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Astros History: Larry Dierker in 1970

Dierk looks good rocking the throwback, doesn't he?
Dierk looks good rocking the throwback, doesn't he?

All this talk of potential managers...let's talk about one of our past ones when he was actually a player. Larry Dierker has been a popular Astros history subject before, so let's tackle one individual season from him when he was still relatively young.

That would be 1970, when Dierk gave up 124 runs (which is why he's featured today, Game No. 124). He won the second-most games in his career, going 16-12, but had his highest ERA to that point and gave up a career-high 263 hits. Maybe those 305 innings when he was 22 were just catching up to him...

The thing is Dierker was just a tad unlucky in 1970. I mean, he was unluck-ier than he was before that. Only once had Dierk had a batting average on balls in play as high as he did in '70 and that was in '67, when he only threw 99 innings. Dierk's walk rate also jumped to a level he'd only seen once before, in '68. His strikeout rate took a dive, but was still higher than it was in '68 and was his last great strikeout season.

He also gave up a ton of home runs, which is probably a big reason why he was fairly unsuccessful that season. His home run rate was half what it was in '70 the two seasons before. That's a huge increase, and predictably, his numbers returned to normal levels the next two seasons.

Dierk's '70 season came in the midst of a very nice three-year run that saw him go 48-31 with one save in 734 innings. He also had an ERA of 2.97 over that stretch and struck out 514 batters. Overall, it was a great stretch of baseball from Dierker and hasn't been equaled very often by Houston pitchers.