Posts Tagged ‘Larry Dierker’

Kid Lyles off to Flying Start

June 1, 2011

 The debut of 20-year old Jordan Lyles as a right-handed pitcher for the Houston Astros against the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field reminded many of us of the time 18-year old Larry Dierker made his first big league start against the San Francisco Giants at the Astrodome on September 22, 1964., back when the club was still known as the Colt .45s. It just happened to have been young Mr. Dierker’s 18th birthday. His Houston teammates even brought a  birthday cake to help the kid celebrate the occasion.

Like Mr. Lyles, Dierker failed to pick up a win in his first start. In fact, he was gone after only two and two-third innings of work after giving up four runs (two earned) on five hits and three walks. On the bright side, Larry fanned three Giant batters, most notably, striking out future Hall of Fame great Willie Mays in the first inning. On the much brighter side, you could see from his size, athletic posturing, and performance the hope for much better days ahead in his baseball pitching career. Like Mr. Lyles long after him, Larry Dierker instantly became the club’s best fan reply in Houston’s search for a baseball tomorrow.

Let’s hope that Jordan Lyles brings at least as much to the Houston baseball table as Larry Dierker once did. Short of a breakthrough to a Hall of Fame level of accomplishment, and an avoidance of injuries that, as with Dierker before him,  also put an early end to his career, we could hardly ask for more.

Jordan Lyles

The kid seems to have it – and a mature head on his shoulders too. At least, that’s the demeanor-image that comes through loud and clear and calmly over the HD television screen. The kid’s a cucumber. He didn’t fall apart after his costly throwing error in the eighth inning – and he didn’t cry or throw a double-jointed hissy-fit in the dugout when manager Brad Mills pulled him with nobody out in the eighth. He took his place, waited, and watched. And he was rewarded for his personal temperance in the top of the ninth when his new Astros teammates bombed the Cubs for a six-run spot that also spared him from the jaws of a major league defeat in his first rattle out of the box. Afterward, Lyles was even able to express his happiness to FOX Sports Houston interviewer Greg Lucas that teammate Fernando Rodriguez was able to pick up his first major league win in relief. Everything that happened last night pointed to the early opinion that Jordan Lyles, like Larry Dierker long before him, just might be a great new member of the Houston Astros family.

As with all things, time will tell. In the meanwhile, we shall close with the Baseball Almanac version of the box score from Larry Dierker’s first game on September 22, 1964. Have a nice day in the knowledge that the Astros now are only three and one-half games away from escaping the cellar in the National League Central,

Baseball Almanac Box Scores:

San Francisco Giants 7, Houston Colt .45s 1. – Game played on Tuesday, September 22, 1964 at Colt Stadium in Houston.

San Francisco Giants ab  r   h rbi

Kuenn lf 4 0 3 1
Lanier 2b 6 1 2 0
Alou rf 5 1 2 0
Hart 3b 4 1 1 0
  Pagan ss 0 0 0 0
Mays cf 4 1 1 1
Cepeda 1b 4 1 2 3
Haller c 4 1 2 0
Davenport ss,3b 5 1 1 0
Estelle p 4 0 0 0
  Murakami p 0 0 0 0
Totals 40 7 14 5
Houston Colt .45s ab  r   h rbi

Kasko ss,3b 5 0 2 0
Morgan 2b 1 0 0 0
Aspromonte 3b 4 0 3 0
  Jackson pr,ss 1 0 0 0
Bond 1b 5 0 0 0
Wynn cf 3 0 0 0
Staub rf 4 0 0 0
Beauchamp lf 4 0 0 0
Grote c 3 1 1 0
  Bateman c 1 0 0 0
Dierker p 1 0 0 0
  Yellen p 0 0 0 0
  Giusti p 2 0 1 0
  Gaines ph 1 0 0 0
  Jones p 0 0 0 0
Totals 35 1 7 0
San Francisco 0 3 1 3 0 0 0 0 0 7 14 2
Houston 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 7 3

San Francisco Giants IP H R ER BB SO  Houston Colt .45s IP H R ER BB SO

Estelle  W (1-1) 8.0 7 1 1 6 4
  Murakami  SV (1) 1.0 0 0 0 0 0
Dierker  L (0-1) 2.2 5 4 2 3 3
  Yellen 1.0 2 3 3 2 0
  Giusti 4.1 5 0 0 0 3
  Jones 1.0 2 0 0 0 2

E–Pagan (20), Mays (5), Kasko (14), Bond (12), Wynn (7).  3B–Houston Grote (3,off Estelle).  HR–San Francisco Cepeda (31,2nd inning off Dierker 0 on, 0 out).  SH–Estelle (1,off Jones).  SF–Kuenn (2,off Dierker).  Team LOB–13.  Team–13.  WP–Dierker 2 (2).  U-HP–Lee Weyer, 1B–Jocko Conlan, 2B–Doug Harvey, 3B–Tony Venzon.  T–3:02.  A–5,608.

Baseball Almanac Box Score

Welcome to the Hall of Lame!

December 8, 2009

Former manager Whitey Herzog and former umpire Doug Harvey were voted into the Baseball Hall of Fame yesterday by the Veterans Committee. They each garnered 13 votes, the minimal number required for approval of older candidates from this group of veteran selectors.

Herzog missed induction status by a single vote the last time. This time, one of his former players, Ozzie Smith, was a new member of the voting group. You do the math.

Herzog is not one of my favorites as a pick for the Hall of Fame, but what do I know? Maybe six pennants and a World Series victory as manager is enough to punch the ticket. Maybe it made a difference that he sometimes did some “creative” thing, you know, like put a pitcher in right field for a couple of batters rather than remove him from the game and lose him for the rest of the struggle that day. Gee! If that’s what did it, Al Hollingsworth of the old Buffs and half the other managers in the old Texas League ought to be inducted too. With those 19-player rosters of that minor league era, Texas League managers of the 1950s were constantly placing pitchers in right field for a batter or two, just to keep them available for a return to the mound.

This comment is  nothing deeply personal against Whitey Herzog. I just think his induction is typical of how a lot of new members get into the Hall these days. They go through long periods of being almost totally off the radar screen. Then, all of a sudden, a sympathy article comes out, questioning why they were overlooked. Then several years of “near miss” unfold as the public becomes more and more aware again of the old forgotten figure. In effect, induction moves from merely being a sympathetic emotional issue into one that now has political arms and legs working to get that person into the Hall. Whitey Herzog is only the latest example of how that works. It starts with sympathy, moves to empathy, and concludes with the completion of a successful poltical movement.

In that light, I’d like to set in motion a question of my own, about someone whom I think is truly deserving. If Whitey Herzog can reach the Hall of Fame, how can we continue to overlook Larry Dierker? Oh sure, Herzog bagged six pennants and a World Series ring, but look what Dierker did. – Larry led the Astros to 4 playoff appearances in his 5 years as manager (1997-2001) and, while he never reached the World Series, he threw a no-hitter as a pitcher (1976) and posted a 20-win season (1969) and wrote two very thoughtful books on baseball after his retirement from the field. And did I mention the facts too that he also came out of a two-decade other career stint as a baseball tv analyst and baseball historian, just to manage the Astros in the first place?

I’d  like to get some sympathy started for Larry Dierker as an overlooked Hall of Fame candidate right here and now! Are you with me? We’ll worry about how we get the right people added to the Veterans Committee later. Right now, we just need more articles of awareness to Larry’s Dierker’s lonely  plight.

Think: Larry Dierker deserves to be in the Baseball Hall of Fame! It’s a cryin’ shame he’s been overlooked until now!