Lagniappe Thursday, 5/18/2017

May 18, 2017

“No, sir! I ain’t never met the feller, but I’d shore be delighted as all git-out to claim him as one of my own!”

A Requiem of Relativity: The faster the motion of an object accelerates toward the speed of light, the more time slows down.

If that axiom proves true for the Houston Astros throughout the 2017 MLB season, the more the chances increase that our current roster of players will feel younger after the last game of the season than they did on Opening Day. Of course, that measure would require them to actually exceed the speed of light during the season and send the hands of time into a reversal pattern that, so far, has not been demonstrated anywhere as possible or widely perceived by most physicists as credibly doable.

“Who Are Those Guys, Anyway?”

Famous question exchanged between “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid” in the movie of the same name when the pair of escaping outlaws look back to see a torch-bearing posse following them up a steep mountain trail at the very moment they are about to celebrate their ability to pull away from the pack. – Don’t pull out the champagne too soon, Mr. Hinch. The Texas Rangers may be 8 games behind the 1st place Astros this morning, but they also have moved from last into a 2nd place tie with the Los Angeles Angels in the AL West by winning their last 8 games in a row.

Baseball Is Still the Greatest Thinking Game One Could Ever Hope to Watch

Baseball isn’t chess, but it is the only athletic version of chess that attracts fans who like to watch the thinking that affects the unfolding of what happens on the field. Deeply serious fans keep score and other charts as though they were scouts, looking at pitcher-batter results, situational field decision-making, the way managers use or over-use certain players, especially pitchers, and, of course, the various ways in which some managers use or avoid variation in their style of decision-making for the sake of a possible advantage over an unsuspecting foe. i.e., One theoretical example: If the old long ball bomber Orioles manager Earl Weaver ever used Boog Powell to hit and run as the batter in the 9th inning of a tie game, that would’ve surprised some folks – starting with Boog Powell.

Baseball Fandom Is Changing, But So Is Everything Else

Everything changes. Anything organic that isn’t changing in life – is decomposing in death. Today’s younger fans still include a fair share of the thinking/analytical types, but most are now coming to MLB games to see baseball as another social media attraction – and that’s becoming, understandably, a fact not lost upon MLB club owners. I cannot personally think of another MLB venue that supports the shift as well as Minute Maid Park does – nor is there an organization that caters to meeting the social media indulgence needs of the fans any better these days than the Houston Astros.

I still miss Tal’s Hill, but my appreciation for what the Astros have done in center field is growing – not for my needs, but for the needs of younger, wired, and socially mobile fans. The MMP fans of 2017 now have a greater range of continuous choice all around the first entry-level concourse of the ballpark from which to watch the game in mobile, free-standing positions. They are wired – and their physical ability to move around MMP – complements the established wired need for “surfing the net.” It allows the younger fans to physically “Google-simulate” how the game looks from a 360 degree range of perspective on the ground floor. – Now, if only something could be done about the highway robbery price of parking near MMP, going to a game more often could be an even more attractive choice for all of us going downtown on game day. Is there any wonder what “dynamic pricing” (i.e., “price gouging”) will do to the going rates for parking this coming weekend for the upcoming Cleveland Indians in town series?

Another Way To Build Memories for a Hall-of-Fame in the Making Career

How about becoming one of the few players to ever collect 2 doubles and 2 triples in the same game? If you don’t know who we are talking about, you obviously are not paying close enough attention to the daily game action of our Houston Astros.

A Playful Look at Certain Astros for Their Player Traits

What Astro sometimes looks at a pop fly or soft toss as though he was seeing one for the first time in his life?

Based on his baseball team service, what Astro would you call upon to fix anything that was broken in your own house?

What Astro pitcher throws too many pitches that end up as the principal ingredient of a Star Wars missile bomb launch?

Has anybody else thought they might like to see the results of a “twins-separated-at-birth” test done on Brian McCann and Evan Gaddis?

If you have one of those jobs from which you never get a day off, wouldn’t you rather have someone like A.J. Hinch as a boss?

If they ever do a remake of the old Beverly Hillbillies TV series, which Astro player would be a great casting for Jethro Clampett, the wired and woolly son? Hint: It helps that he also played college baseball at Arkansas.

Which Astro player also seems to be a natural for the Travolta role in a remake of “Saturday Night Fever”?

Nuf Sed. Have a great Thursday.

____________________


Bill McCurdy

Publisher, Editor, Writer

The Pecan Park Eagle

Astros Almost Blacked Out on Out-of-Town Cable

May 17, 2017

What’s wrong with this picture? – In most State of Texas cable TV homes, you almost have as much chance of seeing the Pecan Park Eagles as you do the Houston Astros.

Recent column comments by Greg Lucas, Wayne Roberts of Austin, and Tom Hunter of Denver underscore an unresolved media problem that only hurts all the more as the 2017 Astros continue to reveal themselves as probably the best team in baseball. Their comments certainly underscore the frustration I’ve heard from my younger brother, John McCurdy, of Beeville, Texas, 50 miles north of Corpus Christi. Down there, like most other places outside of Houston, cable subscribers cannot get regular daily coverage of Astros games. You have to get the less available Direct TV satellite coverage to get our standard ROOTS coverage of the Astros or simply settle for the Rangers-biased cable deal they offer in the hinterlands. That means you get to watch the Astros only when they appear on the Rangers cable TV schedule.

How stupid is that? More importantly, look at the lost opportunity here. While the Astros continue to build what well may turn out to be the greatest club in their history, the opportunity is lost for building and attracting fans from areas that used to love Houston. – The State of Texas doesn’t get to watch. They get to watch the hapless, bungling Texas Rangers.

Here’s the comment by Greg Lucas on the “An Artful Homage to Larry Dierker” piece on May 12, 2017:

“Bill, this is a great piece, but the most striking and significant point is how the Astros STILL don’t get the coverage over TV in the regions they used to be common (in the Fox Sports days.) That has allowed the Rangers to dominate access for baseball fans in the region. The ill-fated Comcast “experiment” continues to haunt the Astros. Out of sight, out of mind is an old phrase that obviously continues to still plague the Astros.”

Here’s the comment by Wayne Roberts on the “Sunday Night’s Jeter Game was ‘2’ Much” article today, March 15, 2017:

“…. If you really want to barf out, try getting Astros coverage in Austin. The media bias to all things Dallas which has existed for decades is at an all time high. Local TV outlets report the Rangers scores but not the Astros. The Austin American Statesboy only recently added summaries of the Astros since they took their commanding lead in the AL West. We get Astros box scores for about 1 in 5 games. No real televised games (only Root which has a small area of the Central Texas market). Today it was about how hot the Strangers are and ignored the fact that they’ve done nothing to catch the Astros in games behind. And don’t even ask about the Cowboys vs the Texans’ coverage. All this when there are tens of thousands more ex-Houstonians in Central Texas than ex-Metroplexers.”

Here’s the comment by Tom Hunter on the “Sunday Night’s Jeter Game was ‘2’ Much” article today, March 15, 2017:

“When we moved to Austin (from Pearland) in 1963, there was only one television station (excluding the UT channel), KTBC, which was owned by Lady Bird. KTBC determined what you watched from the three major networks at any given hour. You had no choice. It was quite a shock from living in Pearland, where you could select from CBS, NBC, ABC, and KUHT in Houston. I missed watching the World Series for the first time that year.”

Bottom Line: What, if anything,  can the Astros do to correct this sorry situation? Whether the club is the target of this harm to their live media game coverage – or whether they simply are the “friendly fire” victims of some hard playing media politics among major corporate entities in the lucrative broadcasting arena, something needs to be done. Old fans and potential Astros fans away from Houston are mostly missing the biggest potential party in our Houston club’s history. Right now, for example, the Astros lead the Marlins, 11-2, in the bottom of the 8th. Dallas Keuchel is on the brink of going 7-0 on the season. And the Astros have a good clean shot at going 28-12 on the season as we now play into the 9th.

Isn’t it time that this missing coverage mess did something other than arouse a few disgruntled groans of “that’s cable TV politics for you”?

And is there anything we Astros fans/home viewers can do to help put the squeeze on those corporate forces who want to keep things just as they are?

____________________


Bill McCurdy

Publisher, Editor, Writer

The Pecan Park Eagle

 

Baseball Reliquary Deserves Our Support

May 16, 2017

We’ve never had the privilege of meeting Terry Cannon personally, but we can tell you this much from the stuff that drifts into our electronic grasp, vis-a-vis the Internet – we love what he’s doing out there as Executive Directory of The Baseball Reliquary in Pasadena, California. Everything that comes our way from the “BR” is almost certain evidence that our cultural commitment to the research, respect and preservation of every nook and cranny of baseball history thrives like a DNA craving for our united awareness and support of these efforts.

This latest notification by link further fleshes out plans for the Induction of Vin Scully, Bob Uecker, and Charlie Brown into the BR Shrine of Eternals on July 16, 2017 notes that the Induction event shall also include three other major activities:

The Hilda Award
Art by Ben Sakoguchi

Cam Perron with 104-year-old former Negro Leaguer Bill Stewart, the oldest known living professional baseball player.

I. The Hilda Award, named affectionately for Hilda Chester, the one-time famous cowbell ringing Brooklyn Dodger fan, will be awarded to young Tulane graduate Cam Perron for his tireless record-building work on collecting and articulating the history of the Negro Leagues, a commitment he continues to this day. Appropriately, the award is known as The Hilda Award to another selected fan, in this case to Cam Perron, for everything the young has contributed in past, present, and ongoing ways to this important effort.

2017 Tony Salin Memorial Award Recipient: Dr. Richard Santillan
Art by Ben Sakoguchi

Dr. Santillan’s latest published contribution.

II. The Tony Salin Memorial Award. Noted baseball literacy figure Tony Salin passed away in 2001, but during his lifetime, he was noted, particularly among family members as others in the greater LA area as Mr. Baseball. Recipient Dr. Richard Santillan has a life history of service to the accurate and complete memory of Latinos and their contributions to the cultures and histories of baseball and the USA.

Baseball Reliquary Speaker Dave Mesrey on the front steps of his boyhood home on Detroit’s east side.

Dave Mesrey is an honored photojournalist and one the those was saved Navin Field in Detroit. – “Today, Mesrey is hard at work with the Friends of Historic Hamtramck Stadium, helping to restore an old Negro Leagues ballpark near Detroit. When he’s not roaming the streets of Detroit cutting grass and picking up trash, Mesrey can be found at the local horse track huddled over a battered laptop writing bad poems about rusty flagpoles.” – Terry Cannon

III. Dave Mesrey, Principal Speaker, July 16, 2017.  Who among us would not want to hear Dave Mesrey speak in Pasadena, California this coming July 16, 2017?

If you would like to be there – or find out how you can do more to join and support The Baseball Reliquary effort, please contact Terry Cannon and go from there. It could be the most rewarding baseball connection you make in your baseball life. Here’s the Baseball Reliquary link for further information:

http://www.baseballreliquary.org/

____________________


Bill McCurdy

Publisher, Editor, Writer

The Pecan Park Eagle

Sunday Night’s Jeter Game was “2” much

May 15, 2017

Derek Jeter
Yankee Stadium
May 14, 2017

How many times do we need the reminder: “It ain’t over til it’s over?”

Apparently, we need it as often as we need to see it. And sometimes, we need to get it the hard way, with the co0kie of great expectations crumbling away in our hands as the bluebird of joyous victory flies away.

For the Houston Astros, it almost happened again last night.

To all of you who sometimes join me in a bad case of Superstition Mountain rub-a-dub-dub-magical-thinking elixir *, we apologize for beginning the premature celebration of the Astros’ “2-much” Derek Jeter Day “whack-em-back-with-the same-energy-flow-Jack” at Yankee Stadium last night. I could feel it coming throughout the pre-game “number two” retirement ceremony. Did you also feel the energy signs building in favor of an Astros spoiler-win on this very special Yankees night? Let’s go over the signs that struck home here. You may have picked up these and some other signals that we missed. Or maybe you just eased back, took a big sloshing slug of Superstition Mountain and let all this stuff kick in to your brain on its own.

Early Clues

  1. First of all, Jeter arrives in time for an around the field cart ride with his “2-sweet sister”, his “2-cute nephew (all dressed up as Jeter in a Yankee uniform and wearing the number “2” – and with his “2-beautiful” and “2-pregnant” bride/wife sitting strongly and quietly by his side. – How can you retire “# 2” when you’ve obviously been busy making a new version of yourself that is soon going to get here and grow up screaming “too” much in your ear, “C’mon, Daddy! Lets’ play catch! I want to be as “2-much” like you as I can be!”
  2. “Two” of Jeter’s former Yankee teammates, Carlos Beltran and Brian McCann, are now playing ball for tonight’s Yankee foes, the Houston Astros, and behind their “too much” congratulatory smiles, and Beltran’s actual participation in the pre-game “too fuzzy-wuzzy” part of the ceremony, the boys are there tonight to help their new team cause you to remember the actual game with “too” much of a lemon-twist to it.
  3. This is “2” much! The game starts – and the first “2” Astros hitters, George Springer and Josh Reddick, both homer! That’s a “2-0” Astros lead – on the game played just after the completion of the Jeter # 2 number retirement ceremony at Yankee Stadium on May 14, 2017. And it only took “2” batters and “2” home runs to get there. But that wasn’t enough show for the early game contra-luck flow for Jeter fans. Before the top of the first inning is done, Astros rookie Alex Bregman, who wears # 2 in peer aspirant honor of Jeter, blasts a Grand Slam home rum to left to make is 6-o, Astros – and the Yankees haven’t even batted yet. Bregman even points to the number “2” on his jersey as he floats back to the Astros dugout – floating on a smile, a moon beam, and the memory of a moment in his life that he probably shall remember forever above all others in his career. “2” bad for Jeter. Too wonderful for Bregman.
  4. By the time Jeter reaches the ESPN box to discuss his special day with the broadcast crew in the top of the 2nd, it’s still 6-0, but he gets there in time to see George Springer bash his “2nd” homer of the game in his “2nd” time up. He is reminded of Springer’s accomplishment by the ESPN crew. “That’s unfortunate to see,” says the disappointed, but always reasonably voiced man they called “The Captain.”

Biting the Bullet

Yesterday, the Yankees had a chance in the bottom of 9th to tie up the game in the bottom of the 9th, now trailing only by 10-7 with “2” outs and “2” men on base. All they needed was a 3-run homer to break the spell of a 2-dominated digital play game. Fortunately for the ‘Stros, we dodged the bullet. Pitcher Ken Giles got the last man out on a tapper back to the mound, and we all avoided an horrendous magical meltdown of moods in the Bayou City.

Thank you, baseball gods of mercy, for being way “2” kind to us Astros fans this time, but we will take all of that speed bump warning you allowed us – this time, at least – to get off with a “warning ticket” for being caught speeding with legitimate, but mildly arrogant great expectations expressed before our ball club quietly did what they needed to do to get the whole “2-BIG-W” stuffed in the bag with no chance of escape.

As fans, all we have to do next time is be patient, stay humble, and let our Astros play the game, one punch out – or fielded out – at a time – and watch this great team grow through the summer and into the fall. These guys are good. World Series good. It’s just too early in the season to know whom the club may have to replace due to some unexpected serious injury or production failure that we can’t even know about this early in the schedule.

  • Footnote from asterisk in Paragraph 4, Line 1: The publisher, director, and principal writer of the The Pecan Park Eagle has not consumed any alcohol since his younger salad days, but when it comes to baseball, especially when it comes to his eternal hopes for the Houston Astros, he has been known to buy into an illusion every now then. That being said, he now contends that 2017 is for real and that this year’s club is the verisimilitude of what a building World Series contender appears to be by the middle of May.

____________________


Bill McCurdy

Publisher, Editor, Writer

The Pecan Park Eagle

Retired NYY Uniform Numbers Adds “2”

May 15, 2017

Derek Jeter No. 2 Retirement Ceremony
Mother’s Day, May 14, 2017
Yankee Stadium
Photo by Associated Press

Well, Derek Jeter’s Number 2 just got retired this Mother’s Day 2017, exhausting the last of the New York Yankee single digit options for further use by any other present or future club players. Sooner, rather than later too, the New York Yankees also are likely to become the first MLB club to have retired all two-digit uniform numbers, as well, throwing the door open to three-digit layer identities as the new cool brand for all future marketing – at least – until those options get used up too.

Here’s what the Yankees have done, so far:

# Player Date/Year Retired
1 Billy Martin August 10th, 1986
2 Derek Jeter May 14, 2017
3 Babe Ruth June 13th, 1948
4 Lou Gehrig July 4th, 1939**
5 Joe DiMaggio April 18th, 1952
6 Joe Torre August 23, 2014
7 Mickey Mantle June 8th, 1969
8 Yogi Berra July 22nd, 1972
8 Bill Dickey July 22nd, 1972
9 Roger Maris July 22nd, 1984*
10 Phil Rizzuto August 4th, 1985
15 Thurman Munson September 20th, 1980
16 Whitey Ford August 3rd, 1974
20 Jorge Posada August 22nd, 2015
23 Don Mattingly August 31st, 1997
32 Elston Howard July 22nd, 1984*
37 Casey Stengel August 8th, 1970
42 Mariano Rivera September 22, 2013
44 Reggie Jackson August 14th, 1993
46 Andy Pettitte August 23rd, 2015
49 Ron Guidry August 23rd, 2003
51 Bernie Williams May 24th, 2015

Who knows? Maybe the Yankees will someday sign a franchise great whose name just happens to be “James Bond.” In case anyone still remembers Agent 007 by that time, he will have a great three-digit number waiting for him, will he not? At any rate, a franchise really needs to be a World Series winner over time to garner widespread respect for retiring numbers outside the city a club represents. And the Yankees have done that better than any club. Ever. Or forever. However you choose to slice it.

If the entire modern history of World Series Baseball could be symbolized as one Kentucky Derby field race, the Yankees are still the only horse that made the stretch run – and, way back there, we can see the horse and jockey decked in red, just taking aim at the far turn. Those Cardinals never give up. Everybody else is pretty much lost in the blur of the far-back-there pack. Retire all the numbers you want from use by the jocks and horses of those rare to never showed entrants. Nobody out-of-town is going to notice or remember much about them anyway – at least, until the franchise mass moves forcefully and sustainably to pass on mediocrity and settle for nothing less than victory.

Speaking of same, it’s going to the bottom of the 5th in Game Two – Astros leading the Yankees 9-0, as we write. – Keep it up. Astros! You guys are playing as though you all hope to have your uniform numbers retired and placed on display with our other Houston great ones. – Keep it up and we fans will back up that idea all the way. You guys are making Astros baseball into something that could become the hottest sports ticket that ever hit this town. And we are just waiting for the football/basketball people to figure that out in time to bandwagon their ways over to Minute Maid Park and the ROOTS Channel for the rest of this story.

____________________


Bill McCurdy

Publisher, Editor, Writer

The Pecan Park Eagle

Mother-Hope Thoughts for Mother’s Day

May 14, 2017

There’s a reason that Boston is a City of Champions,
And it’s Name is Soul.

  • This early Mother’s Day morning, the Houston Astros are sitting on top of the AL West by 8 games with a blow-out hope record of 25-11 record and a winning percentage of .694.
  • A .694 winning percentage for the entire season, no matter how improbable that is, would give the club a 112-50 record for the entire season.
  • Guess where winning 112 games puts any club’s chances of winning their division and home field advantage through the league playoffs? (The “best record gets home field advantage” rule should include the World Series, but doesn’t because of that stupid Bud Selig assignment of that determination as a league prize for winning the All Star Game!)
  • Hard as it would be to maintain a .694 W% for the whole season, playing at that level through the first 36 games is still good enough to hold out a more reasonable hope: The Astros can now simply play .500 ball over the course of their remaining 126 games, even if we do still think it’s reasonable to hope they will do better than play even the rest of the way. we are talking about going 63-63 the rest of the way. That’s all it would take. Do that and the Astros finish at 88-74, .543 – and a record that would possibly be good enough to make the playoffs, even after leveling off.
  • Wait! Simple math has more to offer!
  • If the Astros sweep the Yankees today, their actual record ascends to 27-11 with a W% of .711 – and they only have 124 games left to play.
  • Plug in the .500 ball the rest of the way again. Add 62 wins and 62 losses to the new “what if” 27-11 mark and the projected final season record rises by 1 to 89-73, .549.
  • See how easy it is to project success when we’ve got a Mother’s-Day-Good team playing the games for us on the field?
  • One final “what if” should be enough to warm mama’s toast on Mother’s Day morning. (See 10-12).
  • Let assume that today’s hoped-for sweep of the Yankees is merely the start of ten more additional consecutive Astros wins to the current five-game win streak.
  • With ten more wins, the Astros record now jumps to 35-11, .761.
  • At 35-11, .761, the ‘Stros again draw the .500 ball card for their final 116 games. With those remaining 58 wins and 58 losses, the Astros get to finish with 93 wins, 69 losses, and a W% of .574.
  • Bottom Line: Yes. Games are won on the field. Not on paper. But it’s still fun to play with numbers. Let’s just hope this 2017 version of the Astros stays as far above .500 ball as they seem capable of doing in the early going.
  • Happy Mother’s Day, Astros Nation ~ and Everybody Else Too!

 

____________________


Bill McCurdy

Publisher, Editor, Writer

The Pecan Park Eagle

 

The Almost Flawless 1948 Babe Ruth Movie

May 13, 2017

Babe Ruth
Gone But Never Forgotten
Forever the Hero

 

The Almost Flawless 1948 Babe Ruth Movie …. as seen by the 6-to-10 year old tribe of Pecan Park Eagles upon its release for viewing at the Avalon Theatre on 75th near Lawndale during the Summer of 1948:

  1. Babe had to grow up in a Boy’s Home because his mom died and his father couldn’t handle him. Poor Babe. It could have happened to any of us.
  2. At St. Mary’s, Babe grew up to become an incredible baseball player under the watchful eye of Brother Mathias, the priest who ran the place.
  3. When Baltimore Orioles Manager Jack Dunn came to St. Mary’s to sign Babe Ruth, Babe was only 19, but he looked to be about 35, as portrayed by actor William Bendix.
  4. While Dunn was waiting inside the place with Brother Mathias to meet Babe, a hard tossed ball came crashing through a glass window, breaking only a hole that was only slightly larger than the baseball that had made it. Once the talking was done, and his new contract signed, Brother Mathias invited Babe to take the ball back outside. Babe picked it up and, from a distance of about 60 feet, 6 inches, he threw it back outside through the hole from which it had first come – without nicking off any new glass damage in the process.
  5. After that memorable early scene, the movie just continued to unfold as one more incredible Ruth story unfolding upon another.
  6. In the movie, Babe Ruth turned out to be just the hero we thought he was. He was kind to ladies and he loved kids. He did things on the field that no other player could do – things like predicting his next home run and then doing it – after taking two strikes before he ever even swung the bat that crashed the homer.
  7. Babe cared more about taking care of a little dog named Pee Wee, whom he had injured with a foul ball in batting practice, than he did about getting back to the ballpark from the real hospital where he found a real doctor to treat the little shaggy canine in time to play his game.
  8. The doctor that treated the little dog for his foul ball injuries would turn up late in the movie as the same doctor who would treat Babe Ruth for cancer.
  9. Also late in the movie, Babe awakens from a dismal short 1935 season with the Boston Braves, finally leaving the game in a burst of glory by hitting three homers in Pittsburgh – and then turning over his job to a rookie who had been taunting him as a has-been – until this magic retirement moment comes along.
  10. After hitting three monster home runs at Forbes Field, the Babe almost stumbles on his way to first with a late inning single that we are led to believe is the last hit of his career. This turns out to be the moment in which the Babe calls over the rude rookie to run for him and take over his job.
  11. In the wake of Babe’s heroic Forbes Field exit performance, the rookie is awed by both the hero’s incredible ability and his unimaginable generosity.
  12. “Take care of baseball, kid,” the Babe says to his rookie replacement runner at first. “Take care of baseball. – And baseball will take care of you.”
  13. When someone suggested to the Babe that he should sue baseball for not making the Braves keep their promise to make him their next manager, Babe waved his head in a way that was as clearly rejecting of that idea as his words that followed. “Sue baseball?” asked the Babe. “Why, I couldn’t do that. – That would be like suing the Church!”
  14. The movie ends, of course, on a sad heroic note. The Babe is laying in his hospital bed, dying of cancer, but he is about to be carted down the hall for treatment by an experimental drug that could save him and help others to be saved from the same terrible illness. A small chorus of sandlotters stands outside the open window of Babe’s first floor, street-side room – and they are singing a low and mellow version of “Take Me Out to the Ballgame.” The singing continues as Babe is bed is rolled from the room by orderlies and pushed down the hall for his daring adventure into treatment.
  15. “Goodbye, Babe, but take this thought with you too: No matter what happens next, we shall love you forever!”
  16. As Babe’s hospital gurney disappears down the hospital hall, the final movie scene shifts seamlessly to kids playing sandlot baseball in street clothes on an improvised field, somewhere out here in the heart of America. And a powerful orchestra and accompanying angel chorus has picked up on a rousing, building conclusion to “Take Me Out to the Ballgame’ as kids throw, hit, run, and slide home on the field.
  17. The closing announcer affirms that, even though Ruth is now gone, the game will go on, as long as there’s a kid with a bat …. a ball …. and a glove …. to carry on!”
  18. When the movie ended, there was a nanosecond gap of silence that seemed to hang in the air for ten minutes or more. Then we all broke into shouts of support for Babe Ruth.

As kids of 1948, were we buying any of this? – Of course, we were. At least our little Pecan Park Eagle group and our fellow denizens of the Avalon Theatre were. And every bit of it. Our heroes were bigger than life – or the actual truth. We needed them to be. And Babe Ruth was the biggest hero of them all.

____________________


Bill McCurdy

Publisher, Editor, Writer

The Pecan Park Eagle

An Artful Homage to Larry Dierker

May 12, 2017

John McCurdy
Pecan Park Eagles
1947-1951

 An Artful Homage to Larry Dierker from my 75 year old “little” brother, John C. McCurdy. John and his lovely wife Linda of nearly 55 years live in Beeville, Texas, north of Corpus Christi, where both are quite active in our old McCurdy roots town before our family moved to Houston on December 31, 1942. John is a genuine curmudgeon and one of the loudest complainants in South Texas over the rarity of Astros baseball over these rural system baseball delivery programs. Apparently you need to have Direct TV to get all the Astros games at home. With cable, you have to wait for the Astros to come up on the Rangers telecasts to see them play live at home. – At any rate, my little brother John is a passionate and talented cartoonist too. He drew this cartoon and sent it to me with the following inscription about a month ago. I have been saving it until the next time I saw Larry, but decided today to send it this way. – You will get the original in person, Mr. Dierker, at either the June SABR meeting – or at our next luncheon together, whichever comes first. Hope you enjoy the talent, the intentionality, and the effort that Brother John put into this piece. I know your career meant a lot to him as one of the surviving original Houston MLB baseball fans.

____________________

An Artful Homage to Larry Dierker
By
John C. McCurdy
Beeville, Texas

____________________


Bill McCurdy

Publisher, Editor, Writer

The Pecan Park Eagle

A Closer View of Mr. Dierker Cutting the Mustard.

23 Skidoo! Astros Sailing on Sea of Blue!

May 11, 2017

23-skidoo copy

 

The precise meaning of “23 Skidoo” is lost to history, but this late 19th/Early 20th century slang expression actually comes up most often as a “get away quickly” exhortation among street urchins in search of more immediate privacy or greener social pastures.

Given the fact that the Astros just racked up their earliest recorded date in history for the registration of their earliest season capture of win # 23 today, Wednesday, May 10, 2017, a lot is getting said early about the team’s ability and fire to win baseball games in just about every way possible – but, even more importantly, to play the game with a tenacious club commitment do whatever it takes to win each game on its own terms.

The earliest previous Astros time for win # 23 came a season date later, on May 11, 1998. That was the year that the later acquirement of Randy Johnson helped the Astros set their all time high for regular season wins at 102. Unfortunately, it was also the same season that the Astros fell asleep against the Padres in the NL Playoffs, causing the club to miss their shot against the New York Yankees in the World Series that October.

And that is the sober reminder that’s worth far more than a thousand extra words here about the early 2017 AL season success of our Houston Astros.

23 Skidoo to you too, bad news and late season folds. We Astros fans will much prefer the discovery that this early season 23 Skidoo good fortune pace of the 2017 Houston Astros turns out to be a successful season run for our good guys – and one that goes all the way through the entire World Series.

One day at a time. One game at a time. 23 Skidoo.

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Bill McCurdy

Publisher, Editor, Writer

The Pecan Park Eagle

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

HGH and the Top 20 Career HR Leaders

May 10, 2017

HGH and the Top 20 Career HR Leaders

Barry Bonds
His 762 MLB Career HR Total Leads All Others.

The Top 20 Career HR Leaders in MLB History

No. Player HR HOF Status
1 Barry Bonds 762 HGH Guy 1
2 Hank Aaron 755 HOF 1
3 Babe Ruth 714 HOF 2
4 Alex Rodriquez 696 HGH Guy 2
5 Willie Mays 660 HOF 3
6 Ken Griffey, Jr. 630 HOF 4
7 Jim Thome 612 HOF Prospect 1
8 Sammy Sosa 609 HGH Guy 3
9 Albert Pujols 595 HOF Prospect 2
10 Frank Robinson 586 HOF 5
11 Mark McGwire 583 HGH Guy 4
12 Harmon Killebrew 573 HOF 6
13 Rafael Palmeiro 569 HGH Guy 5
14 Reggie Jackson 563 HOF 7
15 Manny Rameriz 555 HGH Guy 6
16 Mike Schmidt 548 HOF 8
17 David Ortiz 541 HOF Prospect 3
18 Mickey Mantle 536 HOF 9
19 Jimmie Foxx 534 HOF 10
20 tie Willie McCovey 521 HOF 11
2O tie Frank Thomas 521 HOF 12
20 tie Ted Williams 521 HOF 13

 

Notes.

Because of the 3-way tie for 20th place, 22 men cover the top 20 spots.

There are 3 group categories for our 22 career Top 20 HR leaders: (1) HOF Members; (2) HOF Prospects: and (3) HGH Guys – those guys – proven or not – whose production has been suspected, at least, as helping the power hitting totals in each of their careers.

Hall of Fame Members = 13

Hall of Fame Prospects = 3 (including one still active man, Albert Pujols.)

HGH suspect Guys = 6 None of these six guys have been convicted of HGH use in a court of law, but there’s been enough suspicion in the Court of Public Opinion to hang each of them twice. Once suspicion convicts you in the public mind, it’s very hard to nearly impossible to ever again gain independence from that verdict in the minds of fans and other concerned members of the baseball public.

My questions remain: What do we do with the records of these guys over time? Are we going to punish the offenders by gradient offense – or simply paint them all with the same brush and treat all those large HR totals as being totally due to the powerful, but variable stuff they may have been using, consciously or not. In so doing, do we simply look past these record totals as though they never happened?

Look! We’ve learned a lot more about HGH since it starred twice – first as the savior of baseball through McGwire and Sosa in 1998 – and then as the destroyer of the game through the Bonds and Company numbers of the early 21st century that sprang up in the Big Mac and Sammy Show wake period of time.

We now understand better that HGH is associated with faster tissue repair – and with the increase in muscle strength. But we’ve also come to grasp – if only a little better – that there is no known HGH that improves eye-hand motor coordination in a way that directly turns any batter who uses it into Stan Musial, Ted Williams, Babe Ruth, or Willie Mays.

Will we ever give the HGH guys a little recognition for their statistical records – or shall we simply leave them buried forever – anonymously together – in baseball’s own purgatory for lost souls?

____________________


Bill McCurdy

Publisher, Editor, Writer

The Pecan Park Eagle