Larry Dierker Chapter meeting recap – 10/16/2022

On Monday, October 16, 2022, twenty-one members of the Larry Dierker Chapter gathered together in person at the Spaghetti Western Italian Restaurant on Shepherd Drive in Houston and via Zoom to attend the monthly chapter meeting. 

President Joe Thompson welcomed all in attendance including two guests, Troy from Tulsa, Oklahoma and Dave from Kingwood, TX. 

Joe started the meeting by talking about the Astros playoff run.  He noted that the Astros were now the all-time American League record holders for consecutive American League Championship appearances (six years in a row).  He then led the group in a discussion about the Astros sweep of the Mariners in the American League Division Series. 

Joe recapped the last chapter meeting held on September 19.  The meeting featured Houston SABR chapter member and portable Houston baseball history owner and operator Chris Rawls.  The meeting also featured a recap of the SABR national convention in Baltimore held in August.  For those who were not able to attend the meeting, a video of the meeting can be found here:
Joe continued be talking about the chapter’s first online “Meet the Newest Chapter Members” event held via Zoom on October 8.  The meeting went well. A video of the event, and a recording of all other chapter meetings dating back to 2020, can be found on the chapter’s YouTube page here:  Joe mentioned the meeting went well and that another chapter online event would be held on Saturday, November 12 starting at 11am Central Time. Details for the November 12 event will be emailed out soon. 

Anthony Cavender, chapter newsletter editor-in-chief, announced that all newsletter contributions for the Winter 2022 edition would be due by the end of the week.  The newsletter should be made available around Halloween. 

The special guest of the evening was Dan Taylor, a former award-winning television sportscaster and current television broadcaster for the Fresno Grizzlies.  Dan is the author of Walking Alone: The Untold Journey of Football Pioneer Kenny Washington.  Dan’s talk focused on the baseball career of Washington.  His talk was titled “The Almost Jackie.”  It was the story of the baseball part of Washington’s life – the three-times he was at the center of efforts to integrate the game, how Jackie Robinson tried to persuade Branch Rickey to also sign Washington, his brief post-football stint with the New York Giants and PCL’s Angels.  A few of the interesting stories Dan talked about were Kenny’s decision not to sign with the Brooklyn Dodgers for the 1946 season because he had made a commitment to play football with the new Los Angeles Rams of the NFL and that Kenny did not play baseball with Jackie Robinson at UCLA in 1940.  Dan’s presentation was very engaging and informative and included video of Kenny Washington’s playing days and conversations with Groucho Marx!

After Dan’s presentation, chapter member Chris Chestnut played a video featuring a comical story about Bob Feller.  The story was told by MLB network talking head Sean Casey.

The final event of the evening was a trivia contest given by September’s trivia contest winner Chris Chestnut.  The questions turned out to be extremely difficult for most of the chapter members except for the winner of the contest, one of the newest chapter members, Patrick Petty.  Patrick won a copy of Dan Taylor’s book about Kenny Washington and the job of presenting the trivia contest in November!   

Joe closed the evening by reminding everyone about the upcoming November chapter meeting.  He told everyone to invite as many guests as possible.  The November meeting will be held in person and via Zoom on Monday, November 21, 2022 starting at 7 pm Central Time.  The special guest of the evening will be Astros legend and Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame member Terry Puhl.  John Racanelli, co-chair of SABR’s Baseball Landmarks Research Committee, will also make a presentation on how Houston chapter members can engage and participate with one of SABR’s most exciting projects, the SABR Baseball Map.  All those interested in checking out the map before next month’s meeting should click here:  The November 21 chapter meeting will be a great meeting. Do not miss it, even if you need to attend the meeting via Zoom.  I will be there with a baseball for one of my Astros heroes to sign.  I hope you can join me!

— Joe Thompson