Houston Babies vintage baseball team embodies SABR members’ scholarship

From John Nova Lomax at the Houston Press on May 16, 2012, with mention of SABR members Larry Joe Miggins, Bob Dorrill, Bill McCurdy, Mike McCroskey, Mike Vance, Phil Holland and Bill Hale:

While the national Vintage Base Ball Association was formed in Columbus, Ohio, in 1996, and there are now at least 100 clubs playing nationwide, nobody is sure exactly when the old game returned to Texas. Kristy “Horseshoe” Watson, player-manager of the Boerne White Sox, says that there were early teams in Buffalo Gap, Abilene and scattered through the Dallas suburbs.


Babies Field Manager Bob Dorrill says that the team has been in existence for five years. Dorrill is also the chair of Houston’s Larry Dierker Chapter of the Society for American Baseball Research, and he says that the Babies came into being after a fellow SABR member started a team at Lone Star College in Tomball. About six SABR members went to the first game and liked it, Dorrill remembers, so they started recruiting more players, and soon enough the Babies were born.


In a way, the Houston Babies are the living embodiment of the ongoing scholarship of Mike Vance and Bill McCurdy.

With McCurdy as top editor and Vance as the number two, and under the auspices of Houston’s SABR chapter, Vance and McCurdy are tracing the history of Houston baseball from its first mention in 1861 to the advent of big-league ball 101 years later. What’s more, they are doing so with a rigor and humor never before applied to the subject, and though Vance says they are not sure what form all those studies will finally take, a book seems likely. There’s some old-school star power attached. They hope to get dean of Houston sportswriters Mickey Herskowitz to pen the preface and a chapter on the last years of the Houston Buffs, and Astros great Jimmy “the Toy Cannon” Wynn is a fan of both their efforts and those of the Babies.

McCurdy, a retired psychiatrist in his 70s, announces the Babies games and serves as the team’s “general manager.” He is also their chronicler — his enthusiastic, slangy game accounts vie for space on his Pecan Park Eagle blog with his historical findings and ruminations on the game he loves. (McCurdy’s way with words is apparent at our first meeting, at a Katy Freeway IHOP. He characterized volatile 1970s Astros pitcher Don Wilson as “always a mere flicker of discomfort away from psychosis.”)

Read the full article here: http://www.houstonpress.com/2012-05-17/news/vintage-baseball-houston-babies

Related link: Learn more about SABR’s Houston/Larry Dierker Chapter at sabrhouston.org.

Originally published: May 16, 2012. Last Updated: May 16, 2012.