Posts Tagged ‘Houston Babies’

Come See The Babies in Sealy Tomorrow

April 11, 2014
The George Ranch near Sug Land is another popular Houston Babies game site.

The George Ranch near Sugar Land is another popular Houston Babies game site.

Come join us tomorrow, Saturday, April 12th, at the Sealy, Texas Spring Festival. The Houston Babies will be playing two 1860′s rules vintage baseball games against some other clubs, with out first part of the doubleheader starting at half past 10 o’clock in the morning. The second game will be played shortly after lunch.

The location of the games is the Santa Fe Museum Park at the corner of Silliman and East Main in Sealy. Be prepared for not only vintage games, but an egg toss, Civil War or Texas History military reenactments, and a parade thrown in to boot, plus a probable appearance by “Bonnie and Clyde.”

Alex, Larry, and Zach Hajduk are a big part of the Babies game.

Alex, Larry, and Zach Hajduk are a big part of the Babies game.

Sealy is a beautiful little Texas town, located an easy 50 mile drive west of downtown Houston out I-10 West, and a cool breeze run both going and returning on what they say is going to be an ideal Spring day for baseball fun and a celebration of life that’s hard to surpass in all its joy and down to earth simplicity.

 

Bob Dorrill Manager Houston Babies

Bob Dorrill
Manager
Houston Babies

There will also be plenty of good food and friendly people there too. The bluebonnets and other wild flowers should also be out so, give yourself a break for an eye-feast on one of our annual South Texas Spring Treats while you are en route.

As per usual, The Pecan Park Eagle will be there to cover the action. So. drop by and say hello. We won’t be hard to find.

Come on, Spring! ~ Come on, People! ~ And Go, Babies!

 

HUZZAH!

 

 

 

 

Babies Drop Two at George Ranch

October 27, 2013
Blind Toms and Vintage Teams

Blind Toms and Vintage Teams Play Ball in the Noon Day Sun!

The Houston Babies (0-2) dropped both games they played today at George Ranch, losing 9-5 and 5-2 to the Katy Combine in a DH dose of shellac. By the time a fresh version of the Boerne White Sox finally arrived from their abode near San Antonio, the Babies were done for the day, but Katy managed to patch together enough of a lineup to take them on in a single game. Boerne (1-0) blasted the worn out Katy (2-1) nine, 8-0, to become the only club on the day with a perfect record.

The Publisher, Editor, Writer, and Chief Bottle Washer of the  Pecan Park Eagle was a little under the weather and unable to attend today’s festivities, but our crack field reporter and beat writer, Mike McCroskey, who also bore the double-duty job of filling in for our cruising Babies mentor, Bob Dorrill, as the Babies Manager of the Day took us on as well. Do you think the Yankees ever could have gotten Joe Torre to both manage their club and write up the game stories too?

Thanks for all you do, Mr. McCroskey; you are a one in a million friend and fan of the grand old game.

Ladies and Gentlemen, settle back and enjoy our star reporter’s festival and game day report from George Ranch on Saturday, October 26, 2013.  By the way, Mr. McCroskey also took the pictures used here. All I did was the title and Photoshop work on the photos and the mechanical work of posting this wonderful (but also sad because we lost, but that’s baseball for you) report:

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HOUSTON BABIES DROP DH WITH KATY COMBINE; BOERNE WHITE SOX TAKE SINGLE GAME WITH KATY.

BY Mike McCroskey, Special Reporter for The Pecan Park Eagle

On a cool, crisp autumn day with a bright blue sunshine-filled sky overhead clustered with billowy white clouds, weather reminiscent of when the World Series games were played during the day, Texian days at the George Ranch welcomed Vintage baseball with a day made for baseball.  The Katy Combine and Houston Babies squared off at 10:00 A.M. to the delight of record attendance crowds.  The Babies, managed by first time manager Mike McCroskey, subbing for the vacationing Bob Dorill (somewhere upon a sea in the North Atlantic) were a little short-handed as many of the regulars failed to show.  However, many eager cranks got their first chance to experience the thrill of vintage baseball as a result.  The first call for volunteers found no shortage of willing participants.  The game day began, as game days should:  Both teams in the field, a short prayer remembering missing Departed Houston Baby, Larry Joe Miggins; and thanking our veterans. Then both teams came together in a group on the field, singing the Star Spangled Banner prior to the first pitch.

Bill Hale (far left) is a veteran Babies player in our George Ranch Field of Dreams.

Bill Hale (far left) is a veteran Babies player in our George Ranch Field of Dreams.

Brian Ketchum of Fort Worth, Texas started in center field and led off the Babies bottom of the first with a hit., later coming around to score the game’s first run on a solid double by Shortstop Mark Hudec.  He was joined by newcomer Tim Murphy, a guest of pitcher Bill Hale.  Tim started the game in left field and singled in his first at bat in the second inning, coming around to score on a 2 rbi single by Babies septuagenarian second baseman, Phil Holland.

The Katy Combine, however, were the masters of the big inning, scoring 7 runs in the second inning, which proved to be decisive in what ended in a 9-5 Katy victory.  Ira Liebman of the Sugar Land Skeeters, also, debuted in this game at first base, making several spectacular hustle plays after overcoming some early inning jitters.  We, also, had a couple of Katy players filling in for the Babies in the outfield, scoring one of the Babies’ runs.  And speaking of good fielding, the Babies turned not one , but two 6-4-3 double plays in what turned into a late inning defensive battle.

Vintage Ball is Our Reminder that Baseball is Forever.

Vintage Ball is Our Reminder that Baseball is Forever.

Tom Hull led the Katy Combine, scoring a run in all 3 of his at bats in the 5 inning game.  His 10-year old daughter, Gracie, pinch ran for McCroskey in a failed pinch hit appearance.  Speedy Meghan McCroskey was absent this day due to excessive homecoming week commitments.

Game 2, found the Babies short a couple of more players.  Brent Hopkins of Pearland started at shortstop, and his 10-year old son Blake started in the outfield.  Young Blake got on base twice and scored one of the Babies 2 runs.  Tim Mahoney played his second game in the outfield, and Alex Jimenez, literally walked on to the field and reached base in each of his 2 at bats in this quickly played 5 inning game.  Gracie Hull started in left field and played the entire game.

The Combine were again the masters of the big inning, scoring 5 runs in the bottom of the first which held up for a 5-2 victory.  Tom Flores led the Combine with a pair of hits in his only 2 at bats, scoring the first run in the big 5 run first.  The first of the Boerne White Sox players began showing up in the middle of this game.

The horizons of baseball are always a possible reach in our sandlot brains. All it takes to get there is the long ball of never giving up on your dreams.

The horizons of baseball are always a possible reach in our sandlot brains. All it takes to get there is the long ball of never giving up on your dreams.

By this time, players had worked up quite an appetite, and the George Ranch treated all to a delicious home-made chili and Frito dish that was eagerly consumed by most.  Seconds were had by many and more of the Babies left.  However, the rest of the Boerne White Sox arrived and game 3 of the set was soon underway.  It was agreed that this would be a 7 inning affair as it was the last game of the day.  Babies first baseman, Ira Liebman, started at 3rd for the Combine as they were one man short at game time.

We don't care if we never get back!

We don’t care if we never get back!

The White Sox had come a long way to play and were on their game this afternoon.  The chili laden Combine could not get it going against the Boerne nine, who repeatedly made sparkling fielding plays in what resulted in an 8-0 shutout win for the Sox.  Several players had pulled muscles, and little Gracie Hull made about 8 pinch running appearances in this game, never once reaching first.  She did, however, score a run after going in to pinch run for a Boerne player at third base.
The ultimate, “rub salt in your wound” play came on the game’s final at bat.  Combine third baseman Dave Flores hit a sharp grounder back to the Boerne pitcher known as Sparty.  Sparty had pulled a hamstring muscle earlier and Gracie had run for him in his last 3 at bats.  Anyway, this time, Sparty fielded the ball, and then hopped, one-legged, to first base for an unassisted putout on Dave, as the cranks and teams, oohed, awwed, and laughed!

Quite an “in-your-face” ending; and quite a day for vintage baseball.

Vintage Base Ball: It's the place where art and science, faith and fact, all come together. It is also the childhood fire in your heart that never left you, even when your childhood did.

Vintage Base Ball: It’s the place where art and science, faith and fact, all come together. It is also the childhood fire in your heart that never left you, even when your childhood did.

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“Save the Astrodome. ~ Give new life to the Eighth Wonder of the World. ~ Vote Yes on Harris County Proposition 2.”

“Save the Astrodome. ~ Give new life to the Eighth Wonder of the World. ~ Vote Yes on Harris County Proposition 2.”

Galveston County News Coverage of Vintage Ball

May 29, 2013
The Daily News gave front page note to the first page Sports Section story on the vintage game in the upper right hand corner. Robbie Martin of the red-vested Babies and Vince Columbo of the ghostly gray Combine are the poster boys for a new story that gets precedence over results from The Preakness on this same date.

The Daily News gave front page note to the first page Sports Section story on the vintage game in the upper right hand corner. Robbie Martin of the red-vested Babies and Vince Columbo of the ghostly gray Combine are the poster boys for a new story that gets precedence over results from The Preakness on this same date. Callie Mulkey, the 5th place contestant in the bathing suit competition, still got front page coverage over all others on the front page the next day. – How does that work?

On Sunday, May 19. 2013, the Galveston County Daily News gave the Houston Babies and the Katy Combine some monster coverage for their appearance at the Island City Beach Revue and Bathing Beauty Competition the previous day – and they did it for the two clubs’ journey to the Gulf for some good old-fashioned vintage base ball on the seawall drive section that goes right past the playing grounds at the iconic Hotel Galvez.

The Babies and the Combine played out a titanic struggle by the sea, one that only ended after the Houston Babies rallied from an 11-4 deficit at one point to make up a final three-run differential in their last time up to tie the Katy Combine at 14-14 and call it a good place to stop in the presence of fading sunlight.

Alex Hajduk tees off for the Babies. That's Tom Flores of the Combine in the lower section. Tom gave it up for all by serving as the game's "Blind Tom" (umpire).

Alex Hajduk tees off for the Babies. That’s Tom Flores of the Combine in the lower section. Tom gave it up for all by serving as the game’s “Blind Tom” (umpire).

Writer John DeLapp and photographer Kevin M. Cox are responsible for the fine coverage in both words and images, doing a good job of capturing the excitement of the crowd and challenges of the game played on a field that was really too small for the game. As a result, colossal drives to the roof of the two-story parking garage next door were contained by agreement as ground rule singles. Power hitting Babies guy Alex Hajduk jacked three Ruthian swats to the parking lot roof. In fact, that’s one of them shown leaving his bat in the photo featured above on Page One of the Sports Section.

PAST BALL is PLAY BALL. The Astros got a higher placement but our vintage game got the larger headline. That's Vince "The Viper" Columbo of the Combine connecting as Babies catcher Robby Martin looks on with great interest and anticipation.

PAST BALL is PLAY BALL. The Astros got a higher placement but our vintage game got the larger headline. That’s Vince “The Viper” Columbo of the Combine connecting as Babies catcher Robby Martin looks on with great interest and anticipation.

“PAST BALL” IS “PLAY BALL!” Those two words say it all as the best summary on vintage base ball. It is a game that is played in happiness, a game that is both competitive and yet, still joyful – the closest experience to all day sandlot baseball that most of us once knew as kids, a contest taken seriously without grown up rules and interference. We all always understood these two facts: “Three strikes and you’re out. Three outs and the other team bats.” Grasping that much, you get to play a game you love with people you value as brothers and sisters of the baseball soul. – Who could want or ask for anything more, except for a cool breeze every now and then and plenty of water, as long as it didn’t fall from the sky on game day?

That Saturday in Galveston was wonderful. I’ve got a feeling that the next time we travel to the Island, there’s a good chance that we shall run into a new/old club – via the resurrection of the Galveston Sand Crabs.

All of us who do anything to bring vintage base ball to life in the Greater Houston Area want to thank John DeLapp and Kevin M. Cox, the Galveston County News, and the planners of the Beach Revue Weekend for bringing vintage base ball to life on the Island that special weekend. Let’s do it again sometime – and let’s get those Sand Crabs in motion again while the iron of passionate interest is hot!

Have a nice hump day, everybody!

Babies-Combine in 14-14 Galveston Tie

May 19, 2013
At Galvez Field, Bob Stevens (L) of the Babies eyes the short fences and predicts to manager Bob Dorrill: "This will be my fist 4-homer day!"

At Galvez Field, Bob Stevens (L) of the Babies eyes the short fences and predicts to manager Bob Dorrill: “This will be my first 4-homer day!”

But let's not get ahead of ourselves. The day started with the Beach Revue Bathing Beauty Contest!

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. The day started with the Beach Revue Bathing Beauty Contest!

A Beach Revue Babe!

By the sea! By the sea! By the beautiful sea!

Yesterday, the Houston Babies tangled with their growing friendly arch rival, the Katy Combine, on new, but old and familiar grounds. As part of the Hotel Galvez Beach Central here-comes-summer weekend show, the Babies were only outshone by those other babes who showed up as contestants in the beach girl swim suit beauty contest. Even muscle beach Babies personnel like Bill Hale, Larry Hajduk,  and yours truly, Bill McCurdy, couldn’t make the difference this time.

The girls were just too flat-out gorgeous! – Well, the swim suit girls weren’t exactly flat-out, but, I’m just saying – as competition on that level, the Houston Babies weren’t even close to winning any attention-competition with the always alluring and uplifting presence of beautiful ladies.

(Can I say that much without getting into further trouble at home? My gosh, as a veteran of the Spanish-American War, a little slack here would be appreciated.)

As for the game, the Babies and Combine had to make do with a field so small that it brought new sweetness to the old baseball phrase for a park of easy homers. Galvez Field was the juiciest of juice boxes, so much so that Babies Manager Bob Dorrill and Combine Manager Dave Flores agreed prior to the game to an important ground rule: Every ball hit over, past, or through the close-in fence signs would be tagged as a ground rule single. As a result, almost all hits in the game, including those hit on top of the parking garage, were simply singles. A few swinging bunt singles, ground ball worm-burners to the outfield, and copiously repetitious fielding errors also allowed for all the other basemen.

Galvez Field from home plate, looking in to the Hotel Galvez: That sign is one of several that marked the short fence line. It's what Bob Stevens saw when he called his shot that wasn't to be due to ground rules.

Galvez Field from home plate, looking in to the Hotel Galvez: That sign is one of several that marked the short fence line. It’s what Bob Stevens saw when he called his shot that wasn’t to be due to ground rules.

A pretty young lady named Lynn won the swim suit contest and also threw out the first pitch of the game. That's the old Pecan Park Eagle himself calling her perfect shot pitch.for our many listeners.

A pretty young lady named Lynn won the swim suit contest and also threw out the first pitch of the game. That’s the old Pecan Park Eagle himself calling her perfect shot pitch.for our many listeners.

The game was memorable from several standpoints: (1) It was the first the Houston Babies have played in Galveston since 1888; (2) It was a successful demonstration of vintage baseball on The Island, one that we all hope will inspire the resurrection of the Galveston Sand Crabs as the newest of our local area old rules teams; and (3) It gave us all a day at the beach among the beautiful people of Galveston. All participants in the game especially want to thank Adrienne Culpepper and Will Wright of the Beach Central program for the invitation – and also thanks to the Hotel Galvez for their wonderful hospitality.

Beauty Queen Lynn

Beauty Queen Lynn

Murdoch's was the destiny for any supernatural foul balls that went straight back from the batter's box. Fortunately, there were none.Murdoch’s to our SW was the destiny for any supernaturally magiccal foul balls that went straight back from the batter’s box. Fortunately, there were none.

As for the game, it was a barn-burner. Katy jumped out to quick big lead – and they even held a 14-6 edge through the 5th inning of our 7-inning game. With Larry Hajduk replacing starter Bob Blair in the bottom of the 5th, the Babies tallied 5 runs in the top of the 6th to narrow their deficit to 11-14. Buffalo Hajduk then helped his own cause with a sterling bit of defensive play in the bottom of the 6th to keep the score at 14-11, Katy, with one inning to go. The Babies then scored another 3 in their last time up to tie things at 14-14. – Hajduk the Elder then shut down Katy in the bottom of the 7th as regulation play ended and darkness drew near. The two clubs mutually agreed to finish their demo game right there with a well-deserved 14-14 tie as the final score.

To our SE was the target area for foul balls down the right field line. With the kind of lob pitching our batters see, fouls to the right side also were a non-factor.

To our SE was the target area for foul balls down the right field line. With the kind of lob pitching our all BR hittters see, fouls to the right side also were a non-factor.

Larry “Buffalo” Hajduk was named Player of the Game for his late inning relief pitching, his excellent fielding, and his better than average hitting on the day. Way to go, Buffalo!

Babies players batted in this order on the day: Phil Holland, Kyle Burns, Alex Hajduk, Larry Hajduk, Bill Hale, Bob Blair, Robby Martin, Robby Pina, Bob Stevens, and Jo Hale.

Combine players (to the extent that I have them identified) batted in this order: Brandon “Money”  Flores, Jimmy “Hay-hauler” Turner, Dave “Triple Play” Flores, Fernando the Panamanian Slugger, Vince “The Viper” Columbo, Jeff “Slim” Roberts, George “Cypress” Tilton, Jess the Roller-by Girl, Chris “Omega/Red” Flores, and Malcolm (Who?).

The Houston Babies celebrate a golden day with one of the Beach Revue girls joining them as very much in the picture.

The Houston Babies celebrate a golden day with one of the Beach Revue girls joining them as very much in the picture. That’s Kyle Burns up front with his dog, “Flicka”, who served as our Babies Mascot of the Day.

It was a great fun day. The beauty contest winner, a gorgeous blonde, threw out the first pitch – and earlier, she and another contestant, a beautiful brunette, took numerous photos with each team.

"May 18, 2013? Ah yes! I remember it well!" ~ Babies Mgr., Bob Dorrill.

“May 18, 2013? Ah yes! I remember it well!”
~ Babies Mgr., Bob Dorrill.

The next time you have a chance to watch a vintage baseball game, check it out. As Buddy Holly of the Crickets used to say, “You don’t know what you been a missin’, Oh Boy!”

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Footnote: Thanks to SABR member and long time Babies crank Mark Rejmaniak for the bathing beauty photos. Mark, your camera eye has made this column what it needed to be and totally made my day. The Pecan Park Eagle thanks you for the fine work and lasting contribution. – Bill McCurdy

Babies Lose Edge, Drop 2 at Katy Festival!

April 21, 2013
The looks on the faces of Houston Babies SS Robert Pena (L) and left fielder Alex Schmelter speak for the whole team as the leave fields after one of many tough innings on defense.

The looks on the faces of Houston Babies SS Robert Pena (L) and left fielder Alex Schmelter speak for the whole team as they leave the field after one of many tough innings on defense.

The Houston Babies drove west on I-10 Saturday morning with every intention of starting 2013 where they left off in 2012, but it wasn’t to be. Somewhere in the Highway 6 intersection area, their Grade A Vintage Base Ball Game skills fell off the team bus and things just went from there as all things go when you hit the top of the hill with no brakes – As you must have figured, knowing our Babies and our roster, the trip down into the Valley of Abject Defeat wasn’t much fun. Although, we were deeply moved by the opening day ceremonies.

The Katy group ordered a moment of silence in honor of our late team leader, Larry Joe Miggins. The colors were presented and first pitches thrown out by two 90-year old veterans of World War II (one of Normandy) and both of UT baseball in the early 1940s. One of the gentlemen had once caught the great Bobby Layne, a pretty fair college pitcher, but a lights out Hall of Fame QB in the NFL. I regret that I do not have their names. That big “E” is on me.

Back to vintage base ball, 1860s rules version: Even though the team won the coin toss for home field advantage in both their 10 AM and 12 NOON games against the Katy Combine and the Boerne White Sox, the games finished up as follows:

Katy Combine (aka “Floresville”) 5 – Houston Babies 3.

Boerne White Sox 10 – Houston Babies 5.

Let’s be merciful here, folks. Whereas, most teams are loaded with with “prospects” and “suspects”, the Houston Babies are a roster filled mostly by “artifacts”, players who love the game, but who also remember when FDR was president. We can give it our all – just not everyday. And Saturday, April 20, 2013, was definitely not one of those days.

When you can’t hit, catch, throw, run, or get all the way to the dirt on ground balls, bad things happen that quickly lead a team to the outcome file in which the prospect of winning is now an overwhelming improbability. That’s what happened to the club yesterday.

But we’ll be back. On one of our golden days, the Houston Babies can still beat anybody.

"You can't roller skate or win a game pitching in a buffalo herd." Larry "Buffalo" Hajduk (0-1) followed Bob Blair (0-1) to the mound in two  complete game losing efforts when neither hurler gave up an earned run.

“You can’t roller skate or win a game pitching in a buffalo herd.” Larry “Buffalo” Hajduk (0-1) followed Bob Blair (0-1) to the mound in two complete game losing efforts when neither hurler gave up an earned run.

With little help in the field, Bob Blair (0-1) took the loss against Katy; and Larry Hajduk (0-1) took the defeat against Boerne. According to official scorer-player Jo Hale, neither Blair nor Hajduk gave up an earned run in their two complete game losses. Does that tell you anything?

As we said, it was just one of those days when little went right. To be fair too, luck was out the window for the Babies on defense. The one-bouncers were mainly those short twisting kind that bounced unpredictably, whereas, the one-bouncers the Babies hit to the other teams mostly went straight to the fielders on easy one-bounce paths.

Kyle Burns had the we-gem catch of the day.

Kyle Burns had the web-gem catch of the day. in deep center field.

Kyle “Third Degree” Burns, the Babies center fielder, made a brilliant catch on one ball hit over his head that he had to secure at a galloping pace for the first bounce catch going away. The other “web-gem” play of the day was third baseman Bill Hale’s infield grab and behind the back flip to second for a successful force out play.

Bill Hale pulled off the web-gem total play of the day with a behind-the-bak toss to second for a force out.

Bill Hale pulled off the web-gem total play of the day with a behind-the-back toss to second for a force out.

On offense, the Babies got back into the old pattern of hitting those arching flies that make easier-to-catch first bounces straight at fielders, while otherwise, they kept hitting easy pop flies and infielder grounders. The Houston boys also ran themselves out of scoring chances with some daring dash attempts that might have worked thirty years ago, but were doomed to reality-wheel-failure in 2013.

On the day, six Babies had multiple hits: Kyle Burns had 4; Phil Holland had 3; Bill “Slick” Hale had 3; Robert Pena had 2; Robbie Martin had 2; and Alex Schmelter had 2. With Mike  McCroskey singling against Boerne and his fleet-footed daughter Meghan running for him, the Babies were able to produce a run that got them off the zero-schnid. Had it not been for the younger McCroskey, the Babies might not have broken into the scoring column in the loss to Boerne.

Thank you, Meghan McCroskey!

Mike McCroskey: He's what baseball had in mind when they invented the "DH".

Mike McCroskey: He’s what baseball had in mind when they invented the “DH”.

After the game, we had a brief morale meeting, but we quickly disbanded when none of us could find any. On the bright side, we just wrote it off as one of those days. Contrary to rumor, no Houston Babies vintage club players were issued bus tickets to our minor league vintage farm clubs at Oklahoma City, Corpus Christi, or Lexington.

At least, not yet.

Just kidding. We’ll get better and have our kind of day again. We have to improve. Our next big games are “by the sea, by the sea, by the beautiful sea” in Galveston at 6:00 PM on May 18th. Stay tuned for further details.

Oh, somewhere in this favored land the sun is shining bright; The band is playing somewhere, and somewhere hearts are light, And somewhere men are laughing, and somewhere children shout; But there is no joy in Mudville - mighty Casey has struck out.

Oh, somewhere in this favored land the sun is shining bright;
The band is playing somewhere, and somewhere hearts are light,
And somewhere men are laughing, and somewhere children shout;
But there is no joy in Mudville – mighty Casey has struck out.

Ditto!

Ditto!

Boerne  Wins The Day at Katy. Monday, April 22, 2013. This just in from Tom Flores of the Combine and Katy Festival group: The Boerne White Sox (2-0) went back to the San Antonio era the big vintage ball winner of the day by taking an 11-10 win over the Katy Combine (1-1) in a 2:00 PM Saturday, April 20th game shortened to 6 innings so that the visitors could get home at a reasonable hour. With the Houston Babies already in the barrel at (0-2) on the day, the fearless Boerne group went home with the best record on the day.

In behalf of the Katy Festival, Tom Flores also thanks all the teams for helping make it another great spring event in the name of all things good about our community, our state, and our nation.

MSN: Beyond Human Contact

July 3, 2012

Mum’s the Word. Go to the “Most Common Questions” link in our Help Forum.

Dear Pecan Park Eagle Blog Readers:

Here’s the short version of my little story of the day in these parts: After twelve plus years on the Internet, I have a brand new primary e-mail address and it is houston.buff37@gmail.com - You may have to cut and paste the new address to render it usable, but please do. I won’t be using MSN’s Hotmail any longer than it takes me today to finish the transfer of  all my baseball research correspondence folders and past blog column folder information from the old site to the new.

(OK, I’m not doing the actual data transfer myself. My 27-year old much geekier son Neal is doing it, but I’m watching the process intently.)

What happened at Hotmail is this. – After five years of blog notice email broadcasting from my Hotmail site to friends and subscribers about the posting of new columns, all of a sudden, the MSN service provider could not tell the difference between me and spammers that use these sites to push Viagra and quick profits on gold coins. They started blocking me out of my site about once or twice a month and, each time they did, they put me though this horrendous process of proving my identity before they allowed me back.

I tried to explain to Hotmail what I was doing in written form, but I received no response. Along the way, I learned that MSN, like many Internet service providers, does not offer direct human contact by phone. Yo either work it out their may through the machines or you go to the robot-run help forums to seek answers from other user to what they call “common problems.”

My son Neal says G-Mail is a much better answer. – We’ll see. – And I will keep adjusting my expectations in the brave new world of the Internet to the realities of my personal experience. My generation received one strong trait education that survives to help us most through the lessons of this kind of thing on the Internet.-  We used to call it perseverance.

At any rate, please change my e-mail address in you address box. Thanks. And have a great 4th of July.

Come see the Houston Babies play the Katy Combine in 1860′s-rules vintage base ball at 10 AM on the 4th of July at the George Ranch near Sugar Land.

And speaking of the Fourth, come see us tomorrow at the George Ranch. The Houston Babies and the Katy Combine will be celebrating out American Independence Day in the old-fashioned spirit of vintage base ball at 10 AM and we invite all of you to come watch. Vintage ball is the closest thing that baseball history has to a Garden of Eden and Big Bang. and, if you ever had fun on the sandlot as a kid, get ready for the most fun you’ve watched in a very long time.

And, who knows, your next step may be to get into the game somewhere yourself the next time.

O, yeah! – GOD BLESS AMERICA!

 

Houston Babies Make Channel 13 Appearance

June 6, 2012

(TV Shot, Courtesy of KTRK-TV): Kevin Quinn, Ch. 13 Reporter, wearing Blind Tom hat, Bill McCurdy, Bill Hale, Bob Stevens, Robby Martin, Larry Joe (tallest head) Miggins, Manager Bob Dorrill, Robert Pena, Mark Hudec, Mike McCroskey, Zac Hajduk, & Larry Hafduk.

Those Houston Babies just keep getting famouser and famouser.

Yesterday, eleven members of the Houston Babies vintage base ball club found ways to take off from their normal jobs and duties to school, work, and retirement to assemble at the far playing field behind the Jimmy Wynn Baseball Training Center on Victory Drive in the Acres Homes area to put on a demonstration of vintage base ball and to have a nice laid back dugout interview of their various interests in the game with Channel 13 reporter Kevin Quinn.

A good time was had by all – and that end was mad much easier by the affable Kevin Quinn and his “get in there” and try the game on with the Babies from the batter’s box. Quinn took several good whacks at the ball, quickly learning the blessing/curse of the one-bounce catch for an out rule – and finding a just-as-quick lesson about what happens to runners who cannot stop at first on a dime. – “You’re out, Mr. Quinn. OK? Just as soon as you run past that bag to beat out a hit and don’t get back in time, you are going to get tagged out for not stopping on the bag, the only place a runner is safe on the base baths by the 1860 rules.”

Mike “Piano Legs” McCroskey brought his lovely and very nice just-graduated-from-high-school daughter Kate to the video practice for Channel 13, The much speedier-of-foot Ms. McCroskey had ample opportunity to serve as a courtesy runner for her father – and for reasons that should be fairly obvious from his musical instrument parts nickname.

“McCroskey really runs like he has a piano on his back,” Larry Joe “Long Ball” Miggins later offered in out dugout interview segment. “That’s OK to a point,” Miggins continued, “but every now and then, he slows down on the base paths to just play the darn thing. That’s the real killer.”

Those remarks, of course, we’re all said and received in fun – just part of the camaraderie that exists among the Babies players and their love for the vintage game and each others company. – We are all good friends on this bus. Friends of baseball. Friends in reverie for the old sandlot game we once played as kids. Friends of each other. And friends and lovers of this new old game we have discovered that is 1860 rules vintage base ball.

Here’s a link to report on the Houston Babies and Vintage Base Ball that aired on KTRK-TV, Channel 13, shortly after 4:30 PM on the afternoon of Tuesday, June 5, 2012:

http://abclocal.go.com/ktrk/story?section=news/local&id=8690217

If you think you might be interested in learning more about the Houston Babies and vintage base ball, come on out to the Fourth of July activities coming up at the George Ranch near Sugar Land. The Babies will be there, as will two or three other local area clubs that are aiming to celebrate our nation’s birthday is a way that is still the hallmark of our most American celebration with baseball, hot dogs, bands, and family fun at a country fair type atmosphere.

Thanks again, Kevin Quinn. – The Houston Babies very much appreciate all you did for us and our game yesterday.

Root. Root. Root.

May 7, 2012

In case you missed yesterday’s coverage of Saturday’s twin bill win by the Houston Babies at the Katy Heritage Festival, here again is the direct link:

http://bill37mccurdy.wordpress.com/2012/05/06/undefeated-babies-take-two-at-katy-festival/

Today’s afterglow is simply a short and sweet parody of our baseball national anthem, “Take Me Out To the Ball Game,” that suddenly decided to write itself through me, almost completely in my early morning sleep-wake dawn on the pillow, and in restive honor of our vintage base ball fiery flashes, the Houston Babies. (How’s that for a taste of some 19th century flower-pedal journalism?)

Bob Stephens, Bill McCurdy, Phil Holland.

Take us back – to the old game!

Take us back! – Bring a crowd!

We’ve got the peanuts – and Cracker Jack!

You won’t care – if you NEVER get back!

Come and – ROOT, ROOT, ROOT – for the BABIES!

If they – don’t win – we’ll EXPLAIN!

‘Cause it’s ONE – BOUNCE – CAUGHT – and You’re OUT,

In the Vintage – GAME!

Undefeated Babies Take Two at Katy Festival

May 6, 2012

The Undefeated Houston Babies Took Two at Katy Yesterday.

Yesterday at the Katy Heritage Festival, May 5, 2012, the Houston Babies vintage base ball club proved to be the “Sinkhole de Mayo” for the other two teams participating in the round robin tourney. The Babies took the 10:00 AM opener, 8-6, in one extra inning of vintage ball play over the host Katy Combine and then took a lunch break while the Katy nine stayed on the field to play the visiting Boerne White Sox.

In the 12:00 Noon second contest, the Katy Combine rallied home spirit by coming all the way back from an 0-7 hole to take an 8-7 win over the Boerne nine.

The Babies then returned to play the 2:00 PM game against the Boerne White Sox, taking an 8-5 victory that was ,measurably helped by a last time up for Boerne double play from Danny Kramer in center on a one bounce fly and a relay throw to and from Alex Hajduk at shortstop to catcher Mike McCroskey at catcher for a sure-handed catch and tag on the Boerne runner attempting to score.  McCroskey may miss a few of those hot shots down the third base line that buzz his season ticket location at Minute Maid Park, but he catches them when they count in Babies games. Several batters and one final Boerne run later, Babies third baseman Bill Hale found the adrenalin energy for one last chase and catch of a one-bounce final out on a looping foul ball down the left line beyond third. The Babies (2-0) had taken the day over the two fine clubs from Katy (1-1) and Boerne (0-2).

A good time was had by almost all.

It was hot. – Mike McCroskey, Larry Joe Miggins, and Bob Stephens couldn’t find the shade fast enough at the end of their second game on Saturday.

Unfortunately, the day was marred by the scary collapse of Peggy Dorrill, the wife of Babies Manager Bob Dorrill, shortly into the second inning of the second Babies game. Peg had been felled by the high heat and humidity, forcing the Dorrills to leave early for safety’s sake. You don’t mess around with the potential for heat stroke once you see the kind of reaction that Peggy apparently had in Saturday’s dipping-into-the-90s weather. The Babies responded by winning another one, but this one was especially dedicated to Peggy Dorrill and her loyal husband prince of a thousand years, Bob “The Gipper” Dorrill. Get well, Peg! And stay cool and hydrated!

The Chic Fil-A cow showed in the morning and had a picture made with the Babies. The cow was there in the afternoon. The actor who played the gender-unspecified creature would have died in that cow outfit.

Phil Holland: “8 for 8 on a double game date.”

Because I lost access to the scorecard when the Dorrills departed when Peggy went down, I’m unable to bring you line item scoring and a lot of detailed data on all performances, but there was one performance by a Babies player that went way beyond the need for written transcription. Our wonderful 70 years plus aged second baseman, Phil Holland, who already plays the game like a man thirty years younger, went on an amazing tear at the plate. Holland was a perfect 8 for 8 on the day, going 5 for 5 in the first contest nd keeping the club in the game while some their bats rested. He was finally retired on a sac fly in his ninth time up on the day, but his RBI in that case pushed across a critical run and left the door open for two others that followed.

As per usual, Alex Hajduk stung the ball hard on the day and, this time, little brother Zac Hajduk was on hand with a pretty good hammer of his own. Longball Miggins, Bill Hale, Kyle Burns, all also made their own contributions – and Miggins, of course, was his usual wounded warrior, but always stand up, diving defensive gemologist in the field.

“Daddy Long Day” needs to be the new nickname for pitcher Larry Hajduk. Larry pitched every toss in every inning of both games, adding two more wins to his career vintage ball pitching record – and doing it all without complaint that his arm would occasionally fall off and force yet another timeout for attachment in the right shoulder socket.

Thanks, Larry, for being the hearty soul from Buffalo you have always been, Larry’s late life greatness as a vintage ball hurler is proof again of a wonderful quote by 19th century British writer George Eliot. The same application here also belongs to Phil Holland, Mike McCroskey, Larry Joe Miggins, Bob Stephens, Bill Hale, and all our other long-of-tooth Babies.

Eliot put it this way: “It is never too late to become the person you might have been.”

If it were nothing else, and it is much more, vintage base ball is the opportunity to recapture the hopes and dreams of the sandlot in real-time – and to put in motion all those things we may still do, in addition to baseball, for the creative joy of living our time through all the life cells that still comprise who we are, now and forever, until the day we die.

John Lomax, Danny Kramer, & Blind Tom Flores.

Writer John Lomax and photographer Danny Kramer, both of The Houston Press, were also on hand Saturday in preparation for a feature story on vintage base ball that they are planning for their paper this coming summer. Along the way, the reporters accepted our invitation to suit up and play for the Babies in Game Two. For those of you who are wondering about professional boundaries disappearing here, forget about it. This was not the first time The Houston Press has demonstrated its ability to take sides.

Thanks for the coverage, guys! All of Houston Area vintage base ball needs and appreciates the support of The Press.

DANNY KRAMER’S KNEE:
After Big Double Play.

Two more notes: It was the initial throw from center by Danny Kramer that sparked the game-saving double play in the final frame against Boerne in the second game, and not Kyle Burns as we originally reported. My apologies to both men for the reporting error. The mistake was brought to m attention by first sacker Larry Joe Miggins, not the modest Mr. Kramer. Miggins even retrieved the now included photo of what happened to Danny’s knee on the same play. After catching the ball for a one-bounce out, Kramer apparently slipped, either retrieving or throwing the game-saver, thus giving up his own blood for the noble cause of victory in behalf of the Houston Babies. – And that brings me to point number two:

You see, we have learned that kind of play he made for us is in his bloodline. The Houston Press photographer and Houston Babies center fielder in Game Two last Saturday that was Danny Kramer just happens also to be the son of Green Bay Packers Team Hall of Fame guard Jerry Kramer of the Vince Lombardi era.

Oh My Gosh, Mr. Kramer!

The Houston Babies owe you a debt of gratitude, sir, gratitude for being the kind of man you are – and for playing the only kind of game that Kramers play – the all out brand.

Thanks too to everyone in Katy that made yesterday’s great fun in the Combine City possible. And thanks to the Boerne White Sox too for coming all the over to Katy from the Greater San Antonio area to make our three-team tourney possible.

Also, stay tuned for upcoming news about the next appearance of the Houston Babies at the George Ranch near Sugar Land sometime around the Fourth of July. That activity will take place only if the Babies club members are willing to commit themselves to it on what will likely be another “hot as a firecracker” Independence Day period on the Houston area  heat clock. Be on the lookout for further word to players from Babies Manager Bob Dorrill.

CLOSING ON A UNIFORM DESIGN FASHION NOTE …

THANKS, SUE!

Based upon what she saw in a first run prototype of the late 19th century alternate Babies road uniform I featured here yesterday, an old friend I’ll just call “Sue” suggested the baby diaper would look better with some baseball stitches. Well, here’s how it looks with stitches and the nickname “Babies” added as angled script.

Thanks for the remedy, Sweet Sue! And have a nice Sunday.

Longball Meets Bonnie Parker; Recruits Ball Girls

April 2, 2012

If these girls are the Ghosts of Bonnie Parker they claim to be, do you really want to call "Ghostbusters?" If you were Larry "Longball" Miggins of the Houston Babies, the post-game answer to this question in Sealy, Texas on Saturday was --------- "You don't call anybody!"

This late development just came in as a report from one our stalwart Houston Babies, first baseman Larry “Longball” Miggins. Apparently getting out of Sealy after the vintage base ball games yesterday was a little tricky, even for an old man with gimpy legs:

“Great game yesterday fellas, We finally woke up in the 4th and had a big inning. After the game, I was approached by some of the girls in the Bonnie and Clyde gang. Bonnie talked me into taking a picture with her and her girls with the promise of possibly being ball girls for our next game. Well here is wishing. It is amazing how convincing pretty girls can be. I was ready to go rob a bank with them after the game, but the authorities in Sealy were already on to them and extra officers were on hand as we drove by to case the bank. Good thing as my legs were so sore that I would have been limping into the bank and probably missed the get away car.  Enjoy the Rest of your weekend and thanks to the good folks in Sealy, Katy Combine and Boerne for a great day. - Longball (Miggins)” 
          Thank you, Longball, for this excellent report on your near misadventures in the lengthening shadows of our spring Saturday post-game time in Sealy. And thank you for not getting arrested on a foolish bank robbery attempt. The Houston Babies can’t afford to lose your valuable service at first base.
          Now, if those pretty lady ghosts in the picture with you are really interested in becoming ball girls for the Houston Babies, just tell them to proceed at their earliest convenience and get in touch with our General Manager.
          That would be me.

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