Lefty O'Doul / San Francisco Bay Chapter
The Lefty O'Doul / San Francisco Bay Chapter serves the San Francisco Bay Area.
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- Marlene Vogelsang (President)
- Peter MacPhail (Treasurer)
- Robert Rieder (Steering Committee)
- Paul Hirsch (President Emeritus)
SABR member Gene Sunnen founded the Lefty O’Doul Chapter in 1983. The first chapter meeting was held that year at the Oakland Coliseum before the Oakland A’s faced the San Francisco Giants in the preseason Bay Bridge Series. Speakers included Jules Tygiel, who had just published “Baseball’s Great Experiment”; Curt Flood, who spoke about his pending lawsuit on Major League Baseball’s reserve clause; and Richard Zitrin, who talked about the origins of fantasy baseball.
The chapter grew rapidly and in 1985, it hosted the SABR National Convention in Oakland. This was the first time in a number of years that the convention was held at a hotel instead of at a college campus. More than 300 people attended.
The chapter hosted a second national convention in 1998 in San Mateo. Planners for that event included Barry Mednick, Paul Hirsch, Jim Freeman, Dick Dobbins, Bernie Esser, Doug McWilliams, Pat O’Connell, Mike Hazen, Darryl Brock and Pete McPhail.
Sunnen continued to serve as chapter president from 1983 to 1988 until he left to become general manager of the minor league Watertown Pirates in upstate New York.
Barry Mednick became the second chapter president. In addition to chairing the 1998 convention effort, he is also remembered for bringing sportswriter Leonard Koppett into the chapter. Koppett was a frequent guest and speaker.
Paul Hirsch served as the chapter’s fourth president from 2001 to 2007. Under his leadership, the chapter held winter and summer meetings every year. A highlight was the Pacific Coast League heritage meeting held at the Double Play Restaurant in San Francisco. More than 100 members met and heard from former players about life in the PCL before the Dodgers and Giants moved west. Hirsch stepped down upon election to the national organization’s board of directors in 2007.
Marlene Vogelsang took on chapter leadership responsibilities in 2007.
The Lefty O’Doul Chapter currently has approximately 300 members. The chapter continues to host a variety of activities, including baseball games, ballpark tours and baseball author talks. The chapter celebrated the 2007 All-Star Game in San Francisco with a meeting at Lefty O’Doul’s restaurant, where raffle prizes included a pair of tickets to the Home Run Derby.
The chapter frequently partners with the Pacific Coast League Historical Society and has made the PCL reunion an annual tradition. A visit to “The Art of Baseball” exhibit at the George Krevsky Art Gallery has also become an annual outing. The chapter looks forward to working with the Hispanic Heritage Baseball Museum in the near future.