April 20, 2012; Houston, TX, USA; Former Houston Astros pitcher Larry Dierker waves to fans before throwing out the first pitch before a game against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-US PRESSWIRE
Most likely, one of the reasons we haven't covered him sooner is because his win total with the Astros is so high. In 13 years with the Houston Astros Dierker collected 137 wins in 345 games. The sad thing is that he collected all those wins with the Astros before he turned 30.
He made his debut with the
Astros Colt .45s September 22, 1964, on his 18th birthday. He took the loss in the game, after allowing four runs, two earned, in 2.2 innings. He would pitch only twice more that season out of the bullpen for the Colt .45s.
The next year he started 19 games and appeared in 29 through-out the course of the season. His final pitching line included a 3.50 ERA, a 95 ERA+, in 146.2 innings. This was a kid who pitched 48 innings between the minors and majors last year. He had high school innings, but still 146.2 innings is a massive jump for a pitcher in his teens. The innings limit thing is probably a bit overblown, but asking Dierker to do what he did and seeing his career come to a close a year into his 30s is what ushered in this current era.
Still, Larry Dierker had a pretty good career with the Astros posting a 3.28 ERA, and a 102 ERA+, in his time with Houston. He would part of one season with the St. Louis Cardinals before hanging them up. Eventually he would make his way to the broadcast booth and then the Astros dugout.
He's still active with the Astros (I personally saw him in Spring Training), which is good because if anyone should be named Mr. Astro it's Larry Dierker.