Born: Sep 22, 1946
It is a difficult task to inform an Astro fan of something about Larry Dierker that isn't already well known. Dierker, more than any other person on the planet, represents the Houston Astros franchise. Drafted as a 17-year-old in 1964, the Hollywood native made his major league debut on his 18th birthday and struck out Willie Mays in the first inning! In 1969, Dierker had one of the finest seasons in team history, becoming the club's first 20-game winner while compiling an impressive 2.33 ERA and 20 complete games over an astonishing 305 innings.
Dierker no-hit the Expos in 1976, but arm injuries derailed his career a year later at age 32. When he left the club, he held every significant career pitching mark in the team's record book, including 137 wins.
Orange blood flowed in Dierker's veins. He returned to Houston and worked first in the team's sales department then spent 18 years as a broadcaster for the team before shocking the baseball world by returning to the dugout as the Astros' manager in 1997. Disproving the skeptics, Dierker became the most successful manager in franchise history, leading the team to four playoff appearances in five years before retiring after the 2001 season. In recognition of his many accomplishments, the club retired his #49 jersey in 2002.