The Larry Dierker Chapter in Houston welcomed spring with its monthly Zoom meeting on Monday, March 15, 2021, with 29 members in attendance.
Chair Bob Dorrill led off with several news items. Eddie Robinson recently celebrated his 100th birthday and is at spring training in Arizona. Monica White, widow of the late Tom White, a much respected member of our Chapter, offered Tom’s extensive collection of Baseball Registers to anyone interested in adding them to his library. As a follow-up to one of last month’s trivia questions, we learned that the White Sox trained in five different Texas cities “back in the day.” Tony Cavendar, the editor of our quarterly newsletter, noted that the deadline for the next issue is April 15.
Our first featured presenter was author David King, who spoke about his biography of Ross “Pep” Youngs, the least-known Hall of Famer. A native Texan, Youngs played major-league ball with the New York Giants from late 1917 through 1926. Sadly, an illness cut short both his playing career and his life. During his playing years, he was known for always being willing to hit anywhere in the lineup and was even compared favorably with Babe Ruth. Based on his strong statistics, he was a Veterans’ Committee nominee to the Hall of Fame in 1972.
The second speaker of the evening was Stephen Bratkovich, author of The Baseball Bat: From Trees to the Major Leagues, 19th Century to Today. A forester by training, Stephen presented an illustrated and informative review and analysis of the development of this important “tool of the trade.” His descriptions of the various types of wood, the way the wood is cut, and how all that contributes to the strength of the bat was very interesting.
Herb Whaley offered a Trivia Quiz with wide-ranging questions, the answers to which shared one common thread. John Lloyd won this very challenging quiz; identifying the common thread elicited several good guesses. (You can watch the YouTube recording of the meeting later to learn the answer!)
Joe Thompson reminded us of this month’s poll questions: one on who is the greatest MLB player of Irish descent and a second on predicting the number of Astros wins in the 2021 season. Members could participate via the Chat feature on Zoom or via the Chapter’s Facebook post.
To conclude this meeting, Bob Dorrill announced that the next meeting, scheduled for Monday, April 19, will feature author Brian Frank discussing the Buffalo Bisons and how their stadium was adapted for major league play, longtime Texas Rangers reporter T.R. Sullivan, and Chris Chestnut on the impact of Yonder Alvarez on the Houston Astros.
— Submitted by Marsha Franty