Archive for the ‘Houston’ Category

Items from The Sangster Kid’s Dream Reliquary

April 4, 2019


0ld keepsake boxes in the attic do have their little stories to tell, if we once in a lifetime of rainy Saturdays decide to let them out to speak about what we treasured at earlier points in our lives..

Rob Sangster

Rob Sangster, old friend, former writer colleague on the 1955-56 Eagle senior class writing staff at St. Thomas HS did one of those rare rainy Saturday searches recently when he opened the lid on his kid memories of Houston Buffs baseball and Houston schoolboy football during the 1950s. The following is a sample of what Rob has found, so far.

Rob found his 1953 Houston Buff Knot Hole Gang card.

So why does the card read “Bob” Sangster and not “Rob” Sangster? ~ Changes over time and personal choice is my best answer. Bob Sangster and I left St. Thomas as 1956 graduates. He stood about 5’10” when he went to Stanford that fall. Years later, he left Stanford with an undergraduate degree and then added a Stanford law degree to his cool  academic resume. By this time, he was 6’4″ inches tall and was now shortening his formal first name “Robert” to Rob.

Many of us have made comparable brand narrative variant identity name changes in our legal identities as we have “matured” in our early years. My formal first name is William, of course, but, thanks to my parents, I was “Billy” from birth through the 8th grade. Once I moved up to the 9th grade at St.Thomas (Houston), I introduced myself to new people as “Bill” and I insisted that even my old “Billy” chums start calling me “Bill” as well. Most complied ~ at least to my face. ~ How many Bills, Johns, Teds, and how many other people, male and female, have gone through similar kinds of street name identity adjustments as adolescents? The historic count has to be way up there in the millions is my guess.

The main thing here (for kids about 7 to 17) is that possessing that Knot Hole Gang Card got you into the Houston Buff games for two-bits (a quarter). We had to sit together in the Knothole Gang section down the far left field line. That restriction kept most of the older kids from coming. Even then it wasn’t cool for older teenagers to be hanging out with us younger goofballs.

For those of us who loved the Texas League Buffs, we Knot Hole Gang members caught the break of our stands being located directly in front of the Houston Buffs clubhouse. Getting a wave of the hand or a shouted “thanks for being here for us” from one of the players was enough to boost our spirits for days.

1. I will not attend any Buff game without my parents (sic) permission.
2. I will not throw anything while in the park.
3. I will not smoke in the park.
4. I agree to remain in the Knot Hole Gang section (at) all times.
5. I agree that breaking any of the above rules may forfeit my membership in the Knothole Gang.

Knot Hole Gangsters used any kind of paper they could find to collect their pencil-driven autographs whenever the opportunity presented itself. We doubt that Rob Sangster knows all the recognizable names presented here, but the point is ~after 66 years, he’s still got ’em!

Here’s a more focused look at the top of the previous Sangster autograph paper. Don’t ask me who they are?! ~ I’m growing blinder by the day.

straight from a page that once existed as part of a really cool notebook.

A St. Thomas Eagles High School Football Lineup program from

Check the weights on these St.Thomas football players from 1954.

We believe this to be a copy of Bob/Rob Sangster’s “last hurrah” as an actual football player for any football team. He must have been a 13-year old 8th grader at Vincent Catholic School in Houston in 1951.

St. Vincent DePaul
1951 Football Roster
Parochial School Level

Bob/Rob Sangster always demonstrated a knack for logically predicting the consequences of his actions upon his future career and making adjustments accordingly. This talent has served him well through his adult life, but in the St. Vincent case, his 95 pound weight as a 13-year old lineman obviously helped him foresee that college football or the NFL were not his likely soul-seering destinies.

Thanks, Rob, for sharing these few treasured relics of your own early path search. They are all beautiful.

About Rob Sangster

The whole picture of this man already is served up well at

Rob has lived the kind of life that many of us only have dreamed about ~ as shone in this italicized quote:

Chased by a Cape Buffalo in Botswana and then by a corrupt governor in Tennessee. Abducted by a black market money changer in Mombasa. Spent one New Years Eve in Paradise Bay, Antarctica; another in the Himalayas. And throw in swimming with Humpback whales, spending the night on top of a Mayan temple in Tikal, Guatemala, and traveling in seven continents and more than 100 countries – all of which were more important to him than earning the last possible dollar. And that attitude led inevitably to . . . becoming a writer.

Rob’s first novel, Ground Truth, will soon be followed by an adventure with a wildly different plot featuring three of the same key players. Now living half of each year on the coast of Nova Scotia, his curiosity about the far corners of the world remains undiminished, but he’s hooked on fiction.


– Traveler’s Tool Kit: How to Travel Absolutely Anywhere, was a Book-of-the-Month Club selection.

– Traveler’s Tool Kit: Mexico & Central America (2008) won a national award.

– He wrote a weekly newspaper column titled On the Road Again and delivered weekly essays on public radio. He’s written regularly for various national travel-related publications and was Travel Editor for GORP, a large adventure travel web site (


{Publications Update, April 2019}: Rob Sangster has now written and published thee books in the Jack Strider action/adventure series, each moving deeper into character and mired into fast-grabbing action and great layered plot. The series includes Ground Truth, Deep Time, and No Return. These works hold their own easily with the likes of John Grisham and Tom Clancy in all ways.


Education: BA from Stanford University, MA at the UCLA School of Architecture and Urban Planning, and JD from Stanford Law School. Admitted to practice in California and before the Supreme Court of the United States.

Work: Disguised in a three-piece suit, he practiced law for a several years and then administered national subsidized housing programs from Washington, DC. He returned to the private sector to develop multi-family and single-family housing for lower-income persons.

As sidelines, he also operated three restaurants, started a non-profit foundation that donated equipment to disinfect contaminated water in less-developed countries, and took 30,000 photographs. 


One day in our senior Latin class at St. Thomas, I noticed that my buddy “Bob” Sangster, sitting next to me, seemed to be working way too much on taking notes in a class in which he hardly ever wrote anything down. When he finished, Ron sat back and left the scribbled page open for all who cared to read what he had been creating. It was a fancy-lettered four word phrase:

“Chairman of the Bored” 

Something tells me that Rob Sangster hasn’t been bored for long in a very long time. If he has been bored at all, which I’m certain he has, he’s found a quick solution for it in the wonders that surround him in this world and in the company of his beautiful mind.

Married to fellow writer Lisa Turner, the couple splits the year living in their two homes in Memphis and Nova Scotia. All you have to do to confirm that Lisa brings her own light to this party of life is talk with her for a while. And how sweet it is too ~ in Rob’s case ~ that surviving evidence of his passion acquirements all start with a 1953 Knothole Gang Membership Card and a few faded paper scrap baseball wannabe player autographs that Rob/ne:Bob Sangster never threw away.

Baseball ~ as it always has been ~ and, hopefully, always will be ~ is one of the great inspirations to cultures that embrace the game’s legacy to all of us on so many levels of what’s good about life.




Bill McCurdy

Principal Writer, Editor, Publisher

MLB TODAY: Put Your Money Where Your Ouch Is!

March 22, 2019

The 1927 New York Yankees


That $426.5 million dollar record-in-all-sports contract that 27 year old outfielder Mike Trout signed the other day for 12 years (2019-30) of allegiant effort and service to the Los Angelus Angels of This Galaxy may someday be made to look like a bargain-of-the-week business by some newer, more far-reaching deal! ~ Who knows? ~ All I know about economics comes from a more attached-to-Planet-Earth model of the way currency works in law-abiding circles.

You have to have money ~ or a good line of credit ~ to buy things ~ and you have to understand that cash and credit are not one and the same. ~ Nothing is ever really ours until we give up something to the other party who also keeps their part of the deal by delivering what they promised to give us over some agreed upon period of time in exchange for whatever we put into play in our “value for value” deal.

Revenue Streams. In the early 20th century, MLB clubs had one revenue stream ~ and that was the income that clubs derived from the sale of game day tickets and concessions at the ballparks. Unless your favorite club was the New York Yankees, or a few other perennial big market city teams, there wasn’t much to hang your hopes upon, and, even then, the salaries, except for Babe Ruth, were contained to a reasonable range of figures for most ballplayers. Our chart for salaries earned by the great 1927 New York Yankee starters speaks quietly, but loudly to the point.

Salaries for the Starters of the 1927 New York Yankees

1 Earle Combs CF / L $         10,500
2 Mark Koenig SS / Both $          7,000
3 Babe Ruth RF / L $         70,000
4 Lou Gehrig 1B / L $          8,000
5 Bob Meusel LF / R $        13,000
6 Tony Lazerri 2B / R $          8,000
7 Joe Dugan 3B / R $        12,000
8 Pat Collins C / R $          7,000
9 Herb Pennock SP1 / LHP $        17,500
SP Waite Hoyt SP2 / RHP $        11,000
NYY Opening Day Annual Pay= $      164,000

Now skip forward to our toe-stubbing entry into the digital age ~ and all the new revenue streams through electronic media that are out there feeding the appetite for baseball to way more than the few hundreds or thousands of fans that can make it physically to the ballpark, but to the millions and even billions who may want to watch the more democratic pennant race of these early 21st century days by an ever-growing choice list of electronic media connections available today. The projected salaries for the starting lineup of the 2019 Houston Astros speaks clearly to the point. Owner Jim Crane isn’t planning to pay these salaries on ticket sales, peanuts and Cracker Jack. Nor can he be expected to cut back the expense of season tickets and remain competitive at the highest level ~ even with the extra digital stream cash goodies burning brightly on the modern baseball income revenue range. Like all other clubs, the Houston Astros could have cheaper season tickets in 2019, but they could not have this equivalent starting line up as well.

Salaries for the Starters of the 2019 Houston Astros

1 George Springer RF / R $   12,000.000
2 Jose Altuve 2B / R $     9,500,000
3 Alex Bregman 3B / R $   16,666.667
4 Carlos Correa SS / R $     5,000,000
5 Michael Brantley DH / R $   16,000,000
6 Yuli Gurriel LF / R $   10,400,000
7 Josh Reddick 1B / L $   13,000,000
8 Rob’son Chirinos C / R $     8,251,222
9 Jake Marisnick CF / R $     2,212,000
SP Justin Verlander P / no bat $   28,000,000
Astros Opening Day Annual Pay= $ 121,029.889

Some’s Gotta Win! ~ Some’s Gotta Lose!

Season Ticket Owners ~ Get the Blues!



Bill McCurdy

Principal Writer, Editor, Publisher





Houston ML Baseball No Immaculate Conception

March 20, 2019

Marty Marion & Bill McCurdy (2003)
Even later in life, Marty didn’t talk much about his 1960 negotiations with Judge Roy Hofheinz.

The expansion of major league baseball into Houston as a decision back in 1960 proved to be anything but an immaculate conception as the gestation period into the city’s first 1962 season bogged down in something as more than a pillow fight between MLB owner Judge Roy Hofheinz and the Houston Sports Association and President Marty Marion of the Houston Buffs over the former’s purchase of the latter’s minor league territorial ownership rights in the Houston area.

The following side-bar column by iconic Houston writer Clark Nealon in the November 9, 1960 edition of The Sporting News nails the salient issues of disagreement in a beautiful exercise in word economy. If you need to hear it expressed any shorter and more simply, just keep in mind the familiar lead actors in this all so common tale. Their Names are Ego, Power, and Money. How simple is that prescription for any safe predictions on the outcomes? This play of fortune was about as mysterious as the unfolding of a contemporary Dwayne Johnson action figure hero movie.

As a result of the acrimony that evolved between Hofheinz and Marion, any plans to use Buff Stadium as the temporary home of the new NL club until the domed stadium were completed ~ and any long-range plan to keep “Buffalos/Buffs” as the mascot of Houston in the big leagues ~ were both destroyed ~ even if Judge Roy Hofheinz’s ego never seriously intended to pass on this opportunity to put his own original imprint upon them in the first place. Now he simply had new cause to abandon that veiled salute to the sixty plus years old Houston “Buffs” tradition.




Bill McCurdy

Principal Writer, Editor, Publisher


Birth of the Astrodome Identity: December 1964

March 18, 2019

The nascent world of Houston big league baseball took a sharp turn on December 12, 1964. On that date, Judge Roy Hofheinz of the Houston baseball club announced that the team was abandoning its western identity as the Houston Colt .45s in favor of a new mascot theme that now appeared as a much better match for the Space City Capitol of the World club as they approached 1965 and their first season in the world’s first covered and air-conditioned stadium for baseball. Going up, the thing already looked on the outside like the mother ship of an avant garde Martian invader fleet that had decided to set up its invasion base on the prairies south of downtown ~ and why not ~ anything sounded better than the moniker that would remain as its official name ~ The Harris County, Texas Domed Stadium.

From now on, from that Winter of 1964 moment, the club and its new home would be known as the Houston Astros and the Astrodome. I remember it well from the earliest announcement by the Judge that reached me in New Orleans. Back then, I was still working at Tulane University.

I  previously had never heard of an “astro.” ~ That factor generated some mild frustration.

Unable to find my copy of “Astronomy for Dummies,” I ran to a dictionary for an answer to my silent question: “What the hell is an astro?” Having found one, I still needed more.

Here’s how Clark Nealon of the Houston Post described the identity change for a story he wrote for the late December readers of The Sporting News. My apologies for the legibility issues that some of you may have with these screen saver copies of the material I found this morning at the “Newspaper Archives” site:


The Original Astrodome Sketch
The Sporting News
December 26, 1965



The above article was written by long-time legendary Houston Post reporter Clark Nealon for The Sporting News edition of December 26, 1965. We have to wonder if that original iconic sketch of the Astrodome logo still exists and where it is. The thing is an extremely valuable artifact of MLB history in Houston and deserves to be included on the list of any new preservation plan for the history of baseball in Houston. It would also be nice if we also could give the artist who actually did it a little more credit than he or she has been getting over the years.



Bill McCurdy

Principal Writer, Editor, Publisher

April 14, 1951: Houston Buffs Win Third in a Row

March 9, 2019

Larry Miggins
Left Field, Houston Buffs
“To my generation of Houston Buff fans, and by his batting heroics, Larry Miggins was an imposer of happy baseball game indelibilities upon the places in our hearts and memory banks ~ those arenas of spirit and soul ~ where we keep all our lifetime smiles handy forever.”                       ~ Bill McCurdy

Houston Buffs Win Third in a Row

Houston, April 14 (1951), (AP) ~ The Houston Buffs extended their win streak to three here tonight with a 2-0 victory over the Beaumont Roughnecks.

Belsel (“Hisel” is correct) D. (Pat) Patrick pitched five-hit ball for the Buffs, and Larry Miggins connected for a home run in the sixth inning for one of Houston’s four hits.

April 14, 1951 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 ~ R H E
Beaumont 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 ~ 0 5 2
Houston 0 0 1 0 0 1 0 0 0 ~ 2 4 0

Larner, Dyck (7) and Tappe; Patrick and Fusselman

~ Wichita Daily Times, April 15, 1951, Page 11.



Bill McCurdy

Principal Writer, Editor, Publisher

UH Cougars Light Candle to Phi Slama Jama

February 24, 2019

Fertitta Center
University of Houston


These new wave Cougar basketball stars don’t even remember Phi Slama Jama ~ they weren’t around as living human beings for Akeem Olajuwon and Clyde Drexler ~ but they now do their much revered elder and ancient predecessors a much resurrecting and forceful honor anyway by the way they each now play the game of basketball nonetheless.

DeJon Jarreau
Date of Birth: January 23, 1998

The connecting links in these older and present day big stage presentations of winning college basketball are Guy V. Lewis and KelVin Sampson, the two great coaches who did once and have again attracted signature-level collections of teachable savant-level talents to UH that have again made aspirations for immortal honors in college basketball again on hand and possible at the most deliciously feared recruiting area in the world ~  the home territory of the University of Houston. (By the way, UH Coach Sampson’s first name isn’t usually written with a capitalized “V”, but it probably should be.)

Corey Davis, Jr.
Date of Birth: June 4, 1997

The new Cougars are a lights-out pressuring defensive team ~ one that stops the opponent’s offensive play from going very far without yielding to the need for adjustment to something that works better ~ or works at all. Cougar point guards DeJon Jarreau and Galen Robinson, Jr. are the dynamo of a UH half-court man-to-man defense that puts a relentless amount of pressure on opponents to either misfire or turn the ball over. And once the ball does pass to UH, “relentless” simply transfers to the same kind of mentality on offensive goals of either taking advantage of what is open ~ or breaking up the other team’s defense so that it will be open.

Galen Robinson, Jr.
Date of Birth: March 31, 1997

That kind of play was all over the court in Saturday, February 23rd’s Fertitta Court 71-59 home game victory by UH over South Florida. DeJon Jarreau led all UH scorers against USF with 17 points and Corey Springer, Jr. then hit next with 15 points that included four 3-pointers. It was all enough to keep the Cougars undefeated in their new Fertitta Center digs and to send their season record before yet another full house crowd to 26-1.


Above: Head Coach Kelvin Sampson, University of Houston Cougars

USF Head Coach Brian Gregory was unreserved in his praise for UH in the post-game media conference. Are the UH Cougars good enough to reach the Final Four in the tourney this year? “No question about it,” said Gregory. “This is a team that can make a long, long run in the NCAA Tournament.”

With a couple of teams above them losing this week, the # 9 UH Cougars should be moving up in this week’s ranking polls.

Keep it up, Houston Cougars! ~ You do us long-of-tooth Cougars especially proud!

Fertitta Center
University of Houston

And thank you too, UH Board of Regents Chair Tillman J. Fertitta and UH Chancellor Renu Khator, for all you each have done in hand with the Board of Regents, the UH Administration and the UH Alumni Association ~ for the betterment of our university ~ and thank you especially for all you each continue to do in service to the University of Houston and the broader community that we all share as the City of Houston ~ and the near future home of the University of Houston Medical School.

“In Time” has always been our university motto. ~ “In Time” also will always be our UH delivery date on anything worth pursuing, having and keeping.



Bill McCurdy

Principal Writer, Editor, Publisher


What’s Critical to the Astros Lineup Going In?

February 10, 2019

Hot Stove League Conversation


What’s Critical to the Astros Lineup Going In?   Let’s start with the obvious. The Astros can’t afford to again have injuries that take Altuve down ~ and Correa way down ~ from their normally superior levels of performance. Those two guys must be well, again play well, and, hopefully, stay well for the entire season.

Next we have to stop avoiding the fact that we are trying to win without a first-rate, good-hitting catcher. Mike Stassi is a good back up, but he’s little more than a dead spot at the bottom of the batting order as a starter. We need to have no soft spots in our batting order. I don’t where we are going to find him, or at what cost, but we need that kind of leader-hitter catcher in our lineup as soon as possible.

Third, an along those same lines, we need a DH who is a consistent threat to hit ~ not a streaky guy like Evan Gattis, who’s still easy for the smart pitchers to pitch around when he’s hot. I liked the Gattis disposition; I just didn’t like the fact that we couldn’t count on him more often than his talent or style of play allowed.

Fourth, the Astros need to do whatever they can to help Josh Reddick find his offensive groove. Great as he is on defense, and as a terrific team player, he can’t stay in the lineup at age 31 with another .242 season at the plate.

It’s too bad we can’t take Jake Marisnick’s glove and Tony Kemp’s bat into one player and place him out him out there in center as we move Springer to right. That would take care of the outfield. That is, unless someone finds a way to awaken the home run genie that supposedly lives within the heart of young Kyle Tucker. Then we might have to re-think the outfield pattern all over the place.

Fifth, is a wait and see ~ since we’re still waiting to see if Marwin Gonzalez is truly gone for good. Without him, our roster is going to need several guys who can fill the utility position gap that will be created by the loss of that one super valuable utility man.

By The Way: There is no truth to the rumor that a deal that would have sent Marwin Gonzalez to Miami was killed when heavily invested owner Derek Jeter rejected a condition put forth by the player’s agent that the team would need to change their identity to the Miami Marwins as a condition of the transaction being finalized! 🙂

Below are the records of the seven men I’ve penciled in as our starters, even though I came close to dropping Reddick along with Stassi and Gattis. Apparently, the Astros already have cut bait on the latter.

Check out the current Astros roster too. (I don’t know what happened to Evan Gattis. He’s no longer on the roster).

It would be great if some of you would post your own thoughts here on what you think the Astros need to do about their season-starting nine hitters from the talent currently on hand. That link follows the table:

2019 Astros Starters / McCurdy Picks, Minus Two

Y Gurriel 34 R/R 1B .291 136 156 78 85 13 5 23 63
J Altuve 28 R/R 2B .316 137 169 84 61 13 17 55 79
A Bregman 24 R/R 3B .286 157 170 105 103 31 10 96 85
C Correa 24 R/R SS .239 110 96 60 65 15 3 53 111
M Brantley 31 L/L LF .309 143 176 89 76 17 12 48 60
G Springer 29 R/R CF .265 140 144 102 71 22 6 64 122
J Reddick 31 L/R RF .242 134 105 63 47 17 7 49 77

Astros Roster Link



Bill McCurdy

Principal Writer, Editor, Publisher




’31 Buffs: Strong Defense, Great Pitching

February 9, 2019


In the above photo, Ed Hock is the second from right in the middle kneeling player row, but neither of his arms are visible that might give us evidence of a glove on his right hand and conformation of the recorded fact that he was a left-handed throwing fielder, whether he played or infield. Tis a puzzlement.

On the heels of that wonderful exposition by Timothy Hock of the signed baseball by the 1931 Houston Buffs we ran yesterday here at TPPE in a column, we thought it were a good time to look again at how legendary Houston Post sportswriter Lloyd Gregory reviewed one of the best clubs in minor league history. And, as legendary researcher Cliff Blau raised as a question in a post-column comment, I also am at a loss to explain, even to myself, how a club so dedicated to strong defense could go with a left-handed throwing third baseman like Ed Hock ~ and still be serious in that claim ~ and with no further word from any writer, so far, including Gregory, as to how the use of a left-handed fielder at third would draw so little print from the media, even in 1931?

Could it be that Baseball and others are somehow in error about Hock’s throwing arm as an infielder?

At any rate, we hope you enjoy Gregory’s observations. ~ What a pitching staff that ’31 Buffs club had! ~ It’s still hard to see how the Buffs gave up a 3-1 lead in games over Birmingham in the Dixie Series that fall and lost 4-3 to the Barons.


1931 Houston Buffs: Strong Defense, Great Pitching Hailed

By Lloyd Gregory of The Houston, Texas Post-Dispatch 

For The Sporting News of St. Louis, Missouri

November 1, 1931 Edition, Page 6 

Houston, Tex. ~ Joe Schultz’s Houston, Buffs showed outstanding class to win the championship of the Texas League in 1931, tying with Beaumont for the first half title, whipping that team in a playoff series, and then walking away with honors in the second half by a 14-game margin. Because of their splendid play in the regular season, the Buffs were counted upon by their followers to whip the Birmingham Barons in the Dixie Series, but Clyde (Deerfoot) Milan’s Barons staged a remarkable comeback to beat Houston four games to three.

Birmingham won the first game, and then Houston came back with three consecutive shutouts, apparently to clinch the title. However, the Barons refuse to quit and won the next three games.

The 1931 Houston club was something like the parent club ~ the world’s champion St. Louis Cardinals ~ in that defense was stressed over offense. Great pitching and tight work by the inner defense permitted Houston to win many games on few runs.

Although the league was far from well balanced, the 1931 season was remarkably successful, considering (that these were the days of the economic) depression. President Alvin Gardiner’s circuit played to 768,064 cash customers, an increase of 77,190 over the 1930 total.

Houston proved a life-saver for the circuit, drawing at Buffalo Stadium 229,540 paid admissions, bettering by some 40,000 Houston’s previous record, set in 1928.

Night Games Proved a Real Boon

Night baseball was a boon for the Houston club, and President Fred Ankenman of the Houston club played the nocturnal pastime for all it was worth. Each Monday and Friday night at home was ladies night, with women and children admitted free. On those nights it was not unusual for 15,000 fans to attend, with half of the fans paid customers.

Dizzy Dean, Houston’s erratic young pitcher, was another boon to the league. The big righthander attracted fans wherever he pitched.

Whether Dean the next season will make the grade with the St. Louis Cardinals depends on his ability to buckle down and regard baseball seriously. Despite his remarkable 1931 record, Dean did not seem to have nearly as much stuff on the ball as he did in 1930, when he broke into professional baseball.

The 1931 attendance figures for the several (Texas League) clubs follow: 

DALLAS 113,285
HOUSTON 229,540

A few flowers should be flung in the general direction of the fans who live in the Island City of Galveston. Manager Del Pratt’s Buccaneers on the season standing finished last, 52 games behind Houston; but Galveston partisans supported their club most loyally. Galveston fans contend a first division club would draw around 150,000 in that city of 50,000 population.

Dean Not Alone as Magnet

Dizzy Dean was not the only magnet that enabled Houston to set an attendance record. The veteran George Payne, Tex Carleton, Elmer Hanson and Pete Fowler also turned in great pitching. Carleton won 20 games, although he was out the last month of the campaign with a broken finger. Carleton goes to the Cardinals next spring with every prospect he will make the grade. The lean righthander has a world of ability.

The hard working Hal Funk bore the brunt of the catching for Houston, and won many admirers by his conscientious labor. Funk is the sort of player who is willing to go in every day and bear down.

The colorful Carey Selph and Tom Carey formed a strong keystone combination for Houston. Selph played the best ball of his career, leading the circuit in runs scored with 116, and starring in the field. The aggressive Selph certainly ranks with the greatest second basemen of the league’s history.

Homer Peel and Joe Medwick, outfielders, furnished much of the club’s punch. The veteran Peel, rated by many the best righthanded swatsmith in the loop, clouted .326 and batted in 95 runs. 

The 20-year-old-Medwick, a Carteret, N.J., boy, playing his second year of professional baseball, was nothing less than a sensation. Medwick is a powerful young fellow, with a great pair of legs, and he can hit, run, and throw. At the start, he was a poor judge of a fly ball; but by the end of the season, he was making the hard ones look easy.

Medwick’s performance is led by the fact that he led the league in the following departments: Total bases 308; extra bases 120; home runs 19; runs batted in 126.


On the same page of TSN’s 11/01/31 edition that displayed Lloyd Gregory’s summary appraisal of the 1931 Houston Buffs, the same Houston Post-Dispatch writers picks for the 14-member Texas League All Star Team glowed from the presence of 8 members who were on board from the league champion Houston Buffalos.

Lloyd Gregory’s 1931 Texas League All Stars: *

1B   Buck STANTON   Wichita Falls   .347
2B   Carey SELPH   Houston   .322
SS   Eddie TAYLOR   Beaumont   .300
3B   Ed HOCK   Houston   .299
LF   Homer PEEL   Houston   .326
CF   Joe MEDWICK   Houston   .305
RF   Rip RADCLIFF   Shreveport   .361
C   Hal FUNK   Houston   .254
C   Bernie HUNGLING   Wichita Falls   .329
1   Dizzy DEAN   Houston   26-10
2   Dick McCABE   Fort Worth   23-7
3   George PAYNE   Houston   23-13
4   Tex CARLETON   Houston   20-7
5   Whit WYATT   Beaumont   11-3

Gregory picked Dizzy Dean as the 1931 TL MVP.



Bill McCurdy

Principal Writer, Editor, Publisher

A Ball Autographed by the 1931 Houston Buffs

February 7, 2019





A Dean Anniversary
Married 1931-1974

 “This ball was acquired by a collector through the 2008 Heritage Sports Auction, and I purchased it from him in 2016. It was authenticated by PSA for the auction, and listed in their catalog. It contains signatures of every member of the ’31 Championship Buffs team, including the manager (Joe Schultz). Eddie Hock, 3rd baseman, was my great uncle. He still holds the record for the most career singles in the minors (2,944), and had one of very few unassisted triple plays on the books (1927). On a side note, he dated the woman (Patricia Nash) that Dizzy Dean later married! Additionally, I’m always looking to acquire any memorabilia featuring Eddie or the ’31 team. Thanks, Tim Hock”

The preceding introduction was written by collector Timothy Hock as his introduction to this generous photographic sharing of these items of significance to the history of baseball in Houston.

Put this in perspective, folks. ~ 1931 was the year that the Buffs featured great future members of the St. Louis Cardinals’ Gashouse Gang. Pitcher Dizzy Dean and outfielder Joe “Ducky” Medwick were lighting the flames that would help propel the ’31 Buffs to the Texas League crown again ~ and in only the fourth season of play in the still new Buffalo Stadium in the near east end of downtown Houston, ~ and among these stars was a left-handed throwing and batting third baseman named Ed Hock ~ who just turns out to be the great uncle of Timothy Hock, the contributor fellow this morning who now has us all reved up to the joys of genuine artifact history with the four photos that accompany this little piece.


Ed Hock

The 2,944 minor league career singles we found for Ed Hock’s 21-season years (1921-42) included 493 doubles, 114 triples and 23 home runs for a grand total of 3,474 minor league hits. ~ The totals for singles, based upon this Baseball source, of course, is simply derived as the remainder total when all three extra base totals are subtracted from the grand total figure.

We have no confirmation that Hock holds the record for career minor league singles, but 2,944 safeties that only got the same batter one-base hit credit looks to us as most credible and hardly in any danger of ever being broken in today’s game.

Another baseball anomaly factor is at play here. Ed Hock played third base for the 1931 Buffs as a left-handed throwing fielder.

Thank you for your preservationist efforts, Timothy Hock, and please know that we appreciate you sharing these photos with our Pecan Park Eagle readership.




Bill McCurdy

Principal Writer, Editor, Publisher

Dome’s Silver Anniversary Team Comes Together 

February 3, 2019

Larry Dierker

ORIGINAL TITLE: Dome’s Silver Anniversary Team brings generations together 

PUBLICATION: Houston Chronicle 


SUBMISSION TO THE PECAN PARK EAGLE BY: DARRELL PITTMAN, Classic Newspaper Research, with full credit and appreciation to the original source, The Houston Chronicle, for making these materials available for this kind of historical research and reporting.


I was walking to my car in the Astrodome parking lot after a game last summer when I saw a man hurrying toward me, dragging a little boy by the hand. “Hey, Larry, I used to be your Astros Buddy,” he said. “My dad used to take me out to see you pitch. Now, I bring my sons. Could I get you to sign my hat?’ As I was signing the hat, I got the rest of the story. “My dad is over there,” he said, pointing to the area near the Astrodome loading dock where players sometimes sign autographs after a game.

“He’s got my other boy with him. They’re hoping Glenn Davis and Gerald Young will sign tonight. This one,” he said, nodding at his son, “he likes G-Man, but the little one over there lives and dies with the `Bopper’.’ “Three generations, huh?’ “Yeah, we’re all out here. It’s the one thing we all like to do together.” “Thanks for coming out tonight,” I said, as I got into my car. “Come back and see us.” As I was driving home that night, my mind wandered back through the mists of Astros past – just as it did last night, when I joined 26 of the best ballplayers I have known on the Astrodome’s Silver Anniversary Team.

Three generations of ball fans: the grandfathers, who were young and strong when Bob Aspromonte and the Colt .45s rode into town; their sons, like my friend in the parking lot; and the youngsters of today – Jim Deshaies’ Astros Buddies.

Perhaps it’s the reverence with which baseball treats its ancestors that makes it so special – the way the lore of a team is passed along like an heirloom.

And now, the Astros are old enough to pass along.

Former General Manager Paul Richards was the first of the ancestors to go. He died in his hometown of Waxahachie in 1986. Richards’ eyes were narrow and keen, and he had the spirit of a wildcatter. He made his reputation as a shrewd judge of baseball talent, and he was right here in Houston when he struck the big gusher.

Between 1963 and ’66, Richards brought eight of the 25 players on the Astros’ Silver Anniversary team to the big leagues.

Harry Craft, who managed the Colt .45s to an eighth-place finish (in a 10-team league) in their inaugural year, 1962, is still going strong at age 74. Harry was at the baseball card show last weekend and the dinner last night. And I reckon he’ll be at most of the home games this year.

I know Harry wasn’t dreaming of the World Series in ’62. In fact, he should be mighty proud to have finished ahead of the Cubs that year.

By 1969, things had taken a turn for the better. The Astros hit the .500 mark for the first time and had as many good young players as any team around – Jimmy Wynn, Joe Morgan, myself, Don Wilson, Bob Watson and Doug Rader, to name just a few.

After that, the talent flow trickled to a drip. Among the 25 Astros honored last night, only Cesar Cedeno and J.R. Richard broke into the big leagues in the early 1970s. By 1975, the team had fallen into disrepute and financial distress. Folks stopped coming to the ballpark. I suppose some of them got lost in a generation gap.

Some of them seem to be coming back now. And why not? The decade of the ’80s was a good one for the Astros – the best they’ve had so far. Sixteen of the 25 Silver Stars played on division-winning Astros teams in the ’80s.

Bill Virdon should get some credit here. He led the young, brash Astros to their first championship in 1980. And under Virdon’s stern tutelage, the Astros developed the aggressive, heads-up style that would characterize their play through most of the decade.

Perhaps some of the wayward sons and daughters who drifted off in the frustration of the ’70s have not yet returned to the fold. Maybe Ken Caminiti and Craig Biggio will bring them back again in the ’90s. It could happen. For as long as there is a stream of young talent flowing, there will be the excitement of growth and the possibility of that first dream season.

Until that year comes, there still will be fond memories. Like when (Doug) Rader golfed the first home run into the upper deck. And the day (Don) Wilson struck out Henry Aaron for his 15th strikeout and the last out of his first no-hitter.

I remember Joe Morgan going 6-for-6 in Milwaukee in 1965. And the sight of Cesar Cedeno galloping across center field so hard that if he had kicked up AstroTurf, I wouldn’t have been surprised.

I remember seeing Joe Niekro transformed from a grim veteran to a frolicsome child in the space of one afternoon at Dodger Stadium when he led the Astros to the Western Division title in 1980.

And Cheo Cruz. I can still see him prancing out to left field and hear his name echoing in the Astrodome. I can see him cutting and slashing his way to almost every Astros hitting record. And I still see him sitting alone on the dugout bench, silently weeping after the Mets stole the Astros’ flag away in 1986.

I can recall the craziness of ’86, too. Yogi and the coneheads. Scotty (Mike Scott) toasting the town with a no-hit clincher and then turning the powerful Mets into whining brats.

And (Craig) Reynolds and (Terry) Puhl. Ever present, ever ready and ever together. After two weeks with the team in 1988, Casey Candaele recognized their cohesive quality when he asked Puhl, “If you drink a glass of water, can Craig talk?’ My boy is almost 5 now. He knows the names of the players and is already picking favorites. This will be his first year in T-ball, so he still doesn’t know the way to first base. But somewhere down the line, I suppose, he will have Eric Anthony, Darryl Kile or maybe even Andujar Cedeno (you heard me right) for his Astros Buddy.

Myself, I’m getting a little impatient for a World Series, like most of the folks who have been around these 28 years. But thinking about this Silver Anniversary Astrodome team sure has made me feel good – made me appreciate the times we’ve had. I hope my boy will feel this way when we hit the golden year.



Casey McCurdy, St. Cecilia’s, 1992. (Yeah, I know. He needed a better batting coach, but I wouldn’t trade him for anybody else in the world ~ then, now, or, ever.)


Thank you, Larry Dierker, for providing this beautiful perspective on the Astros Player and Fan perspective from nearly three decades ago. Since 1990, a few more of us have had that walk into the sunset of our own now grown offspring’s childhoods since you wrote these prophetic words. Now I know we share that life-crossing even more closely than I ever knew. ~ In 1990, my son also was 5 until late in the year.

I’m struck to note the time spacing on this re-publication of your column:

1962: Houston breathed its first breath in the NL as the Colt .45s;

1965: The club moved into the Astrodome and became the Houston Astros;

1990: 25 years later, you wrote this column as an homage to the Silver Anniversary of the Astros and to the kind of generational bond that baseball provided to so many of us.

2019: 29 years later, your article is re-printed in The Pecan Park Eagle as a reflection of what has now changed, what is now ironic, what goes on forever, and also, how much the Houston Astros have become even more deeply rooted into the heart of our Houston sports culture.

In 2017, of course, the “dream season” finally came. Houston finally won the World Series, coming out of the first time with the talent, heart, and appetite for more.

In 2019, however, it is ironic that the once revered “Eighth Wonder of the World” struggles for survival in a world filled with those who would just as soon see it paved into additional parking space ~ in spite of all its official historic building designations. In the end, it will be the presence or absence of money that opens the door or breaks the key in the lock on serious plans to preserve and display the site as one of the world’s great contributions to architecture.

From here to eternity ~ and for what goes on forever ~ it is our need to consciously remember that what was important to our generation may not be important to the next. We need to try to show them what we think is important and then let them make their own decisions, based on our best efforts to convey what we think is at stake. ~ If all we show is “use and trash”, our legacy will be a sad and, most unfortunately, a deservedly sad one.

Another irony rings with pleasantness. Houston has long held this reputation for being a “build, trash, and burn” kind of real estate town. Now it’s becoming well known for its presentation of the classic performing and visual arts ~ and for becoming one of the finest museum cities in America. Not surprisingly, that change has come about congruently with the birth and growth and active voice of support for a wide variety of historical places that previously would have simply gone away without protest through most of the 20th century.

Everything that Houston entities do to increase the voice of preservation is, of course, supported by the success of a Houston accomplishment in any area of significant achievement. The 2017 World Series Champion Houston Astros have now rolled that ball into permanent play ~ And they are getting ready with their 2019 Opening of the Houston Astros Hall of Fame to join the list of Houston museums. Several of the people mentioned in Larry Dierker’s 1990 piece, including Mr. Dierker himself, will be going into the Astros Hall of Fame at Minute Maid Park this inaugural year.

The Astros Hall of Fame. ~ It’s got to be first class. ~ It will be first class. ~ This is Houston. ~ And these are the Astros. ~ There is no second class.

~ Bill McCurdy, Editor, The Pecan Park Eagle


Bill McCurdy

Principal Writer, Editor, Publisher