1963: Farrell Admits to Baseball Pool Resentment

April 27, 2015
Turk Farrell could not have roller skated in this baseball pool either, but he might have been able to afford it from his 1963 World Series money, - had the Dodgers not put him in that expansion draft baseball pool of 1961.

Turk Farrell could not have roller skated in this baseball pool either, but he might have been able to afford it from his 1963 World Series money, – had the Dodgers not put him in that expansion draft baseball pool of 1961.


Farrell Says No Hatred

Houston (AP) (April 14, 1963) –


Dick “Turk” Farrell
Before His Houston Days

 Dick Farrell says he does not hate the Los Angeles Dodgers.

The big Houston right-hander was quoted during spring training in Arizona as saying he hated the team that made him available to the Houston Colts in the 1961 baseball pool.

‘To tell the truth, I never hated the Dodgers – just their front office for trading me off when they had a chance to win a World Series,” Farrell said yesterday.

Farrell admits (to) getting a thrill out of beating the Dodgers, as he did Friday night, 2-1 in 12 innings while going the distance and giving up four hits.

~ Associated Press, Phoenix Arizona Republic, April 14, 1963, P 56


Baseball Almanac Box Scores: Houston Colt .45s 2 – Los Angeles Dodgers 1 (12 innings).
Los Angeles Dodgers ab   r   h rbi
Davis W. cf 5 0 0 0
Oliver 2b 5 0 0 0
Davis T. lf 4 0 3 0
  Walls pr,lf 1 1 0 0
Skowron 1b 4 0 0 0
Roseboro c 5 0 0 0
Howard rf 4 0 1 1
  Fairly rf 1 0 0 0
McMullen 3b 2 0 0 0
  Gilliam ph,3b 1 0 0 0
Tracewski ss 2 0 0 0
  Zimmer ph,ss 3 0 0 0
Miller p 3 0 0 0
  Perranoski p 0 0 0 0
  Roebuck p 1 0 0 0
Totals 41 1 4 1
Houston Colt .45s ab   r   h rbi
Fazio 2b 5 0 0 0
Spangler lf 6 1 2 0
Runnels 1b 4 0 1 0
Staub rf 4 0 0 0
Aspromonte 3b 5 0 0 0
Goss cf 6 1 4 1
Campbell c 4 0 0 0
Lillis ss 3 0 0 0
  Warwick ph 1 0 1 1
  Hartman ss 1 0 1 0
Farrell p 2 0 0 0
Totals 41 2 9 2
Los Angeles 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 1 4 2
Houston 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 1 2 9 2
  Los Angeles Dodgers IP H R ER BB SO
Miller 7.2 3 0 0 4 0
  Perranoski 1.0 2 1 1 0 0
  Roebuck  L (0-1) 2.2 4 1 1 2 5
  Houston Colt .45s IP H R ER BB SO
Farrell  W (1-1) 12.0 4 1 1 2 11

E–Zimmer (1), Miller (1), Aspromonte (1), Campbell (1).  HBP–McMullen (1,by Farrell).  Team LOB–7.  SH–Farrell 2 (2,off Miller,off Perranoski); Campbell (2,off Perranoski); Runnels (1,off Roebuck).  IBB–Staub (1,by Roebuck).  Team–15.  SB–Gilliam (1,2nd base off Farrell/Campbell).  HBP–Farrell (1,McMullen).  IBB–Roebuck (1,Staub).  U-HP–Frank Walsh, 1B–Jocko Conlan, 2B–Ken Burkhart, 3B–Chris Pelekoudas.  T–3:09.  A–12,044.

Baseball Almanac Box Score | Printer Friendly Box Scores

Buff Stadium in Hitchcock (1963)

April 26, 2015
Hurricane Carla tore up old Busch/Buff Stadium pretty badly in September 1963, just prior to the end of the  last Houston Buff season in history. The mortal damage to the venerable old home of so much local baseball history was delayed until April 1963, when the demolition crews took her down for all time.

Hurricane Carla tore up old Busch/Buff Stadium pretty badly in September 1961, just prior to the end of the last Houston Buff season in history. The mortal damage to the venerable old home of so much local baseball lore was delayed until April 1963, when the demolition crews took her down for all time.


Buff Stadium in Hitchcock

Houston Landmark Moved to Storage at Blimp Base

By Jim Holman, (Galveston Daily) News Mainland Editor

Hitchcock (TX) – Houston’s Busch (ne: Buff) Stadium is moving to Hitchcock, confirming local rumors – but it’s coming in bits and pieces and is likely to stay that way.

A source who declined to be identified said Wednesday there was a chance one small bleacher section would possibly be left intact and set up as a viewing stand at the (horse) race training track on the John Mecom ranch on the old blimp base near here.

The major part of the old stadium, which is currently being torn down, is stored on the blimp slab, some of it hauled (there) as concrete blocks and some (brought) down to (storage as) structural steel.

Box seats are stored inside the recently completed 1000 x 200 foot building marked by the four western columns of  the old blimp base structure.

The stadium seated approximately 12,200, with a peak capacity crowd of 14,000. It was the home stadium of the Houston Buffs, members of the American Association until they gave up their franchise in 1961.

The source said there are no plans for the broken down stadium structure at present, but the steel might possibly be used for other construction.

(The final four paragraphs move off topic to the story of the horses also stabled at the same blimp site.)

~ Jim Holman, Galveston Daily News, April 11, 1963, Page 1.


Until I found this article this afternoon, I never knew what happened to the materials salvaged from the demolition of Buff Stadium in April 1963. If this published material is accurate, it provides us, at least, with a point B for any further research on anything that may have survived the scrap material pile that the salvage company was temporarily storing at the old blimp hangar site in Galveston County, to the right on the mainland, as one drives down I-45 South on the way to the island. I also must admit to having no idea today if anything remains recognizable there as the former blimp site. We are talking here about something today that happened 52 years ago.

If anything survived, it may been either the small grandstand section or the box seats that Jim Holman referenced in his report. It’s probably more likely that those items too were eventually destroyed for salvaging their metal parts.

All the more reason we need to find away to save he Astrodome before the buzzards of business get her too. We don’t want to disappoint some grieving blogger from the year 2067 (That happens to be 52 years from now) by letting them cannibalize the Dome as they once did down to every last nut, bolt, and metal beam at Buff Stadium. The demolition of the Astrodome could lead some old guy in the future to be writing a story in 2067 about the time as a kid his parents took him to the 50th Anniversary Party of the Astrodome back in 2015.

There wouldn’t be anything left for him to write about, but his fading memories and the same hollow question that spills so easily into a deep lake of profound regret: “I wonder if we might be able to find some parts of the Astrodome still out there, even now, beyond those few hundred seats they once sold? My folks and I waited in line for two hours to see the Dome on the inside in 2015 and it was awesome – like nothing that exists in Houston today! – Why couldn’t the Houstonians of that time do something to give it new life?”

“Why? – Why? – Why?”

Bi-ig Stars! – They Don’ta Pay-Yay-Yay!

April 25, 2015




By Associated Press

New York, April 27 (1921). – Babe Ruth is too fast for New York. He appeared today in traffic court and was fined $25 for driving his automobile up Broadway last week at twenty-seven miles an hour, on his way to keep an engagement with the Yankees at the Polo Grounds.

Half an hour before the court opened, a crowd had gathered to see the baseball star. After the Babe had fumbled with his cap nervously, admitted that he was sorry, and paid the lowest fine the court could impose, the crowd sent up a cheer.

~ Galveston Daily News, Associated Press, April 28, 1921.

Storyline derived from this article submission to TPPE by researcher Darrell Pittman.


… and if the crowd cheer had been a chorus about the Babe’s near brush with justice, it may have even borrowed from a song of the future to parody this outcome that remains in play forever, “Big Girls Don’t Cry” works fine as our model for the choral celebration of Babe’s easy escape from the short arm of the law governing celebrities of his ilk:

Big stars –  don’t pay
Big stars –  don’t pay

Big stars –  don’t pay
(They don’t pay)

Big stars – they don’t a pay yay yay
(Can’t make ’em pay)

Big stars – they just fly high
(My oh my – My oh my)

Babe – Ruth – he  didn’t cry yiy yiy
(I wonder why?)

Babe told the judge right away
(Silly boy) Your Honor, I’m sorry
(Silly boy) I’ll do better tomorry,

Big stars – don’t pay

Big stars – don’t pay
(Nor do they – cry)
Not in – base-ball

Big stars – don’t cry
Big stars – don’t cry
Big stars – don’t cry

Joe Bauman: The Minor League Home Run King

April 24, 2015
Joe Bauman launches another ball into the stratosphere back in 1954.

Joe Bauman launches another ball into the stratosphere back in 1954.

In 1954, a six foot, four inch, 235 pound all-lefty first baseman for the Roswell Rockets of the Class C Longhorn League named Joe Bauman hit 72 home runs in only 498 official times at bat in 138 games. He also batted .400 that season, with 35 doubles, 3 triples, 188 runs scored and 224 runs batted in. When it was said it done, the 32 year old veteran of his first seven of nine minor league seasons had placed himself in the rare company of legendary baseball figures by becoming the first man in history to hit and break the “70 HR” mark by a solid two colossal shots into the stratosphere.

Bauman’s homers were not “barely-made-its” over short right field porches. They were those towering majestic far-distance blows in the 500 argumentative feet range – the kind of home runs we usually associate with all our fabled ideas about the home run rides of the great Babe Ruth, but, here’s the even bigger seal upon the awesomeness of Mr. Bauman in 1954. He never even  got a call to show up on a trial basis at the 1955 spring training camp of any major league club as a result of his 1954 icing on the cake of an otherwise also outstanding minor league career. Maybe it was his age – or the fact that Bauman accomplished his phenomenal 1954 numbers at a lower minor league level, but the long term result seems to have helped highlight his accomplishments that year.

Joe Bauman

Joe Bauman

He simply returned to Roswell in 1955 to hit only 46 homers with a .337 batting average. Then, at age 34, he retired after the 1956 season with Roswell after hitting only .287 with 17 homers in 52 games.

For his nine seasons in the minor leagues (1941, 1946-48, 1952-56), Joe Bauman closed with an interesting pair of numbers – 337 home runs and a .337 batting average.

Could Joe Bauman have made it big at a higher level of play? We will never know – and even his quick fall of over the next two seasons of production fails to answer that question in reality.

We do know that 1954 was one one of those years in which Bauman’s vision of the ball was operating at an enhanced state. Bob Rives, who did a great job writing Bauman’s biography for the SABR Bio Project, quoted Joe as saying, ” ‘That summer the ball looked this big,’ he says, circling an area the size of a ripe cantaloupe with his hands.”

Maybe Joe Bauman could have retained his grapefruit-scale baseball vision in 1955, had he moved up to a higher level challenge? And maybe if we better understood the cause of that amplified ball-size vision state which only a few rare  players like Stan Musial and Ted Williams seem to own for whole careers, we’d also catch lightning in a bottle as hitting instructors everywhere.

Check out the Joe Bauman bio by Bob Rives. Another little known fact about the legendary Minor League Home Run King is that he wasn’t a natural BL/TL first baseman. His father converted him to an all lefthanded player at an advanced age – for whatever unstated reason – and Joe took to the change like the proverbial duck taking to water.


Also, please note. The source that put me on course to write about Joe Bauman this morning was now my always handy reference book, “Baseball: It’s More Than Just a Game”, by fine researcher and baseball writer Greg Lucas. Greg Lucas includes note of Joe Bauman on Page 156 as one of the great players of minor league history. If you do not yet own a copy of Greg’s book, you are missing out on miles and miles of baseball history education and entertainment. The book was first only available in paper back, but it is now for sale in a hard back cover with dust jacket in larger type for easier bedside or personal home cave reading. It is also available through Barnes and Noble, other national retailers and Amazon.com for easy credit card ordering.

Two Items Too Good To Ignore

April 23, 2015

Item No. One: Today is the 51st anniversary of Houston Colt. 45 pitcher Ken Johnson’s no-hitter loss to the Cincinnati Reds on April 23, 1964.

Ken Johnson Houston Colt .45s April 23, 1964

Ken Johnson
Houston Colt .45s
April 23, 1964

Check out the great job that Bryan Kerr did on J.R. Gonzales’ Bayou City History blog to commemorate and re-tell the story:


Item No. Two: Marriage and Wives.

Dagwood and Blondie Bumstead

Dagwood and Blondie Bumstead
“…and they lived happily ever after!”

All but two of the items below were submitted by e-mail from the Rev. Father Gerald Beirne of Rhode Island and SABR – and they are intended for men and women with a sense of humor!

Father Beirne didn’t write this material, but he is a truly wonderful man with a strong sense of humor of his own for where there are smiles to encourage and laughs to be fostered in a world starved for comedy.

Loosen up folks. Allow this piece to “make your day”!

Marriage and Wives

(1) When a man steals your wife, there is no better revenge than to let him keep her. ~ King David

(2) After marriage, husband and wife become two sides of a coin; they just can’t face each other, but still they stay together. ~ Sasha Guitry

(3)  By all means marry. If you get a good wife, you’ll be happy. If you get a bad one, you’ll become a philosopher. ~ Socrates

(4) Woman inspires us to great things, and then prevents us from achieving them. ~ Anonymous

(5) The great question, which I have not been able to answer… is, “What does a woman want?” – Alexander Dumas

(6) I had some words with my wife, and she had some paragraphs with me. ~ Sigmund Freud

(7) ‘Some people ask the secret of our long marriage. We take time to go to a restaurant two times a week. A little candlelight, dinner, soft music and dancing. She goes Tuesdays, I go Fridays.’ ~ Red Skelton

(8) ‘There’s a way of transferring funds that is even faster than electronic banking. It’s called marriage.’ ~ Sam Kinison

(9) ‘I’ve had bad luck with both my wives. The first one left me, and the second one didn’t.’ ~ James Holt McGavra

(10) Two secrets to keep your marriage brimming: (a). Whenever you’re wrong, admit it, (b) Whenever you’re right, shut up. ~  Patrick Murray

(11) The most effective way to remember your wife’s birthday is to forget it once. ~ Ogden Nash

(12) You know what I did before I married? Anything I wanted to. ~ Anonymous

(13) My wife and I were happy for twenty years. Then we met. ~ Henny Youngman

(14) A good wife always forgives her husband when she’s wrong. ~ Rodney Dangerfield

(15) A man inserted an ‘ad’ in the classifieds: ‘Wife wanted’. Next day he received a hundred letters. They all said the same thing: ‘You can have mine.’ ~ Anonymous

(16) Take my wife, please. ~ Henny Youngman

(17) First Guy (proudly): ‘My wife’s an angel!’ Second Guy: ‘You’re lucky, mine’s still alive.’ ~ Anonymous

(18) Some people enter marriage as though it were a horse costume. Over time, they each learn that it is no great honor to be either end. The “back end” lives with no identity and a stinking view of the “front end” mate. The “front end” lives with a strong desire to travel faster without having to drag the faceless, heavy “back end” along for the ride. ~ The Pecan Park Eagle

Enjoy your Happy Thursday, everybody!


A Baseball Snapshot of the Ebony-Ivory Era

April 23, 2015

“My claws are white, but my eye are black. Call me what you will, if you like the name ‘Sand Crabs’ for your club! – What I want to know is – if you call your team the ‘Sand Crabs’ – black or white – are you going to require your hitters to run the bases sideways on a batted ball?”

Back in the days of segregated baseball, before Jackie Robinson broke the color line in 1946-47 that kept identifiable black players from playing ball with whites at any level of organized (“white”) baseball, the white clubs even seemed to have “first dibs” on team nick names. If the Galveston white club was named for the Sand Crabs. a species that still lives abundantly upon the beaches of the Island City on the Gulf Of Mexico, south of Houston, the professional black club from that same community was then honor bound or “culturally coerced” into calling themselves the “Black Sand Crabs”, if they so chose (which they did) to identify their own athletic efforts with the same local creature. It was a distinction made by the prefacing word “Black” that both separated and explained their club’s distinct identity from the “White” version of the same animal namesake.

Here’s a game summary for a contest played in Galveston between the Black Sandcrabs and the Black Oilers on April 24, 1921 (The article expresses “sand crabs” in one word as “sandcrabs”.):

Galveston Daily News April 25, 1921 Contributed by Darrell Pittman

Galveston Daily News
April 25, 1921
Contributed by Darrell Pittman

That same year, the 1921 Galveston (White) Sandcrabs opened their Texas League season in Houston as guests of the Houston Buffaloes at West End Park as shown in the following panorama of both clubs lined up for a festive celebratory photograph prior to their game. The Houston club occupies the left of the space facing the camera to center page – and the Galveston side-crawlers occupy the right side of the picture section in this featured image:

buffs-sand crabs21

Our apologies for the fact that the panorama photo fades almost down to an ant-size line of figures in our presentation here, but that’s OK. Photographic quality is not the point of this column.

The point here is that it is important for us to remember that the so-called “good old days” may have been simpler for some, but not all. And that today, in spite of our new technological ability to rush to even quicker, often wrong judgments of others, we also are now more strongly committed as a culture to battle against discrimination which keeps any of our people disenfranchised due to their differences from our mainstream river of opportunity in this great country. As far as I’m concerned, we haven’t lost “The American Dream” that many now mourn as having passed. We simply have found a way to deal more openly, even if we disagree on measures of change, with our search for a way to make sure that the American Dream is available fairly to all of its citizens.

Our wonderful game of Baseball (and I love to capitalize that word every time I write about it specifically in the name of love)  was part of the problem for decades. From the 19th century opposition of Hall of Famer Cap Anson through the strong-hand administration of Commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis through the early to mid-1940s, an invisible, unwritten barrier to blacks kept some of the greatest ballplayers of all time from competing directly with all others at the major league level. That finally ended with the death of Landis, the surging support of Branch Rickey, and the gutsy day-to-day courage of Jackie Robinson breaking the major league color line with Brooklyn in 1947. He actually broke the color line at AAA Montreal in 1946, but had to do it also at the major league level the following season to make it stick.

The major snapshot here is not simply that all black clubs once had to use the word “black” as part of their separating identity from local clubs using the same mascot name. Those days are done. The snapshot here is that the battle against evil intent and discrimination against others for all kinds of reasons is never done. As long as ignorance, insecurity and the human ego work so well together, we shall always need to remain on guard against injustice and a retreat into old cultural fears of difference that get in the way of any hope for a shared peace and prosperity that is equivalently available to all.

Jackie Robinson # 42

Jackie Robinson
# 42

Jackie Robinson Day – and the wearing of #42 on each player’s jersey on that date in the baseball season – is undoubtedly the most important date in the season. If the day ever comes that we don’t do it any longer – and we start having a lot of young players coming up who don’t remember who Jackie Robinson was – or what he did – we are all stepping back into the deep dew of yesteryear. And I do mean “all” of us.

Jackie Robinson was not merely a figure of black liberation in American history. He also was a liberator of whites and all other races from segregation, a cultural way of life that forced us all to live in hypocrisy from the greater-sounding language of our Declaration of Independence and Constitution. All of us whites who ate in restaurants and attended movies and ballgames during the era of segregation, at best, were passive participants in a system which was totally unfair to our black brothers and sisters – who either weren’t allowed to be there too – or to have anything close to a full range of choice on event seats that matched our own “whites only” options.

Discrimination is the devil we all have to keep killing because there always seems to be someone around who keeps trying to bring it back in some new or remodeled form.

My favorite black baseball club nickname from those days of ebony and ivory separation was the Galveston Flyaways. To me, it stood out as a model of hope for soaring spiritual deliverance from this world’s limitations. And they did not have to call themselves the Galveston Black Flyaways either – because there absolutely was no such white team animal.

God Bless! – The Pecan Park Eagle!

Satchel Paige’s 1965 Visit to the Astrodome

April 22, 2015

Leroy “Satchel” Paige
Dreaming Away in the Astrodome Prior to It’s Opening in 1965
February 7, 1965 (Photo located by Darrell Pittman; Date Authenticated by Mike Acosta, Astros.)

We finally found a printed form – or, at least, most of it – of the truth about Satchel Paige’s visit to the Astrodome. It happened prior to the official opening of “The Eighth Wonder of the World”, but, judging from old Satchel’s published comments, the new domed stadium quickly won him over in wonder to the attractive idea of pitching inside the awesome facility. How much of that appearance was due to his recruitment by some Astros publicist – or Judge Hofheinz, himself – and how much of it generated from Paige’s never-failing knack for finding and stealing a few rays of limelight is the principal fact that goes unstated. Our Pecan Park Eagle  guess is that it was the formidable force of both needs, coming together on the eve of the most exciting stadium opening since the early days of the Coliseum in Rome, that arranged for this meeting between human and human-made forms of awesome originality.

“There’s no place to pitch like the Astrodome Stadium. … Man, that place is something else!”
~ Satchel Paige, 1965 (Photo located by Darrell Pittman.)


Frank A. Godsoe Column, Amarillo Daily News , April 8, 1965

Dots on the Dome Leroy “Satchel” Paige, who didn’t dream up the Astrodome Stadium which opens in Houston this weekend and didn’t promote it wishes someone had 30 years sooner. … Satch estimates that it would have added 10 years to his career. … Paige recently put on a Houston uniform and explored the premises of the super baseball barn.

“I’ve pitched baseball in all kinds of weather,” he said. … “Up in Canada where the wind is strong and cold enough to freeze a fast ball on its way to the plate … I’ve pitched in the tropics where the air’s kind of thick and heavy and there ain’t much breeze to worry about.

“I also pitched in high up places, such as Mexico City and Denver, where the ball’s supposed to carry better because the air’s so light. … I’ve pitched in more places than any other man, living or dead. … I also can throw any pitch you can name, and that’s not bragging because baseball’s my business. … I never had no job.

“But there’s no place to pitch like the Astrodome Stadium in Houston. … Man, that place is something else!”

~ Frank A. Godsoe Column, Amarillo Daily News, Thursday, April 8, 1965, Page 21.


Addendum: Clarification and Authentication of the Paige Appearance (Same Day as Publication)

Regarding the Satchel Paige Appearance in the Astrodome on February 7, 1965:

“This was right before the press preview with Anita Bryant. Paige was in town for something else and the team asked him to come in, do some publicity and give his opinion of the Astrodome. I have this date as 2/7/65.”

Mike Acosta

Authentication Manager
Houston Astros

Happy San Jacinto Day!

April 21, 2015
San Jacinto Monument East of Houston, Texas September 13, 2012

San Jacinto Monument
East of Houston, Texas
September 13, 2012

Today, Tuesday, April 21, 2015 is the 179th anniversary of the Battle of San Jacinto, the eighteen-minute battle that took place back on April 21, 1836 on the marshy plains east of Houston and Pasadena in which an again outnumbered army of dedicated revolutionaries, led by General Sam Houston, defeated General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna and the Army of Mexico, to free Texas from their sovereign rule.

San Jacinto Battlegrounds A View from the Monument Observation Floor September 13, 2012

San Jacinto Battlegrounds
A View from the Monument Observation Floor
September 13, 2012

This past Saturday, was another fine day of celebration and reenactment at the San Jacinto Battlegrounds, east of Houston – and a real day of history, music, food, and celebration, sponsored by the San Jacinto Museum Association and made possible by a legion of loyal to the bone volunteers and battle reenactors of the brief, but history-altering clash.


If you’ve never attended, come out next year and taste what you have been missing! If you are a regular attendee, come again to share the fun and joy!

Remember Goliad! ~ Remember the Alamo! ~ Remember San Jacinto!

Stay the Course Always – of Working Together to Build a Better Texas for all its citizens!

And keep the Spirit of Texas and all its people as free and responsible for the peace – as we always thirst to be!

(Also, writer, next time remember to check your planned activity facts more closely. My Apologies for missing the date of the celebration in my original version of this too hurried publication. The celebration was this past Saturday – not this coming Saturday, as I first thought and loudly touted here.  – For that grievous error of information, I can only throw myself on my own sword and say again that I am very, very sorry. But that error of fact and human eyesight doesn’t make a difference to what I’ve tried to convey here about the Spirit of Texas and the caring we should all share for Texas and its people. Thanks for you patience and forgiveness.)

Texas Forever Rain or Shine

Texas Forever
Rain or Shine


Join the Houston Area Vintage Base Ball Fun

April 21, 2015
Vintage Base Ball in Greater Houston is Calling You!

Vintage Base Ball in Greater Houston is Calling You to Help Organize New Teams and Get In on the 1860 Rules Base Ball Fun!

A Brief Local History. The Houston Babies are now in their seventh year of reincarnation. Starting in 2008, the heavily SABER-loaded, but not exclusively SABR rostered vintage base ball club came into being in honor of the first professional base ball team in Houston, the 1888 Houston Babies of the brand new Texas League. Yours truly served as the club’s original, and still titular-status General Manager.

Bob Dorrill was, and still is, the Babies’ Field Manager and the real driving force and operational General Manager  behind the sustainable health and success of the Babies’ modern history. Behind Bob Dorrill’s leadership role as the director of the Larry Dierker Chapter of SABR, his coordination of the publication needs of the first and only ancient history book on baseball in Houston, his planning for the 2014 National Convention of SABR in Houston, his work for the “Save the Astrodome” group, his involvement with the Houston Astros as a season-ticket holder, his voluntary service activities through his church, and, last, but not least, his devotion of time to family. We think Bob sleeps about four hours a night – and still wakes up with a smile and a handshake for all who deserve it.

The man is retired. He had to be retired. Otherwise, he could not have had the time he does to accomplish what’s really important to a passionate pursuit of life.

That being said, the Houston Babies of 2008 got started playing several games against the already established Montgomery County/Lone Star College Saw Dogs.

Over the years, the field opposition first expanded to include clubs from Boerne, Texas, the Boerne White Sox and Tusculum Freethinkers, and the Richmond Giants.

It did not take us far into our new page of vintage base ball history on a local basis to discover that scheduling games would suffer some of the same problems suffered by the early base ball clubs of the 19th century.

The Saw Dogs and Giants both blossomed and faded – and the still very active Boerne clubs were simply too far away to schedule on a frequent basis. – And we mean no fault to Boerne on that score. Located near San Antonio, the Boerne White Sox have been willing travelers to the Houston area for vintage games on several occasions. Our Babies, on the other hand, have never traveled farther than Sealy, Texas to play a game.

Our good friends, the Katy Combine, were sparked into lively and friendly-fierce competitive existence by Tom and Dave Flores & Company about four years ago and they have become our regular running mates and gentlemanly foes at tourneys and festivals played everywhere from the Combine’s home field at Katy, to the spring festival games in Sealy, to the vacant lot next to the Galvez Hotel at the beach in Galveston, to other celebrations at the George Ranch State Park near Sugar Land, and even to Constellation Field, home of the professional Sugar Land Skeeters.

Weather permitting, we also are hoping to expand play into the Hempstead, Texas area in the foreseeable future.

We could not have made this progress without the active help of the Katy Combine. They are wonderful competitors and worthy adversaries who have more often than we care to remember – handed our Babies club its tail on a silver platter.

The Combine and the Babies, for now, also are the only solvent ongoing vintage base ball clubs in the greater Houston area.

We need some real focus on the growth of this really rewarding exercise/hobby. In our brief experience, we have learned that vintage base ball, played without gloves by the 1860 rules, is about the closest thing we have to a time machine for recreating the joy of sandlot baseball from childhood. We’ve also learned from our real time experience with the Houston summer heat, that a vintage base ball game is best enjoyed on Saturdays in the early spring and late fall.

Back in 2012, vintage base ball and our Houston Babies received some nice coverage by Channel 13, but we weren’t prepared then to follow up the tout with a plan for reaching others. Now we seem to have reached a point in which a marketing plan of some broad input and support will be needed to keep things rolling toward a situation of easier, more interesting schedule-making. Otherwise, some of us are concerned for the sport’s ongoing future. If vintage ball fails to take hold and grow in Houston, it will not be for want of the joy it brings, but because we failed to get enough support behind the activity to make it attractive to others on a broader scale.

Once people play this game, they want to keep playing it. It’s like a second childhood – without all the negative and judgmental connotations that phrase contains in our culture. You have fun again. – You don’t worry about taxes or business problems – or all those other things you may waste time trying to control – like the decisions of your near adult and adult children. – You just find joy – as you once found it as a kid – and you get to inhale the deep breath of fresh air that comes from knowing that – love lives forever!

Houston Babies (foreground) prepare for a vntage game against the Katy Combine at George Ranch State Park near Sugar Land.

Houston Babies (foreground) prepare for a vintage game against the Katy Combine at George Ranch State Park near Sugar Land.

A Proposal. Here’s a brief staring point suggestion: If we could get two more active vintage ball clubs going in our area, we could have our then four clubs play each other on three doubleheader Saturdays in the spring and again, on another three doubleheader Saturdays in the fall.

At the end of those six games, the two clubs with the best overall records could play on a seventh Saturdays for the championship – one that would be followed by the awarding of championship and runner-up trophies – and a league celebration party.

For those who love baseball, but no little to nothing about the 19th century game, here’s one of many links that explains the rules of 1860 base ball:


If you have questions about the rules, or if you think you may be interested in organizing or playing for a vintage baseball club in the Houston area:

(1) Please Contact either …

Bob Dorrill (Houston Babies) @… bdorrill@aol.com


Dave Flores (Katy Combine) @… david.flores@mdanderson.org

It doesn’t matter which club leader you contact, we are all in this Greater Houston Area Vintage Base Ball Association expansion movement together!


(2) Make plans to come out an watch the Houston Babies and Katy Combine play at Constellation Field in Sugar Land prior to the Atlantic League game that follows the same night in the home of the Sugar Land Skeeters. Come early and stay late. Give yourself a chance to see a vintage ball game and make contact with the leadership of the two groups who will do all they can to help you get started learning the game and starting your own teams.

Do yourself a favor too. Allow us to help you find the fun you have been missing out on. – And, oh yes, our clubs dress in the uniforms of that earlier period in the game’s history! We can teach you easiest, best ways of outfiiting your own clubs and getting sponsorship support for the few “balls and bats” equipment you will need.

The date and time for the Constellation Field game is Friday, June 12, 2015, at 5:15 PM. Stay tuned here for further details on how you get in the stadium as we approach the game date – or make contact now with either Bob and Dave and give either your e-mail address or phone number for more direct, and probably earlier information on plans as they develop for that evening.

Huzzah!!! – That means “hurrah” in the 19th century etiquette language of emotional expression for athletic joy!!!

Snug as a Bug in a Glove

April 20, 2015
Sunday, 4/19/15: Jon Lester of the Cubs flips ball and glove to first baseman Franie Rizzo in time to get Cliff Barmes of the Padres for the out.

Sunday, 4/19/15: Jon Lester of the Cubs flips ball and glove to first baseman Anthony Rizzo in time to get Cliff Barmes of the Padres for the out.

In Sunday’s 5-2 loss to the Padres, Cubs’ lefty ace Jon Lester was on the mound with a runner on first when a ball was hit sharply back to him by Clint Barmes.  Lester snared it, intent on turning his stop into the start of a 1-6-3 double play, except for one problem. He couldn’t get the ball out of his glove. With hitter Barmes churning down the line to first base, Lester started to run in that direction too, removing the ball-enclosed glove from his right hand as he neared first base and teammate Anthony Rizzo. With Barmes now closing hard on first too, Lester heaved the ball underhanded to first baseman Rizzo, who now has his foot on the bag. awaiting a throw, but not the one he gets. As the glove floats fast to first, it begins to separate from the ball, which is also now holding true on that direction itself. Rizzo drops his own first baseman’s mitt in anticipation of a different kind of catch, one he may never have seen before or will ever see again at that position on the infield – or at any position on the infield, for that matter. The ball floats into Rizzo’s two-handed soft grasp for an out call on the runner, just before Barmes reaches the bag with his foot. Meanwhile, the glove has fallen short of reaching first base in an almost apologetic gesture for having gotten in the way of a clean double play opportunity in the first place.

Here’s link to a video on the play:


The rules questions are many:

(1) If it’s illegal to throw your glove at a ball in play, why is it legal to throw a glove which contains a ball while it’s still in play?

(2) If the ball had remained inside the pitcher’s glove and the first baseman had caught and only made contact with the glove itself, would the play still have resulted in an out? After all, Rizzo wasn’t actually wearing the glove – it wasn’t even his glove! Is it OK to use anything that is neither you nor your personal properly worn equipment to trap a ball in play for an out? For example, if Rizzo had used a runaway hot dog wrapper to trap the ball without making direct contact with his hands, would that also have been an out? If so, how so? The hot dog wrapper is no more a part of Rizzo’s personal fielding equipment than another player’s glove – even if the other fielder’s glove actually does look a lot more official as personal equipment than a hot dog wrapper.

(3)  For that matter, ould it be OK for a sliding outfielder to accidentally grab hold of a misplaced other player’s glove laying in foul territory to get credit for an out if he was still touching the alien glove when the ball came down and landed in its pocket an instant later?

(4) If first baseman Rizzo had thrown his own glove away into the baseline before he made the soft bare-handed out catch, would the runner have been ruled “safe” on an interference call?

Gotta stop. The possibilities simply grow more ridiculous as we think about it. Cute as it may have been, however, throwing the glove to first with the ball inside still sounds like something that ought to be illegal, if it’s not already – which it apparently isn’t.


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 64 other followers