Larry Dierker Chapter meeting recap – 12/18/2017

On Monday, December 18, 2017, thirty-four Larry Dierker Chapter members and friends gathered for our monthly meeting at the Spaghetti Western in Houston. We had the sad duty to tell everyone that Judy Dierker, wife of our dear friend and chapter namesake, had passed away last week. Services will be at 1:00 PM, Friday, December 22 at Foundry United Methodist Church, 8350 Jones Road in Jersey Village.

We started off with new name badges for all members using the latest SABR logo. Thanks to Chris Chestnut for doing the honors.

Next came Todd Kalas, celebrating his first year of service as an Astros TV broadcaster and his one-month marriage. Todd has done a marvelous job in taking over from Bill Brown upon Bill’s retirement. We all rejoiced in the performance of the Astros and the World Series championship. Todd has lots of interesting stories about the season, player attitudes, and abilities, and rooting from the stands for his hometown team when he wasn’t working.

Our next guest was Caleb Ramsey, a local professional player with seven years of minor league experience, three at the Triple-A level. Caleb provided us details of his ongoing journey from high school, to the University of Houston and the Cape Cod League and then signing his first contract with the Washington Nationals. He also expressed, in his estimation, how playing the game is changing and his adjustments. Caleb is a free agent and looking forward to continuing his dream.

As a complete surprise, Ira Liebman asked to speak and presented everyone with a replica Atlantic League championship ring.

New Houstonian Fred Rodgers, formerly a member and chair of the San Diego SABR chapter, spoke about his relationship with Tony Gwynn, especially as Tony was breaking in with the Padres. Fred had some wonderful photos which he showed and provided copies to members.

Robert Beck’s trivia contest was won by Scott Barzilla.

The Astros’ FanFest is scheduled for Saturday, January 13 and twelve members signed up to help work the SABR booth. More details to come. 

We also discussed the current organization of our chapter and the serious need for more volunteers to take an active part in its operation. Several members said they would be happy to participate in a steering committee to evaluate what we are doing, what changes might be helpful and how we can attract and keep new members.

If you have any suggestions or ideas on how we can make the chapter better, please email them to me ASAP. Nothing is out of bounds from meeting dates, agendas, speakers, special projects or recruitment. Thanks very much.

Have a great Christmas and New Year. Next meeting is on January 15th at the Spaghetti Western. All are welcome.

— Bob Dorrill