Just in time for the holidays, twenty-six (26) members gathered in person and via Zoom for a Larry Dierker Chapter meeting on December 19, 2022, at the Spaghetti Western restaurant in Houston.
President Joe Thompson opened the meeting with Happy Holidays wishes for all and a special welcome to all the guests and first-meeting chapter members in attendance: Tony Adams, Koby Farries, Keith Letourneaux, and Paula Swain.
Joe reminded the group that all who had not done so to check their personal information on SABR’s website and to renew their membership.
SABR and chapter events were next on the agenda. The Rogers Hornsby annual winter meeting at Texas State University in San Marcos is currently scheduled for Saturday, January 7. This will be the first face to face annual meeting in the last few years.
The next Houston chapter online offseason chat will be held on January 14 starting at 11 am central. That will be an online only event. The next chapter meeting featuring special guest Alyson Footer is scheduled for 7 pm, Monday, January 16, 2023. Members and guests can attend Monday’s meeting either in-person at the Spaghetti Western or remotely via Zoom.
Details about SABR Day on February 4, 2023 will be announced after the new year. Finally, plans for a possible booth setup at Astros FanFest on January 21 and/or the Savannah Bananas events at Constellation Field from March 16-18 was also discussed.
The group then discussed the MLB and Astros offseason. The consensus around the room seemed to be surprise at the amount of money thrown around by MLB owners in offseason acquisitions. Many felt that the Astros probably did not need to make any more moves.
Joe then made a few book suggestions for those looking for last minute holiday books including chapter member Bill Brown’s first ever baseball fiction novel Swinging for Glory.
Article submissions for the next chapter newsletter will be due in February and the newest editions is scheduled to be published in either February or March 2023. The recent 2022 winter edition of the newsletter is available and can be found on the chapter website sabrhouston.org or at the following web address (https://sabr.app.box.com/v/la
The chapter meeting then moved to that evening’s speakers. Tony Adams was the first speaker of the evening. Tony, an Astros fan, is a Houston-based graphic designer and web developer who spent more than sixty hours writing an application to analyze video and audio home game footage and logging the details of the 2017 Houston Astros’ sign-stealing operation. The results are available at https://signstealingscandal.co
Adams explained to the group that the cans were only banged for breaking balls. He mentioned that in his analysis, the bangs were frequently wrong! He mentioned that players who were banged for the most were George Springer and Marwin Gonzalez. Those banged the least were Tony Kemp, Josh Reddick, and Jose Altuve. Adams logged 8,274 pitches and there were only 1,142 bangs. He mentioned that he did not include postseason games because it was too loud to hear the bangs and he felt that any data that he logged would be inconclusive evidence. Adams feels like the media egged the scandal on and Adams went on to express his frustration at those who continue to paint Altuve as the poster child for the cheaters when in fact he wasn’t. In his mind, this should not affect Altuve’s future Hall of Fame consideration.
David Vaught, a professor of History at Texas A&M, was the second speaker of the evening. He spoke on the book he wrote about HOF pitcher Gaylord Perry called Spitter: Baseball’s Notorious Gaylord Perry. He said his book was a labor of love. Vaught opened his presentation by reading an excerpt from the book. Vaught demonstrated for the group how Perry gripped the ball on his infamous pitch and how he threw it. Vaught mentioned that this would decrease the spin and as well as the gravity until it would drop at the plate. Vaught noted that the great hitter Rod Carew was the one player who could hit Perry’s spit balls.
A trivia quiz focused on Astros and MLB no-hitters was offered by Mike McCroskey and Tal Smith with new member Koby Farries winning the contest with twenty-five (25) out of a possible forty-five (45) correct answers. Koby won a copy of Bill Browns new baseball fiction novel Swinging for Glory!
The meeting was adjourned with Happy Holidays wishes for all and a reminder of the Rogers Hornsby annual winter meeting in San Marcos of January 7, the next Houston chapter online offseason chat on January 14 starting at 11 am central, and the next chapter meeting on January 16, 2023 featuring special guest Alyson Footer.
Gloria Rubac and Joe Thompson