Larry Dierker Chapter meeting recap – 2/19/2018

On Monday evening, February 19, 2018, SABR’s Larry Dierker Chapter had a full house at our monthly meeting at the Spaghetti Western restaurant, including one new member, Michael Lombard, and five prospective members.

Larry Dierker kicked off the session with his timely and thought-provoking comments on how to speed up the time of play. Since baseball officials won’t reduce the time of commercials and the players and owners can’t agree on reasonable alternatives, Larry suggests allowing the umpires to take over and dictate the pace. They know the game and circumstances on the field, so by calling a ball when the pitchers take too long between pitches or a strike when the batters use stalling tactics, everyone would get the message real quick. Why, he asks, should people who have never played the game be changing the rules? He also talked at length about the art of stealing signs. Another brilliant presentation by “The Wrangler.”

Scott Barzilla followed up with an extremely thoughtful analysis comparing the performance of first basemen using modern statistics. His data about players both in and out of the HOF give us as another yardstick to gauge the players contribution to their individual teams. One question he asked was, is Tony Perez a better player because of his teammates or was the team better because of Tony Perez? Same with Gil Hodges. Both have comparable numbers (Hodges was in the military for three years), but only one is in Cooperstown. Scott has a brand-new website; go to for more info.

Super fan Karen Wallace shared her passion for baseball and especially the Astros by showing us one of the many scrapbooks she has accumulated over the years. Neat stuff.

The trivia contest prepared by Robert Beck was successfully navigated by Scott Barzilla.

Several announcements:

If you have not already done so please renew your SABR membership for 2018:

SABR is considering changing its name to the “Society for the Advancement of Baseball Research,” replacing the word American with Advancement.

Maxwell Kates will be returning to Houston to speak to us on November 12th.

The Astros are televising games this week on both Friday and Saturday on MLB TV.

Anne Keene will be our special guest on March 19 to talk about her dad and his experience as the batboy for the ballclub at the Navel Training School in Chapel Hill, NC during WWII with such illustrious players as Ted Williams. Johnny Pesky and Johnny Sain.

And we may have another surprise too. More to come soon.

— Bob Dorrill