Larry Dierker Chapter meeting recap – 11/8/2011

Last night’s Larry Dierker Chapter meeting (November 8, 2011) was a busy one for the 23 SABR members attending. We remembered former member Dick Rejmaniak, who passed away last week, and were pleased to welcome three new members to our chapter: Stan Curtis, John Farneti and Bob Watson.

The highlight of the evening was the 90-minute presentation made by former MLB player and executive Bob Watson. Bob discussed the many hats he has worn throughout his career, starting as a young catcher in inner-city Los Angeles to his 19-year playing career with four major league clubs and then moving on as a highly successful General Manager for both the Houston Astros and New York Yankees, which finally led to him being named as an Executive VP for MLB. But, Bob said, after considering all of his accomplishments — including a World Series win and scoring the 1,000,000th run in MLB history — his biggest thrill was being named Chairman of the U.S. Olympic Baseball Team and watching the players, manager and coaches he selected win a Gold Medal for their country.

Mr. Watson was very candid in responding to many questions covering a variety of subjects, including player and umpire discipline, player unions, instant replay, former Yankees and Astros ownership, and the strike zone. He also provided some batting tips that helped him be successful and his teaching approach to some of the players he had worked with.

Next, the group took a straw vote on the 10 individuals nominated from the “Golden Age” for Hall of Fame consideration. Since Mr. Watson is one of the 16 individuals participating in the actual vote, he recused himself and did not hear the final tally. We will publish the results next month.

We were fortunate to have two highly challanging trivia contests: one developed by Tim Gregg based on last month’s guest, Wally Moon, which was won by Tom Kleinworth; and another intriguing quiz prepared by Mike Vance asking for all-time RBI leaders by surname. This one was won by Mike McCroskey.

Other announcements:

  • The Houston Babies completed an undefeated season for 2011 by winning a doubleheader on October 22 at the George Ranch.
  • On Saturday, November 12, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., the Houston Arts & Media and Story Sloane’s Gallery will present a Houston History Book Fair at the Historic Heights Church of Christ, Heights Blvd and 16th Street. Admission is free.
  • We are trying to place tables at the January Houston Baseball Dinner and the Astros Fan Fest to further promote SABR and our chapter.
  • Our next meeting is scheduled for December 13 at the Ragin Cajun Restaurant starting at 7 p.m.

— Bob Dorrill

Related link: Read a recap of the meeting from Fox Sports Houston’s Greg Lucas