Houston/Larry Dierker Chapter meeting recap – 4/14/2014

On April 14, 2014, 28 members of the Houston/Larry Dierker Chapter braved extremely cold temperatures and stormy weather to hear three outstanding research presentations from local chapter members at the Westin Hotel in downtown Houston.

First Jim Kreuz, following an exhaustive search, provided us with letters and documents from Branch Rickey’s personal papers on Rickey’s efforts in 1943 and 1944 to sign the first black player in organized baseball, Cuban baseball star Silvio Garcia. When Rickey was unable to get a consesus on Garcia’s baseball abilities he shifted gear and went after Jackie Robinson, Monte Irvin and Roy Campanella. The rest is history.

David Skelton talked about his passion to get biographical information on his boyhood heroes, the Philadelphia Phillies. He told many interesting stories regarding his search and concluded with a fascinating tale about how his 2-year-old son met Sandy Koufax. “Where is Sandy Koufax?”

Tom Murrah has become an expert on local high school and college baseball and brought with him a collection of newspaper articles, yearbooks and photographs on the subject dating back to 1913. He filled us in on how the sport evolved here and how it was not unusual for local high school and college teams to play against professional and international traveling clubs.

Greg Lucas won the trivia contest prepared by Tom White with Messrs. Lucas and Liebman providing great prizes.

Bob Dorrill updated the chapter on SABR 44 and urged everyone to register for the convention ASAP. He also bragged about the Houston Babies vintage baseball doubleheader wins last Saturday. Our next meeting is scheduled for May 19.

— Bob Dorrill