SABR member Bill McCurdy offers preview of “Houston Baseball: The Early Years 1861-1961”

From SABR member Bill McCurdy at The Pecan Park Eagle on April 30, 2014:

At last … Houston Baseball, The Early Years: 1861-1961 is in publication. Researched, written, and edited by members of the Larry Dierker Chapter of SABR, the Society for American Baseball Research, with the support of a few other independent volunteers, with sponsorship funding and the firm backing of our National SABR office, our no-longer-so-little-book-that-almost-didn’t-happen has arrived in time to be a central part of our local chapter hosting of the 2014 National Convention of SABR in Houston this summer from July 30 to August 3.

Now officially in publication in a beautiful first class hardback form by Bright Sky Press of Houston, our book is available for sale to the general public for the total price of $49.95, postage included. Further ordering information is available at the very end of this column.

No longer little is right in both physical and far-reaching historical terms. It is born in 2014 as a 368-page work of comprehensively researched historical information on the beginnings and growth of baseball in the Houston area over a course of time that basically covers the same span of ages in which both Houston and baseball have been around in their present, but ever changing forms. The book ties together on a quality printing of easily readable type, with an ongoing flow of new information and photographic personification of the times that even includes a previously unpublished picture of the great Ernest Hemingway with Jim Basso, a former Houston Buff, and his buddies, upon the occasion of their date for drinks and dinner at his Cuban hacienda in 1952.

And the pictures don’t stop with the grainy posed team photos of that late 19th century turn. Artist Patrick Lopez has reconstructed from newspaper accounts a series of watercolor images of how the first three ballparks in Houston’s professional ball life once appeared to our Houstonian ancestors. These works have lifted the whole tone of the book’s reading experience into both a factual and spiritual journey.

It exists as the only comprehensive, diligently researched history of baseball in Houston from early times. It truly is a book for the ages.

Read the full article here:

  • Register for SABR 44: SABR 44 convention attendees will receive a complimentary copy of Houston Baseball: The Early Years 1861-1961 when they pick up their registration packets. Sign up today at to join us in Houston for SABR 44, July 30-August 3, 2014.
  • To order the book: Send a check or money order for $49.95 + $5.50 shipping for one book/$6.50 shipping for two books to “Houston Baseball Book,” c/o Bob Dorrill, 2318 Crimson Valley Ct., Houston TX 77345-2101.


Here’s a video preview of the book from SABR Director F.X. Flinn:


Originally published: April 30, 2014. Last Updated: April 30, 2014.