Larry Dierker Chapter Begins Project on Early Houston Baseball

The following is a note from SABR member Bill McCurdy at The Pecan Park Eagle on July 1:

Our Larry Dierker Chapter of SABR (The Society for American Baseball Research) recently took on the multi-year, multi-task job of researching and writing a book on a segment of Houston’s rich history that has been long overdue.  The working title of the project is “Houston Baseball, The Early Years: 1861-1961.”

The century of note covers a long and colorful period, from the formation of the first Houston Base Ball Club in 1861 through the last minor league season of the Houston Buffs in 1961. After 1961, Houston’s baseball stage moved to the major leagues, first with the Houston Colt .45s (1962-64) and then to their new and still present identity as the Houston Astros (1965-2011 and counting).

Although we have only been on the job officially since our first May 21st meeting, some of the early discoveries of our fifteen member volunteer research team have been both mind-boggling and sometimes surprising. Back in the late 19th century, for example, four to five members of the Houston professional club were dismissed on a road trip to Dallas for attempting to throw a game for gamblers. And, in that same last decade, a group of Houstonians, still enamored with the still recently new availability of electric lights, rigged up a portable lighting system that allowed the Houston club to play the first night game in Houston history. It apparently wasn’t a mechanical plan for efficient everyday use, but it happened – and it adjusts existing thought by about forty years earlier as to when  the first night game in Houston was actually played.

The members of our sixteen-member SABR research team are: Steve Bertone, Lance Carter, Tony Cavender, Bob Dorrill, Marsha Franty, Harold Jones, Bill McCurdy, Tom Murrah, Darrell Pittman, Susan Pittman, Jo Russell, Story Sloane, Joe Thompson, Tom Trimble, Mike Vance, & Herb Whalley.

If you have an interest in helping the Larry Dierker Chapter piece together the true history of baseball in Houston — or if you are in possession of any artifacts or scrapbooks that might shed light on the history of baseball in Houston — especially of black baseball or the women’s game — contact Bill McCurdy.

For more information on the Larry Dierker Chapter, visit


Originally published: July 1, 2011. Last Updated: July 1, 2011.