When Reid Ryan was a kid Larry Dierker used to place Ryan in a trash can in the Astros clubhouse. You can’t beat fun at the old ballpark.
Ryan has known Dierker almost his entire 41years. They have remained friends with mutual respect. So when Ryan was formally introduced as Astros president of business operations last Friday, one of the things he wanted to do was make Dierker feel wanted again by the organization.
On Tuesday, Ryan, in his second day on the job, announced that Dierker, or Mr. Astro as Ryan calls him, has been named special assistant to the president of the Houston Astros.
“More than anything they know what I’ve done and will continue to do for the organization,” said Dierker. “It’s all good.”
Dierker and former Astros president George Postolos couldn’t agree on what role Dierker would have with the team. Ryan knew what position to play Dierker.
On Tuesday at Minute Maid Park, Dierker met with Ryan and Astros owner Jim Crane. The result is that Dierker will serve as an adviser to Ryan. Dierker will be a goodwill ambassador, handle speaking engagements and write for the Astros Gameday Magazine.
“Larry connects with so many people,” said Ryan. “If I were to tell you we’re going to have a guy that was a big leaguer as a teenager, was a great pitcher in the organization. Then became a front-office employee and then became a TV personality, and a radio personality, then became manager of the year. And then went back and did TV/radio. He’s done everything in the game.”
Dierker is a huge part of the Astros’ history.
He made his major league debut on his 18th birthday in 1964, striking out Willy Mays in his first game wearing a Colt .45s jersey. Dierker is a two-time All-Star who holds Houston career records for innings, complete games and shutouts. His 137 career wins are third in franchise history.
As a manager for the Astros, Dierker led the club to four division titles.
Dierker said he can’t wait to start his new role with the team.
“I’m relieved and curious how it will play out,” said Dierker. “I’ll be in constant contact with Reid and find places where I can be useful. I’m extremely pleased to be working with the Astros organization. I take a great deal or pride in the organization and am anxious to be part of it again.
“With Reid it’s a comfort factor. He’s grown up with baseball and knows what I mean to the team. He’s been to baseball games his entire life.”
Ryan is excited to have Dierker helping him get accustomed to everything that is Houston Astros. And Ryan said hiring Dierker is great for the franchise and the fans.
“I wanted to (hire him) because he’s a buddy of mine,” said Ryan. “He’s Astros baseball. He’s good people. He’s a smart person. He sees the game from a lot of different perspectives.
“You need to surround yourself with people that aren’t afraid to tell you something that may not be popular. I told him, I’ll be calling him all the time.”
Former Astros Enos Cabell is a special assistant to general manager Jeff Luhnow. Cabell is glad to have Dierker back in the fold.
“I’m glad to see him back,” said Cabell. “It’s good that Dierker is back. All Dierker wanted was to be involved. It’s a good thing. I’m happy he’s happy.”