Houston/Larry Dierker Chapter meeting recap – 9/17/2012

You never know what might happen when you attend a Larry Dierker Chapter SABR meeting but you know it will be informative and fun.

AAGPBL player, Texas Baseball Hall of Fame Member and Houston resident Marie “Red” Mahoney kicked off our session on September 17, 2012, with an interview by Marsha Franty. “Red” played baseball professionally with the South Bend Blue Sox and the Fort Worth Daisies in 1947 and 1948, “the best years of her life” she says. She really liked the movie “A League of Their Own” and said it was 98% correct in how they presented the league and players. Red was concerned when she heard that Madonna was in the movie but overall she thought the actors did look and play like real ballplayers. “Red” admitted that she enjoyed playing in front of large crowds and definitely rose to the occasion for the 34 SABR members in attendance last night. She will make a great addition for SABR 2014.

Chris Chestnut spoke about 1-0 complete games and highlighted two no hitters; one by LA Dodger Sandy Koufax and the other by former Houston Colt 45 Ken Johnson who pitched a nine inning 1-0 no hitter and LOST thanks to an error by a Hall of Famer. That’s certainly one for the books.

Tony Cavender reviewed a recently published book on former Brooklyn Dodger, Washington Senator and New York Met Gil Hodges. The writer spent time trying to explain Hodges’ internalization of difficult matters, focusing on Gil’s awful experiences as a young  man in the military service during World War II. As a result internal stress may have contributed to his premature death. Many believe Hodges deserves to be in the Hall of Fame but he never received enough votes from the veterans committee because some thought too many members of his Brooklyn teams were already installed in the Hall.

Paul Giesler devoted his time to talking about his participation on the SABR BioProject committee. Paul shared two write-ups he had done; one on Frank Baumann, who he was able to interview personally and the other on Billy Jurges, a man involved in many key developments in baseball history like the possibilty of using batting helmets, placing nets on foul poles and being shortstop in the 1932 World Series where Babe Ruth “called” his shot. Paul encouraged members to join him on this committee.

Mike Vance, researcher deluxe, then reviewed the history of Spring Training in the Houston and Galveston areas going as far back as the 1880s. He identified the various clubs that had trained here and then chronicled the many exhibition games played in the area by traveling teams. It is Mike’s belief that two-thirds of all Hall of Famers either played, coached or managed in the Houston area.

Finally, as a complete surprise to most, Bill McCurdy serenaded our own Larry Miggins on his 87th birthday with an Irish ballad using baseball lyrics and encouraged all to sing along. At the same time Mike McCroskey entered the meeting room with the 1951 Houston Buffs Championship Trophy. Miggins had played on the team but had never seen the trophy. A touching moment for all. Thanks to Jo Russell for the trophy.

Please make your plans to attend our next meeting on Monday, October 8 at the Inn at the Ballpark starting at 7 PM. Houston Astros Broadcaster Bill Brown will be with us and will sign his brand-new book “My Baseball Journey”. In addition we will have a challenging trivia contest prepared by Paul Giesler and maybe some more surprises.

— Bob Dorrill