Larry Dierker used his fastball, curveball, screwball, slider, and changeup to reach double figures in victories nine times, and in 1969 became the first Astro to win 20. Coveted by 18 ML teams, the 6′ 4″ Hollywood, CA native signed with Houston and debuted on his 18th birthday in 1964. By 1969 Dierker had become the anchor of a staff that featured Don Wilson, Denny Lemaster, and Tom Griffin. Dierker, along with Jim Wynn, was one of the few highlights on a mediocre Astros squad.
His 1967 campaign was shortened by military service, and in 1973 he suffered a shoulder injury. On July 9, 1976, Dierker no-hit the Expos; the Montreal manager was Karl Kuehl, who had signed him. “I didn’t think I would ever do it,” exclaimed Dierker upon finally pitching a no-hitter after four near-misses. He left the Astros in 1976 as their career leader in virtually every pitching department. Dierker remained close to the Astros organization after retiring in 1977.