Astros Great Larry Dierker to Emcee Sports Hall of Fame's Gala Opening

Astros Great Larry Dierker to Emcee Sports Hall of Fame's Gala Opening
Posted on 02/21/2014
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Larry Dierker talks things over with catcher Brad Ausmus in 1997, Dierker's first of five seasons as the Astros' manager.
stackLarry Dierker, the kid pitcher from California who would go on to become the most enduring personality in Houston Astros history, will serve as guest emcee for the Pasadena ISD Athletics Hall of Fame’s Third Annual Induction Banquet on April 12 at Phillips Field House.

Dierker, now a special assistant and goodwill ambassador for the Astros, will be hand for the grand opening of the Hall of Fame that same evening.

“We are ecstatic about having Larry Dierker as the emcee of our banquet this year,” said Terry Brotherton, president of the Athletics Hall of Fame committee.

“Sports fans warmly recall the teenage phenom who came to Houston and became a legend on the field as a fireball pitcher and then off the field as both an outstanding manager and a knowledgeable and witty broadcaster. Our local sports fans are in for a real treat.”

The banquet will pay tribute to six new inductees into the Hall of Fame. Numerous past inductees are also expected to be on hand for the unveiling of the Hall of Fame, a 3,000 square-foot facility added to the north side of Phillips Field House as part of an expansion and renovation project.

A photo and autograph session will beheld immediately after the banquet.

Previous banquets have featured former ABC sportscaster Dan Lovett and former Houston Oilers quarterback Dan Pastorini as guest emcees.

Tickets remain on sale for the event. Table sponsorships are also available at various donation levels. The first two induction banquets were sellouts.

Set for induction are Weldon “Stoney” Phillips, the Pasadena ISD’s first athletics director; Gene McCarley, a star basketball player at Pasadena High and Baylor in the 1950s; Lanny White, an all-state halfback at Pasadena High in the 1960s;Wes Hubert, a standout lineman for South Houston High and the Texas Longhorns in the 1970s; John Holmes, a prominent distance runner for South Houston in the 1980s; and Alicia Mills Polzin, a multi-sport standout at Dobie in the 1980s who went on to volleyball stardom at Long Beach State.

Dierker has been a part of the Astros organization, almost without interruption, since he signed with the then-Houston Colt .45s as a 17-year-old California pitching sensation in 1964.

Shortly after his 14-year big-league career ended in 1977, he joined the Astros’ broadcast team as a color commentator. He was promoted to field manager in 1997 and held that position for five seasons, later returning to the broadcast booth.

Dierker famously made his big-league pitching debut with the Colt 45s on his 18th birthday in 1964, striking out Willie Mays in the first inning. In 1969, the right-hander became Houston’s first 20-game winner while leading the team to its first-ever non-losing season. He was named to the National League All-Star team in 1969 and again in 1971.

In 1976, his final season as an Astros pitcher, Dierker pitched a no-hitter against the Montreal Expos. He retired after one season with the Cardinals in 1977, leaving with a record of 139-123, 106 complete games, 25 shutouts, 1,493 strikeouts and an ERA of 3.31.

No pitcher in Astros history has ever thrown more complete games or shutouts.

As manager from 1997-2001, Dierker led the Astros to four National League Central Division titles in five seasons. He was named National League Manager of the Year in 1998 following a season in which the Astros won 102 games, the most in Astros history. He became only the sixth skipper in baseball history to win a division title in his first season as a manager.

An avid baseball researcher, Dierker is also a former sports columnist and has written two books about his experiences in baseball.

His jersey No. 49 was retired by the Astros in 2002.

Banquet tickets are $50 each and may be purchased at the Pasadena ISD Athletics Ticket Office, 2906 Dabney, on the east side of the field house. Ticket office hours are weekdays, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Table sponsorships can be reserved by calling Cindy Parmer, the Pasadena ISD’s Director of Community Relations, at 713-740-0288. She can also be reached by email at [email protected].

Sponsorship levels are:

  • PLATINUM: $5,000 / Includes 10 banquet tickets (full table), four reception tickets, a full-page program ad, priority seating and other rewards.
  • GOLD: $2,500 / Includes 10 banquet tickets (full table), two reception tickets, a half-page program ad and other rewards.
  • SILVER: $1,000 / Includes six banquet tickets and other rewards.
  • BRONZE: $500 / Includes four banquet tickets and other rewards.

Table sponsorships are tax-deductible.

Sponsorships also may be purchased on-line (via PayPal) at:

Donors will be asked to complete a short information form and to note “Hall of Fame Table Sponsor” on the PayPal link.

Checks and money orders should be made payable to the Pasadena ISD Athletics Hall of Fame.

Dierker with former Astros stars Bob Aspromonte and Jose Cruz during the club's 50th anniversary celebration in 2012.

Dierker now -- and as a young National League hurler in the mid-1960s.

Dierker takes the mound in spring training, circa 1965, and during an Astros old-timers appearance.