Houston/Larry Dierker Chapter meeting recap – 6/27/2016

Each month I keep telling you how great the last SABR Larry Dierker Chapter meeting was and our session on June 27, 2016, was no exception. We had 39 members and friends in attendance who listened to three dynamic speakers talk about their love of the game.

Our first order of business was to congratulate our own Bill Brown on his 30-year anniversary with the Houston Astros. The club honored Bill and Dianne the previous Sunday with a very nice on-field celebration including team executives plus Craig Biggio, Alan Ashby, and Jose Cruz.

Leading off our program was Jim Foor, a pitcher for the Detroit Tigers and Pittsburgh Pirates who didn’t spend a lot of time in the “Show” but loved every minute of it, especially being able to travel with the team to such famed places as the original Yankee Stadium. Jim had great stories to share and let us know what it was like to be a big leaguer in the 1950s. Jim and his wife Sandy also participated in the first-ever vintage game of the Houston Babies at Lone Star College and agreed to come out of retirement to enhance the skill level of the team.

Andy Cavazos hit second and regaled us with stories about his time with the 2007 St. Louis Cardinals, being a rookie on a veteran club and a few rookie hazing tales. His experiences with Skipper Tony LaRussa were classics. When asked about pitching to Willie Stargell, Andy turned to Larry Dierker and asked him how he pitched to Willie. Dierk’s response: “Reluctantly.” Andy brought his wife and parents to the meeting and his Dad provided insight into his son’s success, the 5 championship and All-Star rings didn’t hurt either.

Batting third was former Houston Astros and Houston Oilers Public Relations Director Wayne Chandler. Early in Wayne’s career he helped operate the amazing scoreboard in the Astrodome with resounding success. He had been hired by Judge Hofhiemz and they had an interesting relationship.

The trivia contest written by Mike Vance was won by Greg Lucas.

We also announced that Connie Hooper, wife of longtime SABR member John Hooper who was the son of Hall of Famer Harry Hooper, called to say she had been invited by the Boston Red Sox to represent the family when they honored Harry Hooper in August. She is thrilled to be included in the festivities.

Time is running out to purchase tickets for our August 27 meeting at Minute Maid Park. We will meet at 4:00 PM in the Board Room with special guest Reid Ryan. Please mail your ticket money to Jo Russell, 15201 Kimberley Court, Houston, TX 77091. We will pass out the tickets, priced at $31.00 each, at the meeting.

There will be no chapter meeting in July.

— Bob Dorrill