Larry Dierker - Timeline

Astros Trades & Transactions

Jun 21, 1964:Signed Larry Dierker(P) as free agent
Nov 23, 1976:Traded Larry Dierker(P) and Jerry DaVanon(IF) to StL-N for Joe Ferguson(C) and Bob Detherage

This Date in Astros History

Jan 25, 1951:Vern Ruhle is born in Midland, MI. Ruhle spends seven seasons as an Astro pitcher, best known for taking over a spot in the starting rotation in 1980 when J.R. Richard suffered a stroke and helping Houston win their first division crown. Later, he is a successful pitching coach in Houston under manager Larry Dierker.
Jun 21, 1964:The Colts spank the Milwaukee Braves, 5-2 and 5-4, to complete a four-game sweep. Rusty Staub is the opening-game star with four hits, including two home runs. Pitcher Ken Johnson and outfielder Joe Gaines go deep in the nightcap. Bob Lillis picks up five hits in the twinbill. In addition, the team signs high-school phenom Larry Dierker.
Jun 25, 1965:The Astros pass the one million mark in attendance for the first time during a 6-2 victory over the Mets. A two-run triple by Joe Morgan highlights the scoring. Larry Dierker outpitches Hall-of-Famer Warren Spahn who is a quarter-century older than the 18-year-old righthander.
Jul 27, 1965:The Braves smuggle their own fireworks from Milwaukee through Los Angeles and San Francisco just so they could challenge the Home Run Spectacular at the Astrodome. They get their chance when Joe Torre takes Larry Dierker deep, tossing firecrackers onto the field and lighting sparklers in the dugout. Houston fans applaud the gesture. Milwaukee wins, 7-1.
May 25, 1966:Dave Nicholson goes four-for-four with a home run while John Bateman goes three-for-three with a homer and a triple as the Astros club the Mets, 7-1. Larry Dierker strikes out eight and hurls a complete-game five-hitter. Houston moves to 2-1/2 games back of the Giants in second place, the closest they would be to the top of the standings this deep into the season until 1972.
Jun 14, 1966:19-Year-old Larry Dierker outduels Hall-of-Famer Sandy Koufax for a 3-0 whitewash of the Dodgers. Dierker surrenders just five hits. A two-run single by Chuck Harrison and a solo shot by Bob Aspromonte supply the offense.
Sep 30, 1966:20-Year-old Larry Dierker takes a perfect game into the ninth inning against the Mets but he loses it all, 1-0. A double by Eddie Bressoud and an infield hit by Ron Hunt break up the gem.
May 17, 1968:First baseman Rusty Staub visits Larry Dierker at the mound during a 6-0 loss in Los Angeles. Absent-mindedly, he spits on the ball while standing on the hill. Zoilo Versalles has a three-ball count and Staub's miscue becomes an automatic ball four. Versalles eventually scores.
Aug 7, 1968:A hard slide by Doug Rader into third base on a triple knocks out New York third baseman Kevin Collins and ignites a brawl. Houston police enter the fray. The donnybrook climaxes hostility that began when Mets outfielder Tommy Agee spiked Joe Morgan while sliding into second base. Amazingly, Rader stays in the contest and scores the eventual game-winner on a sacrifice fly by Dick Simpson. Larry Dierker bests Tom Seaver in the 4-3 victory.
Jun 8, 1969:Private Larry Dierker, on a 24-hour pass from the Army while fulfilling his military commitment in Louisiana, outduels Steve Carlton for a 2-1, eleven-inning triumph over the Cardinals at the Astrodome. Dierker allows just five hits and caps his night by driving in Julio Gotay with the game-winner. Dierker singled off Joe Hoerner to earn his eighth win of the year.
Jun 24, 1969:Sandy Valdespino drills a bases-loaded double off Gaylord Perry to key a 4-1 triumph over the Giants. Larry Dierker picks up his tenth victory of the season, striking out nine. The win pushes Houston over the .500 mark for the first time all season after beginning the year 4-20.
Jul 30, 1969:Denis Menke and Jim Wynn launch grand slams in the same inning as the Astros crush the Mets, 16-3 and 11-5 in a twinbill at Shea Stadium . The double slam was the first National League occurance in 79 years. So hot were Houston's bats that Larry Dierker took Nolan Ryan deep in the nightcap and Fred Gladding broke an oh-for-the-decade slump with a bloop single for the only hit in his career.
Aug 22, 1969:Every player in the lineup gets a hit for the Astros in an 8-2 victory in Chicago. Houston worked eight walks to go with 14 hits - all singles. Doug Rader gets three base hits. Jesus Alou drives in three. Larry Dierker tosses a four-hit complete game for his 16th win.
Aug 30, 1969:Larry Dierker becomes the first Astro to record 17 wins in a 2-1 triumph over the Pirates. Dierker fans 14 while scattering seven hits. Houston manages just three of their own but are helped by nine free passes. The Astros are in uncharted waters, seven games over .500, four games out of first and yet in fifth place in the NL West.
Sep 5, 1969:Denis Menke belts a two-run blast in the ninth off Gaylord Perry for a 2-0 shocker over the Giants. Larry Dierker scatters four hits for his 18th win and fans nine to pass 200 strikeouts for the season.
Sep 13, 1969:Larry Dierker tosses 8-2/thirds no-hit innings against Atlanta in quest of his 20th win. An infield single by Felix Millan breaks up the no-hitter but the game is still tied, 0-0. Dierker leaves in the 13th with a 2-0 lead, only to see ex-Astros Sonny Jackson and Bob Aspromonte key a three-run Atlanta rally for a nightmarish 3-2 defeat. Houston drops to fifth place, 4-1/2 games out of the N.L. West lead.
Sep 17, 1969:Larry Dierker becomes the first Houston pitcher to reach 20 wins in a 2-1 victory at San Francisco. Jim Wynn and Doug Rader homer off Gaylord Perry for the decisive runs. For Giant fans, the chance to see Willie Mays hit his 600th homer is the big attraction but Dierker and Jim Bouton limit him to a single and two walks. The Astros are five games over .500 and 5-1/2 games out of first.
Sep 22, 1969:Third base coach Salty Parker sends Norm Miller home from third when he sees a white object fly away from Atlanta catcher Bob Didier after a pitch. The object turns out not to be the ball, but a finger cast the catcher was wearing on his glove hand. Miller is easily tagged out. The 5-3 loss creates an unhappy 23rd birthday for sore-armed Larry Dierker who broke in with the Colt .45s on his brithday five years earlier.
Apr 7, 1970:Pitcher Larry Dierker orders pinch-hitter Norm Miller to belt a homer as he's leaving the game. Miller delivers with a three-run shot off Gaylord Perry to key an 8-5 Opening Day win at San Francisco. Dierker picks up the victory while Fred Gladding earns the save.
Apr 12, 1970:The Astros blast five home runs to trounce Phil Niekro and the Braves, 8-3 . Jim Wynn has the most memorable shot, a rocket that doesn't come to rest until it finds the gold (upper reserved) seats in the third inning (section 738C, row 6, seat 3) . That bested his blast into the purple seats in the first. Tommy Davis, Joe Pepitone and Doug Rader go yard as well, making an easy night for starter Larry Dierker.
Jul 29, 1970:Disgruntled first baseman Joe Pepitone, who suddenly "retired" rather than play in Houston, is sold to the Cubs. He had belted 14 home runs during his four months in Texas. Bob Watson takes over at first as Larry Dierker is roughed up during a 9-2 loss at Wrigley Field.
Apr 5, 1971:Houston shows off their new orange-and-navy uniforms in a 5-2 Opening Day win against Los Angeles. Larry Dierker earns the complete-game victory.
May 26, 1971:In the opener of a doubleheader in San Diego, Al Santorini starts against an Astro lineup stacked with seven lefty hitters. Santorini gets the first out and is yanked for lefty Dave Roberts. Houston wins, 2-1, behind Wade Blasingame. Santorini returns to start the nightcap, tossing six innings, but Larry Dierker bests him in an 8-0 one-hitter. The lone Padre hit was a broken-bat single by Ollie Brown in the seventh.
Jul 7, 1971:Houston erupts for ten runs in the fourth inning as they pound the Giants, 18-4. Cesar Cedeno and Bob Watson both rap two hits in the inning. Cedeno drives in four for the day on a pair of two-run doubles. Larry Dierker picks up his 12th win and is named to the N.L. All-Star team but declines to appear due to a sore elbow.
Jun 19, 1972:Larry Dierker hurls a one-hitter to blank the Mets, 3-0 . Duffy Dyer's third-inning single is the lone blemish on Dierker's night. Tommy Helms delivers four hits to lead the Houston offense. The day before, Jerry Reuss had tossed a one-hitter at the Phillies. The back-to-back one-hitters tie a major league mark and establish a club record.
Jun 6, 1974:Lee May hits the first "foamer" in team history, a promotion where Dome patrons get free beer for the rest of the night if an Astro belts one out on an even-numbered minute. May hits a second shot for good measure and Larry Dierker tosses a three-hitter in a 4-0 whitewash of the Expos.
Aug 11, 1975:Cliff Johnson pounds four hits while Cesar Cedeno and Jerry DaVanon collect three each in a 7-2 victory over St. Louis. Larry Dierker tosses a complete game for his tenth win of the year.
Aug 24, 1975:Cliff Johnson hits a homer in his fifth straight game as Houston topples the Cubs, 8-4 . Jose Cruz goes deep twice and Bob Watson also plays long ball. Wilbur Howard adds four hits and swipes two bases. Larry Dierker sails to his 12th win.
Jun 8, 1976:With the overall first pick in the baseball draft, Houston chooses lefthanded pitcher Floyd Bannister of Arizona State University. Rushed to the majors the next year, Bannister is 11-18 in two seasons with the Astros. On the field, Larry Dierker blanks St. Louis on a five-hitter, 2-0.
Jul 9, 1976:Larry Dierker tosses the fifth no-hitter in franchise history, a 6-0 gem over Montreal . He supports his own cause with a sacrifice fly while batterymate Ed Herrmann drives in two, one on his first National League homer . Dierker fans Pepe Mangual and Jim Lyttle before Mike Jorgensen taps out to first for the final out.
Jul 26, 1976:As it ought to be. The 1,000th game in Astrodome history is a 7-0 shutout over San Diego as Larry Dierker spins a two-hitter. Bob Watson paces the offense with a home run and three runs batted in.
Nov 23, 1976:Pitcher Larry Dierker and infielder Jerry DaVanon are traded to St.Louis for catcher Joe Ferguson. For Dierker, it's the beginning of the end of a stellar career. For Ferguson, it means another chance to be a starting catcher instead of an oufielder. He argues with manager Bill Virdon about blocking the plate but hits .243 with 23 homers and 83 RBIs in 1-1/2 seasons before being traded again.
Oct 4, 1996:Larry Dierker, the Astros' former player and broadcaster, is named the new manager despite having no previous coaching or managing experience. Terry Collins is relieved after three years, posting a 224-197 record marred by late-season collapses.
Feb 13, 1997:Houston wins and loses their arbitration case with Darryl Kile. The inconsistent pitcher asks for a salary $1.27 million dollars more than what the Astros offer. The club prevails but, under the instruction of new Astro manager Larry Dierker and pitching coach Vern Ruhle, Kile goes on to have an outstanding year only to shun Houston and leave as a free agent after the season.
Feb 28, 1997:Larry Dierker's managerial debut with the Astros is an 8-2 loss to the Cleveland Indians. Shane Reynolds delivers two shutout innings but the Tribe get to Mike Hampton, Jose Lima and Ramon Garcia for the decisive runs.
Mar 27, 1997:New manager Larry Dierker finds out he doesn't get the final say on his own roster. Dierker wants to keep righthander Donne Wall on the pitching staff but Wall is sent to the minors in favor of Chris Holt. Wall returns when Sid Fernandez goes on the disabled list after only one start, yet pitches just eight games while Holt and Ramon Garcia fill the void in the Astros rotation.
Apr 1, 1997:Many considered Drayton McLane a fool for hiring broadcaster Larry Dierker as his manager, replacing Terry Collins. Dierker had never managed on any level. Dierker's debut comes on April Fool's Day, getting the last laugh on the Atlanta Braves, the defending league champs. Pat Listach drives in Brad Ausmus with a sacrifice fly in the third inning. Shane Reynolds and Billy Wagner make it stand up for a 2-1 victory.
Nov 11, 1998:Larry Dierker is named National League Manager of the Year, outpacing San Diego's Bruce Bochy, whose team eliminated Houston in the playoffs. He's the second Astro skipper to claim the award.
Jun 13, 1999:Astros manager Larry Dierker collapses in the dugout due to a seizure during the eighth inning of a home game against San Diego. Houston has a 4-0 lead thanks to a grand slam by Derek Bell. Dierker misses only 27 games despite undergoing brain surgery. The game is suspended until July 23rd when the Astros complete the 4-3 victory.
Nov 4, 1999:Astros hold a fashion show. Larry Dierker, Vern Ruhle, Shane Reynolds, Billy Wagner and Jeff Bagwell debut the new uniforms that will be worn at Enron Field. Gone are blue and gold in favor of black, brick and sand. The logo has also been modified, eliminating the slant to the star and making it thicker.
Jul 8, 2001:Scott Elarton is ejected after he hits the first batter and misses a 14-5 thrashing by the Astros in Kansas City. After Craig Biggio and Julio Lugo are plunked to start the game, umpires warn both teams. After Elarton hits Rey Sanchez with his fifth pitch of the day, he and skipper Larry Dierker get the thumb. Jeff Bagwell and Mendy Lopez bash three-run homers in the game. Lance Berkman (.365) and Moises Alou (.362) take the league's top two batting averages into the All-Star break.
Oct 18, 2001:Larry Dierker resigns as manager, ending a five-year run that can be argued as the most successful in team history. His winning percentage (.553) is tops for the franchise. His 448 wins rank second to Bill Virdon. The good news was four division crowns in five years. The bad news was a 2-12 post-season record, failing to escape out of the first round of the playoffs each year. But the numbers don't begin to capture Dierker's story, one as unique as the Hawaiian-shirted lanky Californian that has spent practically his entire adulthood with the franchise.
Oct 19, 2001:Coach Matt Galante ends a 22-year run in the Astros organization when he accepts a coaching position with the New York Mets. Galante managed Houston farm clubs and skippered the Astros in 1999 while Larry Dierker recovered from a brain seizure. He returns to the Astros in 2005 as a special assistant to the General Manager.
Mar 14, 2002:Larry Dierker drops in on the Astros spring camp in Kissimmee, FL to smiles and hugs. After 37 years in various capacities with the franchise, the ex-manager says it felt "weird" to not be at spring training.