June 8, 2010

For the first time ever, the Larry Dierker Chapter of SABR (the Society for American Baseball Research) held one of its monthly meetings at the newly renovated and reopened Houston Sports Museum inside the also new again Finger Furniture store on the Gulf Freeway at Cullen. Museum Owner/Sponsor Rodney Finger treated our presence there last night, June 8th, with all the gracious kindness of a five-star host. We are especially grateful to Mr. Finger for his hospitality. As is the trademark of the Finger family, doing things first-class comes naturally to their involvement. It was so with the delicious fajita dinner that Mr. Finger served us. It is true with the newly renovated work on the museum. And it is true with the furniture store that is up and running again. All those many generations of the family know how to get things right.

The Finger famly legacy is their involvement and caring for the City of Houston and their efforts over the years to help preserve what is important about our town's history.

Rodney Finger spoke from the heart when he delivered his reasons for wanting to make the museum come alive again, For those of you who don't know, the Houston Sports Museum was started by by Rodney's late grandfather, Sammy Finger, in the mid 1960s as a way of memorializing the fact that this particular store location had been built on the former site of Buff Stadium, the home of our once proud minor league club, the Houston Buffs, from 1928 through 1961. That venerable old ballpark was abandoned after Houston entered the baseball major leagues in 1962 after nearly being destroyed the previous years by the 1961 coming of Hurricane Carla. When the wrecking ball came, the Finger family was there through Sammy to purchase the property and to do what they could to preserve the history of what had come before them on this hallowed baseball ground. The Houston Baseball Museum was born from that family love for the game and their city. And now it lives again in a restyled presentation of materials that are nothing less than authentic artifacts of Houstoon baseball history.

Dickie Kerr lived out his latter years as a Houstonian in a house located only blocks away from Buff Stadium. Kerr's heroics in the 1919 World Series were the bright side of an otherwise tarnished fix attempt by arguably all of the eight White Sox players later banned from baseball for their parts in a scheme that delivered the World Series title to the Cincinnati Reds.

Much of the museum credit here goes to curator Tom Kennedy, the former Houston Post writer and long-time Houston-based baseball item collector. Kennedy has taken the Rodney Finger commitment to keeping alive the legacy of his grandfather and done all that's good and possible to make it happen. Tom has put his historical knowledge to work in partnership with just about everyone else in this community that he deemed as helpful to come up with a brilliant use of limited space that tracks the history of professional baseball and early professional football in Houston. There is even a one-page complete history of Houston minor league baseball for every year the game was played as a minor league enterprise from 1888 through 1961.

Future plans include an ongoing rotation of some items that will always keep what's on display fresh to the viewing public's eye. To the extent that refreshing change is possible consistently over time, this one promises to have it.

Kennedy has plans to bring in a group of several well known former players for the June 19th formal Grand Opening of the museum. The facility is open now during normal store hours, but you will want to make the Grand Opening too, if possible. It will be a chance to see and get autographs from some of your all time favorite Houston players and sports personalities.

What else can I say? Go see the new Houston Sports Museum. It's the only worthwhile display on the years-deep history of Houston baseball that you will find in our area - and it is well worth your time.

Also, and I'm not paid to say this: Think first about meeting your furniture needs at Finger's on the Gulf Freeway. If we want the museum to remain alive forever, and on this special spot, the store has to succeed too. And you can't move the museum elsewhere and succeed on the same level. It's already sitting on the only actual site for Buff Stadium that will ever be.

info@sabrhouston.org 713.927.1976 2437 Bay Area Blvd.,#271, Houston, TX 77058
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