Thirty-two Larry Dierker Chapter members and visitors got together on Monday, December 18, 2023, at the Spaghetti Western Italian Restaurant in Houston and via Zoom for a pre-holiday SABR meeting. The night was filled with lively conversation about the Astros offseason, upcoming chapter events, a Hall of Fame vote, and a great presentation from Greg Lucas. Chapter members also spent time talking about the tragic loss of long-time chapter member Larry Miggins who passed away on December 12 at the age of 97.
Larry Miggins lived a storied life. Jason Bristol, a member of our chapter and a local sports reporter for KHOU 11 in Houston did a story on Larry in 2022. Click here to watch a story that chapter member Jason Bristol of KHOU 11 did on Larry last year. Larry was the oldest professional baseball player alive at the time of interview. He played against Jackie Robinson and was longtime friends with the great Vin Scully (who called his first-ever professional home run.) Larry’s favorite player was Mark McGwire. Larry suffered a knee injury in 1949 and did not feel that he played the same after this injury. He played for the St Louis Cardinals in 1952 and retired in 1954. After his playing career, he was a probation officer for the federal court system in Houston. A line from his obituary says it all: “Upon learning of his passing, many people have called Larry ‘Larger than Life.’ His neighbor, sculptor David Adickes, made this phrase literal when he prevailed upon Larry in 1990 to pose for the monumental statue of Sam Houston on I-45 in Huntsville.” Larry attended our chapter meetings regularly long before many of us joined the chapter. He would often delight the crowd with his many stories. Tributes to Larry on Monday night were given by Tony Cavender, Mike McCroskey, and Bob Dorrill. You will be missed, Larry.
Chapter president Joe Thompson made a few announcements before the first speaker. He talked about SABR’s new policy on membership prices and reminded everyone to renew their membership before the end of the year. He spoke of a few chapter events that are being planned for 2024. He talked about Astros Fest on January 20, 2024. The chapter is asking for volunteers to help staff the SABR booth during the event. All who would like to help the chapter during Astros FanFest should contact Bob Dorrill. Also, the chapter will hold a SABR Day event on February 3, 2024, and also a possible chapter trip to a Corpus Christi Hooks game next summer.
Announcer Greg Lucas was the key speaker of the evening. He spoke about the three books he wrote, Astros Legends; Baseball: Its More than a Game; and Houston to Cooperstown. His updated version of Astros Legends will be available in April 2024. Greg talked about announcing for the Rockets, Rangers, and Astros during his talk to the group and he gave his three books away to the first person who answered a question.
The chapter also had a mock Hall of Fame vote. Chapter Vice-President Herb Whalley passed out ballots for members to all in attendance to fill out. Former Astros closer Billy Wagner received 82% of the chapter’s votes and was the only candidate who reached the 75% requirement for admission to the Hall (according to the chapter). The chapter’s votes will be compared to the actual ballots cast at the February 2024 chapter meeting.
Chapter president Joe Thompson presented that night’s trivia contest. The theme of the contest was Elvis, Memphis, and baseball. Fred Soland was the winner and will present the trivia contest in January!
The chapter would like to thank all those who presented to the chapter in 2023! Happy Holidays to all and we hope to see all of you at chapter meetings and events in 2024!
Recap prepared by Phyllis Mira and Joe Thompson.