Talk about a "Hot Stove" meeting, we certainly had that Tuesday evening when 26 SABR members of the Houston/Larry Dierker Chapter met on the covered outdoor patio of the Ragin Cajun to kick off the new year. The heat was provided by four great presentations and a portable heat lamp brought in just for us. We were happy to welcome new SABR member Ted Walker and to have with us Mickey Herskowitz, longtime Houston icon and author (and SABR member).
Kicking off the evening was Houston Chronicle beat writer Zachary Levine, who discussed a variety of subjects including the new Houston Astros management team, how he got his current assignment after starting as an intern for the paper, membership in the BBWA, the challenge of interacting with players and the process of Hall of Fame balloting.
Scott Barzilla, our resident sabermetrician, presented an interesting research project he is developing that determines "Total Run Index" by player, team and manager along with projected differentials based on existing rosters. To this end, he provided the group proprietary handouts on the project. Good stuff.
Mike Acosta, Authentics Manager of the Astros, brought with him a variety of uniforms that the team plans to wear in their 50th anniversary season and talked about promotional activities for 2012 starting with the annual dinner and Fan Fest.
Our cleanup hitter was Jim Kreuz, who spoke about his research project of interviewing high school teammates and coaches of Hall of Fame players to get a prospective of what they were like before fame and fortune. The players he researched and discussed included Bob Feller, Mickey Mantle, Stan Musial, Ted Williams and Nolan Ryan.
Our trivia contest, written by Tom White, was won by Joe Thompson, Jim Kruez and Scott Barzilla. In a tiebreaker, only Jim could properly state Mickey Mantle's original number when he first came to the Yankees. His prize was an authentic Houston Astros jersey.
As discussed, we badly need to find a fulltime meeting spot now that the construction at the Ragin Cajun eliminates their private room. We prefer to meet downtown if at all possible. Please send me your suggestions and recommendations. The date of our next meeting will depend on lining up a location.
Finally, if you plan to attend the Annual Baseball Dinner on February 10 with 14 other SABR members, please send me your ticket money by no later than Saturday, January 14.
— Bob Dorrill