Wednesday, October 19, 2005

This Ain't Brain Surgery by Larry Dierker

I hardly slept Monday. The Houston Astros were only one strike away from winning the game that would send them to the World Series for the first time ever when the St. Louis Cardinals rallied and won the game. It would be easier to take if the games were in the afternoon. When tragedy strikes around 11:00 p.m., it is hard to stop thinking "what if ... ."

Few people understand the position of Houston Astros fan. Most major league teams have been to the World Series at some point in history. For those who do not know Astros history, I recommend This Ain't Brain Surgery: How to Win the Pennant Without Losing Your Mind by Larry Dierker. Dierker is someone who really knows Astros history. He was a pitcher for the team in the 1960s and 1970s. From 1979 until 1996 he was the primary color analyst (the announcer with lots of interesting facts and stories) on Astros radio and television broadcasts. From 1997 through 2001 he was the manager. Under his leadership, the team won four division championships but never won a playoff series. In his book, you will read about forty years of Astros baseball. You will learn how close the team has come to the World Series without ever succeeding. You will learn about many of the team's great players. There are many sad stories, too, so keep a handkerchief handy.

To the left is a photo of Nolan Ryan pitching to Ryne Sandburg in Wrigley Field in 1987. Ryan was a key Astros figure of the 1980s. He has been shown in the stands during the current games. (The picture does not really have anything to do with the book, but I wanted to use it anyway. It is the best I have from that day Bonnie and I had really great seats.)

By the way, the This Ain't Brain Surgery is also an autobiography. Dierker, who is an avid book reader and otherwise interesting character, tells about his experiences on and off the ball field, and there is brain surgery in the story.

It is Wednesday and Game Six of the playoffs is tonight. I wonder how I will sleep tonight.

Dierker, Larry. This Ain't Brain Surgery: How to Win the Pennant Without Losing Your Mind. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2003. ISBN 074320400x

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