Friday, September 28, 2012

A Statistican

Not a lot of people can say they struck out Willie Mays on their 18th birthday. But this guy could:

Card #375 -- Larry Dierker, Houston Astros

In 1964, Larry Dierker made his debut the same day he turned 18. Taking the mound for what were then called the Houston Colt .45s, he struck out Willie Mays in the first inning. Staying with the team through their name change to the Astros, he remined in Houston through 1976. He was the Astros' fist 20-game winner in 1969 and tossed a no-hitter against the Expos in '76. He pitched one last season in St. Louis before retiring as a player.

Known to many as a smart baseball "numbers" guy, Dierker was a member of SABR and was known to crunch the numbers of the game. He worked as a broadcaster and was also a very successful manager, taking the Astros to the postseason four of the five years he led the club. In 1999, however, he suffered a Grand Mal seizure and missed 27 games while he was unergoing brain surgery to correct the problem.

Fired after the 2001 season, Dierker returned to brodcasting and has written several baseball-related columns and two books about the game.