Non-profit director writes book about baseball

Michael Sudhalter

Mike Vance

Mike Vance

For some Houstonians, the Astros’ lone World Series appearance nine years ago seems like ancient history.

But Fort Bend County native and author Mike Vance,  a Dulles High alum who now lives in Houston, decided to dig way deeper into the city’s baseball heritage.

Vance, 55, wrote “Houston Baseball: The Early Years, 1861-1961”, which debuted in April. It is available at Barnes & Nobles and on

Vance is a member of the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR), and some of the members of the Houston chapter (officially named The Larry Dierker Chapter) helped with writing and research.

The book is Vance’s fourth, and he’s currently collaborating with John Lomax on a “Houston Murders Story,” a book about famous murders in the city, that will come out in October.

Vance said the 368-page baseball history book took three years to research and write. His previous books were on the Houston Oilers, a comedy trio band that he started and “Houston Sporting History: 1900-1950”

A former standup comedian, Vance has always been a big fan of baseball and history.

He wanted to tell the little-known stories of baseball before a Major League franchise arrived in 1962.

“There are a lot of stories about guys who were baseball heroes at the time,” Vance said.

The book highlights the Houston Buffaloes, a minor league franchise that existed during various stints from 1888 to 1961. The Buffs spent most of that time as a St. Louis Cardinals affiliate.

The book also briefly addresses that the Cardinals may have moved to Houston in the mid 1950s had they not been purchased by the Busch Family in St. Louis.

Vance wrote about the original ballparks in Houston and the popularity of Amateur Baseball in the region.

He also wrote about the African-American baseball experience during a time when the South was segregated.

As a member of the Harris County Historical Commission, Vance has worked to get historical markers for many of the original ballparks such as West End Park, located under what is now I-45 downtown.

Writing books is a part-time venture for Vance, who founded the non-profit Houston Arts and Media (

Houston Arts & Media puts together educational pieces about Texas History. Vance produces, writes and directs documentaries on a wide range of historical topics throughout the Lone Star State.

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