From the Pages of
My Baseball Journey
(Former Astros player
and manager Larry Dierker talks about his years
spent in the broadcast booth with Bill)
One of the first
things Brownie told me after he landed the Astros'
job in 1987 was that he felt like he had gotten
out of jail. He had been doing sports for a
financial news network, so, he hadn't exactly
been working in his dream job. Plus, he and
his family had been living in Canoga Park, California.
I grew up near there in the part of town once
called "Hollywoodland," so, I knew
that wasn't the best of places to be raising
a young daughter.
Brownie was in a
hurry to stay put as a baseball broadcaster.
His time away from the game gave him an appreciation
for just how fortunate he had been to land the
Reds' job at such a young age. By the time he
touched down for spring training, he seemed
to have had a full winter's worth of preparation.
I didn't know it at the time, but that was just
Bill. I remember he tried to get in as many
of those facts into the first inning of his
first exhibition-game broadcast from Florida.
He was something a little different for Houston
baseball. No one could say he was unprepared.
I always knew that
Brownie had my back. He knew everything, even
long lost things. One time in Atlanta, we were
talking about nicknames and I mentioned that
they used to have some descriptive, if elaborate,
monikers. "There was one guy they called,
'Death to Flying Things' because of his prowess
as a fielder," I said. "Oh, you're
talking about Bob Ferguson," he replied.
Ferguson played in the 1880s!
You don't know these
things unless you've been a baseball fan from
the moment you could read. It's a comfort to
have a guy like that working next to you - like
having a good catcher. And, I imagine it's a
comfort to those folks who are watching the
game at home, too.