Larry Dierker Chapter meeting recap – 3/21/2022

SABR’s Larry Dierker Chapter gathered again for its monthly meeting on Monday, March 21, 2022, continuing in its hybrid format.  A total of 30 SABR members enjoyed a very interesting program.

After greeting everyone and opening the meeting, President Joe Thompson announced that win total predictions for both the Astros and the Space Cowboys seasons are due to Herb Whalley by April 5. Tony Cavender advised that articles for the next edition of the newsletter are due by April 15.  That issue will be published in late April.

Mike McCroskey continues his effort to produce a Vintage Baseball event for this spring. He announced also that he has made arrangements for us to hold our April meeting at the Sugar Land Space Cowboys game on Saturday, April 16. A ticket ($55) will include admission to club seating, dinner and dessert, and presentations by representatives of the Houston Astros’ new AAA team.

The evening’s program led off with a screening of the documentary A Long Way from Home: the Untold Story of Baseball’s Desegregation. For those wanting to watch the film, please click here.  The film is also available on Amazon Prime Video and iTunes for purchase or rental. After an introduction by its producer, Gaspar Gonzalez, the film introduced several well-known players from the 1950s, ’60s, and early ’70s who recounted memories of their experiences as the major and minor leagues moved slowly through desegregation. Among the players featured were Deacon Jones, Orlando Cepeda, Tony Perez, Hank Aaron, and former Astros Enos Cabell, J.R. Richard, and Jimmy Wynn. Additional personal anecdotes were offered by our friend Deacon Jones, who was in attendance to add his recollections.

The second presentation of the evening was a report from Vinnie Vrotny, who reported on the Interim Course he had designed for his students at the Kinkaid School. Entitled “Making Sense of Stories and Numbers: Negro League Analytics,” his project gave 10 students the opportunity to research and analyze the data of some of the players from the Negro Leagues whose records and statistics might qualify them for the Baseball Hall of Fame. Vinnie’s presentation demonstrated what the students had learned as they applied sabermetrics to the available information for those players in order to compare them with players already admitted to the Hall of Fame. This was such an impressive and productive learning opportunity; let’s hope it can be expanded and/or shared with other teachers and students.

Because of threatening weather, the trivia quiz was postponed. President Thompson reminded everyone to submit their season predictions and to order their tickets for the April meeting.

— Marsha Franty