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Larry Dierker recognizes not only his own limitations as a manager, but the limitations of any guy who happens to be employed in that capacity by a major league ballclub. That's the satisfying foundation for "This Ain't Brain Surgery," Dierker's book about his baseball days. Unhappily for the author, that recognition will probably work against him in terms of future employment at the end of somebody's bench, since owners and general managers are not likely to be impressed by a guy who cheerfully acknowledges that his players didn't pay much attention to him.
Nevertheless, Larry Dierker was a successful manager according to the measure employers most respect. The Astros won four division titles during his five years on the job. Never mind that the division Houston plays in was (and is) woeful, and that Dierker's Astros never made it to the next level. Dierker was either doing something right or refraining from doing something wrong. Maybe both. He was also a successful pitcher for the Astros and an informed and energetic broadcaster as well, so his experience in and around the bigs was considerable...reason enough for him to undertake a book.
Perhaps because he's resigned to the fact that, his successes notwithstanding, nobody's likely to invite him to manage in the majors again, Larry Dierker is already working on another book. He described it to me as a collection of remarkable quotations and sayings that he's been acquiring for years, followed by his own musings on said elements. It'll probably be a good collection. In This Ain't Brain Surgery, Dierker demonstrates a pretty fair ear for language in stealing a phrase from Roger Angell and a keen appreciation for logic by writing down pretty much everything Yogi Berra says in Dierker's presence. Lots of books are built on shakier legs.
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