Houston/Larry Dierker Chapter meeting recap – 4/8/2013

Thanks to the 30 Houston/Larry Dierker Chapter members and friends who attended our meeting on Monday, April 8. As announced, we have added nine new members this year; we welcome Grant Soverign, Larry Jones, Chris Shonka, Ken Thompson, Sam Treynor, Bradley Welborn, Cliff Robertson, Ira Liebman and Chalie Braun to our group.

Larry Miggins, former Houston Buff, Jersey City Giant and St. Louis Cardinal, opened the session by showing us a photograph of himself attempting to tag Jackie Robinson at third base in Robinson’s very first game as a professional player in organized baseball. This occured on April 18, 1946 at Roosevelt Stadium in Jersey City, NJ in front of 25,000 fans. #42 went on to get 4 hits that day (Larry had 2 hits himself), steal 2 bases and hit a home run. Quite a debut.

Larry regaled us with numerous stories about his playing days and how Babe Ruth personally had impacted his post-baseball career. And, upon request, Larry told his very famous Vin Scully story.

Next came David Fanucchi, a local author, who has written a fascinating book about the 2000 U.S. Olympic Gold Medal-winning team. David was the press officer for the team and was exposed to all the interworkings of forming such a team and being with the players over a nine-month period. His relationship with Tommy Lasorda, the teams skipper, was priceless. His book Miracle on Grass is available at the SABR Bookstore.

Batting cleanup, Mike Vance led a stimulating debate on the background and impact of the Designated Hitter on baseball over its 40-year life. Numerous opinions were voiced, some rather forcefully, about the pros, the cons and statistical results of the DH over time. An interesting and challenging dialogue.

Tony Cavender presented a complex trivia contest, which was won by Mike Vance with Tom White coming in second.

Our next meeting will be on Saturday, May 4 at Constellation Field as we take in a Sugar Land Skeeters game. Arrangements have been made for us to sit in the picnic area (with a swimming pool) and enjoy a buffet dinner. Tickets for admission and food will cost $35 each. Please mail your check along with a postage-paid, self-addressed return envelope to Mark Hudec, 235 River Grove Road, Sugar Land, TX 77478. Mark’s telephone number is 281-313-4015 and email mark@markhudec.com. Game time is 6:05 PM and we will be allowed in at 4:30 PM, ahead of the crowd. Fireworks to follow.

For more information on the Larry Dierker Chapter, visit SABRHouston.org.

— Bob Dorrill