SABR

This Week in SABR: June 22, 2012

We're gearing up for SABR 42! Please note that the SABR office will be closed for convention week beginning Monday, June 25. Here's what we've been up to as of June 22, 2012:

Update: SABR 42 schedule changes

We've made some late additions to the schedule for SABR 42 — June 27-July 1, 2012, at the Marriott City Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota — that you won't find in the printed program when you get your registration packet. Here are the details, which can all be found at SABR.org/convention:

  • Wednesday: The Business of Baseball Committee will have a joint meeting with the Ballparks Committee from 5:30 to 7:00 p.m. in the Deer Room. This will be a panel discussion focused on the development and financing of Target Field. The panel is scheduled to include: Dan Kenney, Minnesota Ballpark Authority Executive Director; Tom Goldstein, community activist and lawyer who opposes public subsidies for sports stadiums; Gary Gillette, co-author of Big League Ballparks and Editor of the ESPN Baseball Encyclopedia; and Stan Meradith, AIA, Principal of the DLR Group, a national integrated design firm with experience building ballparks. This promises to a very exciting discussion. All SABR members are invited to attend.
  • Thursday: Steve Steinberg will fill in the RP14 slot at 3:30-3:55 p.m. in Ballroom 4. His presentation is "The Day John McGraw Lost Control of his Team ... And Quit," on a little-known 1916 incident, arguably the most bizarre action the Hall of Fame manager ever took on the field. Click here to read his presentation abstract.
  • Thursday: The tour of the Minnesota African-American Museum at 7:00 p.m. is canceled because the museum's baseball exhibit has closed. The Trivia Contest preliminaries and special screening of the "Knuckleball!" film will still be held at 7:30 p.m. at the hotel. If you want to go out to eat or see things that night, meet at the hospitality table on the 4th floor at 6:30. Volunteers from the Halsey Hall Chapter will have suggestions.  
  • Friday: In John Burbridge's absence, Robert Garratt will deliver Burbridge's scheduled RP20 presentation, "The Legacy of Alvin Dark as a Player and Manager" from 11:30 a.m.-12:00 p.m. in Ballroom 4.
  • Saturday: Bill Davis, one of the top two-sport athletes to come out of the Twin Cities, and a former Cleveland Indians and San Diego Padres infielder, has been added to the Player Panel from 9:30-11:00 a.m. in Ballroom 1-2. Click here for more information on our SABR 42 featured panels.
  • Saturday: A new meeting has been scheduled at 12:00 p.m. in the Deer Room. "Baseball and Academic Courses" will be an initial meeting of people who have taught, or like the idea of teaching, academic courses connected in one way or another to baseball to discuss common interests and possible collaborations. For more information, contact Bill Nowlin at bnowlin@rounder.com.
  • Saturday: David Laurila, co-chair of SABR's Boston Chapter, will moderate the "One on One: Roland Hemond" session from 1:30-2:30 p.m. in Ballroom 1-2. David authors the Q&A series at FanGraphs.com and is a regular contributor to several publications, including Red Sox Magazine and New England Baseball Journal. He has also contributed to the SABR Baseball Biography Project. Click here for more information on our SABR 42 featured panels.

Please consult the "pocket schedule" that will be available in your registration packet for the most up-to-date schedule at SABR 42.

Visit SABR.org/convention or scroll down below for more information on SABR 42, including registration information, hotel directions, featured speakers and panels, committee meetings, research presentations, Twins ballgame, off-site tours, transportation tips, and frequently asked questions.

SABR 42: Vendors/Memorabilia Rooms

While you're attending SABR 42, we hope you'll take time to stop by the Vendors/Memorabilia Rooms (St. Croix 1 and 2 on the sixth floor of the hotel) and purchase a book, magazine, program or photo to remind you of your time at the SABR convention in Minneapolis. Thanks to all of our vendors for their support:

  • Tom Goldstein
  • Barbara Gregorich
  • Ron Kinwald Memorabilia
  • McFarland & Co.
  • Jim Odenkirk
  • Gary Sarnoff
  • Scarecrow Press
  • Mark Stang
  • Fred Taylor
  • Eric Thompson
  • The Topps Company
  • University of Nebraska Press
  • Wayne State University

In addition, several members of the Halsey Hall Chapter will have displays of baseball artifacts available for viewing in the Memorabilia Room (St. Croix 2, sixth floor) all week during the convention. Please stop by any time during open hours to view these displays:

  • Clyde Doepner
  • Brenda Himrich
  • Dana X. Marshall
  • Stew Thornley
  • Frank White 

These members will be available at their displays for discussion and questions from 1:00-2:30 p.m. on Saturday, June 30 in the St. Croix 2 room on the sixth floor.

SABR 42: Still time to register for Minneapolis convention

We're just a few days away from SABR 42, but there's still time to register! (If you haven't signed up yet, you can also register on-site at the registration desk beginning at 2:00 p.m. on Wednesday, June 27. Sorry, no one-day passes available.)

The 42nd annual SABR convention will be held June 27-July 1, 2012, at the Marriott City Center, 30 South 7th Street, Minneapolis, MN 55402.

We'll have five full days of baseball fun at SABR 42 in Minnesota, so we hope you'll join us for an experience you won't forget. All baseball fans are welcome to register for any of our events.

In addition to our lineup of great speakers (highlighted by Minnesota Twins president Dave St. Peter and general manager Terry Ryan, with keynote speaker John Thorn), panels and research presentations, we're also planning an exclusive tour of Target Field, with special access to areas of the ballpark not available to the public; a tour of the Minneapolis Public Library; a special screening of the new "Knuckleball!" film documentary; a Twin Cities historic ballparks site tour; a one-man play on Hall of Fame executive Branch Rickey; our renowned SABR Convention Trivia Contest; and much more.

Here's everything you need to know about SABR 42. Please check our website at SABR.org/convention for updates:

We look forward to seeing you in Minnesota! For complete details, visit SABR.org/convention.

SABR 42 keynote speaker: John Thorn, MLB Official Historian

Here's our keynote speaker for SABR 42 in Minneapolis:

John Thorn is the Official Historian of Major League Baseball. He was named to the post by Commissioner Bud Selig in March 2011, succeeding the late Jerome Holtzman. A longtime SABR member who was the recipient of the Society's highest honor, the Bob Davids Award, in 2006, Thorn is the author and editor of numerous books. His works include Baseball in the Garden of Eden: The Secret History of the Early Game, published in 2011 by Simon & Schuster; Treasures of the Baseball Hall of Fame; the Total Baseball encyclopedia series; The Glory Days: New York Baseball 1947-1957; The Armchair Book of Baseball; and The Hidden Game of Baseball. He is the founding editor of McFarland's Base Ball: A Journal of the Early Game and creator of SABR's The National Pastime. He has served as the senior creative consultant for Ken Burns' Baseball series and appears regularly as a television commentator on MLB Network, ESPN, PBS and The History Channel. He is a renowned expert on the early origins of baseball; in 2004, he revealed the existence of a Pittsfield, Massachusetts, statute prohibiting the play of baseball in 1791. He has written essays and articles for many publications, including The Sporting News, the New York Times, the Boston Globe, American Heritage and VOICES, the publication of the New York Folklore Society.

Awards presented or announced at the luncheon include the Lee Allen Award, the Roland Hemond Award, the SABR Baseball Research Awards, the McFarland-SABR Baseball Research Awards, and the Henry Chadwick Awards. The awards portion of the luncheon concludes with the awarding of the Bob Davids Award, SABR's highest honor.

The Master of Ceremonies is Stew Thornley, SABR 42 convention committee chair.

The SABR 42 Awards Luncheon is scheduled for 12:30-2:30 p.m. on Friday, June 29 at the Marriott City Center in Minneapolis. Regster for the SABR convention online at the SABR Store. All baseball fans are welcome to register for the luncheon or any other event during our annual convention.

A full schedule and details for SABR 42 can be found at SABR.org/convention.

SABR 42: Featured panels

We've got some exciting panels lined up on the schedule for SABR 42 in Minneapolis this summer. Here are the details:

SABR Authors Panel
6:30-8:30 p.m., Wednesday, June 27
Barnes & Noble, 801 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis

Join us at the Barnes & Noble on 8th Street for a SABR authors panel and book signing featuring: Mark Armour, Pitching, Defense, and Three-Run Homers: The 1970 Baltimore Orioles; Rob Fitts, Banzai Babe Ruth: Baseball, Espionage, and Assassination during the 1934 Tour of Japan; Daniel R. Levitt, The Battle that Forged Modern Baseball: The Federal League Challenge and Its Legacy; John Thorn, Baseball in the Garden of Eden: The Secret History of the Early Game; Steve Treder, The Hardball Times. Moderator: Rob Taylor, Sports Editor and Interim Editor-in-Chief, University of Nebraska Press. 

Opening Remarks: Dave St. Peter
9:30-10:30 a.m., Thursday, June 28
Ballroom 1-2

Dave St. Peter has worked in the Minnesota Twins organization since 1990 and has been the team president since November 2002. He leads the team's strategic planning process and business departments. He was involved in the approval, design, and construction of Target Field, which opened in 2010 and was named the 2011 Sports Facility of the Year by Sports Business Journal/Sports Business Daily. A native of North Dakota, Dave serves on the board of the Minnesota Twins Community Fund, the Ronald McDonald House of the Twin Cities, and Meet Minneapolis.

Introduction by Brenda Himrich, president of the Halsey Hall Chapter. Brenda jumped on the baseball fan wagon when the Twins won the World Series in 1987 and hasn’t fallen off yet. Though a recent fan, she has memories of seeing Harmon Killebrew hit a grand slam and Kirby Puckett hit for the cycle. The significance of these events was lost on her until she joined SABR in the 1990s. The years of being a member has enhanced her appreciation of baseball by adding historical depth and knowledge. As president of Halsey Hall Chapter of SABR, Brenda is proud to welcome all to Minnesota and SABR 42.

Official Scorers Panel
1:00-2:15 p.m., Thursday, June 28
Ballroom 1-2
 

Our panel of official scorers for major league teams will discuss rules and scoring issues that come up during the course of a game, including appeals, reversed calls and other disputes. Speakers include:

Stew Thornley, who joined SABR in 1979 and got his first shot at official scoring as an add-on job while doing public-address announcing in the early 1980s. He became a Major League Baseball official scorer for Minnesota Twins home games in 2007 and has been doing datacasting for Twins home games for Total Sports/MLB.com since 1998. He has written many books about Minnesota sports history, and his first book, On to Nicollet: The Glory and Fame of the Minneapolis Millers, received the Macmillan-SABR Baseball Research Award in 1988. He is related by marriage to the SABR Halsey Hall Chapter president, Brenda Himrich.

David Vincent, a long-time member of SABR who received the organization's highest honor, the Bob Davids Award, in 1999. David is the founding secretary of Retrosheet, which collects play-by-play accounts of every game in major league history. He has served as an official scorer in four minor leagues (including 21 seasons in the Carolina League) and has been the official scorer for Major League Baseball since it returned to Washington, DC, in 2005. He is known around baseball as "The Sultan of Swat Stats" for his expertise in the history of the home run. He is the author of many books and articles on home runs and umpires.

Gregg Wong, a sportswriter for the St. Paul Pioneer Press from 1969 to 2002. Gregg was the official scorer for several Minnesota Twins game in 1988, and he and Stew Thornley took over as official scorers for the Twins when longtime scorer Tom Mee retired in 2007. A 1969 graduate of the University of Minnesota, Wong was the official scorer and public-address announcer for the Minnesota Gophers in 1968 and 1969, wrote for the school newspaper, and worked in the sports information office. Gregg's last year in newspapers was in 2002, and he concluded it by covering the playoff series between the Twins and Angels. That year he also covered the NCAA hockey championship, won by the Gophers, and all four majors in men's golf.

Moderator: Kevin Hennessy. Kevin is a lifelong baseball fan and a member of SABR's Halsey Hall Chapter since 1997. Kevin has served on the chapter's Board of Directors for seven of his 15 years, and has contributed presentations and articles to chapter meetings and publications on a regular basis. Kevin has served as an official scorer for the St. Paul Saints beginning in 2008 and for Twins games beginning in 2009. He continues to score baseball games for STATS, Inc., as he has since 1990. He has also had stints with Gary Gillette's Baseball Workshop, Total Sports, and Minnesota Public Radio.

Women in Baseball Panel
4:45-6:15 p.m., Thursday, June 28
Ballroom 1-2
 

Our panel of authors and experts will discuss the evolution of women in baseball throughout the game's history and their future in the sport. Speakers include:

Laura Day, who has served as Executive Vice President of Business Development for the Minnesota Twins since 2006. She oversees the team's revenue generation, including ticket sales and corporate partnerships, and played a key role in the Twins' transition from the Metrodome to Target Field in 2010. Prior to joining the Twins, she worked at the Minneapolis Convention and Visitor's Association and served as vice president of sales for Victory Sports One. She was one of the first employees of the Minnesota Wild hockey team, helping to launch the Xcel Energy Center as vice president of corporate partnerships from 1999 to 2002. Laura got her start in sports working for the Twins from 1991 to 1999, where he held a variety of posts, including vice president of sales and marketing; director of corporate marketing; and promotions manager.

Leslie Heaphy, a member of SABR since 1989 and chair of SABR's Women in Baseball Committee since 1995. She was elected to the SABR Board of Directors in 2010. Leslie is an associate professor of history at Kent State University at Stark and publishes in the area of the Negro Leagues and women’s baseball. In 2008, she became the founding editor of the journal Black Ball, published by McFarland Publishing. She lives in Kent, Ohio.

Dorothy Seymour Mills, a pioneer among baseball historians. With her late husband, Dr. Harold Seymour, she co-authored the classic three-book series called Baseball, published by Oxford University Press. In 2010, the couple were selected as part of the inaugural class of recipients for SABR's Henry Chadwick Award, which honors the game's greatest researchers, historians, statisticians, analysts and archivists. She also authored A Woman's Work: Writing Baseball History with Harold Seymour (McFarland & Co., 2004), which revealed her contributions to the Baseball series — after not receiving credit for her work for many decades, Dorothy was finally listed as the co-author when OUP re-released the books in 2010. Her most recent books are Chasing Baseball: Our Obsession With Its History, Numbers, People and Places and Drawing Card: A Baseball Novel.

Cecilia Tan, SABR's Publications Editor since 2011. Cecilia has been involved in baseball in one way or another since she fell in love with the 1976 New York Yankees. She writes the oldest baseball blog on the Internet, "Why I Like Baseball", and played second base/right field for the Pawtucket Slaterettes, the oldest continuously operating all-female baseball league in the country. Early in her baseball writing career, she was a web writer for the New York Yankees. She currently serves as Publications Editor for SABR and this past winter was a co-editor of the Baseball Prospectus Annual.

Moderator: Ann Carroll, three-time Emmy Award-winning host/reporter for Fox Sports North. Since 2006, she has been the host/producer and reporter for the "Vikings Weekly" magazine TV show. She has also worked as a sports anchor and sideline reporter at TV stations in Duluth, Minnesota; Minneapolis, Minnesota; Kansas City, Missouri; and St. Louis, Missouri, covering Major League Baseball, the National Football League, the National Hockey League, college football and basketball, and other sports. She is a graduate of St. Cloud State University and a native of Edina, Minnesota.

General Managers Panel
9:15-10:45 a.m., Friday, June 29
Ballroom 3-4

Our featured speaker is Terry Ryan, who became general manager of the Minnesota Twins in 1994, stepping down from the position in 2007, and returning in 2011 as Executive Vice President, General Manager. He was named Executive of the Year by The Sporting News in 2002 and 2006, and Major League Executive of the Year by Baseball America in 2004. Under his leadership, the Twins were named Organization of the Year in 2002 and 2004 by Baseball America and in 2002 by USA Today and Sportsticker. Terry joined the Twins organization in 1974 and pitched in their system for four years.

Moderator: Daniel R. Levitt, author of The Battle that Forged Modern Baseball: The Federal League Challenge and Its Legacy and Ed Barrow: The Bulldog Who Built the Yankees First Dynasty. He co-authored (with Mark Armour) the book Paths to Glory: How Great Baseball Teams Got That Way, which won the Sporting News-SABR Baseball Research Award. He is also the editor of this year's The National Pastime: Baseball in the North Star State.

SABR Awards Luncheon
12:30-2:30 p.m., Friday, June 29
Ballroom 1-2

Keynote speaker: John Thorn

Master of Ceremonies: Stew Thornley 

John Thorn is the Official Historian of Major League Baseball. He was named to the post by Commissioner Bud Selig in March 2011, succeeding the late Jerome Holtzman. A longtime SABR member who was the recipient of the Society's highest honor, the Bob Davids Award, in 2006, Thorn is the author and editor of numerous books. His works include Baseball in the Garden of Eden: The Secret History of the Early Game, published in 2011 by Simon & Schuster; Treasures of the Baseball Hall of Fame; the Total Baseball encyclopedia series; The Glory Days: New York Baseball 1947-1957; The Armchair Book of Baseball; and The Hidden Game of Baseball. He is the founding editor of McFarland's Base Ball: A Journal of the Early Game and creator of SABR's The National Pastime. He has served as the senior creative consultant for Ken Burns' Baseball series and appears regularly as a television commentator on MLB Network, ESPN, PBS and The History Channel. He is a renowned expert on the early origins of baseball; in 2004, he revealed the existence of a Pittsfield, Massachusetts, statute prohibiting the play of baseball in 1791. He has written essays and articles for many publications, including The Sporting News, the New York Times, the Boston Globe, American Heritage and VOICES, the publication of the New York Folklore Society.

Awards presented or announced at the luncheon include the Lee Allen Award, the Roland Hemond Award, the SABR Baseball Research Awards, the McFarland-SABR Baseball Research Awards, and the Henry Chadwick Awards. The Awards portion of the luncheon concludes with the awarding of the Bob Davids Award, SABR's highest honor.

Players Panel
9:30-11:00 a.m., Saturday, June 30
Ballroom 1-2

Our traditional Players Panel will include the following speakers who will discuss their careers and lives in baseball:

Ron Coomer, who spent six of his nine seasons with the Minnesota Twins from 1995-2003. Ron grew up on the south side of Chicago, though he was a Cubs fan and often imitated the home-run call of Jack Brickhouse as he fungoed rocks across Central Avenue into Midway Airport. Cooms reached the majors in 1995 with the Twins and also played for the Cubs, Yankees, and Dodgers. He was on the American League All-Star team in 1999. Ron now works on Twins telecasts for Fox Sports North.

Bob “Rocky” Johnson, 11-year veteran infielder with seven MLB teams, 1960-70. Rocky grew up in the Minneapolis suburb of Edina. Rocky once had six straight pinch hits, led his league in pinch hits three times, and finished his career with a pinch-hitting batting average of .272 and an overall batting average of .272. He wonders how rare that is, and he thinks someone from our group will probably be able to tell him.

Bill Davis, one of the top two-sport athletes to come out of the Twin Cities. Bill starred at the University of Minnesota in both baseball and basketball in the early 1960s. After graduation Davis began his professional baseball career by signing with the Cleveland Indians. Davis played parts of three seasons in the majors from 1965-69, including a stint with the expansion San Diego Padres in 1969. After seven years of professional baseball, Davis settled back home in Richfield, Minnesota, and built a successful career as a commercial real estate finance executive.

Roy Smalley III, All-Star shortstop and 13-year veteran from 1975-87. Roy III was the son of Roy Jr., the keynote speaker at SABR 10 in Los Angeles in 1980, and nephew of Gene Mauch. Roy III played on two championship teams at the University of Southern California and signed with the Texas Rangers, having been picked first in the 1974 amateur draft. He came to the Minnesota Twins in 1976 along with Mike Cubbage, Bill Singer, and Jim Gideon in a trade for Bert Blyleven and Danny Thompson. Roy hit 24 home runs in 1979 and was on the All-Star team. He was traded to New York in 1982 and, a little over a month later, came back to the Metrodome and struck out into a triple play against the Twins. Roy came back to the Twins in 1985 and finished his major league career in the World Series in 1987, which the Twins won.

Moderator: Frank Quilici. Frank was a popular member of the Twins for many years and a versatile infielder from 1965 to 1970. In the World Series against the Dodgers in his rookie season, he had two hits in one inning in the opening game. Frank coached the Twins in 1971 and 1972 although he played one game in 1971, an exhibition game against the Giants at Met Stadium in which Giants coach Ozzie Virgil also played. In July 1972 he became the Twins manager, and, in his first game as skipper, Harmon Killebrew hit a two-run homer to beat a team from New York. After managing the Twins through 1975, Frank became a broadcaster, working on the radio with Herb Carneal calling Twins games.

One on One: Roland Hemond
1:30-2:30 p.m., Saturday, June 30
Ballroom 1-2

Longtime SABR member Roland Hemond sits down for an exclusive one-on-one session in which he'll talk about his life in baseball and answer questions from the audience. Hemond received the Buck O'Neil Lifetime Achievement Award during 2011 Induction Weekend at the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York. A three-time winner of MLB's Executive of the Year award, Hemond has been a tireless advocate for SABR over the years and is a familiar face at our national convention. He has also lent his name to an award given annually by SABR's Scouts Research Committee, which recognizes the baseball executive who has demonstrated a lifetime commitment to professional baseball scouts and scouting, and player development history.

Moderator: David Laurila. David grew up in Michigan's Upper Peninsula and now writes about baseball from his home in Cambridge, Massachusetts. He authors the Q&A series at FanGraphs.com and is a regular contributor to several publications, including Red Sox Magazine and New England Baseball Journal. A co-chair of SABR’s Boston Chapter, he has contributed to the SABR Baseball Biography Project.

40 years since Supreme Court ruled against Curt Flood

It was forty years ago this week — June 19, 1972 — that the United States Supreme Court ruled against Curt Flood in his effort to dismantle baseball's reserve clause. By a vote of 5-3, the court upheld baseball's exemption from antitrust laws, denying players a chance at free agency (which they later gained in 1975.)

Flood challenged the reserve clause in 1969 after the St. Louis Cardinals traded him to the Philadelphia Phillies. The reserve clause — officially, Paragraph 10(a) in the Uniform Player's Agreement — bound players to their teams in perpetuity. (Download the 1970 Basic Agreement from SABR's Business of Baseball Research Committee here.)

In 1992, twenty years after the Supreme Court decision, Flood was interviewed by SABR member Paul Brown as part of our Oral History Collection. In a 23-minute conversation, Flood recounted his life after the Supreme Court decision, his brief return to baseball with the Washington Senators, his self-imposed exile from the United States to Majorca, Spain (where "I cleaned my pores out"), and trying to make peace with his legacy.

Listen to the August 9, 1992, interview of Curt Flood from SABR's Oral History Collection here

For more information on SABR's Oral History Collection, click here.

Dorothy Seymour Mills: It's our national game, too

Speaking of 40th anniversaries, tomorrow will be exactly four decades since the historic anti-discrimination legislation known as Title IX went into effect. The federal civil rights law, signed by President Richard Nixon on June 23, 1972, prohibits sex discrimination in all areas of education, including sports, and has paved the way for female athletic participation at all levels.

SABR member Dorothy Seymour Mills has written often about the trials and tribulations faced by female baseball players in history, most notably in Baseball: A People's Game, which she co-authored with Dr. Harold Seymour in 1990.

Mills will be part of a Women in Baseball panel discussion at SABR 42 next week in Minneapolis. Here is an excerpt from her recent article on women in baseball that was published by The Hardball Times on June 21:

When a guy says, "What happened in baseball today?" he refers only to male players and only to the two major leagues. A lot more baseball goes on outside those two leagues, and women are right into it, although the media lags behind in revealing their story to readers.

Women's baseball history is full of dramatic events and fascinating players. Changes occur every day. When women players refer to "what's happening in baseball," this is what they are talking about.

In researching women's baseball history, I realized that by the time of the thirties some women players had reached a high level of skill. Although some men continued to disparage women's efforts and sneer at their accomplishments, others recognized good playing when they saw it.

Minor-league managers in particular actually tried to hire good female players for their teams. Guess who blocked them: Commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis.

<snip>

Throughout history, athletic women's aspirations have constantly been blocked.

Why is that important? Because it still happens today. Many baseball men have no idea that women possess a solid history in baseball since the 1860s, with each generation producing some good players who might have at least made the minor leagues if men had permitted them to show their talents. Today's female baseball players (and umpires) have a hard time getting recognition for their abilities.

Read the full article here: http://www.hardballtimes.com/main/article/its-our-national-game-too/ 

 Learn more about the SABR 42 Women in Baseball panel at SABR.org/convention. It features Dorothy Seymour Mills; Minnesota Twins Executive Vice President of Business Development Laura Day; author and historian Leslie Heaphy; and SABR Publications Editor Cecilia Tan; and moderated by Ann Carroll, Emmy-award winning host/reporter for Fox Sports North.

Lou Criger monument dedication held in Elkhart, Indiana

Sunday, June 3, 1912 marked the 100-year anniversary of Lou Criger’s final baseball game — the perfect day to honor him on a monument in his hometown of Elkhart, Indiana. His family, some coming from as far away as Arizona, Louisiana and North Carolina, admiring fans and Elkhart residents traveled to Riverview Park for the dedication ceremony.

SABR member David Stalker has led the effort to honor long-ago ballplayers through his Deadball Era Memorial Series, which began in 2005 with Fred Merkle in their shared hometown of Watertown, Wisconsin. The series has now spread out into five states, with Criger being the 14th monument erected.

After handing out pins that commemorated the event, SABR member and baseball historian Steve Krah, sports writer for the Elkhart Truth, led off the event. He spoke about Lou’s time in Elkhart and his professional career. Dick Moore, the mayor of Elkhart, spoke about Cy Young’s many achievements. He brought to everyone’s attention that Lou Criger was right there with him, helping him along the way to his outstanding career. Criger’s granddaughter, Jeanette Criger Done, followed, telling stories about his personal life.

To read more about the Criger monument dedication, visit http://seamheads.com/2012/06/18/lou-criger-monument-dedication.

Michigan students win SABR Lee Allen History of Baseball Award

SABR is pleased to announce the winners of the Lee Allen History of Baseball Award for 2012.

Jacob Hurwitz from West Middle School in Portage, Michigan, and Andrew Beck and Eli Cartier from Kazoo School in Kalamazoo, Michigan won the Lee Allen History of Baseball Award for their junior group website entry, “The Baseball Diamond: The Only Jewel Wrapped in Chains.” Ann Lape sponsored the group.

Since 1996, SABR has honored the best baseball research project at the National History Day competition, an annual event in which students compete on a regional basis, followed by state competition, and then national finals at the University of Maryland.

The award is named in honor of Lee Allen, the historian at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum from 1950 to 1969. To view a list of past winners, click here.

For more information on National History Day, visit https://www.nhd.org/SpecialPrizeinfo.htm.

In Memoriam: Craig B. Waff

Craig Beale Waff, 66, of Beavercreek, Ohio, a SABR member since 1992, died on June 12, 2012, in the absolute prime of his life. Just one week earlier, he had observed the rare transit of Venus from Mount Wilson Observatory in Pasadena, California.

An avid Yankees fan, Waff was keenly interested in the history of early American pre-1860 pre-Civil War base ball. At the time of his death, he had just completed writing and editing several contributions to an upcoming SABR book "The Greatest Games of 19th Century Baseball". Most significantly, however, through his dogged research through digital databases and newspapers on microfilm, Waff single-handedly quintupled the known number of base ball games played between 1845 and 1860 from around 300 to at least 1,500 (an early account of this project and Waff's Games Tabulation appear at http://www.retrosheet.org/Protoball/GamesTab.htm).

Waff was born in New York, NY, on May 3, 1946, younger son of Charles and Mary (nee Carper) Waff and grew up in Flushing, Queens, and Plainview, Long Island, in New York as well as in North Miami, Florida, graduating from Miami-Norland High School in 1964. Showing mathematical ability at a young age, Craig majored in mathematics at the University of Florida, graduating in 1969; during the summers he worked as a co-op student at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Langley Research Center in Virginia. He attended graduate school at Johns Hopkins University, receiving his Ph.D. in 1976. Research for his dissertation on French eighteenth-century lunar theory in France and Denmark was supported by a Woodrow Wilson Fellowship; his dissertation was completed under noted historian of astronomy Harry Woolf, who had written what is now a classic book on the eighteenth-century transits of Venus in 1761 and 1769.

For much of his career he was an editor for New York City-area publishers of encyclopedias and other reference works, including the American Institute of Physics (1977-1979), Arete Publishing Co. (1979-1982), Columbia University Press (1982-1984), Random House (1984-1985), Collier-Newfield Inc. (1994-1997), Macmillan General Reference (1997-1998), and Scholastic Library Publishing (1998-2003). He also served as contract historian for the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, from 1985-1993, researching the history of NASA's Deep Space Network (tracking system for interplanetary spacecraft) and Galileo mission to Jupiter, and serving as a technical writer.

At the time of his death, he was Senior Historian at the Air Force Research Laboratory at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio, where he had worked since 2004. Papers and articles of his had been published in Scientific American, Journal for the History of Astronomy, Astronomy, IEEE Spectrum, Journal of the Antique Telescope Society, various Air Force publications, and half a dozen academic encyclopedias.

From 1993-1997, Waff was married to science writer and editor Trudy E. Bell, whom Waff had known professionally and as a friend since the late 1970s. Although the two found living together challenging and they divorced and lived apart in different Ohio cities, they remained extremely close companions, sharing the raising of Trudy's daughter Roxana, spending most holidays together, and traveling together on research trips, family vacations, and to conferences.

Waff and Bell were visiting Pasadena to give talks at the same special symposium on the transit of Venus held at Mount Wilson Observatory, and together they observed the rare transit of Venus across the face of the sun from inside the 150-foot solar tower telescope at the observatory on Tuesday, June 5. On Thursday, June 7, Waff was completing some of his last research on Mitchel at the Huntington Library in Pasadena and had just hung up from a phone call to Bell when he collapsed on the reading room floor from massive cardiac arrest. Although he was rushed to Huntington Memorial Hospital, he never regained consciousness, passing away five days later.

Waff is survived by his brother LCDR William B. Waff, USCG (ret) and sister-in-law Ellen Coutts Waff of Middlefield CT, nieces Margret of Middlefield CT, Sarah of Edgewood NM, and Rebeccah Waff Cope of Raleigh NC, and by Trudy E. Bell (Gertrude E. Bell) and 21-year-old stepdaughter Roxana Bell of Lakewood OH, Bell's brother John, of San Diego CA, and sister Shanna Dee Bell and nephew Kenneth Henderson Bell, of Irving, TX.

Waff's ashes will be scattered at both a historic observatory and at a baseball stadium in recognition of his love of and fundamental research in the history of astronomy and history of early American baseball. A memorial service will be held at the Cincinnati Observatory Center on Saturday, July 21; for details, please contact Trudy E. Bell (t.e.bell@ieee.org) and Ellen Waff (ewaff@comcast.net). The family also solicits reminiscences and remembrances from people who knew Craig Waff professionally or personally.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made in Waff's name to the Antique Telescope Society, a 501(c)3 educational organization. Checks should be made payable to the "Antique Telescope Society" and sent to ATS Executive Secretary Walt Breyer, 1878 Robinson Road, Dahlonega, GA 30533; note in the memo on the check (or in a separate note) that the contribution is in the memory of Craig B. Waff. (Information about the ATS appears at http://oldscope.org/; the link to the special double issue of the ATS Journal about Alvan Clark highlights some major work by Waff.)

The family plans to see that Waff's nearly completed major research on Mitchel and on pre-1860 baseball games is prepared for posthumous publication.

We send our condolences to his family and friends.  

All "In Memoriam" notices are posted in the SABR Bulletin group here: http://sabrnation.sabr.org/groups2/discussion/list/groupid/1960. Please send notices to Jacob Pomrenke at jpomrenke@sabr.org.

Research committee newsletters

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Around the Web

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This page was last updated June 22, 2012 at 4:22 pm MST.

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