For the 105 attendees of the Rocky Mountain Chapter's 14th annual banquet on November 4, 2011, it was a memorable night. Filling up the Grand Ballroom at the Denver Athletic Club after navigating Friday night traffic in downtown Denver, all the guests were treated to a fine evening of baseball chatter and camaraderie, with the recently concluded World Series and the origins of baseball among the many topics discussed.
The many items up for silent auction became eye candy for those in attendance, as was the table next to the dais where John Thorn, the night’s keynote speaker, was selling and autographing his latest book, Baseball in the Garden of Eden: The Secret History of the Early Game.
Jim Armstrong, esteemed sportswriter for The Denver Post and the evening’s MC, announced that dinner was served shortly after 7 p.m. After all the guests had been served, some chapter business was attended to. Secretary Matt Mitchell announced the newly elected members of the chapter’s board for 2012-13, with the final results out of 40 ballots cast:
- President: Matthew Repplinger (37 votes)
- Vice President: James “Jim” Powers (21) def. Katherine Surman (19)
- Treasurer: David Glandorf (36)
- Secretary: Matthew Mitchell (39)
- At-large Board Members: Paul Parker (37), William “Chip” Atkison (37), John Paul (36), Lauren Cronin (34) elected. Write-in candidate Nick Wilson (1) not elected.
Chapter treasurer David Glandorf then gave a report on the state of the chapter’s finances, which are in good shape. Chapter president Paul Parker then took to the podium to introduce some honored guests in the crowd, including anyone involved with the game of baseball at the professional level. He continued with a message of gratitude for his time in leadership of the chapter, naming almost everyone in the room (or so it seemed).
It was then time to move on to the evening’s program. Rob Neyer, National Baseball Editor for SB Nation and fellow SABR member, filled the role of Featured Speaker for the night. He talked about how he fell in love with the game of baseball, how he became involved in SABR and how that led to his career as a baseball writer. He then answered various questions afterward, with topics ranging from what stats he liked to use when writing blog posts to his passion for bird watching.
Afterward, Paul returned to the podium to award the John Zajc Award for service to the chapter to Alan Rice, the outgoing board member from Billings, Montana. Alan was very surprised to get the award and humbly accepted it claiming that all he did was “drive down from Billings a few times a year.” Nonetheless, Alan acted as a voice of reason when the board was discussing various events and topics. After that, president-elect Matt Repplinger then gave some remarks about what SABR meant to him and his involvement in baseball.
The evening then reached its climax with the Keynote Speaker, John Thorn. As the Official Historian for Major League Baseball, John discussed his work with the Origins Committee that Commissioner Bud Selig requested he chair. He then highlighted his research on the Mills commission and why the myth of Abner Doubleday was perpetrated. John concluded with a glimpse into some of the upcoming activities that the Origins Committee is undertaking, including a social media project to collect fans’ stories about their baseball origins and other endeavors.
View a photo gallery of the event below:
For more information on the Rocky Mountain Chapter, visit RMSABR.org.