March 19th, 2018

Larry Dierker SABR Chapter members:

On a perfect night, we had a perfect speaker for our chapter meeting on Monday, March 19 at the Spaghetti Western restaurant in Houston.

SABR member and Austin-based writer and nonfiction author Anne Keene spoke to us in a very personal way about the 1940s and the heroes who matriculated at the Naval Training School in Chapel Hill, North Carolina during World War II to become 90 Day Wonder fighter pilots, many of whom were outstanding baseball players.

Anne found a trunk full of baseball memorabilia collected by her dad, Jim Raugh, after his passing. He had been the batboy for the baseball team on base in 1943 and traveled with Ted Williams, Johnny Pesky, and Johnny Sain, among others, to exhibitions including the war-bond exhibition at Yankee Stadium with Babe Ruth.

Jim, who had never spoken about his early experience, went on the be a college All-American and professional player in the Detroit Tigers organization. Anne, a historian, decided to research this period of her father's life and contacted many of the children of those who were on the team, as well as several living WWII baseball veterans like Dr. Bobby Brown and Eddie Robinson. The result is the soon to be published book "The Cloudbuster Nine." Her presentation was amazing.

Also on the program was Jesus Gutierrez, a local bat maker who has developed "Powerhitter 15" for players who want to improve their bat speed. His clients include Jose Altuve, Carlos Correa, Albert Pujols, plus several major-league teams. He passed around one of his bats which weighed 58 ounces and said he is working on a training bat for Bryce Harper which will weigh 78 ounces. The bat is not made of wood, is unbreakable, and can't be used in games.

Next came Astros broadcaster Bill Brown, who reported on his trip to spring training and his prognosis on who might make the final roster. As usual, Bill was spot on with his analysis.

Bob Dorrill provided the chapter with a revised organizational chart and thanked the many members who had volunteered to actively participate in the chapter leadership.

Mike McCroskey introduced our revised trivia contest to much enthusiasm. The team of Joe Thompson, Robert Beck, Bob Copus, and Jesus Gutierrez had the most correct answers on Scott Barzilla's multiple-choice contest.

It's that time and your best guess on the number of Astros wins in 2018 is due by March 29th. On Monday night, 23 members entered the contest. Please send your replies to Bob Dorrill at

Finally, we selected Monday, May 14th as the date for our annual visit to Constellation Field to watch a Sugar Land Skeeters game. Ticket cost is $31, which includes an all-you-can-eat buffet. Please mail your checks to Mike McCroskey, MACRO Remodeling and Restoration, 10055 Belknap Rd, #120, Sugar Land, TX 77498. All monies are due by April 14. Thanks. 713.927.1976 2437 Bay Area Blvd.,#271, Houston, TX 77058
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