This Ain't Brain Surgery by Larry Dierker
How to Win the Pennant Without Losing Your Mind

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Plenty of people were surprised when Larry Dierker was named the manager of the Houston Astros at the end of the 1996 season, but perhaps no one was more surprised than Larry Dierker. Despite his status as a fourteen-year ace starter in the big leagues (thirteen of them with Houston), two-time All-Star, and well-regarded longtime TV colorman for the Astros, Dierker's hiring refuted conventional wisdom and deeply confounded most major league observers. For one thing, Larry had no managerial experience at any level of the game before taking over the 'Stros; for another, former pitchers rarely become managers (especially former pitchers with a taste for Hawaiian shirts and a talent for amateur songwriting); and, well, managers are supposed to become broadcasters, not the other way around!

But, in his five years at the controls, Dierker guided the Astros to four National League Central division crowns and four playoff appearances, and was named the National League Manager of the Year in 1998. Employing on-the-field strategies at once cerebral and daring, adroitly handling every sort of distraction and disaster that can befall a team -- including suffering a nearly catastrophic seizure during a game -- he excelled like no other manager in Astros history, until resigning at the end of the 2001 season.

Let's face it, after nearly four decades in baseball, Larry Dierker has been there and done that like no one else before him. In This Ain't Brain Surgery he reflects on his memories of growing up in the majors -- from learning the fine art of locker-room pranks at his first spring training to deciding what to say to the crowd when the Astros retired his number ("Aloha," naturally). With the unique perspective that comes from having studied the sport's angles from the mound, the broadcasting booth, and the dugout, Dierker draws from his vast experience to take on everything in the game with sharp wit, keen insight, and startling candor, inviting us farther onto the field, deeper into the clubhouse, and more fully into the baseball mind than we've ever been before.

Brimming with indispensable analysis, thoughtful reflection, and raucous humor, This Ain't Brain Surgery is the finest baseball book since Ball Four, and marks Larry Dierker as a writer at the top of his game.


About Larry Dierker

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Larry Dierker has spent nearly his entire adult life with the Houston Astros in one capacity or another. He made his major league debut on his eighteenth birthday in 1964, striking out Willie Mays in his first inning of work, and is still the franchise leader in starts, complete games, innings pitched, and shutouts. From 1979 until his appointment as manager, Dierker was the club's primary color analyst on radio and television, and for several years wrote a column that appeared in the Houston Chronicle. As manager of the Astros he led Houston to four division titles in five seasons. An avid connoisseur of cigars and Hawaiian shirtwear, he lives in Houston with his wife, Judy.
Published July 1, 2003 by Simon & Schuster. 304 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Sports & Outdoors. Non-fiction

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He might have wanted to “form a team that had nine captains on the field, all thinking together and playing a smart brand of baseball,” but intelligence that focused isn’t wed to playing talent.

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