Larry Dierker Chapter meeting recap – 4/15/2019

Thirty-two members and friends attended the SABR Larry Dierker Chapter meeting on Monday, April 15, 2019 at the Spaghetti Western on Shepard Drive in Houston.

Bob Dorrill recognized Chip Matthews, who is a longtime member but has been out the last three years with medical problems. He also recognized Mike McCrosky as our newest member; he finally joined! Heartfelt get-well wishes went out to Bill McCurdy and Jimmy Wynn, too.

Future meetings were discussed:

– May 13 for Sugar Land Skeeters game

– June 15 (Saturday), 11 a.m. brunch with special guest at Spaghetti Western

– August 19, Minute Maid Park before Astros game

– September (TBA), Skeeters game after new rules invoked (however the moving of the mound has been postponed)

Bob reviewed the Houston Astros Win Contest 2019. Below are the predictions:

  • 111: Peggy Dorrill      
  • 109: Bill McCurdy      
  • 105: Bob Stevens, Sam Quintero, Jim Currie      
  • 106: Tom White
  • 104: Phyllis Mira, Gloria Rubec    
  • 103: Betty Holland, Greg Moore, Gary Schulte, Ken Sanders
  • 102: Mike Vance, Bob Dorrill, Mike McCroskey, Karen Walker, Janeen Schneider      
  • 101: Joe Thompson, Kevin Rosell, Mark Wernick, Lucha Rodriguez    
  • 100: Phil Holland, Greg Lucas, Mark Hudec, Scott McCay, Wayne Roberts      
  • 99: Vinny Vronty, Grant Sovereign, Jim Kreuz, Lou DeScioli, Greg Schuelke    
  • 98: Carl Ingrum, Josh Sullivan, Herb Whalley, Marsha Franty, Paul Rizzotto      
  • 97: Tal Smith, Fred Soland       
  • 96: Matt Rejmaniak        
  • 95: Charlie Walker, Fred Rodgers, Harold Jones, Robert Beck  
  • 94: Larry Dierker, Chris Chestnut, Wesley Story        
  • 93: Chris Roblin, Roland Bassett        
  • 92: Tom Plemons, Maxwell Kates, Ken Lilley      
  • 91: Bill Brown    
  • 90: Bob McCann      
  • 89: Dick Bily        
  • 88: Tony Cavender      

Dick Bily shared his relationship with Ted Williams. He was referred to as Ted’s caddy since he took him around to where ever he needed to go. It all started in 1988 when Dick moved to Florida. The next weekend the Ted Williams Museum opened and Dick volunteered to work. Ted arrived at the museum and looked around and asked if anyone there could talk baseball. That was Dick’s opening. Dick told us about a time he was at Ted’s house in his garage and there were 900 signed bats and boxes of signed balls. Ted did all these signings trying to help his son’s business. On an aside Dick told us about a time he got a ball signed by Carl Yastrzemski. It was February and Carl signed it Merry Christmas. Dick also shared a time he got to spend 30 minutes talking to Steve Carlton.

Fred Rodgers was up next. Fred mentioned he would be attending the SABR 49 national convention in San Diego in June. He is trying to put together a special panel on Tony Gwynn’s life.

Fred went on to tell us about the special relationship he had with Detroit Tiger pitcher Bill Slayback. Slayback appeared in 42 games, 17 as a starter for Detroit Tigers. His first game against the Yankees Bill went 7 2/3 no hit innings. He had no idea he had a no hitter going, he just thought all the major leaguers were rude because no one would talk to him. The movie “For Love of the Game” with Kevin Costner was roughly based on this start. Bill had a degree in Art, made furniture, wrote music. Fred even played some of the music that Slayback composed for us. Bill Slayback and Ernie Harwell co-authored one of the Hall of Fames top 10 baseball songs, “Move Over Babe, Henry is Coming”. Fred also shared and amazing sketch of Jim Leyland that Bill had drawn. You can read Greg Erion’s SABR bio of Slayback here:

Next was Greg Lucas. He introduced his “Astros Legends” book with 103 pivotal moments by players and personalities from the team. These moments are “ranked” starting with #1: the Astros win the 2017 World Series; #10 was Craig Biggio’s 3,000th hit and #34 was Justin Verlander’s trade to the Astros at the last minute. The book is available on Amazon or from Greg himself. I can’t wait to relive all those memories and more.

The meeting ended with Tom White’s trivia contest of former baseball players that died in 2018 which was won by Fred Rodgers.

— Karen Walker