1991: Houston Dinner Honors Darwin Twice

August 21, 2014
BY 1991, MILO HAMILTON WAS WELL ON HIS WAY TO BECOMING A LEGENDARY MC OF BASEBALL DINNERS IN HOUSTON.

BY 1991, MILO HAMILTON WAS WELL ON HIS WAY TO BECOMING A LEGENDARY MC OF BASEBALL DINNERS IN HOUSTON.

 

Preface - Thanks to Bill Gilbert, the Houston Baseball Dinner historical columns are back in the saddle again. With the information Bill Gilbert has contributed from his 1991 dinner program, we are able to describe the 1991 Houston Baseball Dinner with all of its baseline information, except for the cost of tickets. The price had gone to $25 per dinner place in 1989, but we cannot presume what they may have been in 1991. And remember too, we are still searching for data on any dinners held in 1986 and the one we know for certain happened in 1990. In the meanwhile, we have put those two years aside until either a later library research or the sudden appearance of programs for 1986 and 1990 falls into our laps.

The 1991 banquet was formally identified in Bill Gilbert’s copy of the 1991 event program as the “1991 Houston Baseball Dinner” (HBD). The event was co-sponsored by the Houston Chapter of the Baseball Writers Association of America (BBWAA), the Astro Orbiters Booster Club and the Houston Sports Association (HSA). John Kelley served as General Chairman of the event and Milo Hamilton again served as Master of Ceremonies for the dinner and evening of baseball award presentations.

The 1991 HBD was held at the Westin Galleria Hotel in Houston on February 7, 1991.

Names of the sponsorship of tickets purchased by table order were included in the program and one of those identified sponsors was our very own SABR and Baseball History National Treasure – Mr. Larry Miggins.

(And by the way, for those of you who may not have known, Larry Miggins celebrated his 89th birthday yesterday, August 20, 2014. God Bless You again, Larry!)

Here is our list of award honorees for the 1991 Houston Baseball Dinner without the addition of unavailable timely quotes or further comment from us beyond the headlined one. It appears that Danny Darwin became the first honoree in the entire history of the HBD to take two awards at the same dinner.

Here’s what we have to report, with thanks again to our invaluable partner in this research effort – Mr. Bill Gilbert. – Thanks, Bill!

1991 Houston Baseball Dinner (HBD) Award Winners:

WAYNE GRAHAM RICE BASEBALL COACH 1991 WINNER COLLEGE COACH OF THE YEAR

WAYNE GRAHAM
RICE BASEBALL COACH
1991 WINNER
COLLEGE COACH OF THE YEAR

BILLY HATCHER HOUSTON ASTROS 1991 WINNER SPECIAL ACHIEVEMENT AWARD

BILLY HATCHER
HOUSTON ASTROS
1991 WINNER
SPECIAL ACHIEVEMENT AWARD

DANNY DARWIN HOUSTON ASTROS TWO 1991 AWARDS (1) NL 1990 CONSORT CONTROL PITCHER (2) 1990 ASTROS MVP

DANNY DARWIN
HOUSTON ASTROS
TWO 1991 AWARDS
(1) NL 1990 CONSORT CONTROL PITCHER
(2) 1990 ASTROS MVP

ROGER CLEMENS BOSTON RED SOX 1990 AL CONSORT CONTROL PITCHER

ROGER CLEMENS
BOSTON RED SOX
1990 AL CONSORT CONTROL PITCHER

ALLEN RUSSELL 1991 WINNER LONG AND MERITORIOUS SERVICE TO BASEBALL

ALLEN RUSSELL
1991 WINNER
LONG AND MERITORIOUS SERVICE
TO BASEBALL

DOUG DRABEK HOUSTON ASTROS 1990 HOUSTON AREA MLB PLAYER OF THE YEAR

DOUG DRABEK
HOUSTON ASTROS
1990 HOUSTON AREA
MLB PLAYER OF THE YEAR

My Baseball Bucket List

August 20, 2014

BucketList_q031lua4_qu2r45tz

(1) Attend the Baseball Hall of Fame Induction of Craig Biggio and then spend a month in Cooperstown, soaking up the library, exhibits, workshops, lifestyle, and culture of baseball’s symbolic birthplace.

(2) Attend the College World Series in Omaha, preferably in a year which featured my UH alma mater or my home town kid favorite, Rice, but I will be realistic here. I may be too old to wait for UH to get there, but things do look promising for Cougar baseball out on Cullen Boulevard.

(3) Attend the Little League World Series in Williamsport, PA, hopefully, like this year, at a time which features a team from the Greater Houston area.

(4) Watch all home games of an Astros trip to the World Series in a winning effort against any other team, but I would prefer the opposition to be either the Yankees or Red Sox, if my wish for a return of  Houston  to the National League would only come true. (Thanks for the reminder oft that rather major technicality, Greg Lucas: If the Astros don’t return to the NL, there can never be a Houston World Series against those two more famous “other” AL clubs). Beating either the storied Yankees or Red Sox would simply make an Astros World Series championship taste even  sweeter and, of course, it would also make the victory feel more official to some of us. Amend this wish again. If our foe is Boston or New York as a born again Astros NL club,  I’d like to see the away games too!

(5) Visit the “Field of Dreams” site in Iowa. (Stole this one straight from the above featured baseball bucket list illustration.).

(6) Visit the old St. Mary’s School site in Baltimore where Babe Ruth spent quite a few of his later childhood years and really started playing baseball. I saw the Babe’s downtown home site on a brief family wedding guest trip to Baltimore in 2007, but didn’t have time to find a way to se whatever remains of the St. Mary’s site where the Babe lived and went to school.

(7) Find and recover for copying  the 78 rpm record album that contained the remarks of all who spoke at the first Houston Buff Banquet that celebrated the 1947 Dixie Series championship that the club had just captured. As far as dinners go, this one was really the first organized dinner in Houston baseball history, although we would have first rule out the possibility of earlier banquets during the Fred Ankenman years as president – or even earlier. In the case of the 1947 album, which included the voice of Solly Hemus, the item somehow ended up in the hands of former Buff pitcher Pete Mazar and his wife Eleanor. Long after Pete Mazar died, Jo Russell and I tried to “borrow” it long enough to make a copy, but we could never earn the trust of the family that we might either break one of the records or simply keep the album or lower its commercial value as an only recording by making a copy. Sadly, the value of this item is more to history than anything else. Now it stands to rot away in storage until someone comes along later and decides its trash and throws it away. This one may be on my bucket list, but my real wish is that someone could find a way to track it down and save it for our local baseball history. That’s what really matters. Eleanor Mazar has also now died, leaving the album, if anywhere, in the possession of their descendants.

(8) Find the survivors and organize a reunion of the remaining “kids” who played on our Houston East End sandlot team, The Pecan Park Eagles,  back in the summer of 1950.

(9) Live to see the re-establishment of another annual Houston Baseball Dinner that is tied to the goals of again connecting the average fan to baseball in Houston and also to raising money over time that keeps dinner ticket prices affordable while offering high end dollar items at auction as the money-raising wing of the annual activity for the establishment or support of a Houston Baseball Hall of Honor and History.

((10) To live to see the thriving existence of a Houston Baseball Hall of Honor and History alive and well downtown and done the right way.

That’s my list. If you have one, please leave a comment and share with the rest of us what it contains.

 

PS: No further developments are available on the temporary research problem we have with acquiring data on the more recent history of Houston baseball dinners, but we shall return to that subject as soon as we are able.

 

 

Dinner Reports Delayed; LLWS Roars On

August 19, 2014
2014: MO'NE DAVIS OF PHILADELPHIA IS THE ONLY GIRL IN LITTLE LEAGUE WORLD SERIES HISTORY TO THROW A COMPLETE GAME SHUTOUT.

2014: MO’NE DAVIS OF PHILADELPHIA IS THE ONLY GIRL IN LITTLE LEAGUE WORLD SERIES HISTORY TO THROW A COMPLETE GAME SHUTOUT.

For the foreseeable future, the absence of a column on the Houston Baseball Dinner history (by year) in The Pecan Park Eagle simply means that something has happened to stall our efforts.

Such was the case today. The lettered name variable phrase combinations that were bidding us good success in the early years (1961-73) of our digital site search have suddenly drawn blanks on most of what has happened from as early as 1986 through 2000. We are working on alternative plans to derive the facts from previous sinner program collections and research at local news file histories, but neither of those sources are available to us this afternoon.

We shall resume the theme columns on the more recent history of the “HBD” as soon as we are again plugged into a date source, but, for now, we are stuck on what happened in 1986, if anything, and 1990, with the years ahead of them through 200o also yielding nothing viable to us on the event through 2000.

Bear with us. We won’t go away. And neither will the data that’s out there in some form.

Meanwhile, I’m taking the rest of the day off, I think. In about an hour from no, the Pearland Little Leaguers (2-1) are taking on that very tough Little League club from Chicago (2-1) in an elimination game for both clubs and we don’t want to miss it for anything in the world. Both of these clubs have given mighty accounts of their talents and both teams are already winner – no matter who wins tonight.

The team from Chicago of the Jackie Robinson West Little League  is playing as the “Great Lakes” region while Pearland, TX of the Pearland East Little League is playing as the “Southwest” area representative. They will most probably be referenced on the digital scoreboard as “ILLINOIS” and “TEXAS”.

Chicago represents a successful attempt to resurrect interest in baseball among the kids of inner-city urban America. This all-black team exists as a shining example today of success and deservedness among the talented kids of inner city Chicago who previously would have missed baseball as a response to baseball’s missing attention to their needs-and not an intentional return to the days of segregated baseball.

Tomorrow night, Philadelphia (2-0) and Las Vegas, NV (2-0) meet in a contest between the only two remaining undefeated American teams left in the tournament. Las Vegas got there with s surprise runaway win over Chicago and Philadelphia arrives as the team that edged Pearland, 8-7, in the bottom of the sixth and final inning to get there. Philadelphia will also feature starting pitcher Mo’Ne Davis, the only girl in history to throw a complete game shutout in the 75 year-old Little League World Series history.

See you tomorrow, folks – when we will be around again, hopefully, to write about something of interest to some.

 

 

1990 and 1986: HBD Mysteries

August 18, 2014
From Morris Frank .... (1961)

From Morris Frank ….
(1961)

Two years surfaced over the weekend of research as mysteries in the chain of Houston Baseball Dinners. What we know for certain and have documented here in this Pecan Park Eagle series with variable needs for further detailed data that is most likely available at local brick and mortar Houston newspaper collections are these findings to date:

(1) The first 13 major league-focused Houston Baseball Dinners were held consecutively from 1961 through 1973;

(2) A hiatus of 12 to 13 years then strung out in which there were no annual dinners at all:

(3) The dinners renewed under new leadership in either 1986 or 1987, depending upon what else we may still learn about an “Astros Orbiters dinner that former SABR Chapter chairman and baseball historian Bill Gilbert found for us on his old planning calendar for that year as “Feb. 12, 1986 –  ‘Orbiters Dinner’.” – We still could not find any out-of-town digital news reports on that event, but it simply may have been too small to merit wide area attention, but still large enough for the planners to treat it as a resumption of the old dinner plan. This one definitely requires further local study and discussion with other baseball community people who were involved in Orbiters at that time;

.... to Milo Hamilton (2012)

…. to Milo Hamilton
(2012)

(4) 1990 is now showing up as another year in which the same approaches we have used to find much information on other previous banquets is coming up empty on that year;

(5) The Pecan Park Eagle is most grateful that Bill Gilbert is now joining with us in this plan to document the entire history of MLB-based Houston Baseball Dinners, but there is room on the team for anyone else who has the time and interest in building a body of knowledge about an event that has been, until recently, an annual gathering of allegiance to baseball in our area. Bill Gilbert has already notified me of the of the vast printed data (programs, etc.) that he possesses on the banquets from 1991 through 2012, but we could always use more assistance, especially from anyone who has time and the skill to research local newspaper files for the answers to specific questions;

(6) There’s no deadline here. We simply need commitment to a constant effort. Barring days we publish our routine Bill Gilbert  reports on the Astros season, or some other time-precious topic that comes up and won’t wait, we plan to keep pushing our way through the end of these annual dinner reports on a daily publication basis until we finish with 2012. Then we shall see how much need remains for additional local research;

(7) Perhaps, our local SABR chapter will choose to join with us in putting the final product into a useful readable form. If not, it will remain here in the files of The Pecan Park Eagle for anyone who cares to learn more about this even finer slivered niche in Houston baseball history.

Have a nice Monday, everybody!

1989: Dinner Honors Glenn Davis

August 17, 2014

In a curious and unexpected, but never surprising dip into the halls of out-of-town digital news reports on past events in Houston, the Pecan Park Eagle could find only one article that made any reference to the 1989 Houston Baseball Dinner – and it was published in the Paris (TX) News on the early date of Thursday, October 27, 1988 and never referenced again – by any news source we could find. The article had been spawned as an Associated Press story that Glenn Davis had been named as the Houston Astros’ Most Valuable Player for 1988.

We are left with only these possible conclusions as explanations for this outcome: (1) our normally very productive research methods may have failed us for some unknown reason in looking for 1989 dinner data; (2) the February 8, 1989 dinner described in this 3.5 month earlier report was somehow cancelled; (3) it was the year of the most inept publicity effort ever made in behalf of the Houston Baseball Dinner; or (4) we need to see the Houston Chronicle and Post microfilm records for early 1989, especially for February 9, 1989 – the day after the dinner’s announced happening.

In the meanwhile, here’s our Paris (TX) News report of October 27, 1988 on what was scheduled to happen:

________________________________________

Davis named Astros’ Most Valuable Player

The Associated Press

glenn-davis-25-diamond-kings-donruss-1989-mlb-baseball-trading-card-38420-p

Houston - Houston first baseman Glenn Davis, who hit .271 and drove in a team high 99 runs, was named the Astros’ most valuable player Wednesday (10/26/88) by the Houston chapter of the Baseball Writers Association of America.

Davis also led the Astro with 30 home runs and had 152 hits, second on the team to shortstop Rafael Ramirez’s 156 hits.

Davis will receive the award (Wednesday) Feb. 8 (1989) at the annual baseball dinner sponsored by the Houston Athletic Council.

DOC EWELL (far right)

DOC EWELL
(far right)

Former Astros trainer Doc Ewell will receive the BBWAA award for long and meritorious service to baseball and Cleveland pitcher Greg Swindell will be honored as the Greater Houston Area Major League Player of the Year.

The player of the year award is a new honor for a major league player who played high school or college baseball in the Greater Houston area.

Greg Swindell

Swindell, who played high school baseball at Houston Sharpstown and pitched at the University of Texas, compiled an 18-14 record last season and (a) 3.20 earned run average.

Swindell struck out 180 batters in 242 innings.

~ Associated Press, Paris (TX) News, Thursday, October 27, 1988, Page 16.

________________________________________

1988: Lanier Calls ’87 a Fluke

August 16, 2014

The reawakening of the Houston Baseball Dinner by Allen Russell and the Houston Athletic Committee continued with another dinner in 1988. Some familiar baseball stars again made appearances as speakers and honorees, but gone were the old name assignments to these awards in honor of people like Dickie Kerr, Eddie Dyer, Johnny Keane, Tris Speaker, Rogers Hornsby, Bill Klem, Jim Umbricht and Jimmy Delmar. The new awards were fewer and more descriptive.

Among the more limited news coverages available to us from out-of-Houston digital news services, we could find none to confirm that the Westin Galleria and $25.00 a plate prices had been carried forth from 1987 to 1988, but we are fairly sure that this information can be confirmed with a manual search of the Houston papers at the downtown Houston Library. There was also no mention of who served as Master of Ceremonies for 1988.

Here’s how the Galveston Daily News reported the 1988 Houston Baseball Dinner through an Associated Press report on the following day of Wednesday, February 10, 1988:

________________________________________

ASTROS MANAGER HAL LANIER HOPING THAT 1987 WAS A RECOVERABLE SLIP FROM THE CLUB'S TRUE POTENTIAL.

ASTROS MANAGER HAL LANIER HOPING THAT 1987 WAS A RECOVERABLE SLIP FROM THE CLUB’S TRUE POTENTIAL.

Lanier: ’87 Flop a Fluke

Houston (AP) - Houston Manager Hal Lanier says the 1987 Houston Astros were imposters and he expects a different lineup in 1988.

“I don’t think you saw the true Astros last season,” Lanier said. “We are going to have to score more runs than we did last year to get back in the race.”

The Astros won the National League’s Western Division title in Lanier’s rookie season 1988, but slipped to third place last season.

“As you compare ur team last year with 1986, the two the two differences you see are inconsistency and fewer runs scored.”

Despite last year’s downturn, Lanier thinks the experience obtained by young ballplayers will help this year’s rebound.

“I think we added something when Gerald Young came in and showed he could play in the outfield,” Lanier said. “I think he will go great with (Billy) Hatcher and (Bill) Doran at the start of our lineup.”

JOAQUIN ANDUJAR: "YOU CAN SUM UP BASEBALL IN TWO WORDS - AND THOSE TWO WORDS ARE 'YOU NEVER KNOW!' "

JOAQUIN ANDUJAR: “YOU CAN SUM UP BASEBALL IN TWO WORDS – AND THOSE TWO WORDS ARE – ‘YOU NEVER KNOW!’ “

The Astros also obtained free agent starter Joaquin Andujar and shortstop Rafael Rameriz from the Atlanta Braves.

Ken Caminiti also jumped from the minors to the starting third base job.

Lanier was among the guests at the annual Houston Baseball Dinner Tuesday night (Feb. 09, 1988), which included Astros pitcher Nolan Ryan and Boston’s Roger Clemens.

The Astros still are trying to find backup catching help for Alan Ashby, who had one of his best seasons in 1987.

“Ashby needs an occasional day of and last year missed the final month of the season with a dislocated finger,” Lanier said. “Alan did a good job, but we want to give him some days off and last year that was tough to do,” Lanier said.

Lanier traced the Astros’ late season fizzle to Ashby’s injury.

“When Alan dislocated his finger, we didn’t have anyone to replace him,” Lanier said. “We still had a chance to win the division, but from that point, I think that’s when we started going downhill.”

The (1987) Astros had an 11-26 record over their final 37 games.

NOLAN RYAN

NOLAN RYAN

(Nolan) Ryan, who led the major leagues with 270 strikeouts last season and tied for the lead with a 2.76 earned run average, was honored for his outstanding 20-year career.

ROGER CLEMENS

ROGER CLEMENS

(Roger) Clemens was honored for winning back-to-back American League Cy Young awards.

BILL DORAN

BILL DORAN

(Bill) Doran received the Houston chapter of the Baseball Writer’s Association of America award as the Astros’ Most Valuable Player award of 1987.

GENE ELSTON

GENE ELSTON

Gene Elston, fired as the Astros’ broadcaster prior to the 1987 season, received the BBWAA award for long and meritorious service to baseball.

Wayne Graham

San Jacinto Junior College Coach Wayne Graham was honored for leading his team to three consecutive national titles.

 

~ Associated Press, Galveston Daily News, Wednesday, February 10, 1988, Page 17.

________________________________________

 

1974-1986: No Dinners; 1987: They’re Back

August 15, 2014
The Houston Baseball Dinners disappeared for 13 seasons, from 1974 to 1986. It had to do with the shaky ownership grounds of the Astros franchise and tough changes in the Houston economy.

The Houston Baseball Dinners disappeared for 13 seasons, from 1974 to 1986. It had to do with the shaky ownership grounds of the Astros franchise and tough changes in the Houston economy. Allen and Jo Russell started them up again in 1987.

After 13 straight years (1961-73) of honoring some of baseball’s best seasonal performers, many of whom who were on their ways to the Hall of Fame as all-time greats, and at a cost to fans that never exceeded $12.50 a dinner plate, the Houston Baseball Dinners went dark for an equal period of 13 years (1974-86) due to hard times in the transitional history of the Astros franchise ownership and some bumpy economic times in the then almost 100% heavily oil-dependent Houston economy.

The annual Houston winter baseball dinners were resurrected in early 1987, thanks to the efforts of former Houston Houston Buffs president Allen Russell and his devoted wife and hard-working life companion, Jo Russell.

From the way things sounded in the earliest news notices we could find among our digital sources, there was nothing to learn about the politics involved in both the shutting down of the original series or the starting up of the new run in this annual Houston banquet event. One thing we have to build upon, conjecturally, is our personal knowledge of Allen Russell from the short time I got to know him personally in 1995, only six months shy of his death in January 1996 from chronic renal failure.

I had known of Allen Russell since those childhood days I watched him set gasoline on fire as the cure for a wet infield that otherwise threatened Buff Stadium with a postponement and loss of gate. I never met him personally until the very last page in his lifespan.

Allen Russell, the man, was a passionate baseball guy with a driving energy for making things work to the best of their ability. I met Allen as a volunteer assistant to his search for all former Buffs about an upcoming “Last Roundup” reunion dinner in September 1995. Before I knew it, Allen had picked up on my enjoyment of writing and was using me to put some of his ideas for improving baseball into essay form. Even through his toughest days, he hung in there with his goals. In effect, and to the very end, Allen lived life as a man who knew he had something to give to baseball – and he behaved as a man who was simply to busy to die. And Jo Russell was right there at his side, doing all she could to help him get things done while paying some attention to taking care of himself as well.

There is no doubt in my mind that, whenever Allen Russell decided to resurrect the Houston Baseball Dinner in January 1987, it was going to happen.

The following article summarizes the gist of things 2ithout shedding light on Russell’s expanded support system, although I think local sportswriter Ivy McLemore was there to help.

______________________________________

ALLEN RUSSELL AND HIS WIFE JO RUSSELL LED THE HOUSTON BASEBALL DINNER BACK TO LIFE IN 1987.

ALLEN RUSSELL AND HIS WIFE JO RUSSELL LED THE HOUSTON BASEBALL DINNER BACK TO LIFE IN 1987.

Baseball Dinner Planned

HAL LANIER MANAGER HOUSTON ASTROS 1986-1988

HAL LANIER
MANAGER
HOUSTON ASTROS
1986-1988

MIKE SCOTT NL CY YOUNG AWARD 1986

MIKE SCOTT
NL CY YOUNG AWARD
1986

ROGER CLEMENS AL CY YOUNG AWARD 1986

ROGER CLEMENS
AL CY YOUNG AWARD
1986

(Houston Astros) Manager Hal Lanier and Cy Young Award winners Mike Scott and Roger Clemens will be the guests of honor at the 1987 Houston Baseball Dinner Feb. 12 (1987) at th Westin Galleria Hotel.

FRED HARTMAN FORMER PUBLISHER BAYTOWN SUN "FOR LONG AND MERITORIOUS SERVICE TO THE GAME"

FRED HARTMAN
FORMER PUBLISHER
BAYTOWN SUN
“FOR LONG AND MERITORIOUS SERVICE
TO THE GAME”

The BBWAA will also present an award to Fred Hartman, former publisher of the Baytown Sun, for long and meritorious service to the game.

Activities will begin at 6:30 p.m. with a reception. A dinner will follow, with the program set to start at 7:45 p.m. Tickets for the event cost $25. Checks should be made payable to (the) Houston Athletic Committee and mailed to Allen Russell, Chairman, Houston Baseball Dinner, 924 Fleetwood Place Drive, Houston, Texas 77079.

~ Baytown Sun, January 17, 1987, Page 14.

—————————————————–

1973: Leo Steals Spotlight at 13th Dinner

August 14, 2014

LEO DUROCHER ~ Leo the Lip Talks Big at the 13th Houston Baseball Dinner About his Aspirations in 1st Full Season as Astros Manager,

LEO DUROCHER
~ Leo the Lip Talks Big at the 13th Houston Baseball Dinner About his Aspirations in 1st Full Season as Astros Manager,

Leo Would Like Fourth Title to be at Houston

Houston (AP)  Wichita Falls Times, Jan. 27, 1973, Pages 31, 33.. Lippy Leo Durocher, who has taken three teams to the World Series in his controversial career, says he’d like to win it all once more with feeling.

“I’d like to say at this late stage in my baseball career – just one more time” the new Houston Astros manager told the 13th annual Houston Baseball Writers Association dinner Friday night. “Let’s win one more time here in Houston”

Durocher, who took over as manager of the Astros from Harry Walker last August 26th (1972), said that seven positions (the outfield and infield) were set and (that), if he can mold a four-man pitching staff, the team is set.

“Pitching is where we’ve had our trouble,” Durocher told the audience. Durocher said he would take his four-man rotation from Larry Dierker, Don Wilson, Dave Roberts, Ken Forsch, Jerry Reuss, James Rodney Richard, and Tom Griffin.

“If we can’t get four good starters out of that bunch then Durocher isn’t doing his job,” he said.

Durocher said that 1972 left fielder Bob Watson would be given a shot at catcher in spring training with John Edwards, last year’s starting catcher, as the back-up.

Durocher said he has a few changes in mind for spring training, including conditioning. “I’m not worried about us being in shape,” he said. “I have my own way and we’ll be in shape.”

Very honestly, there are no rebels or clubhouse lawyers on our team,” the Lip said. “We’re going to have some kind of ball club.”

BILLY WILLIAMS 1973 WINNER TRIS SPEAKER AWARD

BILLY WILLIAMS
1973 WINNER
TRIS SPEAKER AWARD

Billy Williams of the Chicago Cubs won the Tris Speaker Award. His 1972 stats of a .333 batting average with 37 HR and a .606 slugging average more than justified his pick.

CESAR CEDENO 1973 WINNER JIM UMBRICHT AWARD

CESAR CEDENO
1973 WINNER
JIM UMBRICHT AWARD

Cesar Cedeno was selected as the Houston Astros’ Player of the Year, receiving the coveted  Jim Umbricht Award as the symbol of that honor. Cedeno batted .320 with 22 HR and a .537 slugging average in 1972.

NATE COLBERT 1973 WINNER JOHNNY KEANE AWARD

NATE COLBERT
1973 WINNER
EDDIE DYER AWARD

Nate Colbert of the San Diego was tagged as the Slugger of the Year which, in Houston, is recognized as the Eddie Dyer Award. Colbert had 38 HR and 111 RBI in 1972 in support of his deservedness.

WILBUR WOOD 1973 WINNER DICKIE KERR AWARD

WILBUR WOOD
1973 WINNER
DICKIE KERR AWARD

Wilbur Wood, of the Chicago White Sox was named as Pitcher of the Year and received the Dickie Kerr Award as his testimony. Wood’s 1972 AL record included 24 wins, 17 losses, and an ERA of 2.51.

CARLTON FISK 1973 WINNER JOHNNY KEANE AWARD

CARLTON FISK
1973 WINNER
JOHNNY KEANE AWARD

Carlton Fisk of the Boston Red Sox took the Johnny Keane Award – Fisk was the American League Rookie of the Year in 1972 and a member of the AL All Star team. He batted .298 with 22 HR, posted a slugging average of .538 and was a defensive standout in the field to justify all of his honors.

TOM GORMAN 1973 WINNER BILL KLEM AWARD

TOM GORMAN
1973 WINNER
BILL KLEM AWARD

Tom Gorman received the nod from the Houston Baseball Writers as the Umpire of the Year. Taking home the Bill Klem Award Gorman had been an NL umpire since 1951 at the time of his 1973 award and would go on to finish his highly respected career after the 1976 season. Prior to umpiring, Gorman pitched five innings in four big league games for the New York Giants in 1939. Tom’s son Brian Gorman also became a big league umpire, following in his famous father’s footsteps.

ROLLIE FINGERS 1973 WINNER SPECIAL WORLD SERIES AWARD

ROLLIE FINGERS
1973 WINNER
SPECIAL WORLD SERIES AWARD

Rollie Fingers of the Oakland Athletics won the Special World Series Award. He appeared in 6 of the 7 World Series games, preserving an A’s victory over the Cincinnati Reds in Game 7 that handed the club their first World Series win since 1930 – and also the first such win since the Athletics’ move to Oakland. Rollie finished the World series a 1-1 record and 1.75 ERA, shutting down the Reds with goose eggs in their final two innings at bat.

DAVE HILTON 1973 WINNER JOE SMITH AWARD

DAVE HILTON
1973 WINNER
JIMMY DELMAR AWARD

Dave Hilton, San Diego – Texas-born minor leaguer of the year – Jimmy Delmar Award

The 13th annual Houston Baseball Writers’ Dinner was again held in the Grand Ballroom of the Astroworld Hotel.

 

Sources:

~ Wichita Falls Times, January 27, 1972, Pages 31, 33,

~ San Antonio Express, January 7, 1973, Page 62.

~ Denton Record Chronicle, January 14, 1973, Page 20.

~ Big Spring Herald, January 1, 1973, Page 8.

~ Baseball Reference.Com

~ Baseball Almanac.Com

~ Wikipedia

1972: HWBD Fetes Baseball’s Little Big Man

August 13, 2014
DONALD DAVIDSON 1972 WINNER JOHNNY KEANE AWARD

DONALD DAVIDSON
1972 WINNER
JOHNNY KEANE AWARD

In 1971, the HWBD was captured by the accomplishments of Little Joe Morgan. In 1972, the 12th Annual Houston Writers’ Baseball Dinner (HWBD) was a good story about the hosts’ deliberate plan to honor baseball’s biggest of all little men – a fellow named Donald Davidson. It was a concisely well told tale by a consolidation of news reports from that era:

BASEBALL’S LITTLE MAN TO BE FETED AT HOUSTON

Lamarque Times. Thursday, January 13, 1972. Not many people can lay claim to having played pitch with such immortals as Babe Ruth, Joe DiMaggio, Ted Williams, and Ty Cobb, but Don Davidson, assistant to the president and traveling secretary for the Atlanta Braves, played with these greats during his days as a clubhouse boy.

Davidson, who has been in the Braves organization since 1948, will receive the Johnny Keane Award for his “contributions to baseball” at the Houston Baseball Writers dinner in the Grand Ballroom of the Astroworld Hotel, Friday, Jan. 21.

Although only four feet tall, Davidson is considered one of the biggest men in the big leagues.

Davidson began his baseball career at the age of nine in his home town of Boston. After one of the Braves games, he was trying to get autographs and a player took him into the clubhouse to meet the players.

Soon after, he was asked to serve as clubhouse boy for the Braves. When he was 17 he took a position with a Boston paper as a sportswriter.

Three years later, Donald  joined the Braves’ publicity staff as an assistant to the director. He served as both publicity director and traveling secretary before being named as assistant to the president last month.

VIDA BLUE 1972 WINNER DICKIE KERR AWARD

VIDA BLUE
1972 WINNER
DICKIE KERR AWARD

Vida Blue of Oakland will take home the Dickie Kerr Award as the group’s choice for big league pitcher of the year

JOE TORRE 1972 WINNER TRIS SPEAKER AWARD

JOE TORRE
1972 WINNER
TRIS SPEAKER AWARD

Joe Torre of St. Louis, who will be present to receive the Tris Speaker Award;

HANK AARON 1972 WINNER EDDIE DYER AWARD

HANK AARON
1972 WINNER
EDDIE DYER AWARD

Hank Aaron will be at the head table as the recipient of the Eddie Dyer Award, now described as the tribute to baseball’s “slugger of the year.” Hank’s 1971 record of 47 homers, a .3227 batting average, and a .669 slugging average spoke loudly in hs behalf as the no-brainer nominee.

BURT HOOTON 1972 WINNER JIMMY DELMAR AWARD

BURT HOOTON
1972 WINNER
JIMMY DELMAR AWARD

Burt Hooton of the Chicago Cubs, who will be given the Jimmy Delmar Award as the  Texas-born minor league player of the year in 1971;

DON WILSON 1972 WINNER JIM UMBRICHT AWARD

DON WILSON
1972 WINNER
JIM UMBRICHT AWARD

Don Wilson of Houston, winner of the Jim Umbricht Award as the 1971 MVP of the Houston Astros.

 

AL BARLICK 1972 WINNER BILL KLEM AWARD

AL BARLICK
1972 WINNER
BILL KLEM AWARD

Umpire Al Barlick, who will take home the Bill Klem Award as the last, but not least, on a long list of honored guests. Al presided over Enos Slaughter’s “mad dash” to score from first on a lazy double to right center by Harry Walker of the Cardinals in Game 7 of their 1946 World Series with Boston, but there was no big challenge to his easy safe call on that play, but a lot of comment on the absence of alertness in the Red Sox defense against the victorious Cardinals.

DANNY MURTAUGH 1972 WINNER WORLD SERIES SPECIAL AWARD

DANNY MURTAUGH
1972 WINNER
WORLD SERIES SPECIAL AWARD

Danny Murtaugh, manager of the World Champion Pittsburgh Pirates, also is this year’s winner of the new Special World Series Award.

Morris Frank will be the Master of Ceremonies of the $12.50 a plate fete. The reception is at 6:30 and the dinner is at 7:30. Also, for the first time ever, a $7.50 ticket will be offered for children 16 and under.

Tickets are available at all five Foley’s stores and the Astrodome ticket office.

~ Lamarque Times, Thursday, January 13, 1972, Page 9;

~ Amarillo Daily News, Saturday, January 22, 1972, Page 13;

~ Newport Daily News, Saturday, January 22, 1972, Page 9;

~ Odessa American, Saturday, January 22, 1972, Page 14.

 

 

 

 

 

 

.

 

1971: Little Joe Is Hit of Show at HBD

August 12, 2014
JOE MORGAN 1971 WINNER JIM UMBRICHT AWARD

JOE MORGAN
1971 WINNER
JIM UMBRICHT AWARD

 

Little Joe Morgan stood tall in towering company on Friday night, January 29, 1971. He was there at the 11th annual Houston Baseball Dinner in the Grand Ballroom of the Astroworld Hotel to accept the Jim Umbricht Award as the Most Valuable Player on the roster of the 1970 Houston Astros and he handled the recognition with modesty, pride, and respect, and with an attitude that left little doubt that he felt right at home among some of baseball’s greatest players and future Hall of Famers in 1971. If fans were still paying $12.50 a table place, and we think they were, they were getting a moment of value that far exceeded the cover fee.

LEFTY GOMEZ KEYNOTE SPEAKER "Lefty Left 'Em Laughing!"

LEFTY GOMEZ
KEYNOTE SPEAKER
“Lefty Left ‘Em Laughing!”

Morris Frank again served as Master of Ceremonies for the Houston Chapter of the Baseball Writers Association of America sponsorship group and Hall of Famer Lefty Gomez was on hand to leave the crowd rolling in the aisles from his endless stream of good time stories as a big leaguer.

JUDGE ROY HOFHEINZ DID HIS SPEECH VERSION OF THE DISNEY SONG, "WHEN YOU WISH UPON A STAR."

JUDGE ROY HOFHEINZ
DID HIS SPEECH VERSION OF THE DISNEY SONG, “WHEN YOU WISH UPON A STAR.”

NL PRESIDENT CHUB FEENEY MADE IT THE HEAD TABLE IN 1971.

NL PRESIDENT CHUB FEENEY MADE IT THE HEAD TABLE IN 1971.

Judge Roy Hofheinz also made his first speech to the crowd since his stroke of May 1970 and he used the opportunity to Barnum and Bailey his words into thoughts that helped him make the case for his Astros winning the National League pennant in 1971. National League President Chub Feeney was present at the speakers’ table, but offered no support or objection to the Judge’s outlook on things. And, as well know with help of time and hindsight, the Astros, alas, did not win the pennant in 1971 and were only short by 34 years of fulfilling the Hofheinz hope or conclusion.

The ’71 dinner also included action film of the honorees performing during the 1970 season and, before that spirit was played on a roll in the post-dinner program, the Rev. J.T. Bagby led the house in an invocation of God’s Blessings.

Harry Walker

HARRY WALKER CUED TO HIS BOSS’S POSITIVE MESSAGE ABOUT THE ’71 SEASON, BUT HIS SPEECH TIED MORE IN TO ANOTHER DISNEY SONG WE NOW RECALL AS “HI HO! HI HO! IT’S OFF TO WORK WE GO!”

Harry Walker also presented his managerial view of the Astros’ prospects for 1971 and, while he was not swallowed by the same spell of hyperbole that had gripped is boss, Harry’s outlook stayed in tempered beat with the hopes of the man who spearheaded the construction of an “eighth wonder” to house his trove of future champions.

BROOKS ROBINSON 1971 WINNER SPECIAL WORLD SERIES AWARD

BROOKS ROBINSON
1971 WINNER
SPECIAL WORLD SERIES AWARD

Future Hall of Famer Brooks Robinson of the Baltimore Orioles received a special award for his incredible performance tin the 1970 World Series. “BR” collected 9 hits in 5 games – and these included  2 doubles, 2 home runs, 6 RBI ad a .429 batting average. On defense, Robinson handled 24 chances flawlessly and these included 14 assists. Clark Nealon of the Houston Post was the presenter.

ROBERTO CLEMENTE 1971 WINNER TRIS SPEAKER AWARD

ROBERTO CLEMENTE
1971 WINNER
TRIS SPEAKER AWARD

Future Hall of Famer Roberto Clemente of the Pittsburgh Pirates received the Tris Speaker Award from Dick Peebles  of the Houston Chronicle.

GARY NOLAN 1971 WINNER DICKIE KERR AWARD

GARY NOLAN
1971 WINNER
DICKIE KERR AWARD

Gary Nolan of the Cincinnati Reds received the Dickie Kerr Award for best season performance by an MLB pitcher from Darrell Mack of United Press International.

CLARENCE GASTON 1971 WINNER  JOHNNY KEANE AWARD

CLARENCE GASTON
1971 WINNER
JOHNNY KEANE AWARD

Clarence “Cito” Gaston took the Johnny Keane Award from presenter John Wilson of the Houston Chronicle.

BOOG POWELL 1971 WINNER EDDIE DYER AWARD

BOOG POWELL
1971 WINNER
EDDIE DYER AWARD

Boog Powell was presented with the Eddie Dyer Award by Fred Hartman of the Baytown Sun.

KEN BURKHART 1971 WINNER BILL KLEM AWARD

KEN BURKHART
1971 WINNER
BILL KLEM AWARD

14-year National League arbiter Ken Burkhart received the Bill Klem Award as the previous season’s outstanding umpire from Houston Co-Dinner Chairman Jimmy Delmar.

ROGER METZGER 1971 WINNER JIMMY DELMAR AWARD

ROGER METZGER
1971 WINNER
JIMMY DELMAR AWARD

And recently acquired Astros prospect Roger Metzger was named as the winner of the Jimmy Delmar Award for being the outstanding Texas-born minor leaguer for 1970 and given is trophy also by Fred Hartman of the Baytown Sun.

~ Bobby Risinger, Baytown Sun, January 31, 1971, Page 10 was the data source for most of this new article by The Pecan Park Eagle. One other quoted source below continues to a final observation on the 1971, 11th Houston Baseball Dinner:

“Astros officials say they will give Roger (Metzger) a hard look during spring training. So if the bat comes around, Houston fans may see a new face in the Houston lineup come April 5.”

~ Bobby Risinger, Sun Sports Editor, Baytown Sun, February 3, 1971, Page 14.

The Metzger bat never really came around, but his defensive value at shortstop was too great to ignore. Roger served as the Astros steady regular shortstop from 1971 through the time of his in-season 1978 trade to San Francisco, where he would play from the balance of 1978 through 1980, his last year as an active big leaguer.

After 11 consecutive offerings, the winter baseball dinner in Houston was alive and well through 1971.


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