Larry Dierker Chapter meeting recap – 5/17/2021

This month’s Zoom meeting of the Larry Dierker (Houston) Chapter was held on Monday, May 17, 2021, hosted by Joe Thompson and attended by 57 SABR members.

Mike McCroskey reminded attendees that our next gathering would be at a Sugar Land Skeeters game on Monday, June 14. Tickets to see the new Houston Astros AAA team are $55 each and include a buffet dinner.  A quick survey found that a good number of members plan to attend.  Let Mike know and send him a check for the number of tickets you need for this annual opportunity to share a game together.

Joe Thompson informed us that the July meeting will likely be a hybrid of in-person and Zoom.  Those wishing to be physically present will meet at the Spaghetti Warehouse on Monday, July 19, while others will attend virtually. We are eager to gather together!

Our first presentation was by David Jerome, coming to us from the Missouri home of former Astros manager Bill Virdon and his wife Shirley. David, who is working on a biography of Bill, discussed the latter’s lengthy baseball career and described the high regard in which Bill is held by former players, managers,  general managers, and fans of the game. Larry Dierker and Tal Smith were happy to chime in with their very special memories of Bill. Shirley and Johnnie Smith contributed their reflections as well. Thanks to David, Bill, and Shirley for an engaging interview; we’ll all be looking forward to reading David’s book when it is published next year.

Chris Chestnut, our next speaker, presented a detailed statistical analysis he developed in an effort to determine if having a primary DH under age 24 led to a stronger offense.  Chris observed that while increased usage of a primary DH does improve offensive statistics, it may not be reliable in predicting future performance and/or longevity. Based on his data, Chris theorized that Houston Astro Yordan Alvarez may have a few good years left as a hitter, but is questionable for the long term.

Tony Cavender provided a Trivia Quiz with ten diverse questions which really had attendees thinking. Mike McCroskey won the challenge.

With a reminder of next month’s gathering at the Skeeters game, the meeting was adjourned.

— Marsha Franty