Larry Dierker Chapter meeting recap – 4/17/2023

Our April 2023 Larry Dierker Chapter meeting was held on Monday, April 17 at the Spaghetti Western Italian Restaurant at 1608 Shepherd Drive in Houston.  There was a Zoom option for those wishing to attend remotely.  

The April 17, 2023, chapter meeting video can be found on the chapter’s YouTube page here:

Twenty-five (25) chapter members and guests gathered in person and via Zoom for the April chapter meeting.  President Joe Thompson opened the meeting and asked the group if they were worried about the Astros start to the season.  Most of the crowd was not too worried especially after he shared that according to Brian McTaggart, the Astros had opened the season 7-9 for the fourth straight season.  

The chapter received 38 entries for the annual Larry Dierker Chapter Astros Win Contest for the 2023 season.  The chapter asked all members to guess how many games the Astros would win, how many homers Yordan Alvarez would hit, and how many bases Kyle Tucker would steal for the 2023 season.  

The averages for all entries were: 

Astros wins: 96 games
Yordan Alvarez HRs: 39
Kyle Tucker SBs: 33
The full list of entries would be published in the chapter’s upcoming Spring 2023 newsletter slated for publication the first week of May (space permitting).
There will not be a regular chapter meeting in May because the chapter will hold an event at Constellation Field on May 13. That night the Sugar Land Space Cowboys will be playing the El Paso Chihuahuas, the Triple AAA affiliate of the San Diego Padres, and giving away Jeremy Pena Astros orange jerseys.  For those who would like to join the chapter at the game, checks needed to be sent as soon as possible to Mike McCroskey’s address.  The total cost to attend the event is $58.  The Space Cowboys have set aside two private suites that hold about twenty-five people each on the third base side for our chapter.  We will hold our pre-game meeting in one of the Space Cowboys conference rooms.  The chapter thanks Mike McCroskey for putting this event together.  

Our next in-person chapter meeting will be held on Monday, June 12.  The speaker will be Bailey Hall.  Bailey will offer a presentation on the history of statistics in baseball, and how much technology has changed how the game is watched and analyzed.

Justin Mckinney, a baseball researcher and archivist who lives in Calgary, Alberta, Canada was the guest speaker of the evening. He is the author of Baseball’s Union Association: The Short, Strange Life of a 19th Century Major League which was recently awarded the 2023 SABR Baseball Research Award. He has written articles on 19th-century and early 20th-century baseball for the SABR Research Journal, Base Ball: Journal of the Early Game, and the SABR Biography Project.

Justin joined us via Zoom and presented his talk with a PowerPoint presentation.  In 1883, a third major league was hurriedly put together as a rival to the two leagues in existence. The Union Association upset the heads of the baseball world and disrupted the status quo. The Union Association was backed by Henry V. Lucas, an impetuous 26-year-old millionaire from St. Louis. The UA existed for only one chaotic season in 1884. McKinney’s book is the first full-length history of the Union Association and tells the captivating story of the league’s brief and enigmatic existence. It’s interesting that the salaries were lower than the other two leagues—the National League and the American Association. Lucas recruited a wild mix of disgruntled stars, misfits, crooks, has-beens, drunks, and the occasional spectator–along with a future star or two. The result was a bizarre experiment that sowed both turmoil and hope before fading into oblivion. Teams were in Altoona, Baltimore, Chicago, Boston, Cincinnati, and other cities. St Louis had the best team. The legacy of this is that this was Kansas City’s first team, St. Louis was the first pennant winner, and McKinney reported that this was the first step in a fight for player freedom. The book is 277 pages and was published in November 2022.
Vince Trovato gave a trivia contest on the history of baseball and the movies.  It was a great contest.  Patrick Petty triumphed overall and won a 2023 Astros Gold Collection Collector Pin.  

As a reminder, there will not be a regular chapter meeting in May because the chapter will hold an event at Constellation Field on May 13.  I hope to see a lot of you there.  Don’t forget that our next in-person chapter meeting will be held on Monday, June 12.  The speaker will be Bailey Hall.

— Joseph Thompson