Posts Tagged ‘Katy Combine’

Galveston County News Coverage of Vintage Ball

May 29, 2013
The Daily News gave front page note to the first page Sports Section story on the vintage game in the upper right hand corner. Robbie Martin of the red-vested Babies and Vince Columbo of the ghostly gray Combine are the poster boys for a new story that gets precedence over results from The Preakness on this same date.

The Daily News gave front page note to the first page Sports Section story on the vintage game in the upper right hand corner. Robbie Martin of the red-vested Babies and Vince Columbo of the ghostly gray Combine are the poster boys for a new story that gets precedence over results from The Preakness on this same date. Callie Mulkey, the 5th place contestant in the bathing suit competition, still got front page coverage over all others on the front page the next day. – How does that work?

On Sunday, May 19. 2013, the Galveston County Daily News gave the Houston Babies and the Katy Combine some monster coverage for their appearance at the Island City Beach Revue and Bathing Beauty Competition the previous day – and they did it for the two clubs’ journey to the Gulf for some good old-fashioned vintage base ball on the seawall drive section that goes right past the playing grounds at the iconic Hotel Galvez.

The Babies and the Combine played out a titanic struggle by the sea, one that only ended after the Houston Babies rallied from an 11-4 deficit at one point to make up a final three-run differential in their last time up to tie the Katy Combine at 14-14 and call it a good place to stop in the presence of fading sunlight.

Alex Hajduk tees off for the Babies. That's Tom Flores of the Combine in the lower section. Tom gave it up for all by serving as the game's "Blind Tom" (umpire).

Alex Hajduk tees off for the Babies. That’s Tom Flores of the Combine in the lower section. Tom gave it up for all by serving as the game’s “Blind Tom” (umpire).

Writer John DeLapp and photographer Kevin M. Cox are responsible for the fine coverage in both words and images, doing a good job of capturing the excitement of the crowd and challenges of the game played on a field that was really too small for the game. As a result, colossal drives to the roof of the two-story parking garage next door were contained by agreement as ground rule singles. Power hitting Babies guy Alex Hajduk jacked three Ruthian swats to the parking lot roof. In fact, that’s one of them shown leaving his bat in the photo featured above on Page One of the Sports Section.

PAST BALL is PLAY BALL. The Astros got a higher placement but our vintage game got the larger headline. That's Vince "The Viper" Columbo of the Combine connecting as Babies catcher Robby Martin looks on with great interest and anticipation.

PAST BALL is PLAY BALL. The Astros got a higher placement but our vintage game got the larger headline. That’s Vince “The Viper” Columbo of the Combine connecting as Babies catcher Robby Martin looks on with great interest and anticipation.

“PAST BALL” IS “PLAY BALL!” Those two words say it all as the best summary on vintage base ball. It is a game that is played in happiness, a game that is both competitive and yet, still joyful – the closest experience to all day sandlot baseball that most of us once knew as kids, a contest taken seriously without grown up rules and interference. We all always understood these two facts: “Three strikes and you’re out. Three outs and the other team bats.” Grasping that much, you get to play a game you love with people you value as brothers and sisters of the baseball soul. – Who could want or ask for anything more, except for a cool breeze every now and then and plenty of water, as long as it didn’t fall from the sky on game day?

That Saturday in Galveston was wonderful. I’ve got a feeling that the next time we travel to the Island, there’s a good chance that we shall run into a new/old club – via the resurrection of the Galveston Sand Crabs.

All of us who do anything to bring vintage base ball to life in the Greater Houston Area want to thank John DeLapp and Kevin M. Cox, the Galveston County News, and the planners of the Beach Revue Weekend for bringing vintage base ball to life on the Island that special weekend. Let’s do it again sometime – and let’s get those Sand Crabs in motion again while the iron of passionate interest is hot!

Have a nice hump day, everybody!

Babies-Combine in 14-14 Galveston Tie

May 19, 2013
At Galvez Field, Bob Stevens (L) of the Babies eyes the short fences and predicts to manager Bob Dorrill: "This will be my fist 4-homer day!"

At Galvez Field, Bob Stevens (L) of the Babies eyes the short fences and predicts to manager Bob Dorrill: “This will be my first 4-homer day!”

But let's not get ahead of ourselves. The day started with the Beach Revue Bathing Beauty Contest!

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. The day started with the Beach Revue Bathing Beauty Contest!

A Beach Revue Babe!

By the sea! By the sea! By the beautiful sea!

Yesterday, the Houston Babies tangled with their growing friendly arch rival, the Katy Combine, on new, but old and familiar grounds. As part of the Hotel Galvez Beach Central here-comes-summer weekend show, the Babies were only outshone by those other babes who showed up as contestants in the beach girl swim suit beauty contest. Even muscle beach Babies personnel like Bill Hale, Larry Hajduk, ¬†and yours truly, Bill McCurdy, couldn’t make the difference this time.

The girls were just too flat-out gorgeous! – Well, the swim suit girls weren’t exactly flat-out, but, I’m just saying – as competition on that level, the Houston Babies weren’t even close to winning any attention-competition with the always alluring and uplifting presence of beautiful ladies.

(Can I say that much without getting into further trouble at home? My gosh, as a veteran of the Spanish-American War, a little slack here would be appreciated.)

As for the game, the Babies and Combine had to make do with a field so small that it brought new sweetness to the old baseball phrase for a park of easy homers. Galvez Field was the juiciest of juice boxes, so much so that Babies Manager Bob Dorrill and Combine Manager Dave Flores agreed prior to the game to an important ground rule: Every ball hit over, past, or through the close-in fence signs would be tagged as a ground rule single. As a result, almost all hits in the game, including those hit on top of the parking garage, were simply singles. A few swinging bunt singles, ground ball worm-burners to the outfield, and copiously repetitious fielding errors also allowed for all the other basemen.

Galvez Field from home plate, looking in to the Hotel Galvez: That sign is one of several that marked the short fence line. It's what Bob Stevens saw when he called his shot that wasn't to be due to ground rules.

Galvez Field from home plate, looking in to the Hotel Galvez: That sign is one of several that marked the short fence line. It’s what Bob Stevens saw when he called his shot that wasn’t to be due to ground rules.

A pretty young lady named Lynn won the swim suit contest and also threw out the first pitch of the game. That's the old Pecan Park Eagle himself calling her perfect shot pitch.for our many listeners.

A pretty young lady named Lynn won the swim suit contest and also threw out the first pitch of the game. That’s the old Pecan Park Eagle himself calling her perfect shot pitch.for our many listeners.

The game was memorable from several standpoints: (1) It was the first the Houston Babies have played in Galveston since 1888; (2) It was a successful demonstration of vintage baseball on The Island, one that we all hope will inspire the resurrection of the Galveston Sand Crabs as the newest of our local area old rules teams; and (3) It gave us all a day at the beach among the beautiful people of Galveston. All participants in the game especially want to thank Adrienne Culpepper and Will Wright of the Beach Central program for the invitation – and also thanks to the Hotel Galvez for their wonderful hospitality.

Beauty Queen Lynn

Beauty Queen Lynn

Murdoch's was the destiny for any supernatural foul balls that went straight back from the batter's box. Fortunately, there were none.Murdoch’s to our SW was the destiny for any supernaturally magiccal foul balls that went straight back from the batter’s box. Fortunately, there were none.

As for the game, it was a barn-burner. Katy jumped out to quick big lead – and they even held a 14-6 edge through the 5th inning of our 7-inning game. With Larry Hajduk replacing starter Bob Blair in the bottom of the 5th, the Babies tallied 5 runs in the top of the 6th to narrow their deficit to 11-14. Buffalo Hajduk then helped his own cause with a sterling bit of defensive play in the bottom of the 6th to keep the score at 14-11, Katy, with one inning to go. The Babies then scored another 3 in their last time up to tie things at 14-14. – Hajduk the Elder then shut down Katy in the bottom of the 7th as regulation play ended and darkness drew near. The two clubs mutually agreed to finish their demo game right there with a well-deserved 14-14 tie as the final score.

To our SE was the target area for foul balls down the right field line. With the kind of lob pitching our batters see, fouls to the right side also were a non-factor.

To our SE was the target area for foul balls down the right field line. With the kind of lob pitching our all BR hittters see, fouls to the right side also were a non-factor.

Larry “Buffalo” Hajduk was named Player of the Game for his late inning relief pitching, his excellent fielding, and his better than average hitting on the day. Way to go, Buffalo!

Babies players batted in this order on the day: Phil Holland, Kyle Burns, Alex Hajduk, Larry Hajduk, Bill Hale, Bob Blair, Robby Martin, Robby Pina, Bob Stevens, and Jo Hale.

Combine players (to the extent that I have them identified) batted in this order: Brandon “Money” ¬†Flores, Jimmy “Hay-hauler” Turner, Dave “Triple Play” Flores, Fernando the Panamanian Slugger, Vince “The Viper” Columbo, Jeff “Slim” Roberts, George “Cypress” Tilton, Jess the Roller-by Girl, Chris “Omega/Red” Flores, and Malcolm (Who?).

The Houston Babies celebrate a golden day with one of the Beach Revue girls joining them as very much in the picture.

The Houston Babies celebrate a golden day with one of the Beach Revue girls joining them as very much in the picture. That’s Kyle Burns up front with his dog, “Flicka”, who served as our Babies Mascot of the Day.

It was a great fun day. The beauty contest winner, a gorgeous blonde, threw out the first pitch – and earlier, she and another contestant, a beautiful brunette, took numerous photos with each team.

"May 18, 2013? Ah yes! I remember it well!" ~ Babies Mgr., Bob Dorrill.

“May 18, 2013? Ah yes! I remember it well!”
~ Babies Mgr., Bob Dorrill.

The next time you have a chance to watch a vintage baseball game, check it out. As Buddy Holly of the Crickets used to say, “You don’t know what you been a missin’, Oh Boy!”

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Footnote: Thanks to SABR member and long time Babies crank Mark Rejmaniak for the bathing beauty photos. Mark, your camera eye has made this column what it needed to be and totally made my day. The Pecan Park Eagle thanks you for the fine work and lasting contribution. – Bill McCurdy