Posts Tagged ‘Jimmy Wynn’

Happy Birthday, Jimmy Wynn!

March 13, 2019

To My Dear Friend, Jimmy Wynn ~

We missed you by a day on these public pages due to an unfortunate technical problem with the website, but, as always, it’s better late than never on the day after ~ your 77th Happy Birthday Passage.



Happy 77th Birthday, Jimmy Wynn

(Date of Birth: Match 12, 1942)

You floated like the Monarch butterfly ~ your bat was always the bee!

While soaring the Houston summer sky ~ God’s Love flowed endlessly!

And so it goes ~ from then to now ~ thru all, yet undone, we shall see!

The passion flight of the monarch force ~ from here to eternity!

So, Fly, ~ Jimmy, Fly! ~ ….. Fly, Jimmy, fly ~ like the Monarch of Degree!

We shall find our ways to soar with you ~ winged souls in spiritual glee!

We may not be from KC, but neither were the Monarchs of old originally!


…. and as we here take our swings ~ one day late ~ there’s still time to shout:

Happy, Happy 77th Birthday, Toy Cannon,

Jimmy Wynn, Dear Sweet Beloved Friend!

Love and Peace,

Bill McCurdy and

All Other Monarchs

It’s Your Birthday, Jimmy Wynn!
Fly, Jimmy, Fly!


Bill McCurdy

Principal Writer, Editor, Publisher







March 12: Happy Birthday, Jimmy Wynn!

March 12, 2014
James Sherman Wynn Born: March 12, 1942 Cincinnati. Ohio

James Sherman Wynn
Born: March 12, 1942
Cincinnati. Ohio

Happy 72nd Birthday, Jimmy Wynn! And much peace and happiness to one of the finest men to ever play the grand old game of baseball.

We love you!

Career Stats:



Black Heritage Night Was a Thing of Pride

August 23, 2013
Two Men of Appropriate Pride and Life-Leveling Humility: Charlie Pride (L) and Jimmy Wynn.

Men of Appropriate Pride and Life-Leveling Humility:                                                      the great Charlie Pride (L) and the great Jimmy Wynn.

And you can definitely take the headline of this column in the two ways it’s intended. The “Black Heritage Night” program of the Sugar Land Skeeters at Constellation Field that was offered as a pre-game feature on August 22, 2013 was both a night a pride in the unifying goal quality of black baseball players over the years and also a tribute to the program’s special guest, the great Charlie Pride, a country and western singing star who also spent his early years in pursuit of that same dream of the others as a  professional baseball player.

Bill McCurdy (#15) of The Pecan Park Eagle Press was on hand to covers things.

Bill McCurdy (#15) of The Pecan Park Eagle Press was on hand to cover things. – In this photo, the players read this way, left to right: BACK ROW: Kevin Bass, J.C. Hartman, Scipio Spinks, J.R. Richard, Cecil Cooper, Bob Watson, Trenidad Hubbard, Brian Williams, Anthony Young, and Chuck McElroy. FRONT ROW: Ralph Garr, Deacon Jones, Charlie Pride, Sylvester Cooper, Jimmy Wynn, and James Mouton. – This one terrific photo was contributed by good friend Darrell Pittman.

Charlie Pride & Company posed for a number of group photos this summer afternoon and beautiful summer evening.

Charlie Pride & Company posed for a number of group photos this summer afternoon and beautiful summer evening.

The guest list was long and celebrated. The crowd was first entertained by a concert performed by the “Ocean of Soul” band from Texas Southern University. Then, as a fun introduction at home plate, each of the former players arrived in his own personal chauffer-driven luxury car to be introduced and given his own named and numbered Sugar Land Skeeters jersey by Skeeters host Deacon Jones.

The home plate arrival scene at Constellation Field.

The home plate arrival scene at Constellation Field.

The group of former players on hand for the honor included Kevin Bass, Cecil Cooper, Ralph Garr, J.C. Hartman, Trenidad Hubbard, Chuck McEroy, James Mouton, Charlie Pride, J.R. Richard, Scipio Spinks, Bob Watson, Brian Williams, Jimmy Wynn, and Anthony Young, (If I somehow missed your name, please let me know by e-mail and I will make sure that it is included in this column. There was a lot to keep up with last night and I may have missed someone. –

Charlie Pride took about 25-30 practice swings from the BP tosses of Scipio Spinks while he was on the field. He hit the ball hard, lining several for clean hits into the outfield gaps. - Pretty darn good for a man in mid to late 70's.

Charlie Pride took about 25-30 practice swings from the BP tosses of Scipio Spinks while he was on the field. He hit the ball hard, lining several for clean hits into the outfield gaps. – Pretty darn good for a man in his middle to late 70’s. Oh yeah, Charlie also threw out the first pitch prior to tonight’s Skeeters-Shellacking of the Camden Riversharks by a 10-1 mark.

Watching Charlie Pride pound the ball are: Michael Point, a writer for the Corpus Christi Hooks, Deacon Jones, Skeeters Manager Gary Gaetti, and Skeeters Special Advisor Tal Smith. The hits just rang and rang and rang.

Watching Charlie Pride pound the ball are: Michael Point, a writer for the Corpus Christi Hooks, Deacon Jones, Skeeters Manager Gary Gaetti, and Skeeters Special Advisor Tal Smith. The hits just rang and rang and rang.

One of the "Red Tails", that famed African-American group of fighter pilots from WWII was present too. Here we see him pictured with Marie Wynn. Now all we need is his name to give him the full credit he deserves.

One of the “Red Tails”, that famed African-American group of fighter pilots from WWII, was present also. Here we see him pictured with Marie Wynn. Now all we need is his name to give him the full credit he deserves.

Dick “Lefty” O’Neal and a large contingent of former Negro Leaguers were also present last night and I would be happy to also include their names here too, if someone could pass on an attendance roster to me. We would like to give everyone their personal nod for their participation in this beautiful evening.

The first 2,000 fans also got this handsome, welcoming bobble head of Deacon Jones to take home with them.

The first 2,000 fans also got this handsome, welcoming bobble head of Deacon Jones to take home with them.

The Deacon Bobber does one thing that the real Deacon NEVER does. He turns his back. The REAL Deacon never turns his back on justice, family, friends, or baseball - and that pretty well allows him to touch all the bases, 24/7.

The Deacon Bobber does one thing that the real Deacon NEVER does. He turns his back. The REAL Deacon never turns his back on the needs of justice, family, friends, or baseball – and that pretty well allows him to touch all the bases, 24/7.

Keep it up, Deacon Jones. Black Heritage Night needs to be thought of as the first offering of an annual event.

Jimmy Wynn Celebrates 70th Birthday with SABR

March 13, 2012

March 12, 1970: Jimmy Wynn celebrates 70th birthday at SABR meeting in Houston with two fans of the Toy Cannon.

Astros icon and SABR member Jimmy Wynn turned 70 years old yesterday, March 12, 2012, and we are grateful that he chose to spend the evening with his fans and fellow members of SABR, the Society for American Baseball Research. Meeting for the first time in the Yankee Stadium room at the Inn at the Ballpark downtown next to Minute Maid Park, about 35 members of the Larry Dierker Chapter welcomed the Toy Cannon with open arms for all he’s done, and still does, to make and keep Houston Astros baseball on the credible side in the public mind and trust.

This is special milestone year in the life and career of Jimmy Wynn. – It’s also been 50 years since Jimmy Wynn started in his professional career at Tampa in the Cincinnati Reds system; 49 years since he broke into the major leagues with the Houston Colt .45’s and hit the first of his 291 career big league home run off a New York Mets pitcher named Don Rowe; and 35 years, half his lifetime ago, that Jimmy Wynn hit his last major league long ball off Bill Travers of the Milwaukee Brewers.

Jimmy’s book end homers, first and last, both happened in two of baseball’s now vanished green cathedrals. His 1963 opening volley off Rowe came about in the old Polo Grounds, the immortal setting of Bobby Thomson’s “Shot Heard Rounds the World.” The closer bash left the deepest part of the field in center at old Yankee Stadium on Opening Day 1977 during Jimmy’s last season as a short-time member of the Yankee “Bronx Zoo” cast.

And last night was not only a time for memories of all the amazing things that Jimmy Wynn did with the bat and in in the field in between those two amazing times of his first and last big league seasons. Jimmy also quietly informed some of us last night too that he had been summoned to Minute Maid Park last Friday at the last minute. As it turns out, President Obama was in Houston to speak at Union Station that evening and had wanted to meet Jimmy Wynn.

Mission accomplished. – President Obama has now had the pleasure of meeting one of Houston’s finest: Jimmy “The Toy Cannon” Wynn.

I have to say what I mentioned to someone who asked me about it last night: Working with good friend Jimmy Wynn on his autobiography, “Toy Cannon,” was the most joyous writing experience of my life. We went into the journey (and all writing projects are journeys of some kind) as good friends, and, in spite of the fact that we had to deal in print with some not so pretty things that were part of Jimmy’s total life experience, we came out of it knowing that he had dealt with them all as honestly and forthrightly as possible and that Jimmy Wynn had still found room in the forever unfolding end to stand and walk tall into these now celebratory later years.

Spiritually today, I value Jimmy Wynn as though he were my blood brother. There is nothing to the good that I would not do for the man, if it were something in my power to deliver. He has every ounce of love and loyalty from me that any brother should expect to have from his own.

God Bless you, Brother Jimmy! And may we all get to inhale the fresh cut grass smells of spring training and a brand new baseball season for as long as possible – no matter how old we get to be.

One More Time: Happy 70th Birthday, Jimmy Wynn!

Toy Cannon Homers Again at Barnes and Noble

December 12, 2011

Barnes & Noble Authors, 12/10/11: (L-R) Daniel Flores, Darla Marx, Mimi Jefferson, & Jimmy Wynn at the Sugar Land Store in the Greater Houston area.

Last Saturday proved to be another successful book signing day for Astros icon and baseball author Jimmy Wynn at the Sugar Land store in the Barnes & Noble chain. This time appearing with three other writers on vastly different subjects, Jimmy lived out again his beautiful and natural kindness toward all the fans and kids that came anywhere within voice or eye contact of him, bringing smiles to the faces of grumpy Christmas shoppers, even to those who had never heard of Jimmy Wynn or the game of baseball. Jimmy is especially magnetic to the smiles of the kids and their moms. If there is a gleaming smile in there behind the mask, Jimmy just has a knack for pulling it out.

It’s an amazing thing to watch. After Jimmy pumped up the confidence of one young aspiring baseball player out shopping with his mom, a pep talk and hug concluded in a photo that mom took of her ten-year old with Jimmy. The kid went away with his fist-pumping smile in full gear. He no sooner had left when an unrelated grandfather-type stepped forward to shake Jimmy’s hand and say, “I saw what you just did for that young man, Mr. Wynn. It was a beautiful thing to watch and I just wanted you to know that there are those of us out here who appreciate both who you are and what you do.”

 Jimmy Wynn acknowledged the compliment with his usual modest dismissal, but the man hit it right on the button. Jimmy Wynn is just one of those souls who is going to make 98% of the people who encounter him at any given moment happier in a way they would otherwise have never known. It’s the same spirit that makes his story so good and such a great Christmas season read. The people who purchased “Toy Cannon: The Autobiography of Baseball’s Jimmy Wynn” – signed by Jimmy himself – for their loved ones, took home – home runs – for Christmas Eve and Morning.

The book is available through Barnes & Noble and Amazon by direct in-time-for-Christmas order and a few hard copies also remain in stock at the Sugar Land store. I just don’t know about the inventory of other B&N locations. Copies will also be available through me at the SABR meeting tomorrow night at the Ragin’ Cajun restaurant on Richmond Avenue, Dec. 13th, before and after the 7-9 PM meeting. Jimmy Wynn is supposed to be there too and will be happy to sign that evening or the next time you see him. Our special holiday price through New Years Eve is $25.00, plus $5.00 for packing, postage, and handling on mail orders. ($30.00 total on mail orders.)

Endorse checks on mail orders to “Bill McCurdy” and send your order to:

Bill McCurdy, Publisher

Pecan Park Eagle Press

PO BOX 940871

Houston, TX 77094-7871

No services exist for credit charges or handling cash by mail. Payment needs to be by check or money order.

The other authors at Saturday’s Barnes & Noble signing came with their own unique tales. Jimmy Wynn was paired at a table with US Customs chopper pilot Daniel Flores who has written “South of Heaven: My Year in Afghanistan” as an exciting true story of his Ranger service in the middle of that heated Middle East war.

Mimi Jefferson is a love story novelist. Her latest work is entitled “The Bride Experiment” and Darla Marx apparently is one of those non-fiction life coach writers whose latest work is called “I’ve Got my Big Girl Panties On One Foot at a Time.” Don’t ask me what it’s about. I wouldn’t touch that title with a ten foot pole.

Have a great week, everybody. Hope your holiday preparations are going well.

Boerne White Sox Are Dedicated Vintage Ballists

October 24, 2011

EVERYBODY LOVES JIMMY! After posing with his home town favorite Houston Babies club on Saturday, Oct. 22nd, Astros Icon Jimmy Wynn also sat for a photo with Kristy Watson and the visiting Boerne White Sox at the George Ranch Field.

The feisty Boerne White Sox also came to town last Saturday, October 22nd, to participate in the one-day tournament with the Houston Babies and Katy Combine at the George Ranch Field near Sugar Land. It was their fourth trip to the Houston area in recent memory for the purpose of engaging our local clubs for a few rousing rounds of vintage rules base ball.

Miss Kristy “Horseshoe” Watson is the firebrand spirit of the White Sox, if not their designated leader, and you can see Kristy in the featured group photo that appears with this column. She is the only blonde and only female in the bunch – and the nicest representative of vintage base ball that anyone could ever possibly hope to meet. In fact, anyone from the San Antonio-Boerne area who may be interested in vintage base ball should check out the club’s Facebook page at and get in touch with Kristy about playing and sponsorship opportunities. Vintage Base Ball is the closet experience anyone could ever have to the thrill of our childhood sandlot days.

Boerne also boasts of a second newer club they call the Tusculum Freethinkers, a team with some overlapping involvement by members of the White Sox roster, but that’s cool too. The little Texas community that has spawned both these vintage clubs has something of an overlapping history with its own community identity.

A brief history of Boerne explains it this way: “Boerne, the county seat of Kendall County, is located on Cibolo Creek, Interstate Highway 10, and U.S. Highway 87 thirty miles northwest of San Antonio in the southern part of the county. In 1849 a group of German colonists from Bettina camped on the north side of Cibolo Creek, about a mile west of the site of present Boerne. They called their new community Tusculum, after Cicero’s home in ancient Rome. In 1852 Gustav Theissen and John James laid out the townsite and changed the name to Boerne in honor of Ludwig Boerne, a German author and publicist.”

Only in Texas do culture and commerce come together at the tap root quite so often in these same entangled ways. Or so it seems.

A more complete history of the community prepared by the Texas State Historical Association is available at

Kristy Watson & Boerne Company

The Boerne group is planning a vintage base ball activity for March of 2012 and we will do our best to keep you posted of those plans as they become known and made available to The Pecan Park Eagle.

Jimmy Wynn Signing at MMP

May 15, 2011

Jimmy Wynn signed his book for buyers at MMP on Saturday.

It was a day out of the weatherman’s dream book in Houston on Saturday as fans (a few of them, anyway) gathered at Minute Maid Park to watch their Houston Astros build a new one-game winning streak by taking down the not-so-tall-either New York Mets, 7-3. Juicing up the azure blue sky day behind the pitching of starter J.A. Happ and three Kong-like homers from Bill Hall, Matt Downs, and Carlos Lee, the Astros pounded their way into resembling that team that diehard fans like to hope they really are, if only they could do it more often.

Astros Icon alumnus Jimmy Wynn was also there at the ballpark yesterday to sign purchased copies of the book he and I wrote together, “Toy Cannon: The Autobiography of Baseball’s Jimmy Wynn.”  Watching Jimmy talk with the fans is worth the price of admission in itself. The man has more genuine caring and niceness in his little pinkie finger than a lot of players have in their whole beings. It’s simply a revealing window into the man’s character to sit with Jimmy Wynn at the ballpark for a few such hours and watch what goes on. Here’s the best example from yesterday that I can offer.

Saturday was also “Chris Johnson Bobble Head Day” at MMP, with the first 10,000 fans receiving copies of the “bobber” supposedly imaged after the young Astros third baseman, Well, Jimmy came early and the ushers earlier had brought him one of the bobber copies to take home, but that never happened. Shortly before the 3:00 PM game time, a man and his five-year old son came by our table, asking where they could pick up a bobber. We explained that they were all gone, but then, right away, Jimmy says, “Wait a minute.”

Jimmy Wynn then reached under our signing table and pulled up his copy of the souvenir bobber, giving it to the boy and his dad. “Take this home with you, young man,” said Jimmy, “and take care of it.” The stunned father first asked, “Can I pay you for it?” he quietly asked.

“No way,” Jimmy answered, “that’s not what this is all about.”

Jimmy just wanted the young father and son to have a souvenir of their beautiful day together at the ballpark. Once that became apparent to the man, he almost collapsed in quiet gratitude. “Thank you, Mr. Wynn,” the man said. “I’ll never forget what you’ve done for us today.”

And neither will I.

"Beyond the blue horizon, waits a beautiful day!" And it arrived in Houston on 11/14/2001.

Have a beautiful Sunday, or whatever other day it may be whenever you finally read this little sketch of a good man’s soul. Through his mellow everyday acts of empathy for others, the “Toy Cannon” continues to fire with all his God-Given might – and it shows up all the time in his caring for others through so many random acts of kindness.

Thank you, Jimmy Wynn, for simply being the man that you are.

Toy Cannon Signing at Barnes and Noble

February 13, 2011

Barnes & Noble Deerbrook Hosted Toy Cannon Book Signing, Feb. 12.

Saturday, February 12, 201, Lincoln’s real birthday, broke as the warmest, sunniest day we’ve enjoyed in the greater Houston area in some time. Houstonians did not miss the opportunity to get out and do something special – and many of those who happened to long-time Houston Colt .45 and Astro baseball fans chose to celebrate the day by attending the Jimmy Wynn talk and book signing at the Barnes & Noble Deerbrook Mall site from 3-5 PM.

Cliche to say, “a good time was had by all.”

Jimmy signed copies of his book, “Toy Cannon: The Autobiography of Baseball’s Jimmy Wynn,” and other items that fans brought with them, and fans responded by buying many copies of the book, with several also purchasing an extra gift copy for someone else. One fan alone purchased four copies that Jimmy then patiently signed to specific individuals.

As Savannah Sweeney wrote on Jimmy Wynn's Facebook wall, and this young man also discovered, "I went and he's so nice!" Jimmy Wynn is one of the nicest people of all time.

Jimmy was accompanied to the signing by his beautiful wife, Marie, co-author Bill McCurdy, and close friend and SABR chapter leader Bob Dorrill. The fellowship of friends simply fed into the good spirited discussion and personal contact that Jimmy had with everyone who approached him. One little wide-eyed boy, about 7, and his mom came up to the signing table and, of course, Jimmy asked the young man if he liked playing baseball. The kid shot back with, “No, it’s too hot!” Jimmy just rolled his eyes and laughed, cajoling the young man to give the game another try. The young man promised he would give baseball a second chance.

As people line up for books and autographs, Jimmy signs a Colt .45 jersey, the kind with his retired #24 on the back.

The two most beautiful extra items that Jimmy signed yesterday included a great retro jersey from the days of the Colt .45s, plus an oil painting print o all Houston’s retired number players standing along the baseline in uniform with their numbered backs exposed as the point of view. Before Jimmy signed on his own number, he feigned as though he was going to mistakenly sign under Craig Biggio’s #7.  “Oh No, Jimmy,” the poor startled fan cried out, “please don’t sign there!”

Jimmy just removed his hand from the print with a quiet chuckle and the man tried to smile as he inhaled a deep sigh of relief. Some humor comes with an ounce of cruelty, but Jimmy wasn’t trying to be hurtful. You just have to “get” his sense of humor.

Bob Dorrill, SABR

Bob Dorrill was the first to arrive and the last to leave. In fact, he never left. After the signing, Bob escorted Jimmy and Marie Wynn, plus your truly, to his home in Kingwood, where we visited and dined on a delicious meal prepared by Bob’s wonderful spouse and SABR member, Peggy Dorrill.

The Dorrills are not simply the greatest, deepest blue baseball fans in this world. They also are first class people, the kind of people who are capable of engaging in true friendship.

With all of the narcissists running around these days, pretending friendship in the interest of personal gain, it is most pleasant to know that there was a time when genuine friendship was far easier to find. As for me, I thank God every day for the presence of Bob and Peggy Dorrill in my life. They are the best.

And last’s night’s roast beef and potatoes were so dad-gum All-American good! Thanks, Peg!

Thank You, Marcile! Marcile Barnett of Barnes & Noble Deerbrook made it all possible and we are deeply appreciative.

Finally, we need to thank Marcile Barnett, the Customer Relations Manager of Barnes & Noble Deerbrook, for making Jimmy Wynn’s book-signing day in the Greater North Houston area the smashing success it became. As you talk with Marcile, you quickly learn one of the qualities that makes her so likable, beyond her very clear relationship abilities. – Marcile is a baseball fan, the kind who goes to games and plans to stay until the last man’s out, the kind of baseball game watcher who says, “buy me some peanuts and Cracker Jack. I don’t care if I never get back.”

How could we possibly have gone wrong with someone like Marcile setting up the book signing plan? No way. Marcile Barnett is big league, all the way.

Thanks again, Marcile! – And please thank Masseurs Barnes and Noble the next time you run into them. Jimmy Wynn and I both appreciated the hospitality yesterday.

Hats Off to Jimmy Wynn

October 13, 2010


His Coming of Age in 1960's Takes On Clearer Light.


Congratulations to Houston Colt .45s/Astros Icon Jimmy Wynn! His beautiful autobiography is now available through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Border’s, McFarland Publishing, and any other national retail distributing source that is available to you and, as someone who was privileged to working with him on “Toy Cannon,” I can only hope you also have a chance to read the story of this fine man’s growth as both a ballplayer and human being during one of the most difficult periods of change in American history.

Bob Hulsey of Astros Daily asked me only yesterday what I had learned about Jimmy Wynn that I didn’t yet already know from the experience of helping him with his autobiography. The answer to that one is easy. It wasn’t so much the details of what happened to him, and these included numerous stories of what went on with the club behind quasi-closed doors. It was all about fresh contact with what it must have been like to walk around in the shoes of Jimmy Wynn, a young gifted black baseball player, coming of age and finding his way through the segregated society that still dominated Houston, Texas, and the South, in general, through the Civil Rights Era of the 1960s.

Some of you are too young to remember, but Houston was still a place in the early 1960s which barred blacks from eating in certain restaurants, attending certain movie theaters, enrolling in schools which also accepted whites, or living in certain neighborhoods.

“Certain” was a buzzword for racial prejudice as a way of life and segregation still cast its ugly face upon our city like a clutching hand from the ignorant past at the same time Houston was attempting to bolt into the future as the home of NASA and a brand new major league baseball team.

At the same time Houston was embarking upon this ambitious and bold future “blast-off,” most local schools, from kindergarten to college, remained segregated. Wrap your minds around the incongruity of that thought for a minute. Then allow your thoughts to come back to young Jimmy Wynn in 1963.

This is the Houston that greeted Jimmy Wynn and other black players as they made their way to the big leagues with the Colt .45s during those earliest of years. Black players couldn’t simply go anywhere they wanted in Houston without running into the ugly wall of racial separation. The bathrooms and drinking fountains were even separated by “white” and “colored” section signs back then.

For many of us whites who grew up with segregation, but who weren’t taught to hate others for the color of their skin, those embarrassing memories of how Houston used to be are ones we’d sooner put away and not think about too often, but that isn’t possible. We have to remember and stay vigilant that nobody, no race or particular religious or facist-based ideological dominated society, ever tries anything like that again.

For people like Jimmy Wynn, who grew up in non-segregated Cincinnati, in the bosom of a loving family that taught him to love, not hate, coming of age as a ballplayer and a young man during one of the great periods of social change in America, especially in the South, was an eye-opener that could have blown him away early, had it not been for the long distance loving support of his father, in particular, and of a manager in Tampa named Hershell Freeman.

In “Toy Cannon,” Jimmy Wynn touches all the bases of his statistical, distance homer, and other field achievement records, but he does something even more. He allows us to walk a little deeper and truer in his own shoes as he comes of age in an era in which the other concomitant pressure on young people trying to make it in the world, especially among young males, was where they stood on the Viet Nam War.

Jimmy Wynn didn’t leave home to fight the battles of Selma, Alabama or Southeast, Asia, but that’s the world he walked into. The issues of the world wouldn’t leave him alone to simply work on becoming a big league baseball player. They even followed him into the clubhouse and directly affected the most important decisions in his life.

“Toy Cannon” is a tighter walk through the life of a talented young northern black man, coming of age in racist Houston. To hear Jimmy tell his story, we almost go through it “as him,” seeing the things we had to learn the hard way – and coming out the other side with a wisdom that only comes to those who are willing to learn from their painful experience.

God Bless You, Jimmy Wynn – for all you so willingly now give of yourself to others!

Forgive Us Our Press Passes, But Thank God for Mickey!

October 2, 2010

Published in 2008: Available at Amazon.Com.

Last night the Houston Media Wall of Honor took on another name in special pre-game ceremony at Minute Maid Park. Local members of the Fourth Estate inducted Houston’s iconic sportswriter, Mickey Herskowitz, into the fold of those who have done this community special service as communicators of news in all its many forms.

Mickey Herskowitz was, and still is, the best. When it comes to writing about sports, and as they alway said about James Bond for other talents, nobody does it better. Houston, indeed, should be proud of this native son and early life cub reporter on the Houston Buffs baseball and Southwest Conference football. He grew up to be the man whose late 1950s articles on this city’s deservedness for major league baseball played their own quiet role in Houston landing a National League franchise that we first knew as the Colt .45s back in 1962.

Mickey covered it all, becoming a nationally celebrated biographer for famous people as diverse as Mickey Mantle and Bette Davis. (Imagine the interview possibilities and problems Mickey might have encountered had he gotten those two figures in the same room for s a single interview back in the day. I would imagine that might have been one “opportunity” that even Mickey might have passed over, if at all possible.)

“Forgive s Our Press Passes: The Mickey Herskowitz Collection II” is a classic collection of Mickey’s work on sports stories from several different areas that will only bring you reading joy, should you choose to acquire a copy. It’s available through Amzon.Com.

Mickey Herskowitz’s daily work with the Houston Post and Chronicle is where most of us got to know him some fifty years ago, but don’t let the passage of time fool you into thinking we are simply talking about a past figure here. Mickey Herskowitz is now a full-time journalism professor at Sam Houston State University. He makes a weekly trek up to Huntsville from his home in the northern Houston hinterlands to teach and then returns home each weekend.

Those lucky SHSU kids! I just hope that some of them are wise enough to appreciate how they’ve been blessed!

Mickey Herskowitz is an inducted member of the Texas baseball Hall of Fame (1997) and he also received the TBHOF’s Jimmy Wynn Toy Cannon Award in 2006.

Speaking of Jimmy Wynn, congratulations to “The Toy Cannon” too for the honor he deservedly received from the Houston Astros, also prior to last night’s Cubs@Astros game. In naming their “Player of the Decade” winners over the half century of their existence, Houston picked Jimmy Wynn as their Player of the 1960s. Jose Cruz was named for the 1970s, Nolan Ryan for the 1980s, Jeff Bagwell for the 1990s, and Craig Biggio for the first decade of the 21st century.

Nice picking, Astros! None of us cold have done it any better!

Back to Mickey for a moment. In case you don’t know, the Baseball Hall of Fame makes an annual award to a single writer that has contributed much to baseball. It’s called the J. Taylor Spink Award in honor of the former publisher of the old Sporting News.

Mickey Herskowitz has never won this award, but a lot us think this omission is an unforgivable, but still correctible passover. If you are interested in supporting Mickey Herskowitz for this honor by the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, please get in touch with the man who is taking charge of the campaign in Mickey’s favor. His name is James Anderson and his e-mail address is> Mickey did not request this help, nor is he participating in lobbying for himself. The whole idea began and carries through from Mr. Anderson, an enormous Houston and Astros fan.

Publication Date is This Friday, Oct. 8th!

Speaking of books, here’s a reminder. “Toy Cannon” is available for purchase now through Amazon.Com too. This wonderful story of Jimmy Wynn’s life and baseball career is officially available this coming Friday, October 8th.

Have a great weekend, everybody. And let’s hope the Astros can turn back the Cubs in their titanic battle for fourth place in the national League Central.