And another one bites the dust. Another franchise icon has left the Astros organization. David Barron is reporting that Larry Dierker has cut ties with the team after almost a half-century of service. After being passed over for the vacated radio color commentator’s position, Dierker turned down the Astros offer to stay on as an ambassador for the team.
Dierker made his first appearance for the Houston franchise when he took the mound at Colt Stadium on September 22, 1964. It was his eighteenth birthday. With the exception of the 1977 season, when he pitched for the Cardinals, Dierker has been a member of the Astros organization ever since. That relationship will come to an unceremonious end when Dierker’s contract expires on April 15.
Dierker gets to don the Astros colors one last time for before riding off into the sunset. Dierker will take part in an April 1 softball game against members of the Texas Rangers ownership group.
After a playing career that included two All-Star appearances, a 20-win season, and a no-hitter, Dierker spent a year in the Astros marketing department before moving to the broadcast booth. After eighteen seasons as a color commentator, Dierker was back in uniform as the Astros manager. The brunt of many jokes at the time, including the popular comic strip Tank McNamara, Dierker silenced critics by guiding the Astros to three straight division titles. The Astros missed the playoffs l in 2000 but Dierker had them back on top in 2001, his final season at the helm.
Since that time, Dierker has been working as an ambassador for the Astros. But the 66-year old grew weary of shaking hands and posing for photos. Dierker wanted his old job back — and when the team dismissed the entire radio broadcast team, it seemed like the perfect opportunity. But the Astros chose to go another direction — and here we are.
The man who provided Astros fans with countless memories is now looking for work elsewhere. Dierker told Barron he no longer has the desire to mange but “I could probably be a bench coach and I could certainly do announcing”.
It’s a shame to see Deirker go and he will be missed. But I’m sure Larry will resurface with another big league organization, hopefully in a role that will allow him to wear his trademark Hawaiian shirt.
Good Luck, Larry. And thanks for the memories.