Larry Dierker Chapter meeting recap – 2/21/2022

SABR’s Larry Dierker Chapter held a hybrid meeting on Monday, February 21, 2022, with a total of 31 members in attendance.

Click here to watch a replay of this meeting on YouTube:

The leadoff speaker, Mike Capps, was introduced by Bill Brown, former Houston Astros broadcaster. After a career in news journalism, Mike has served for several years as the voice of the Round Rock Express. He related many interesting, and often amusing, stories from his years of access to players and other baseball personnel. His book, Grinders, focuses on the players who “drive the baseball business.” It is due to be released in mid-summer, near the All-Star Game, and is bound to be a “must-read” for fans of the game. Mike credited Larry Dierker and Tal Smith for their support of his efforts to cover this aspect of baseball.

Batting second was Chris Chestnut with his data analysis of the impact of baseball’s biggest contracts. Focusing on the past five years and minimum contracts of $90 million, Chris collected data on 104 contracts. He detailed his methodology in comparing player performance, age, position, cost per performance, etc., and the results for each team. Based on the evidence from his data, he estimated that Carlos Correa might command a contract of over $45 million. One wonders if Scott Boras has arrived at a similar conclusion!

Next up was Dan Walsh from the Rogers Hornsby Chapter in Austin, Texas, who spoke on baseball history portrayed on postage stamps. He showed stamps from both North and South America, Asia, and Europe; the earliest date from the 1930s. This was a very informative review of the importance of baseball in many countries.

Mike McCroskey reported on his efforts to schedule a Vintage Baseball event in the Houston area sometime this spring.

Mike’s next contribution was this month’s trivia quiz. With the meeting falling on President’s Day, his questions focused on players who shared the last name of a United States President. Herb Whalley emerged as the winning participant.

Our next meeting will be on Monday, March 21 at the Spaghetti Western on Shepherd Drive in Houston. There will also be a Zoom option for those wishing to join remotely.

We will have a few speakers talking about breaking the color line in baseball. Our featured speaker will be Gaspar Gonzalez, writer, and producer of “A Long Way from Home: The Untold Story of Baseball’s Desegregation.” The film tells the story of breaking baseball’s color line as experienced by the players themselves. The story features many Houston connections including Jimmy Wynn, Enos Cabell, JR Richard, and Deacon Jones! There may also be a special guest from the film at the meeting! We will watch the film during the meeting. People looking to watch the film before the meeting may watch it here: The film is also available on Amazon Prime Video and iTunes.

Vinnie Vrotny, Director of Technology, at the Kinkaid School in Houston, will also spend some time speaking on a project his students were working on that evaluated some of the Negro League stars.

— Marsha Franty