Larry Dierker Chapter meeting recap - 9/10/2018

SABR Larry Dierker Chapter meeting recap
September 10, 2018
Spaghetti Western restaurant, 7:00 pm

There were 18 members present for this month's Larry Dierker Chapter meeting on a rainy night in Houston.

Please take note of the next three months' meeting dates as they are different:

  • Monday, October 15, 7:00 p.m. at the Spaghetti Western on Shepard Drive
  • Monday, November 12, 7:00 p.m. at Spaghetti Western on Shepard Drive (Colt .45's panel)
  • Monday, December 3, 7:00 p.m. at Spaghetti Western on Shepard Drive (guest: Ben Reiter of Sports Illustrated, who made the famous 2014 prediction of the Astros World Series title)

Suggested book to read: The Cloudbuster Nine: The Untold Story of Ted Williams and the Baseball Team That Helped Win World War II, by SABR member Anne Keene

In 1943, while the New York Yankees and St. Louis Cardinals were winning pennants and meeting in that year's World Series, one of the nation's strongest baseball teams practiced on a skinned-out college field in the heart of North Carolina. Ted Williams, Johnny Pesky, and Johnny Sain were among a cadre of fighter-pilot cadets who wore the Cloudbuster Nine baseball jersey at an elite Navy training school at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. As a child, Anne Keene's father, Jim Raugh, suited up as the team batboy and mascot. He got to know his baseball heroes personally, watching players hit the road on cramped, tin-can buses, dazzling factory workers, kids, and service members at dozens of games, including a war-bond exhibition with Babe Ruth at Yankee Stadium. Jimmy followed his baseball dreams as a college All-American but was crushed later in life by a failed major-league bid with the Detroit Tigers. He would have carried this story to his grave had Anne not discovered his scrapbook from a Navy school that shaped America's greatest heroes including George H.W. Bush, Gerald Ford, John Glenn, and Paul "Bear" Bryant. With the help of rare images and insights from World War II baseball veterans such as Yankees legends Dr. Bobby Brown and Eddie Robinson, the story of this remarkable team is brought to life for the first time in The Cloudbuster Nine: The Untold Story of Ted Williams and the Baseball Team That Helped Win World War II.

Bob Joyce was our first guest speaker. He spoke about his memories of his father’s days in the Pacific Coast league. He had an adorable picture of himself as the San Francisco Seals batboy.

His father, Robert Emmet Joyce, was inducted into the Pacific Coast League Hall of Fame in 2016. He was a pitcher who played for the Los Angeles Angels (1936), Oakland Oaks (1938), San Francisco Seals (1941-45; 47-48), and Portland Beavers (1949). He was a 20-game winner in 1942-45 with 31 wins in 1945. Joyce compiled a 2.71 ERA in 344 innings. He was the first pitcher to win 31-plus games in 23 years. Joyce guided the Seals to three straight PCL titles. He pitched in 44 major-league games over 2 seasons, with the Philadelphia Athletics in 1939 and New York Giants in 1946.

Bob told us an interesting story he found about his dad in a Sports Illustrated article in the early 1980s. In 1944, in the opening game of the Pacific Coast League playoffs, in the second inning, the pitcher Bob Joyce hit a dribbler foul down the first-base line. As it was the custom then, only the pitcher and catcher took their gloves back to the dugout; the other players just threw them on the field where they were standing. As it happened, this foul ball hit one of those gloves and rolled fair inside the first-base bag, where the Oakland Oaks first baseman picked it up and stepped on the bag. Joyce was called out. Seals manager Lefty O’Doul protested the game, which Oakland won 6-5 in 13 innings. The next day, league president Clarence Rowland said the ball should have been declared dead and the game would be replayed. This time the Seals won 9-3 and went on to win the series 4-1. Fun fact to find out about your dad many years later.

Our next speaker was Chris Chestnut. Chris put together a map showing where all the SABR members in our chapter live. This was done to see if we could find a more central location to meet. Chis is also going to reach out to inactive members. We are currently staying at the current location, the Spaghetti Western, as it appears to be most central.

Joseph Thompson gave a nice presentation on his trip to Pittsburgh for the 2018 SABR convention. You could tell he had a really great time. Next year's convention location has not been announced yet.

Ira Liebman is making available to chapter members specially priced tickets to the Atlantic League championship series. Games 3, 4 and 5 will be played in Sugar Land on Sept. 21-23 and the championship itself, games 1-2 on Sept. 25-26 will also abe t Constellation Field. Contact Ira at iliebman@sugarlandskeeters.com

The meeting ended with a really fun trivia quiz.

— Karen Walker