in the Pasadena CA this coming Thursday, please treat yourself to the opportunity that avails to you, via the Baseball Reliquary.

And please accepts our wishes again for a peaceful and happy holiday season. And you know what helps a lot of us this time of year. ~ The smiles come easily when we keep in mind that ~ after New Years, spring training is only about six weeks away!



Bill McCurdy

Principal Writer, Editor, Publisher

The Pecan Park Eagle

The ’61 Buffs Who Became Colt .45s and Astros

November 24, 2018

Umpire: “How you and five other ’61 Buffs are going to make it to the big leagues is beyond ALL possible belief!?!”
Buffs Catcher Campbell:BIG DEAL! ~ So’s your strike zone!”


The 1961 last edition of the minor league Houston Buffs produced six players who went on to become members of the new major league Houston Colt .45s. Five of the six made it onto the 1962 first National League season roster; the last one got there the following 1963 season; and three of the six men even saw later time in the bigs as renamed Astros from 1965 forward. ~ Allow me to express the fates and fortunes of those last three big leapers in a way that more admirably matches their historical accomplishment:

Three former Houston Buffs from their final 1961 roster as minor leaguers playing at old Buff Stadium (1928-1961) would later go on to play major league baseball for the Houston Astros in the Astrodome (1965-1999), the place that Judge Hofheinz once dubbed as “The Eighth Wonder of The World.”

Here’s a simple alphabetical table of their names and subsequent years of service with the Colt .45s and Astros:

Pidge BROWNE 1962
Jim CAMPBELL 1962-63
Ron DAVIS 1962 1966-68
Dave GIUSTI 1962, 1964 1965-68
JC HARTMAN 1962-63
Aaron POINTER 1963 1966-67

And, thanks to Baseball Reference.Com, here’s a more detailed look at each of the six most elevating transformers in Houston’s minor to major league transitional history:

 Pidge Browne

Positions: Pinch Hitter and First Baseman

Bats: Left  •  Throws: Left

6-1, 190lb (185cm, 86kg)

Born: March 211929 in Peekskill, NY us

Died: June 31997 (Aged 68-074d) in Houston, TX

Buried: Earthman Resthaven Cemetery, Houston, TX

Debut: April 13, 1962 (Age 33-023d, 9,551st in MLB history)
vs. PHI 1 AB, 0 H, 0 HR, 0 RBI, 0 SB

Last Game: July 29, 1962 (Age 33-130d)
vs. CHC 1 AB, 0 H, 0 HR, 0 RBI, 0 SB

Full Name: Prentice Almont Browne

Pronunciation: \BROWN-ee\

Career MLB BA: .210


 Jim Campbell

Position: Catcher

Bats: Right  •  Throws: Right

6-0, 190lb (183cm, 86kg)

Born: June 241937 (Age: 81-153d) in Palo Alto, CA us

Debut: July 17, 1962 (Age 25-023d, 9,601st in MLB history)
vs. PHI 2 AB, 0 H, 0 HR, 0 RBI, 0 SB

Last Game: July 23, 1963 (Age 26-029d)
vs. PHI 1 AB, 1 H, 0 HR, 0 RBI, 0 SB

Rookie Status: Exceeded rookie limits during 1963 season

Full Name: James Robert Campbell

Career MLB BA: .221


 Ron Davis

Position: Outfielder

Bats: Right  •  Throws: Right

6-0, 175lb (183cm, 79kg)

Born: October 211941 in Roanoke Rapids, NC us

Died: September 51992 (Aged 50-320d) in Houston, TX

Buried: Davis Family Cemetery, Conway, NC

School: Duke University (Durham, NC)

Debut: August 1, 1962 (Age 20-284d, 9,608th in MLB history)
vs. MLN 4 AB, 1 H, 0 HR, 0 RBI, 0 SB

Last Game: September 25, 1969 (Age 27-339d)
vs. PHI 1 AB, 0 H, 0 HR, 0 RBI, 0 SB

Rookie Status: Exceeded rookie limits during 1966 season

Full Name: Ronald Everette Davis

Career MLB BA: .233


 Dave Giusti

Position: Pitcher

Bats: Right  •  Throws: Right

5-11, 190lb (180cm, 86kg)

Born: November 271939 (Age: 78-362d) in Seneca Falls, NY us

High School: North HS (Syracuse, NY)

School: Syracuse University (Syracuse, NY)

Debut: April 13, 1962 (Age 22-137d, 9,551st in MLB history)
vs. PHI 0 AB, 0 H, 0 HR, 0 RBI, 0 SB

Last Game: September 27, 1977 (Age 37-304d)
vs. PHI 0.1 IP, 4 H, 0 SO, 1 BB, 3 ER

Rookie Status: Exceeded rookie limits during 1962 season

Full Name: David John Giusti

Pronunciation: \JUST-ee\

View Player Bio from the SABR BioProject

Career Pitching, W-L, ERA: 100-91, 3.60


 J C Hartman

Position: Shortstop

Bats: Right  •  Throws: Right

6-0, 175lb (183cm, 79kg)

Born: April 151934 (Age: 84-223d) in Cottonton, AL us

Debut: July 21, 1962 (Age 28-097d, 9,605th in MLB history)
vs. STL 1 AB, 0 H, 0 HR, 0 RBI, 0 SB

Last Game: July 1, 1963 (Age 29-077d)
vs. STL 0 AB, 0 H, 0 HR, 0 RBI, 0 SB

Rookie Status: Exceeded rookie limits during 1962 season

Full Name: J C Hartman

Nicknames: Cool

Career MLB BA: .185


 Aaron Pointer

Position: Left fielder

Bats: Right  •  Throws: Right

6-2, 185lb (188cm, 83kg)

Born: April 191942 (Age: 76-219d) in Little Rock, AR us

High School: McClymonds HS (Oakland, CA)

School: University of San Francisco (San Francisco, CA)

Debut: September 22, 1963 (Age 21-156d, 9,787th in MLB history)
vs. PHI 0 AB, 0 H, 0 HR, 0 RBI, 0 SB

Last Game: October 1, 1967 (Age 25-165d)
vs. PIT 1 AB, 0 H, 0 HR, 0 RBI, 0 SB

Full Name: Aaron Elton Pointer

Nicknames: Hawk

Celebrity Note: Little brother of famous “Pointer Sisters” singing group

Career MLB BA: .208


Bill McCurdy

Principal Writer, Editor, Publisher

The Pecan Park Eagle


Rays Hire Speechless Rodney Linares as Coach

November 23, 2018

Rodney Linares reached Triple-A this year (2018) after managing Rookie ball, Class A, Class A Advanced and Double-A teams for the Astros.

It’s a feel-good story that came straight down the Thanksgiving Day gravy train line that once-in-a-while gets around. ~ Our thanks to close friend and SABR colleague Sam Quintero for making sure that it did not slip past the usually agile and insightful monitoring of these such things at The Pecan Park Eagle.

Here’s a link to the full meal treatment story, complete with cranberry sauce and tastefully prepared by staff writer Marc Topkins for the Thanksgiving Day, Thursday, November 22, 2018 edition of the Tampa Bay Times:

And here’s the dipped-in-hope honey-flavored turkey wing summary of what all the excitement is about:

Long-time minor league Astros coaching staff jewel Rodney Linares has been hired by the Rays as their big club’s third base coach for the 2019 season. After 22 seasons with the Astros, it will be the patient-service fellow’s first opportunity to show what he brings to the table at the major league level.

“I was speechless, it took me a little while to gather my thoughts after I  was told. It was such a blessing,” Linares said Wednesday. “I immediately started crying and I called my dad right away. It was just a special moment. You work your whole life to get to the big leagues and now this opportunity arises. It’s an amazing feeling.” (Excerpted Topkins article quote.)

Good Luck to you, Rodney Linares! ~ It’s your time to finally reach the MLB deserved and delicious career position dessert table!



Bill McCurdy

Principal Writer, Editor, Publisher

The Pecan Park Eagle