Wednesday, June 8, 2016
no. 540 - larry dierker
Who is the man: Larry Dierker's 1970 season wasn't quite as impressive as his 1969 season, but he was still enjoying the pinnacle of his career as he entered the '71 season.
Can ya dig it: Dierker is just 23 years old in this photo, assuming it was taken in 1970. Otherwise he's even younger.
Right on: Just an outstanding signature there. If I collected autographs, I would have to limit it to old-time players. Current players' signatures are inadequate.
You see that cat Dierker is a bad mother: Dierker is the first pitcher to win 20 games in a season for the Astros. He did it in 1969.
Shut your mouth: In 2003, Dierker, who also managed and broadcasted for the Astros, wrote an entertaining book called "This Ain't Brain Surgery: How To Win the Pennant Without Losing Your Mind," which recounted his random experiences in major league baseball.
No one understands him but his woman: Dierker was the first player to pitch in the Astrodome. The first "official" game in the Astrodome was April 9, 1965, an exhibition game between the Astros and the Yankees in which Turk Farrell started for Houston. But before that, after the Astros returned from spring training, there was an exhibition game between the Astros and their Triple A team in the dome. Dierker started that game.
(A word about the back): Dierker was called up the Astros in the summer of 1964, making him the most recent 17-year-old to appear on an major league roster. His first appearance, on his 18th birthday, lasted 2 2/3 innings. He struck out Jim Ray Hart and Willie Mays to end a two-on, no-out situation in the first. Then he gave up a home run to Orlando Cepeda to lead off the second.