Last night was a first for the Larry Dierker Chapter of SABR. Never before in our local history have 9 members walked off from a regular gathering with a pennant for making it all the way through a three-hour meeting, but last night it happened. It really and truly did. And we’ve got the visual evidence here to prove almost all of it, thanks to new and enthusiastic seam-head member Kevin P Rosell, who also was kind enough to take these photos of those receiving their various flags of affinity.
The pennants weren’t actually any sort of reward for endurance. It’s just that we were busier than usual last night. It sort of went like this:
- The SABR Analytics March Conference in Arizona Report. New member Kevin P. Rosell attended the conference, and he began the evening with an enthusiastic, few-if-any-stones-left-to-upturn one hour and fifteen minute report on everything that happened there. Questions about the replacement of human judgment by umpires on balls and strike calls by laser/technical/scientific technology was the hottest button in the discussion barrel.
- Greg Lucas Reported on his new book, “Houston to Cooperstown: The Houston Astros’ Biggio & Bagwell Years”. Greg spoke for about twenty minutes. Beyond Larry Dierker’s “It Ain’t Brain Surgery”, followed by “Toy Cannon”, the biography that Jimmy Wynn and I, Bill McCurdy, did of his life and career for McFarland Company in 2010 and then, “Still Throwing Heat”, the book that J.R. Richards did on his life and career with Lew Freedman in 2015, Lucas’s new work on Biggio/Bagwell is only the fourth book in print that focuses on individual Astro players. From what Greg shared, and what we also know of his writing skills, look for this latest book to be well worth the $25 purchase price at both Barnes & Noble, nationwide, and, of course, Amazon.com.
- “Catching Casey!” This was a “just for fun” activity. We wanted to give Greg Lucas a chance to catch up with Casey Stengel by allowing him to simply, one-by-one, look at a bunch of college pennants I had purchased for this exercise and match them with members in our SABR meeting group. Each correct identification counted as a “pennant won” – and Greg got to award that pennant that he just won for the right person as their gift. – With a little help, Greg Lucas got it done. Casey Stengel won a monster number of 10 pennants in 12 seasons (1949-60) with the Yankees. Greg Lucas won only 9 pennants, but, cut him some slack, Greg did his work in only 15 minutes. How’s that for efficiency? – Thanks to new “Jim Dandy To The Rescue” member Kevin P Rosell, we also have pictures of them all. Unfortunately, I did not receive the photos of Larry Miggins (Pittsburgh) or Bob Copus (Sam Houston State), but here are 6 of the others I did receive from Kevin by e-mail. The picture up top of Greg Lucas counts as one also. Then there were the 2 photos that didn’t get here. – Those bring Greg’s total pennant captures to 9. This whole “Catching Casey” fun thing took about 15 minutes, as we said, and then, of course, the night concluded with the usual trivia quiz. Mike McCroskey designed the quiz, but wasn’t present to administer it. Forgive me this sin too, but I never even heard who won. I will put my dime down now that it most probably was Tom White, our unbelievably resourceful “Handy Vandy” baseball history answer man.
4/18/2017: Important Addendum to the record of other books written by or about former Colt .45/Astro players. SABR Colleague Mark Wernick has now added this same information below as a comment on this article, but we felt it was important enough to be brought up top as a serious repair of our previous records on the subject. Thanks, Mark, for your far more thorough listing of books by or about former Houston franchise players:
“Bill, I wish I didn’t have to miss the festivities. It looks like fun times. I have a few more books that maybe could be added to the list of books focusing on individual Colt .45s/Astros players. There’s “Perfect”, by Steven K. Wagner about John Paciorek; “Fields Way”, J.C. Hartman’s book; “Rusty Staub of the Expos” by John Robertson, which does touch upon his time with Houston; “To All My Fans …” by Norm Miller; “Survive to Win”, by Bob Watson; and “The Rocket” by Joseph Janczak, a book about Roger Clemens that also touches on his time in Houston. Russ Kemmerer wrote a book that devotes a chapter to his time with the Houston Colt .45s, and the several bios of Joe Morgan and Nolan Ryan address their time with Houston.” ~ Mark Wernick.
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The Pecan Park Eagle