BasebALZ enjoys Alzheimer’s Night at Dell Diamond

Thirteen participants, volunteers and family members attended Alzheimer’s Night at Round Rock’s Dell Diamond on Monday evening July 31.  As often happens when we venture to Dell Diamond, the game went extra innings with the hometown Express taking a walk-off 7-6 win in the bottom of the 11th on a two-out, two RBI double by 3B Will Middlebrooks.

In addition to the exciting game, many of us enjoyed the “$1 hot dogs and sodas” promotion on Harry Potter Night at the ballpark.  Needless to say, a good time was had by all.

Italian fare and baseball talk at the halfway mark for the July meeting

Fourteen chapter members and guests met for an Italian lunch on Saturday and gabbed about the Astros’ dominance in the American League, Jeff Bagwell’s upcoming Hall of Fame induction and potential trade deadline deals.

Bill Gilbert brought an interesting trivia quiz in which all answers were members of the National Baseball Hall of Fame (including soon-to-be and recently inducted members). Tom Thayer won the quiz and received a Baseball Hall of Fame trivia book as a prize.

Other topics included the practice of stadium naming rights, significant sporting events at the Houston Astrodome, the All-Star game and instances of east coast bias in baseball coverage (for example, ESPN.com’s headline about “Ex-Yankee Robinson Cano” winning the All-Star game). We also talked about Buck Showalter’s ability to build strong clubs that go on to the World Series without him. Orioles fan and baseball writer Ryan Pollack joked that he’s waiting for Showalter to depart.

The chapter continued its consecutive monthly meeting streak with this, the 128th consecutive month with a meeting.

Also, your humble reporter apologizes for leaving out a vital piece of information from the June 2017 meeting summary: Tom Wancho was the winner in Jim Baker’s manager quiz. Apologies for the oversight and congratulations to Tom!

The August meeting has not been scheduled, so look for information on the group email list and the Facebook page soon.

June meeting features Express win, bbq

Fourteen chapter members and guests dined at Salt Lick BBQ and watched the Round Rock Express beat the New Orleans Baby Cakes, 4-2, on Saturday, June 3.

The Express-Baby Cakes game included several players with Major League experience, such as Jurickson Profar (with the Texas Rangers), Will Middlebrooks (with the Boston Red Sox, San Diego Padres and briefly with the Milwaukee Brewers), and Brandon Barnes (with the Houston Astros and Colorado Rockies).

Jim Baker also noted that Baby Cakes third baseman Steve Lombardozzi is related to Domenick Lombardozzi, an actor most notably known for playing Det. Thomas “Herk” Hauk on HBO’s “The Wire.”

It was the 127th consecutive monthly meeting for the chapter. Jim Baker provided an interesting quiz on naming all 30 of the current Major League managers. Other questions included naming the managers with the most wins, most losses, highest winning percentage, and highest career postseason winning percentage. In addition, Jim asked us to name the five current managers who did not play in Major League Baseball.

Various topics of discussion included the Houston Astros’ hot streak, Edinson Vólquez’s no-hitter (first no hitter of the 2017 season), and the Texas Rangers’ struggle with one-run games this season, in sharp contrast with their record-setting performance in such games last season.

UPDATE: The July meeting will be at 12:30 p.m. Saturday, July 22, at Macaroni Grill at the Arboretum (9828 Great Hills Trail, Austin).

 

 

Express fall in group’s first outing to the ballpark in ’17

Thirteen chapter members and guests enjoyed a gorgeous night for baseball and saw the Round Rock Express fall 5-1 to the Oklahoma City Dodgers on Saturday, the group’s first outing to Dell Diamond this season.

A tight 1-1 game through 6 innings involved good pitching performances from Dillon Gee for the Express and former Major Leaguer Justin Masterson for the Dodgers. But the Dodgers tagged Tanner Scheppers for four runs in the 7th inning to secure the victory.

Meanwhile, Gilbert Martinez, taking his usual stroll around the ballpark recognized Wesley Wright, a relief pitcher in the Express bullpen. Wright, a lefty reliever for the Houston Astros for six years, has since pitched for the Blue Jays, the Cubs, the Orioles and the Angels. Wright pitched a 1-2-3 ninth for the Express.

Ryan Pollack (pictured below) represented the group well by twirling his way during the Chicken Dance. Jennifer Kaufman appreciates Ryan’s happy dance moves.

Prior to the game, many in the group joined for a barbecue dinner at The Salt Lick.

This was the chapter’s 126th consecutive month with a meeting.

Next chapter meeting will be a return engagement at Dell Diamond on June 3. More information will be forthcoming from Jan Larson.

(Photos by Gilbert D. Martinez)

March Lunch Meeting Wrap-up

Twelve Hornsby chapter members and guests met for lunch on Saturday, March 18 at the Third Base restaurant at US183 and Anderson Mill Road.

Topics of discussion included the World Baseball Classic and performance of the remaining teams – Japan, Netherlands, Puerto Rico and the pending USA-Dominican Republic elimination game.  Of special interest was the “international extra-inning” rule that attempts to shorten games by placing runners on first and second with no outs, beginning in the eleventh inning.  Spring Training was another hot topic, with chapter members discussing the performance – so far – of their favorite teams.

Jan Larson provided the quiz, a review of general baseball history and records.  The results were hotly-contested and Jim Baker walked away with the valuable prize – a Mark Saccomanno Corpus Christi Hooks bobble-head.

The April chapter meeting is TBD, but April 22 appears to be a likely date.  More information will be forthcoming.

Chapter celebrates 8th Annual SABR Day

Thirteen chapter members and guests joined SABR members across the country to help celebrate the Eighth Annual SABR Day.

The two most recently elected members of the National Baseball Hall of Fame were on our minds as Craig Lukshin wore his autographed Tim Raines Montreal Expos jersey, and I wore a Jeff Bagwell t-shirt featuring a silhouette of his distinctive crouching batting stance. Other notable attire included Ira Siegel’s Eddie Gaedel Society t-shirt.

Our next meeting will be on Saturday, Feb. 18, with a location to be determined.

Baseball tales abound at 11th annual winter meeting

Baseball stories involving Yogi Berra, Tommy Lasorda, Andre Dawson and Dizzy Dean were among the gems shared at the 11th Annual Rogers Hornsby Chapter Winter Meeting on Saturday, Jan. 14, at Texas State University.

Thirty-nine chapter members and guests enjoyed presentations by Dr. Bobby Brown, former World Series champion with the Yankees and retired cardiologist; Mark Saccomanno, former Astros first baseman who hit a homerun on the first pitch he saw in the big leagues; Mike Capps, entering his 18th season as broadcaster for the Round Rock Express; and Bo Carter, longtime college sports information director who co-authored a book about Dizzy Dean, and Sara Kirby Burke, daughter of longtime broadcaster Gene Kirby who collected and wrote much of the text in the Dizzy Dean book.

In addition, chapter member Jim Baker presented “Stadia Mania,” a quiz involving images of ballparks, and led the group to select baseball season predictions for 2017. The group, more or less, predicted a rematch of the last World Series, Cubs-Indians, with Cleveland chosen to win it all in 2017.

The group also held its own Hall of Fame vote. Using the same ballot as the one used by eligible baseball writers, our group elected only one to the 2017 class: Houston Astros slugger Jeff Bagwell, by 89.2 percent of the vote. Tim Raines, in his last year on the ballot, was one vote short with 73 percent of the vote. Other notables in our vote included: Ivan Rodriguez, 67.6 percent, Edgar Martinez, 54.1 percent and Roger Clemens, 48.6 percent.

Larry Dierker Chapter member Joe Thompson made a call for anyone interested in helping out with research about Mexican-Americans in baseball in Central Texas. Thompson has helped on a book project that discusses Mexican-Americans in baseball in Houston and El Paso and sais that those books are set to be published in the summer.

Many thanks to everyone who joined us on Saturday. Please consider joining us at 12:30 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 28, when the Hornsby Chapter celebrates SABR Day. Watch for more information on our email list.

(Photos by Ryan Pollack)

 

Chapter members celebrate end of 2016 season, offseason

Eleven chapter members gathered in South Austin on Dec. 17 to catch up on the World Series, MLB awards and offseason moves.

Bill Gilbert brought his Astros and 2016 season trivia quiz, which included some general baseball trivia, too. Jan Larson bested the crowd with an impressive showing.

Many thanks to Monte and Linda Cely for the delicious homemade desserts. This was also the 121st consecutive month with a meeting for the chapter.

The group also looked forward to the 11th Annual Winter Meeting, scheduled for Saturday, Jan. 14, at historic Old Main on the Texas State University campus in San Marcos.

Ryan Pollack and the leadership team have assembled an impressive lineup, featuring Dr. Bobby Brown, former player and president of the American League; Mike Acosta, authentication manager with the Houston Astros; Mike Capps, director of broadcasting with the Round Rock Express; Mark Saccomanno, former Astros player; and Bo Carter, co-author of “Dizzy: Dean of Baseball and My Podnah.”

Hope to see y’all at Old Main on Jan. 14!

Announcing the 11th Annual Hornsby Chapter Winter Meeting

For ten years the Hornsby chapter has held an annual Winter Meeting where Central and South Texans can talk baseball during the offseason. It’s a full day of baseball content, and it’s always a blast. This year’s conference will be no different!

Details

  • When: Saturday January 14th, 2017
  • Time: 9:45 AM – 4:30 PM
  • Where: Old Main Building, third floor. Texas State Campus, San Marcos TX
  • You’ll have the opportunity to purchase lunch for $10 from Which Which as you enter the meeting. Please bring cash for this purpose.
  • Directions:

    From I-35, take exit 206 (Aquarena Springs Dr.) Travel west on Aquarena Springs Drive, which turns into University Drive. After crossing the San Marcos River, you will come to a traffic light. Turn right onto Sessom Drive. Just before the first light, turn left on State Street and go up a steep road toward Old Main. Go through a gate (the gate should be up) and continue up the hill. At the top of the hill, make a sharp left turn and drive up to Old Main. Look for parking on this road that winds around the side and back of Old Main.

    You can find additional parking at the Pleasant Street Garage, located at the corner of N. LBJ and Pleasant Street. To reach this garage, after you pass through the gate, continue up the hill, then down the hill to the stop sign on Pleasant Street. Turn left; the entrance to the parking garage will be on your left.

    You do not need a parking pass to park on campus – however, do not park in spaces not marked as parking spaces or in handicapped parking (unless you have the appropriate tag displayed).

    The meeting room is on the third floor in Room 320. There is an elevator on the first floor, or you can take the stairs.

Lineup

Dr. Bobby Brown

  • Former player, New York Yankees
  • President, American League, 1984-1994

Dr. Bobby Brown is a national baseball treasure. Born in 1924, he played for the New York Yankees from 1946-1952 and again in 1954. He is a lifetime .279 hitter but will be known mostly as a four-time World Series champion (1947, 1949, 1950, 1951) who hit .439 in the Fall Classic.

After retiring as a player, Dr. Brown settled in the Dallas/Fort Worth area to practice cardiology. But his passion for baseball could not be extinguished. He became an executive with the Texas Rangers, and in 1983 he was elected president of the American League. He remained in that position for ten years, resigning in 1994.

In addition to his baseball and medical accomplishments, Dr. Brown served in both World War II and the Korean War, earning medals for his valor and bravery. We are honored to have him speak at this year’s Winter Meetings.

Mike Acosta

Authentication Manager, Houston Astros

Mike Acosta is historian and official MLB authenticator for the Houston Astros. He started as a broadcast intern with the Astros in 1999 and has worked in a variety of departments since then, including customer service. For about 13 years, he has been in charge of the Astros archive. In 2009, he became the team’s authenticator, verifying game-used items such as baseballs, bats and uniforms.

Mike Capps

Director of Broadcasting, Round Rock Express

Mike Capps is the only play-by-play broadcaster the Round Rock Express has ever had. He’s beginning his 18th season with the team, having broadcast over 2,500 games. He’s a two-time minor-league broadcaster of the year and has done fill-in major league work with ESPN Radio, the Texas Rangers, and Houston Astros.
Mike is also a former award-winning CNN correspondent, having covered the Gulf War and the siege of the Branch Davidian compound in Waco. He is a co-author of The Scout: Searching for the Best in Baseball, with Red Murff, the Texas-based scout who signed Nolan Ryan, and three other members of the 1969 World Champion New York Mets.

Mark Saccomanno

Former first baseman, Houston Astros

Mark Saccomanno is a native Texan who played baseball in the Houston Astros organization. At age 17, Mark was awarded the Klein Forest High School Golden Glove Award and was selected to the 17-and-under AAU National All-Tournament Team. At 18, Mark was named to the Second-Team All-District 16-5A as a shortstop and received the National Scholar Athlete Award.

After playing baseball for Baylor University, Mark was drafted by the Houston Astros in 2003. He made his major-league debut on September 8, 2008 against the Pittsburgh Pirates. He is one of the select few major leaguers who homered on their first major-league pitch. Mark’s came off Ian Snell in the bottom of the 5th to give the Astros a 1-0 lead. They would go on to win the game by that same margin, 3-2.

Bo Carter

Co-author, Dizzy: Dean of Baseball and My Podnah

Bo Carter, a veteran of 40-plus years in college media relations, is no stranger to college athletics,  communications and the business world. Carter has worked with college athletics since September 1970 and also has taught journalism and worked as a syndicated columnist for the last two decades. He also has been a consultant and columnist with the National Football Foundation since August 2006  after working with the Big 12 Conference for 10 years and the Southwest Conference from 1986-96 as media relations director. Carter, a native of Sheffield, Ala., and 1974 cum laude graduate in classics at Vanderbilt, was was named to the College Sports Information Directors Hall of Fame in July 2005 and completed a Masters degree in journalism at the University of North Texas in Aug. 2006.

Bo will have books for sale for $27 (includes tax). He will also be signing copies.

Activities

In addition to the these speakers, we’ll have the following activities planned:

  • Quiz Bowl / Trivia hosted by Jim Baker
  • Mock Hall of Fame balloting hosted by Jan Larson
  • Baseball Alzheimer’s Project update by Jim Kenton
  • Memorabilia show-and-tell presentations
  • Donated baseball books you can take home

This event is open to all. You do not have to be a SABR member or a member of the Hornsby chapter to attend. Come hang out and have fun talking baseball!