Larry Dierker Chapter meeting recap – 8/19/2019

On Monday, August 19, 2019, over forty members of the Larry Dierker Chapter met for their monthly get-together. We were happy to have our chapter’s namesake join us once again and delighted to meet in a conference room at Minute Maid Park prior to attending the Astros game against the Detroit Tigers.

Our meeting featured speaker Mike Acosta, the Manager of Memorabilia for the Houston Astros. Mike gave an overview of the history of efforts that began six years ago to realize both an Astros Museum and a Houston Astros Hall of Fame. Much research on what other teams have done in this area was required. The grand vision for these two entities, while well underway, is still developing. Owner Jim Crane and President Reid Ryan are fully supportive of both projects. While the Museum is yet to have its own facility, much progress has been made in acquiring, organizing, and preserving memorabilia (such as Dizzy Dean’s cleats!) and in digitizing decades of films. Occasional “History Tours” showcase a few select items for fans to see.

Mike also reviewed the birth of the Houston Astros Hall of Fame, which held its inaugural Induction Ceremony earlier this month. A diverse committee of former players, baseball executives, and supporters developed the criteria for inclusion; they will meet again this fall to select the 2020 inductees. Mike provided interesting details about many of the specifics that were involved once the first class of honorees was named. These included the design and manufacture of both the orange jackets and the plaques (the latter being produced by the same firm that provides the plaques for Cooperstown), travel and hotel accommodations, a logo designed by the Astros marketing team, and the ceremony itself. Great thought was put into the personalization of each plaque to make it particularly meaningful for each inductee. Our chapter namesake, Larry Dierker, and member Jimmy Wynn were among the first inductees and several chapter members, including Bill Brown, Bob Dorrill, and Mike Vance served on the Committee and participated in the Induction Ceremony. The commitment and efforts of Astros ownership, management, and loyal fans will assure that the history of baseball in Houston will be preserved for future generations.

In addition to those responsibilities, Mike is also in charge of collecting and securing important (think “milestone achievement”) items from both the Astros and visiting teams. He noted that secure markings are used when a special occasion is anticipated; MLB authentications are overseen by local off-duty law enforcement officers. Some items are offered for sale, some kept for the Museum collections, some offered to the players.

In wearing so many hats, Mike Acosta is a very valuable member of the Astros team. Our Chapter members are most appreciative of the time he spent with us!

In closing the meeting, Bob Dorrill suggested that we send cards to fellow member, former player, and Astros Hall of Famer Jimmy “The Toy Cannon” Wynn. His health is quite compromised and he no longer gets out very much. Bob then distributed the evening’s promotion, a replica ring from the 2005 National League Championship, and members proceeded to the game.

Our next meeting will be on Monday, September 16, at 7:00 p.m. at the Spaghetti Western restaurant on Shepard Drive.

— Marsha Franty