62 SABR members and friends were treated to a delightful afternoon and evening of baseball at Minute Maid Park for the Houston/Larry Dierker Chapter meeting on May 19, 2012, especially if you were an Astros fan and watched the home team come from behind to defeat the defending American League Champion Texas Rangers.
The meeting kicked off with a review of the successes of our vintage baseball team by Bob Dorrill and their undefeated season to date. Both the Houston Chronicle and the Houston Press featured stories about our team recently and now the ABC affiliate wants to interview the team in uniform for an upcoming news broadcast scheduled for June 5th.
Special guest Billy Buhler then showed the group an amazing 1921 panoramic photograph of the Houston Buffs and the Galveston nine which featured Billy's great grandfather Billy Buscha. He also told stories as he had been passed down to him from that time period. Most interesting.
Houston radio broadcaster Dave Rsymond was next with timely remarks and an analysis of the current club. Dave talked about the excitement he feels in the clubhouse and how the team is performing at a much higher level than originally predicted. He is also impressed with skill of the players in the minors who are pushing their major league counterparts and could well be on the ML scene in the not too distant future.
Our cleanup hitter was Astros General Manager Jeff Luhnow, who wowed the crowd with his intelligence, his past performance with the St. Louis Cardinals and vision for the future. In his 45-minute talk (including Q&A), he discussed how he measured scouts and his 3-star program where scouts are asked to pick 3 players who may not be highly rated but they feel will succeed at the major league level. When it came to lower draft picks, these were the individuals he selected and it is amazing how many are now on the Cardinals roster. He also talked about the upcoming draft where the Astros have the first pick and how they will go about making that choice.
The trivia contest written by Mike McCroskey was won by SABR newcomer Paul Giesler.
Our next meeting will be on Saturday, June 9 at Constellation Field, home of the Sugar Land Skeeters. We will meet at 5:30 p.m. in a space to be determined and will be joined by baseball executive Tal Smith.
The Houston Babies next play on July 4 at the George Ranch in Richmond.
For more information on the chapter, visit sabrhouston.org.
— Bob Dorrill