Larry Dierker Chapter meeting recap – 3/18/2024

On Monday, March 18, 2024, at the Spaghetti Western Italian Restaurant, thirty-nine members and guests of the Larry Dierker Chapter in Houston met in-person or via Zoom for the February Larry Dierker SABR chapter meeting. 

For those who were not able to attend our March 18 chapter meeting, a recording can be found on the chapter’s YouTube page here:

President Emeritus Bob Dorrill chaired the meeting as chapter President Joe Thompson watched on Zoom. Joe had just returned from a learning abroad trip to Athens, Greece the day before. Bob welcomed the new members and guests in attendance. 

Bob announced that Shirley Virdon, the wife of Bill Virdon, former Astros manager, had passed away. She was 98 years old.

Bob then announced that the chapter had won a grant from the SABR Local Grants Program that funds chapters, research committees, and communities of interest for projects that concentrate on one or more of SABR’s four pillars: Research, Preservation, Scholarship, and the Future of the Game. In total, $10,000 in SABR Local Grants were awarded in 2024. Our chapter received money for a Texas Historical Marker for Colt Stadium, to purchase and place a historic marker next to NRG Center, the site of right field at Colt Stadium.

Astros Win Contest for 2024 season—We’ve had a contest for the last ten years. Herb said that we need to get our entries in by 3:10 PM on March 28. Submit a number of wins, Tucker’s Home Runs, and Altuve’s hits. This is for the regular season, not post-season. Send it to turn in tonight.

Our chapter will have a fantasy baseball contest through the ESPN app. Patrick Petty will be (  will be running the league as commissioner.

The chapter usually attends one to two games in Sugar Land over the summer.  At the end of this summer, the chapter will have an outing on Saturday, August 31 in Corpus Christi for a Hooks vs. Tulsa Drillers game.  The cost for a game ticket in the air-conditioned CITGO Cotton Club at Whataburger Field and a meal will be $68.  Chapter President Joe Thompson is trying to have a few members of the Hooks talk with the group that Saturday before the game.  All those interested should contact Joe (  An initial head count will be done and $20 deposits for the trip will need to be collected by Tax Day, April 15. 

The first speaker of the evening was Matthew Rejmaniak.  Matt made an excellent presentation on Roy Taylor and the Houston Race Riot of 1917. Roy was born in 1899 and died in 1984. He played in the Negro Leagues for decades. Matt explained how Roy was a soldier in the all-Negro Army unit that was sent to Houston to protect the construction of Camp Logan which was built in what is now Memorial Park. This was 1917 and segregation was in full force. A white cop has either arrested a Black soldier or killed a Black soldier so Black soldiers organized a march on the police station. A riot ensued which resulted in 157 Blacks being convicted, some were hanged immediately, others were given a death sentence, and some got life in prison. Roy Taylor got life and was sent to the federal prison in Leavenworth. He began playing on the sports teams at the prison and their baseball team played other teams, including the Kansas City Monarchs. He batted .627 in 1924 and caught the attention of many, including Rube Foster, the founder of the Negro National Leagues.  Taylor was paroled to Foster and that began his career in the Negro Leagues. In November, a few months ago, all those convicted in the race riot were granted honorable discharges and in February, this year, got new headstones at the cemetery at Fort Dix. It took 106 years for Roy Taylor to get justice!

Charlie Hustle, The Rise and Fall of Pete Rose and the Last Glory Days of Baseball by Keith O’Brien is a new book being released in a few days. Hall of Fame broadcaster and our member Bill Brown gave a report on the book and his friendship with Pete Rose while both were with the Cincinnati Reds. Bill showed the trailer for the book and explained that when a book has a trailer, it is going to be good. The author will be at Willow Bookstore in Houston on Tuesday, April 9 and at some point, may speak to our chapter. The book is divided into four parts: Part 1–Rise; Part 2–Shine; Part 3–Fame, and Part 4–Fall. Brown thinks there may be a way for Rose to get something in Cooperstown—maybe a plaque. Brown said that he felt that the book was very good and lays out a balanced argument so the reader can make their determination about Rose being in HOF.

Chapter member Mike McCroskey gave a brief review on “The Saints of Second Chances” —a film on Netflix. About Mike Veeck, how he worked for his dad, Bill Veeck. They had Disco Demolition Night and huge numbers showed up. Those with a disco record got in free. Over 100,00 showed up, huge traffic jam. Then there was a riot. Cops were called. So, he could never get back into baseball. Then he got a second chance and he got to promote the St. Paul Saints, an independent team. He started selling the games out. It is too long to show at our meeting.

Phil Bourdeaux gave the trivia contest for the month. Tony Cavender, Kevin Garrett, and Fred Soland tied the contest with eleven correct answers.  Tony Cavender will write the contest next month. 

The next chapter meeting will be held on Monday, April 22.  The speaker for next month will be Mike Vance who will speak with us about what he has been working on recently and his new baseball fiction book. 

Don’t miss next month’s meeting!

Chapter Notes Provided by Chapter Secretary Gloria Rubac