Archive for the ‘Houston’ Category

The Tootsie Roll Game: May 4, 1975

December 10, 2018

The Tootsie Roll Game: May 4, 1975

By Maxwell Kates

 

PROLOGUE

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.

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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.

 

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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.

Enjoy!

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.

 

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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.

 

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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:

1961 BUFFS TO> COLT .45s 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

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 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

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 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

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 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

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 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

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 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

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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:

https://www.tampabay.com/blogs/rays/2018/11/21/rays-hire-rodney-linares-as-thrid-base-coach/

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!

 

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Bill McCurdy

Principal Writer, Editor, Publisher

The Pecan Park Eagle

 

Houston Nearer Major Leagues (Feb 1960)

November 21, 2018

Bob Smith and Roy Hofheinz are the first 2 men on the far left;
George Kirksey and Craig Cullinan are the last 2 men in dark suits on the far right;
County Judge Bill Elliott is the short fellow in the center.

This Associated Press article from the February 11, 1960 edition of the Corpus Christi Times helps to fill in most of the money blanks on how difficult the money differences between the Houston Buffs and the Houston Sports Association came to be over their territorial rights settlement and any hope that the local new big league club might come to rebirth in either the newly proposed Continental League ~ or the established National League ~ by their anciently powerful Houston Buffaloes identity. Although not mentioned here, Judge Roy Hofheinz of the HSA would see to it that the Buffs and Buff Stadium would be reduced to less than a stone upon a stone within the next three years. With the gathering steam of support, for and from within the established NL in favor of Houston and Hofheinz’s pledge that this city was set to bring futuristic change to baseball venue construction , the embryonic Continental League would soon enough be aborted as real plans for the world’s first covered baseball stadium were born and brought to fruition on that same patch of land that’s referenced here in the following piece.

On October 17, 1960, at the annual Major League Baseball owners meetings in Chicago, Houston and New York were awarded expansion club franchises as members of the National League. Judge Hofheinz and His HSA crew were there to receive the news in person and later pose for the featured photo shown here. The two new teams would begin play in 1962 as the Houston Colt .45s and the New York Mets.

Where has the time gone?

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Houston Nearer Major Leagues *

Houston (AP) ~ Houston moved closer to major league baseball yesterday with (the) selection of site for the stadium and an offer by backers of the Continental League to buy or merge with the Houston member of the American Association.

One of the five founders of the Continental Baseball League, the Houston Sports Association offered to buy control of the Houston Buffs for $184,000.

But Russell Rowles, Buff board chairman, indicated the cash offer would be unsatisfactory.

He said, however, he would recommend that stockholders give study to an alternative proposal submitted by Continental backers that the two groups be merged.

Two weeks ago Buff officers offered to sell for $262,500. Marty Marion, Buff President, earlier set a sales price of $492,500 for the club. The price included Marion’s $25,000 five-year contract.

The alternate proposal would have the Continental group and Buff stockholders name committees to work out ways to work out an equitable merger of the groups, said Craig Cullinan Jr., chairman of the syndicate that holds Houston’s Continental franchise.

The offer to purchase the Buffs expires at 5:00 pm Monday.

The offer came only a few hours after county officials announced commitments on a 300-acre site for a huge county sports center with major league baseball and professional football facilities.

The proposed site is in Houston on Highway 59 south and about eight miles south of the downtown area.

Bill Elliott, County Judge, said the county is in position to seek prospective tenants for the stadium.

Cullinan said, “It is clearly apparent to all baseball fans of this area (that) the Continental League is Houston’s best and only way to reach major league status. The Houston Sports Association is doing everything in its power to clear all obstacles immediately so that Houston can present a combined effort in achieving its long sought goal.”

He said that ~ “In the event the Houston Buffs reject both proposals, the Houston Sports Association will continue to develop its program for the opening of the Continental League season here in 1961.

Rowles said current stockholders agreed to sell to the Continental group for $262,500 ~ the exact price paid for the stock last year.

 

* Headline Article, Page 12, by AP, Corpus Christi Times, Thursday, February 11, 1960

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Bill McCurdy

Principal Writer, Editor, Publisher

The Pecan Park Eagle

The Astros Cap That Never Was

November 19, 2018

By Maxwell Kates

 

Writer Maxwell Kates

Earlier this month, I was standing in the Astros’ gift shop at Minute Maid Park waiting for a stadium tour to begin. Among other merchandise, they were selling every kind of Astros’ caps imaginable. Blue caps, gold caps, orange caps, World Series caps, caps shaded like the Texas flag. There were historic caps. Shooting star, tequila sunrise, Colt .45s. And that’s when two men asked me to identify a cap which appeared altogether new.

“Excuse me, Sir,” they asked.

“How may I help?”

“You look someone who works here.”

“No Sir, I don’t even work in this country. Are you here for the tour?”

“Well,” one of them answered, “it’s raining outside and our wives are looking at quilts all day, so …. yeah, that’s why we’re here.”

I soon discovered that one of the men was from Louisiana and the other was from Georgia. The Louisianan’s name was Norman LeBrun and I never did catch the Georgian’s name. They pointed me in the direction of a white cap with an orange crest and what appeared to be a three-dimensional letter A.

Phantom Astros Cap

“Have you ever seen one of these before?”

“No I’m afraid I haven’t.”

I was stumped but determined to understand what this cap was and why the Astros were selling it for $30.00 in their gift shop.

It turns out that the cap was designed to be worn by the Astros for the 1975 season but never actually introduced to the public for retail sale. Ten years prior, the Houston Colt .45s moved from mosquito-ridden Colt Stadium into the cavernous Harris County Domed Stadium. At the same time, the team changed its name to Astros. After experimenting with several cap styles in spring training 1965, the Astros settled on a blue cap with a white letter H on an orange star. The stadium, now known as the Astrodome, was dubbed ‘the eighth wonder of the world’ as team owner Judge Roy Hofheinz was lauded as a genius. Over two million spectators were lured by the charms of the Astrodome to watch a 9th place Astros team finish with a record of 65-97. After the 1970 season, by which time the Astros had failed to finish in the first division or surpass a record of .500, the team decided to invert their colour scheme. The caps were now orange with a white letter H on a blue star.

Larry Dierker Wearing 1974 Astros Uniform.

After contending briefly in 1972 (2nd place, 84-69), the Astros returned to mediocrity. Meanwhile, Judge Hofheinz’s financial empire had begun to crumble, pushing the team to the brink of bankruptcy. The Grand Huckster knew he had to adopt dynamic marketing if he wanted to bring the fans back to the Astrodome. The Astros turned to the New York-based advertising agency, McCann Erickson, to design a new uniform. The result was a radical design that sent shockwaves throughout baseball. Now the game looked remarkably different in 1975 than it had five years prior. Flannels had been replaced by polyester as the standard look of white at home and grey on the road could no longer be taken for granted. Rolling Stone writer Dan Epstein, who authored “Big Hair and Plastic Grass: A Funky Ride Through Baseball and America in the Swinging 1970s,” attributed the sartorial revolution to the advent of colour television:

“The explosion of color in major league uniforms was certainly related to the rise in popularity (and the decline in cost) of color televisions in the U.S.” Epstein continues “1972 was the first year that color TVs outsold their black-and-white counterparts; it was also the first year that color sets outnumbered black-and-whites in American households.” Even with the Oakland A’s clad in green and gold, the Atlanta Braves looking like Evel Knievel, and the Cleveland Indians dressed as Bloody Marys in spikes, the Astros still managed to turn heads with their new haberdashery in 1975.

The Astros unveiled a uniform with horizontal orange and yellow stripes spread across the sleeves and torso. It included an orange belt, white pants, and a “crotch-accentuating fashion choice…the player’s number was also affixed to the right front of the ensemble.”

Tom Griffin Modeling the 1975 Astros Prototype Uniform.

Now have a look at the uniform Astros’ pitcher Tom Griffin is wearing. Something appears unfamiliar, right? Look to the very top of the photograph. That was the cap that Norman and his Georgia pal were questioning. But what’s the story behind the cap? Gary Rollins, vice president of communications for the Astros, remembers:

“The original design had a white cap with an orange bill,” Rollins told Paul Lukas in 2017. “Now there was a country club just outside of Houston, in Atascocita, that had just come out with a logo, an ‘A’ with a star, that really looked neat. So I went in there and said ‘Can we buy that from you so we can use it on the uniform?’ They said ‘Buy it? Just give us the tickets and we’ll give the damn thing to you!”

Free publicity for a team that was virtually broke. It sounds like an offer the cash-strapped Astros could not have refused. So why did they?

A Houston Astros 1975 Program Cartoon Feature.

At the time, the Astros’ general manager was the unpopular and parsimonious H. B. ‘Spec’ Richardson. At the helm since 1968, Richardson managed to de-jewel a team on the cusp of contending. In a series of Hofheinz-engineered trades, he dispatched Mike Cuellar, Bob Aspromonte, Rusty Staub, John Mayberry, and most infamously, Joe Morgan, all for less than the sum of their parts. Rollins recalls Richardson’s reaction to the new avant-garde cap:

“No, Gary, we can’t do that. We have over 1,000 caps in storage that we’ve already bought for next season.” Consequently, the Astros retained their 1974 caps despite the otherwise dynamic change in their outward appearance. With some modifications to the original design, the Astros unveiled their rainbow uniforms on Opening Day 1975. The home and road uniforms were identical, as evidenced by the under-noted photograph of J. R. Richard pitching at Wrigley Field.

J. R. Richard, pitching in Chicago in 1975. ~ At home ~ or on the road, the same new uniform equally glowed.

Although Houston fans grew to appreciate the rainbow design, it was not without its objection. Dan Epstein derided the uniforms as “something…smacked of chain motel bedspread or 747 jumbo-jet upholstery.” To Los Angeles Dodgers’ pitcher Charlie Hough, a native of Honolulu, they looked “like Hawaiian softball uniforms.” Adding insult to injury, the new look did not help the Astros on the field. In 1975, they posted their worst record of the 20th century, 64-97, good for last place in the National League West. The ownership of the team would soon be assigned by a collection agency to Hofheinz’s creditors. By midseason, Spec Richardson was gone as general manager, replaced by Tal Smith of the New York Yankees.

As Smith told Paul Lukas, “…it was quite a change from the majestic pinstripes to the flashy rainbows. But I really liked the design.” Smith acknowledged the public relations issues faced by the Astros, insisting that “the uniform was an important step. The one thing I did not care for was the circle on the back of the jersey…I lobbied pretty hard to get that changed for the next season.”

1975 Astros Manager Preston Gomez studies the field as pitcher Doug Konieczny walks away. ~ (Notice how pitchers walking away in photos always make you think that something bad just happened?)

Also worth noting, as evidenced by the above photograph, is the number 40 in a black circle on manager Preston Gomez’ left shoulder. The patch was a memorial tribute to pitcher Don Wilson, who died of carbon monoxide poisoning in January 1975.

By 1979, the Astros had found a new owner in New Jersey shipbuilder John McMullen. The team contended with a record of 89-73 before signing Nolan Ryan to a free agent contract. The rainbow design remained unchanged but soon underwent several alterations. The Astros abandoned the orange caps in 1982 and scrapped the rainbow design altogether in 1986.

Nolan Ryan and Sandy Koufax, 1980.

Sometime around 2002, the Astros’ rainbow uniform design became popular within the ‘rapper’ culture. The Astros have since reintroduced the jerseys as alternates and they do indeed sell them at Minute Maid Park. More recently, the Astros understood that the prototype cap has become legendary amongst collectors. Hence their inclusion among gift shop merchandise.

To Norman LeBrun and your friend from Georgia, now you know the rest of the story.

Here’s a shot of two contemporary Astros (or should we say “temporary” Astros) wearing the rainbows in 2018. ~ Can you tell from this picture and our subtle single clue who they each might be?

 

******************************

Bill McCurdy

Principal Writer, Editor, Publisher

The Pecan Park Eagle

The Marwin G Rag

November 18, 2018

“Dear Mr. Luhnow ~ By now we fans figure you already know this, but it won’t cost anything to say it anyway to all of you analytic minds. ~ There aren’t any other Marwin Gonzalez types in the box with his name on it. Please, Please, Please, – Keep the one we got!”

 

One more time ~ and please note, I did not say one more last time ~ here is one powerful Tom Lehrer satire/parody, followed by a far more modest version of our own. ~ Have a nice Sunday, as we roll into Thanksgiving week. ~ and may God Bless us all, whether or not you accept God’s Blessings at all.

 

The Vatican Rag

By Tom Lehrer

(By Permission from “The God is Love” Essence

that now supports me and with no Malcontent

Blasphemy toward the Church That Raised me.)

First you get down on your knees,
Fiddle with your rosaries,
Bow your head with great respect,
And genuflect, genuflect, genuflect!

Do whatever steps you want, if
You have cleared them with the Pontiff.
Everybody say his own
Kyrie eleison,
Doin’ the Vatican Rag.

Get in line in that processional,
Step into that small confessional,
There, the guy who’s got religion’ll
Tell you if your sin’s original.
If it is, try playing it safer,
Drink the wine and chew the wafer,
Two, four, six, eight,
Time to transubstantiate!

So get down upon your knees,
Fiddle with your rosaries,
Bow your head with great respect,
And genuflect, genuflect, genuflect!

Make a cross on your abdomen,
When in Rome do like a Roman,
Ave Maria,
Gee it’s good to see ya,
Gettin’ ecstatic an’
Sorta dramatic an’
Doin’ the Vatican Rag!

******************************

The Marwin G Rag

By Satirical Circumstance 

First he gets down on his knees,
Does everything he can to please,
Bows his head ~ gets a crick in his neck,
Plus ~ deep respect, deep respect, deep respect!

Do whatever steps you want, Dear Marwin,
Outfield, Infield, Switch Hit the Far One.
All us fans ~ at game or home
Hope that you will never roam,
Doin’ the Marwin G Rag.

Get in line in Jeff’s confessional,
Ask him for the right concessional,
There, the guy who digs analytical,
Surely won’t yield to big stupidical
If he does, try playing it safer,
Pass on the wine ~ show Jeff your waiver,
Two, four, six, eight,
Time to RENEGOTIATE!

Stand up from your aching knees,
Then tell Jeff ~ “your time to please”,
Raise your eyes ~ in great respect,
And ~ crick his neck, crick his neck, crick his neck!

Make a cross on your abdomen,
When in Rome ~ do like a Roman,
Ave Maria,
Gee it’s good to see ya,
Gettin’ ecstatic an’
Sorta dramatic an’
Doin’ the Marvin G Rag!

We hope you STAY here!

Marwin ~ won’t you please stay ~ HOME?

 

********************

Bill McCurdy

Principal Writer, Editor, Publisher

The Pecan Park Eagle

It Makes a Fellow Proud to be An Astro

November 16, 2018

“Ball Four” by Jim Bouton (1970)

At this week’s November 2018 meeting of the Larry Dierker SABR Chapter, Maxwell Kates did a fine presentation of his new book on MLB expansion and sharing credit with those who helped. Then he followed that nice accomplishment with a stimulating Q&A session with a panel of two former players from the Colt .45 days (Bob Aspromonte and Larry Dierker), plus, the most significant executive in the club’s long history, former GM and President Tal Smith. Slugger Jimmy Wynn was supposed to be there too, but a little DL time came up and yours truly was asked to sit in for him. ~ Well, I don’t have any trouble filling any chair these days on a literal basis, but my Pecan Park Eagle sandlot background was never any match for what Jimmy Wynn and the other guys named figuratively brought to the presence we needed here. I still, nevertheless. most humbly enjoyed knowing that I even had been asked on a fill-in basis. It was a lot of fun

The subject of Jim Bouton’s “Ball Four” book came up for its reference to the parody song that had been written about the spirit of the old 1969 club. It was called “It Makes a Fellow Proud to be an Astro” ~ and, as Larry Dierker explained, it was actually a parody of an original parody written by the genius talent of those days, a fellow named Tom Lehrer, who also was a math professor at MIT around the same time he was scorching everything sacred in western culture with his acerbic wit and talent for poetic symmetry. ~ What Lehrer did in many other areas ~ and with his original piece in this instance, “It Makes a Fellow Proud to be a Soldier,” left the “Astro version” seem tamer by comparison.

Here’s a link to how the original Lehrer piece sounded ~ in case you need to know the flow of the melody before you read the words to the Astros version ~ which follows thereafter. Can’t really verify who actually wrote the Astro version, but you may want ask Jim Bouton if he’s ever in town and you run into him at an Astros game.

There’s really nothing terrible about the Astro version. In fact, it’s quite creative in its own right. It just happens to contain (presumably) the one four-letter word that turns into four consecutive asterisks (****) faster than any other in the English language, but I don’t really know that because ~ I’ve never seen the Astro version in writing prior until now ~ nor have I ever it heard it explicated in any sung version.

If you are excessively prudish ~ or too young ~ or too old ~ it might be better, if you just didn’t pursue it any further. ~ There are other days and tamer subjects awaiting us all.

The rest of you ~ still living folks ~ filled with a sense of humor and some awareness of the characters referenced in the song ~ please just let go and dive right in. ~ Those close to the action cherished of all among you already understand the difference between a Buddy Hancken cranking ~ and a Big Mama spanking!

Just Let it be 1969 again ~ when the Astrodome was still a baby ~ as were all our hopes for that first Houston Astros World Series Championship. ~ Back then ~ Astros catcher Johnny Edwards might even have been able to break into a parody chorus from one of his name-cousin’s ~ singer Tommy Edwards’ ~ biggest hits:

“Many a beer has to fall ~ but it’s all ~ in the game,

All in that wonderful game ~ that we PLAY ~ with glove!”

OK, as promised ~ first ~ the Tom Lehrer Proud-To-Be-a-Soldier Version Link:

 

And finally ~ the written Astros version: 

It Makes a Fellow Proud to be An Astro

Now, the Astros are a team that likes to go out on the town,
We like to drink and fight and **** till curfew comes around
Then it’s time to make the trek,
We better be back to buddy’s check,
It makes a fellow proud to be an Astro.

Now, Edwards is our catcher and he’s really No. 1,
Dave Bristol said he drinks too much and calls some long home runs,
But we think John will be all right,
If we keep him in his room at night,
It makes a fellow proud to be an Astro.

Now, our pitching staff’s composed of guys who think they’re ‘pretty cool,’
With a case of Scotch, a greenie and an old beat-up whirlpool,
We’ll make the other hitters laugh,
Then calmly break their bats in half,
It makes a fellow proud to be an Astro.

Now, Harry Walker is the one that manages this crew,
He doesn’t like it when we drink and fight and smoke and screw,
But when we win our game each day,
Then what the **** can Harry say?
It makes a fellow proud to be an Astro.

********************

Bill McCurdy

Principal Writer, Editor, Publisher

The Pecan Park Eagle

MY GREATEST DAY IN SABR

November 15, 2018

 

By Maxwell Kates

 

Maxwell Kates, Baseball Researcher and Writer

Some of you may remember a column in Baseball Digest by famed Chicago sportswriter John Carmichael entitled “My Greatest Day in Baseball.” Well today I’m going to write about “My Greatest Day in SABR.” I joined in 2001 and without a doubt, my greatest day was November 12, 2018. That was the day I was invited by the Larry Dierker Chapter to speak at a meeting at the Spaghetti Western Italian Cafe in Houston. We did a book launch of Time for Expansion Baseball, the SABR book I co-edited with Bill Nowlin. As part of the festivities, we also hosted a Colt .45s panel. Several readers of the Pecan Park Eagle were in attendance. For those of you who did not attend, I will now attempt to recreate the evening’s events to the best of my abilities.

ABOUT THE COVER

Time for Expansion Baseball

The cover image focuses on three illustrations. The first depicts Expos pitcher Bill Stoneman with Montreal mayor Jean Drapeau. Directly below it is an image of Kansas City Royals’ owner Ewing Kauffman watching a baseball game with his wife Muriel and fellow Missouri icon Stan Musial. Finally we see a photograph of Harry Craft, Bobby Shantz, Dick Farrell, Bob Aspromonte and their teammates on the 1962 Houston Colt .45s about to board an airplane in their cowboy uniforms. On the surface, the design is meant represent the symbiotic relationship between players, owners, and politicians as the driving forces behind expansion teams.

The collection of images also represents, to borrow the title of a Bill Brown book, “my baseball journey.” I grew up in Ottawa with the Montreal Expos and later, the Ottawa Lynx as their AAA club. Who could forget the sight of Georgia boy Tom Foley attempt to ice skate on the Rideau Canal as part of the Expos’ winter caravan? The Expos were my introduction to baseball. Meanwhile, Muriel Kauffman (nee McBrien) was born in Toronto into a prominent political family. The Toronto Transit Commission is located in the McBrien Building. Named after Muriel’s uncle, the building is situated across the street from my house. Toronto was my introduction to SABR. As for the third image, the project was completed with the assistance of 21 men and women from Houston. This included representatives of SABR, the Pecan Park Eagle, Tal Smith Enterprises, and the Astros. More on that later.

Brownie Has His Baseball Journey and I Had Mine.

THE COLT .45s PANEL

We were fortunate to have three Colt .45s players and one executive volunteer to appear as part of an expansion panel. When one of the players was unable to attend, a notable fan and historian was able to pinch-hit admirably. Please allow me to introduce the five members of the panel:

 

Bob Aspromonte
On April 10, 1962, among his several firsts, he scored the first run in franchise history as the Houston Colt .45s defeated the Chicago Cubs, 11-2, in their NL debut.

Born in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn, New York, this first panelist broke in with the Dodgers in 1956 when he was only 18 years old. Drafted by the Houston Colt .45s in 1962, he became a fan favourite at 3rd base, setting a franchise record with 6 grand slams between 1962 and 1968. He retired in 1971 having returned to his hometown with the New York Mets. He was the Urban Cowboy while John Travolta was still in the third grade. Please welcome, number 14, Bob Aspromonte!

Hey Bob – He’s Wearing Your Uniform! (At least, your number.)
Yes, that’s right! That’s Gil Hodges wearing # 14 for the Mets.

We now travel to the opposite end of the country, to Hollywood, California. That’s where our next panelist is from. While still a teenager, he was signed to an amateur contract by the Houston Colt .45s. How would history have changed if he did not sign with Houston? He never would have struck out Willie Mays on his 18th birthday. He never would have pitched a no-hitter on Foamer Night. And most importantly, he never would have had a SABR chapter named after him. Please welcome, number 49, Larry Dierker!

Larry Dierker, who would later manage the Astros to 4 playoff runs in his 5 seasons as manager (1997-2001). Why not? This was the same guy that struck out Willie Mays in his 18th birthday MLB pitching debut.

Our next panelist comes from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. A graduate of Duke University, he entered the baseball world with the Cincinnati Reds. In 1960, he joined his mentor, Gabe Paul, to establish the new team in Houston. Except for two years in the mid 1970s, when he went to work for the Yankees, he’s been in Houston ever since. He actually built the team twice, the second as a general manager in 1975 when he didn’t even have an owner to speak of. Within five years, the Astros were within one game of a trip to the World Series. He was Major League Executive of the Year in 1980. Please welcome Tal Smith!

Houston GM Tal Smith with Manager Bill Virdon. Both were soft spoken gentlemen whose pursuits of excellence were relentless.

Our final panelist was born in Beeville, Texas. He grew up on the east side of Houston where he played sandlot baseball for the Pecan Park Eagles. A graduate of Tulane University, he has written two baseball biographies, one for Jerry Witte and the other for Jimmy Wynn. On August 25, 2018, he celebrated his surprise retirement party here at the Spaghetti Western. Among his gifts, the club used by his great grandfather, Liam McCurdy, in Ireland to slaughter the mythical sea serpent. Please welcome Bill McCurdy!

“I have only a quote from Clint Eastwood for all the serpents of this world and that’s ~ “Stay Off My Lawn!” ~ Dr. Bill McCurdy

Here is the introduction I had prepared for Jim Wynn. The other 24 may have been the “Say Hey Kid” but this # 24 was the Cincinnati Kid. Born in the Queen City, he was drafted from the Colt .45s by the Reds in 1963. Among the home runs he hit to earn the name ‘the Toy Cannon,’ a blast into Hudepohl Heaven above Crosley Field which landed on the street where he grew up. Three years later, in 1970, he hit another one which landed in the upper deck at the Astrodome. In 1974, he was traded to Los Angeles, where he led the Dodgers to their first National League pennant in eight years. He retired in 1977 as a member of the Milwaukee Brewers. Jim Wynn, ladies and gentlemen!

The Still Great Jimmy Wynn!
~ The Toy Cannon Forever! ~

TRIBUTE TO THE LARRY DIERKER CHAPTER

Many of you know that one of my favourite expressions is “our greatest hopes and our worst fears are seldom realized.” It was with those words that Jim McKay introduced the grim fate of the eleven Israeli athletes at the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich. Since my last visit to Houston in February 2017, the city realized both its worst fears and its greatest hopes, all within a ten week period. One common link between the two events is that both brought out the best in the community and gave Houston an opportunity to shine.

Early GM Paul Richards
“The Wizard of Waxahachie”

This Evening of Monday, November 12, 2018 …

Tonight is about a third event which brought out a much smaller segment within Houston. This book. And I’m thrilled to launch the book right here in Houston because more people from Houston contributed to the book than from any other city. I’d like to take this opportunity to introduce them all.

Mike Acosta, Bob Aspromonte, Bill Brown, Rick Bush, Wayne Chandler, Chris Chestnut, Larry Dierker, Bob Dorrill, Marsha Franty, Mickey Herskowitz, Jim Kreuz, Lori Leatherwood, Greg Lucas, Bill McCurdy, Dena Propis, Wayne Roberts, Tal Smith, Joe Thompson, Mike Vance, Mark Wernick, and Jim Wynn.

To that list I will add Lou DiScioli, Carl Ingram, Mike McCroskey, and Fred Soland for their contributions to the meeting, and Greg Randolph for his thoughtful gift of a 1980 Astros’ World Series press pin.

Mike Acosta and Mike Vance
~ Two of Houston’s most treasured social historians.

In Memoriam

In my ethnoculture, we are taught that even on the most joyous of occasions of weddings, bar mitzvahs, and perhaps book launches, it is important to remember those we have lost. For that reason, I have asked to pay tribute to two members of the Larry Dierker Chapter who have passed away in the last year. We lost Ralph Hackemack in May. While I never had the pleasure to meet the man, I know that he loved SABR and he loved every one of you. Shortly after I completed these slides, we also lost Bill Gilbert. Bill was the founder of the Larry Dierker Chapter and I think we can all agree that he was one of the nicest people we ever met. Ralph and Bill, ladies and gentlemen.

THE THREE STARS

In hockey, there are three stars to every game. Accordingly, I’d like to announce the three stars of the “Time for Expansion Baseball” project. One of the three is in this room tonight.

Colt .45s in the Clubhouse

The first star, of course, is my co-editor, Bill Nowlin. Bill and I first met at the SABR convention in Boston in 2002. I hope everyone here has a chance to work on a project with Bill. He has been an excellent mentor in this, my introduction to the production side of SABR literature. Bill designed the format and presented an opportunity both challenging and encouraging. Bill is an excellent teacher, allowing his “students” to make mistakes on their own while ensuring that they learn and recover.

The second star comes from Detroit and that’s Dwayne Labakas. One of the greatest obstacles to the production of this book was to obtain the rights to photographs from 14 different teams on a budget of $1,000.00. I’ve known Dwayne for 23 years and he stepped forwards to offer us the rights to any of the photos in his catalogue that we needed for the book. A lot of the photos in the book are Dwayne’s, including one of Bob Aspromonte.

Now for the third star and the one who is here tonight. Not only did he write a chapter of the book, provide interviews, and offer photographs, but he also participated in an expansion draft. For this, I’d like to call Tal Smith to the front of the room for a special presentation. Tal, I was in England this summer when I spotted a book at Waitstone’s in London. It’s a Libyan-Romanian fusion cook book from South Africa and when I saw it, I was reminded of you. Why not? It has your name written all over it. That’s right, the author’s name is Tal Smith. Mrs. Smith. Thanks and hope you enjoy the book.

No, Our Baseball Tal Smith does not have a daughter named Talicia, Talotta, or just plain Tal. This pictured Tal Smith is a female South African cookbook author and she is shown here with her husband, Russell. Both may someday hear of baseball for the first time by some random future contact by the always social and curious writer of this column, the one and only Maxwell Kates

“PROUD TO BE AN ASTRO”

The final question of the night was addressed to Larry Dierker and it was asked by the moderator of the panel. He credited Larry for his interest in the Astros, dating back to the time he was home from school sick at the age of 13. The boy’s father suggested that he read a book called “Ball Four.” His mother wasn’t so sure, rebutting with “David, don’t let him read that!” The only trouble is, I had already started to read. One of the funniest passages, in my opinion, was when author Jim Bouton chronicled a song the players were singing on the bus. The song was called “Proud to be an Astro” and it was written by Larry Dierker. I asked Larry to discuss the story behind the hit and suggested he even sing a few bars.

Larry Dierker with John D’Acquisto and Mike Caldwell, 1977.

Larry explained that he wrote a lot of song parodies. This particular one was a satire of “Proud to be a Soldier,” written by Tom Lehrer. In addition to a songsmith, Tom was a professor at MIT. The same way “Soldier” lampooned army life, Larry’s version compared playing for taskmaster Harry Walker to serving under the likes of Sgt. Merwin Toomey of “Biloxi Blues” fame.

What I had not counted on was being tricked by Larry into singing the song myself. Fortunately I had written a clean set of lyrics to avoid further embarrassment.

THE FINAL WORD

November 12, 2018 ~ The one and only Maxwell Kates ~ lifting the spirits of the Larry Dierker Chapter of SABR with his slide and panel presentation on MLB expansion and the Houston Colt .45s.

The state tree of Texas is the pecan.

The state motto of Texas is “friendship”

Thanks y’all.

 

********************

Bill McCurdy

Principal Writer, Editor, Publisher

The Pecan Park Eagle