In support of the Larry Dierker SABR Chapter in Houston, help is needed to identify the ex-Cardinals player in this photo.
The chapter has embarked upon a major study that they are calling “Houston Baseball, The Early Years: 1861-1961.” My friend Bill McCurdy sent along the snapshot in his role as principal investigator and editor in chief for their 18-member research and writing team.
As a SABR member myself, I support their efforts and hope one of the readers can solve this riddle.
We had early guesses of Leo “The Lip” Durocher (1933-37 with St. Louis) and George “Showboat” Fisher (1930) but neither was correct. (It is really too bad that colorful nicknames have just about disappeared from baseball.)
Paula Homan, curator of the (still temporarily closed) Cardinals Museum identified the photo as from the 1925 season. The shoulder patch commemorated the 50-year anniversary of the National League. The Senior Circuit had been founded in 1875.
Paula also forwarded a panoramic photo of the 1925 team, but a positive id on the face was not possible.
St. Louis-area author Jerry Vickery came through with the definitive answer – Eddie Dyer.
It really made sense as I read Dyer’s SABR biography and learned he attended Rice in Houston before signing with the Cardinals in 1922. He continued to make Houston his home and once his playing career was over, even managed the Buffaloes for three seasons starting in 1939. Later, he succeeded Billy Southworth as the Cardinals skipper for what became the 1946 World Championship season. Dyer managed the Cards through 1950. (Links to Dyer’s managerial and playing records as well as another Cardinals headshot at Baseball-Reference.com)
I found this 1921 photo and excerpted the following text from the Rice University History Corner blog.
“Dyer’s career after he left Rice was really remarkable. He signed with the Cardinals in 1922 and pitched until he hurt his arm in 1927. He continued to play as an outfielder until 1933, but it was as a manager and baseball executive that he made his most important mark. Dyer was instrumental in helping Branch Rickey build baseball’s first real farm system and then managed the Cardinals to their 1946 World Series win over the Red Sox. He completed his Rice degree in 1936 and coached freshman football here (during baseball’s off-season) for several years. After retiring from baseball he had a very successful career as a businessman. He died in Houston in 1964 at the age of 64.”