SABR

SABR Day 2013

SABR Day is an annual event that brings together SABR members and friends on the same day, regardless of where they live. The fourth annual SABR Day was held on January 26, 2013.

Regional SABR meetings are open to all baseball fans — though we encourage you to join SABR if you like what you find — and are usually free to attend. Guest speakers often include current and former baseball players, managers, umpires, executives, scouts, writers and authors.

Here are some more highlights from SABR Day 2013:

Albuquerque, New Mexico (Rio Grande Chapter): A former minor league baseball player and a one-time grounds crew member at County Stadium who chased down one of MLB’s most-famous baseballs were guest speakers for the Rio Grande Chapter on SABR Day 2013 in Albuquerque. Mike Foote, who played high school ball in Albuquerque before becoming a successful walk-on at the University of New Mexico and later a 30th-round draft choice of the Cincinnati Reds, told a crowd of 18 baseball fans in attendance how he actually hated baseball after seeing his MLB dreams die in Class AA. Foote decided he’d someday try to help others with the same dream he once had – and he’s since done it, in the form of the Albuquerque Baseball Academy, where current Albuquerque minor-leaguers like Max Walla, Blake Swihart and Jordan Pacheco, plus Colorado Rockies infielder Jordan Pacheco, honed their skills. Richard Arndt took everyone back to July 20, 1976, when he retrieve what turned out to be the last home run ball hit by Henry Aaron, No. 755. Arndt told of being fired from his job by the Brewers – and docked $5 for failing to surrender the ball – and the path he and the baseball took. Coincidentally, a friend of Arndt’s at the meeting told everyone he’d seen the famous ball in Cooperstown last summer. Arndt is mentioned in Aaron’s I Had a Hammer and The Last Hero by Howard Bryant. By the meeting’s end, an estimated 100 or so MLB and minor league media guides were grabbed by attendees, as the Albuquerque isotopes – who allow SABR to use stadium facilities for monthly meetings – wanted to get rid of the items, collectibles for many of the chapter members. View more photos of the event on the chapter's Facebook page here. — Gary Herron

Austin, Texas (Rogers Hornsby Chapter): A small but enthusiastic group of Hornsby Chapter members met at Romano's Macaroni Grill in the Arboretum area in Austin on Saturday afternoon to celebrate SABR Day. Various topics were discussed including the recent Rangers Caravan luncheon that was attended by Monte Cely and Monte's upcoming trip to the 2013 Serie de Caribe (Caribbean World Series) in Hermosillo, Mexico. Mike Dillon (Florida) and Jan Larson (Arizona) also reported on making plans to attend Spring Training. — Monte Cely

Boston, Massachusetts (Boston Chapter): On a cold and windy day — 24 degrees and 11 degrees wind chill (no walk of infamy this year) — 10 stalwart souls met for lunch to celebrate SABR Day at the Bleacher Bar, located under the bleachers at Fenway Park, a warm and inviting atmosphere affording us a panoramic view of Fenway Park in winter.  Not only were are hearts warmed up by the view but we were also serenaded by the voices  of hopeful public address announcers vying for the job to replace the late Carl Beane. We were all in agreement that none were worthy. The main topic of discussion during lunch was the recently published Francona, The Red Sox Years. The discussion was hot, the stove was hot, the food was hot. Only the beer was cold. — Joanne Hulbert

Columbus, Ohio (Hank Gowdy Chapter): The chapter's third annual winter meeting was held on Saturday, January 26 (SABR Day) at the Karl Road Branch of the Columbus Public Library. This was the chapter's first day-long meeting and the 25 members and guests can attest to its success. The guest speaker, author and former sportswriter Jonathan Knight, delighted the group with a discussion of his intriguing book, Summer of Shadows. The book intertwines details of the 1954 American League championship run and World Series defeat of the Cleveland Indians with local Dr. Sam Shepherd's much-publicized trial for the murder of his wife. In addition to our featured speaker, the group was treated to four convention-quality presentations by members of the chapter. Columbus baseball historian Jim Tootle discussed the life and times of chapter namesake Hank Gowdy. Chris Gallutia, via the wonders of PowerPoint, discussed the availability of genealogical resources for baseball research, utilizing the records of local and national baseball figures as examples. Sam Pathy shared his knowledge of all things Wrigley Field by documenting the 50 longest home runs hit at the ballpark since 1937. Jeff Cranston enlightened us with a description of baseball's first perfect game pitched by J. Lee Richmond on June 12, 1880 in Worcester, Massachusetts. During the day the group held a short business meeting and raffled off a fine set of books donated to the chapter from the collection of the late Bob McConnell, a founding SABR member. In addition, 18 members filled out a Hall of Fame ballot. It took 14 votes for election. No one qualified. The top vote-getters were Biggio (12 votes, 66.7%), Trammell and Morris (9/50), and Schilling and Piazza (8/44). Bonds and Clemens each received 2 votes. A discussion of the results and Hall of Fame criteria followed. Before adjourning, we were put through our paces by trivia guru John Lewis. View more photos of the event here. — Rick Huhn

Cooperstown, New York (Cliff Kachline Chapter): Twenty-one fans attended our SABR Day Meeting. Pete Henrici presented information on all Hall of Famers who have reached 90 years of age. Sad that Stan The Man is no longer among the living nonagenarians. Jim Gates followed with an unveiling of a super spreadsheet of HOF inductee info - dates of election, class year, who elected by, birth and death, etc. It is an extensive piece of work, still in the creations stage. It is hoped that once all the fields are completed, and the spreadsheet has been tested, that it will roll out on the Hall's website for researcher access. Bruce Markusen led us through a baseball card mystery, like the ones he writes about in his column for The Hardball Times. The subject - the 1974 Topps Dick Green card, which turns out to be filled with errors and misinformation. Gabe Schechter gave us one in an ongoing series of obscure player bios, this one featuring Sam Nahem, whose out of baseball life was more interesting than his time on the diamond. Tom Shieber busted the myth that Gary Cooper was filmed and then reversed in Pride of the Yankees to replicate the left-handed Lou Gehrig. In every action sequence (save one), Cooper is actually batting and fielding left-handed. We ended our meeting with an hour long conversation on the recent Hall vote. It was interesting, with many diverse opinions. View more photos at the chapter's Facebook page here. — Jeff Katz

Denver, Colorado (Rocky Mountain Chapter): Forty-seven SABR members and guests were in attendance on SABR Day. The chapter Board Meeting was conducted between 9–10 a.m. by President Matthew Repplinger with eight of 11 board members present. John Paul and Nick Wilson were elected as replacement Secretary and Director, respectively. RMSABR's annual donors were recognized. Mark Tylicki was our first presenter and he gave a great presentation about RustyWilly Collectibles, which he owns and operates out of Denver. He started collecting cards in 1991, buying packs during the hobby card boom. Several years later he sold off almost everything and began acquiring and collecting vintage cards, coins, bottle caps, stamps and vintage cards. His presentation provided insight on graded vintage Old Judge Cards, Ice Cream Lids, Pepsin Gum Pins, cloth stickers, postcards and cards of major manufacturers. The vintage items are of HOF members, rookies, MVPs and Umpires. The collection is recognized by the Smithsonian on his website as the most extensive of its kind. Each item has a detailed description and comments regarding their significance. The Colorado Rockies' 2012 Prediction contest was declared a castoff season as no members came close to the Rockies' final results. Better luck this year! The Umpires Panel, featuring 28-year American League umpire Jim Evans and current MLB umpires Chris Guccione and Cory Blaser, was moderated by Marc Stout of Root Sports Rocky Mountain/Rockies Weekly. Each gave insight on how they were notified about their call-up to MLB. Guccione described his trip from Salida, Colorado, to umpiring school. What a bus ride: 52 hours one-way! Marc’s questions opened a discussion on game assignments, scheduling and time off, which led to comparisons between today and 20 years ago on travel, hotels, equipment and when they arrive at the ballpark. They also talked about time between pitches and innings, newly revised MLB rules, interference calls, player substitutions and Coors Field's humidor operation. All panel members provided an outstanding insight on umpiring, and chapter members provided a well-deserved round of applause. The traditional en mass game of catch began at 1:30 p.m. and the weather was extremely cooperative at 54 degrees and partly sunny. The bullpen warm-ups were a little rusty, but the baseballs flew and mitts popped in short order! — John Paul

Des Moines, Iowa (Field of Dreams Chapter): The Field of Dreams (Iowa) Chapter had an informal meeting of 11 members and guests at Confluence Brewing Company in Des Moines on Saturday afternoon. Nothing formal, just a few hours talking baseball, drinking beer, and eating pizza. We did have fun with the Bob Davids Chapter's Hall of Fame ballot. Our 9 voters "elected" Craig Biggio and Mike Piazza with 7 votes each. Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens just missed with 6 votes each, followed by Bagwell (5); Trammell, Raines, and Smith (4); Martinez, Sosa, McGwire and Palmeiro (3); Mattingly, Murphy, Morris and Schilling (2); and Lofton and McGriff with 1 each. Future plans call for a trip to Modern Woodmen Park in Davenport, Iowa for a Midwest League game on May 19. — Tim Rask

Fort Lauderdale, Florida (South Florida Chapter): 10 members and guests gathered at Fort Lauderdale Stadium to watch the 25th Annual Joe DiMaggio Memorial Classic game. Several baseball stars from the past  participated including; "Oil Can" Boyd, Bert Campaneris, Bill "Spaceman" Lee , John "Blue Moon" Odom, Amos Otis, Cookie Rojas and Jay Johnstone were just a few of an all-star cast. Johnstone delighted the crowd by donning an small umbrella on his head instead of the more traditional ballcap. Good times were had by all that attended and there was no shortage of hardball talk and nostalgia. — Sam Zygner

Houston, Texas (Larry Dierker Chapter): Our SABR Chapter played a doubleheader on Saturday by staffing a table at the Houston Astros FanFest, where more than 2,800 baseball folks were exposed to SABR, while also attending our own SABR Day event. Thanks to Herb Whalley, Joe Thompson, Stan Curtus, Tom Plemens, Marsha Franty, Erika Everett, Harold Jones, Bill McCurdy, Ira Liebman, Tony Cavender, Bob Stevens, Tom Murrah, Bob Dorrill and Tom White for stepping up to handle the large crowd at FanFest. Many people provided us email addresses and we will follow up on each one. Hats off also to Matt Rejmaniak for setting up and hosting the SABR Day celebration over the lunch hour. Some 34 members and friends came to the Home Plate Grill directly across the street from Minute Maid Park to join in the fun. Matt started with a tribute to Stan Musial and Earl Weaver, who had passed away earlier in the week. Next was Houston Astros Authentics Manager Mike Acosta, who brought with him four mannequins fitted with the new Astros look for 2013. Mike went through the uniform selection process, outlined basic parameters for what had been agreed to and what had been scraped. Kudos also to Tom White, Joe Thompson and Bob Dorrill for providing a variety of trivia contests both for SABR Day and Fan Fest. Mike Vance and Ira Liebman were among the winners. We also enjoyed a book exchange, lots of "hot stove league" discussion celebrating both SABR Day and the upcoming baseball season while eating lunch together. Welcome to new member Ken Thompson and visitors Grant Soverign, Bryon Bahnse, Anne Shelton and Marc Does. View more photos of the event here. — Bob Dorrill

Indianapolis, Indiana (Oscar Charleston Chapter): 26 members and guests of the Oscar Charleston Chapter met for lunch at The Rathskeller on SABR Day in Indianapolis. We discussed Tom Clavin and Danny Peary's book, Gil Hodges, and Pete Cava and Dan O'Brien gave a talk about Hodges' Hall of Fame case. — Trey Strecker

Kansas City, Missouri (Monarchs Chapter): 20 people attended the 2013 SABR Day meeting in Kansas City. The first speaker was Marcus Meade, a writer for the website Kings of Kauffman. Marcus, a graduate student at the University of Nebraska, spoke about the Royals’ outlook for 2013 and then answered questions about various Royals’ topics for nearly an hour. He detailed why he thought Wade Davis is the make-or-break player in the Wil Meyers/James Shields trade. He believes if Davis is able to be a strong pitcher for the next four seasons while under the team's control, the Royals will win the trade; however, if he does not perform well as a starter … The next speaker was Bob Meyer, author of "Small Town Baseball … Big League Dreams” about semi-pro baseball in Iowa. The book is similar in format to "The Glory of Their Times”; Meyer contacted people associated with semi-pro baseball in Iowa and then transcribed the reminiscences. Meyer spoke with a wide variety of people, including four major leaguers, team managers, parents of players, and even a couple of ladies who were nominated for Queen of the Dyersville Tournament. Bob is donating the profits of his book to two charitable organizations, the Christian Foundation for Children and Aging, and Camp Courageous. So far he has donated to over $1,500 to each cause.  If you would like a copy of the book contact him through Facebook. The meeting ended with a game of KC SABR Baseball IQ. Modeled after the "Baseball IQ" show on the MLB Network, the East Side team won handily 18 to 6. The two teams were able go deep in several categories, such as naming 15 of the 16 Royals who have hit 25 or more homeruns in a season (no love for Chili Davis), and nine of the 14 pitchers who have struck out 300 or more batters in a season since 1900. The winning team consisted of Bill Carle, Juanita Erickson, Marcus Meade and Jim Kissane. — Mike Webber

Kenosha, Wisconsin (Ken Keltner Badger State Chapter and Emil Rothe Chapter): Our joint meeting at Kenosha's Brat Stop had 44 attendees. The first guest speaker was Carrie Muskat, author of Banks to Sandberg to Grace: Five Decades of Love and Frustration with the Chicago Cubs and an MLB.com reporter for the Chicago Cubs. She is also a voter for the Hall of Fame and gave us her ballot, and gave a compelling review of why she voted for Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens. Lou Olson, who covers the Milwaukee Brewers for ReviewingtheBrew.com, spoke about the Brewers' chances in 2013 and amused us with his John Axford mustache facts. Presentations were given by Bob Buege on "Racine's Southpaw", Deadball Era pitcher Eddie Killian; and Dennis Degenhardt on "The Chicago White Sox of Milwaukee." View photos of the event here. — Rick Schabowski and David Malamut

Little Rock, Arkansas (Robinson-Kell Chapter): The Brooks Robinson-George Kell SABR chapter participated in SABR Day 2013 with 11 members and guests present. The guest speaker was Brent S. Gambill, one of the founding members of the Robinson-Kell chapter in 2004 before moving away from Arkansas and returning in July 2012. Brent spoke of his time with the Los Angeles Dodgers and Dodgertown and of his years as Executive Producer with MLB Network Radio and sports programming on SiriusXM Radio. He entertained the group with stories of the many MLB player and executives he worked and interacted with and shared memories of his travels to the World Series and other major events.  In addition, he passed around press passes and other interesting items from his work in baseball. Fred Worth gave a presentation titled "Progressive Team Career Home Run Leaders," in which he chronicled every player to hold the career home run mark at any time for the Yankees, Mets, and White Sox beginning with the first game in the history of their franchise. — Madison McEntire

Los Angeles, California (Allan Roth Chapter): 24 members and guests convened at the La Habra Library for SABR Day. Ed Hart discussed his brief career as the general manager of the Fullerton Flyers of the Golden League. He mentioned the difficulty and expense of starting a team from scratch and gave us nine rules for success. Finding players was the easy part. He enjoyed working in baseball and maintains a continuing friendship with manager Garry Templeton. Dick Beverage auctioned off a box of Bob McConnell's books, raising $70 for the chapter. Rick Smtih presented a challenging trivia quiz entitled "Little Known Facts About Hall of Famers." Don Zminda had the high score. We each filled out a Hall of Fame ballot, and there were no blank ballots. Mike Piazza and Craig Biggo were "elected", and no one else came close. Ron Selter presented a detailed talk about Negro League Ballparks. Barry Mednick reviewed 2012 Outliers. — Barry Mednick

Louisville, Kentucky (Pee Wee Reese Chapter): 16  members and guests of the Pee Wee Reese SABR Chapter met at the Louisville Slugger Museum on SABR Day, January 26. A very enlightening and entertaining hour-long presentation was made by Dan McDonnell, head coach of the 4th-ranked University of Louisville Cardinals baseball team. McDonnell was dressed in uniform since he was headed to the field to oversee a scrimmage as soon as he left. Presentations were also made by Bud Thieman, who spoke about Louisville native Ferdie Schupp, whom John McGraw described as the best one-season pitcher he ever saw; Mike McDaniel, who told of plans to fund and text three Kentucky historical markers at the sites of former ballparks in Louisville that hosted major league franchises; and Jon Borie, who told of his trip to Cooperstown to see the induction of local fan favorite Barry Larkin this past July. Everyone left with a dooor prize, and a good time was had by all! — Harry Rothgerber

Montpelier, Vermont (Gardner-Waterman Chapter): The Vermont Mountaineers held their annual Hot Stove Banquet on Saturday, January 26, which just happened to be SABR Day, and the special guest was none other than ESPN's Buster Olney. SABR's Buster Olney Junior Chapter, a group of Burlington, Vermont-area kids who meet up weekly for dice baseball games and to talk about their favorite teams and players, was in attendance to hear their chapter's namesake speak at the banquet. A fine time was had by all. View more photos of the event here. — Tom Simon

Montreal, Quebec (Quebec Chapter): Bill Young chaired the Quebec Chapter meeting for 2013 SABR Day, and after a few opening remarks, turned the floor over to our guest, André Pratte. First, Alain Usereau offered a brief introduction – and then we were off. Mr. Pratte’s story covers the full scope of baseball history in Quebec in the second half of the 20th century, from the early 1950s through to the arrival of the Montreal Expos, and then some. His career in the game stretched across sixty years, the final twelve of which were spent as a scout for the Expos. We had planned to discuss several other items at the meeting but the session with Pratte was so fascinating that we put them aside for another day. Special apologies to Norm King who had been invited to say a few words about his experience preparing biographies for the SABR BioProject. Next time. For a full recap of Pratte's talk and the SABR Day event, click here. — Bill Young

Oakland, California (Lefty O'Doul Chapter and Sacramento Chapter): Members introduced themselves with a brief favorite baseball memory..which ranged from the first game they had ever attended, memories of games long gone by, perfect games, the last game they attended. (That was me and one other person. Of course, my "last game" was the ALDS A's Game 5, when the A's got "Verlandered" (not my word, but so apt) but the crowd stayed and cheered the team for one of the most remarkable seasons ever. Our group has been at some wonderful games and seen the legends of baseball. The perfect game was Cain's, not Braden's. I should probably make an effort to collect everyone's favorites ... it would be fascinating. Paul Hirsch gave us a SABR update: including the Analytics Conference and convention in Philadelphia; the donor program, some of the new programming offered by SABR. He also reminded us that elections are coming up. The chapter honored Paul for his many years of service and contributions to SABR and to the Lefty O'Doul Chapter. Thanks again, Paul. Our guest speaker was radio announcer Rick Tittle who chatted with us about local baseball, and the A's season. He fielded a variety of questions from our group. I was impressed by the wide variety and depth of the research work that is going on in the Lefty O'Doul Chapter. You all are amazing! Greg Erion led off with a talk about SABR's BioProject and some of the interesting stories he has learned over the years writing these bios. At least one person in the audience has volunteered to start writing for the project. Irwin Herlihy challenged us to consider why the 1948 Oakland Oaks were called "The Nine Old Men", by charting out the ages of the players. Dan VanDeMortel talked about his research efforts writing a book about the 1971 Giants. Family history led to Eric Nelson's research on the ballplayers in his family that led to a book. Andre Lower talked about players and stats in his research on  "Auditioning for Cooperstown". Herm Krabbenhoft researches rbi stats and shared some of the discrepancies he has found in his work. The origins of baseball have been David Block's passion and he talked about some of his recent discovery of mentions of the game in old England. San Francisco baseball history has long been the focus of Angus MacFarlane's research and he shared some of the challenges of that research. View more photos of the event here. — Marlene Vogelsang

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (Connie Mack Chapter): More than two dozen SABRen attended the Connie Mack Chapter’s SABR Day program on a cold, frosty day at the Peck Alumni Center of Drexel University. The program was varied and exciting and the food plentiful, filling and delicious. Kudos to planners Rock Hoffman and Dennis Link for planning the program. Rock emceed and Dick Rosen and Seamus Kearney gave us an update on the planning progress of SABR 43 in Philly this summer. Dick Armstrong, first PR man for the Philadelphia Athletics, earned the keynote speaker status with a delightfully delivered presentation of his experiences with the A’s and the Baltimore Orioles. He enlivened his presentation with the first public playing of a recording of “The Connie Mack Swing” by the Philadelphia Police and Fireman’s Band at Shibe Park in 1950. A great slideshow of his PR career enhanced his great feel for baseball history. He received the only standing ovation of the day and afterward I heard many say that we could have listened to him for another hour. Brian Engelhardt gave us a lively presentation of the games played by the Lee McPhail-led Reading Brooks & Chicks against major league teams in the early 1940s. Brett Mandel, who often told us that he’s running for City Controller, spoke of his experiences with the Ogden Raptors of 1994, touching on tobacco [many in minors still use], steroids [inherently unfair], baseball fashion [likes stirrups] & his Field of Dreams comments [Ames vs Lansing families; planned youth baseball complex]. Dick Rosen gave us his remembrances of Earl Weaver [“you got 5 minutes”] & the connection between Weaver and Andy Cohen. Philadelphia’s Chief Inspector, Stephen Gallagher informed us on how Citizens Bank Park got built and lending us a progression of photos showing its construction. He fascinated us with his esoteric building industry knowledge during the Q&A. Tom O'Brien gave us a sabermetric presentation on looking at wins/losses through the prism of Linear Percentage Method. Steve Glassman elucidated on those players who played on four teams in a year. Ira Levinton gave us his interpretation of the lineups of two successful Phillies eras: 1976-83, 2006-11. Robin Roberts Jr. spoke eloquently and entertainingly on his father, the senior and a great pitcher. Did you know that Roberts had 25 saves in his career and that his favorite food was liver and onions? James Hawking gave us a couple readings from his historical novel, "Strikeout," that included a passage weaving in the lyrics from “Take Me Out to the Ballgame.” Jim Reese, an unabashed Yankees fan, gave us an account of his “hobby” — identifying dates of Yankees ticket stubs during the era 1923-73. Peace in your Life and a World Series in Philly. — Seamus Kearney

Phoenix, Arizona (Flame Delhi Chapter): 28 members and guests gathered at Tempe Diablo Stadium for SABR Day. Chapter President Rodney Johnson kicked off the annual meeting with a history of the chapter, which is celebrating its 20th anniversary in 2013. He also named Mark Smith as the chapter's new vice-president in charge of activities. Smith then led a presentation on the year-round baseball available in Phoenix, including not only Cactus League spring training, the Diamondbacks season and the Arizona Fall League, but all the various instructional and short-season leagues played at minor league complexes during the summer. Bob Flynn also mentioned all the great high school and college baseball teams in the area, too. Mike and Judy Anderson talked about the Copper City Classic vintage baseball tournament, April 6-7 at Bisbee's historic Warren Ballpark, built in 1909. Mike then gave a presentation on Tony Antista, "the best musician in pro baseball." Antista hit .400 twice in the low minor leagues before going on to become a musical performer in the Los Angeles area, notably at The Derby restaurant near Santa Anita Park and for his friend Richard Nixon's campaign events. Chuck Johnson also talked about the SABR BioProject (he recently published a biography on Dave Hilton) and a new project to collaborate with Arizona Major League Alumni to write SABR bios on retired players. Following the presentation, a Hot Stove panel ensued with MLB.com columnist Bernie Pleskoff and KNBR broadcaster Marty Lurie discussing their thoughts on the upcoming 2013 season, the Justin Upton trade, the Giants' chances to repeat, the Dodgers' high-priced talent and the mighty AL West. View more photos of the event here. — Jacob Pomrenke

Ponce, Puerto Rico (Orlando Cepeda Chapter): SABR Day in Puerto Rico was a great event that took place at the Francisco “Pancho” Coímbre Sports Museum in Ponce, a town in the south of the island. The event was announced in La Opinión newspaper and also was convered by local radio stations in which SABR members were interviewed. SABR Day began with an interview by Luis Machuca, Acting Chapter President, and Daliana Muratti, Acting Secretary, of Radio LEO, a Ponce radio station. At the Museum, a roundtable discussion on the preservation of our sporting memory was held. This roundtable was given from the point of views and perspectives of three very special guests: Carlos Uriarte, local sports writer and editor; José Carrasquillo, radio station sports program producer; and Héctor L. Ortiz, sports museum director. The event was sponsored by more than 30 sports and baseball lovers, the Southern Sports History Writers Association, the Emilio “Millito” Navarro Foundation and the Ponce Sports Hall of Fame. Among the special guests attending were former major leaguers Angel Mangual and José Laboy, plus some former amateur and national baseball team players. SABR members had the opportunity to chat with Pedro Carlos Lugo, a sports journalist who recently wrote a great book about the history of amateur baseball in Puerto Rico. Luis Machuca addressed to the audience about SABR as a valuable tool for baseball research and history preservation. During the event, many local SABR publications and books written by some chapter members were exhibited. In addition, Jorge García Jiménez, Puerto Rico’s painter, presented his exhibition called "From the Diamond to the Yunque Forest 100 x 35." The exhibition contains 23 painted portraits of Puerto Rico’s major leaguers, including Jorge Posada, Roberto Alomar, Juan González, Hiram Bithorn, Luis R. Olmo, Yadier Molina, Javier López and Carlos Beltrán, among others. — Luis R. Machuca

St. Louis, Missouri (Bob Broeg Chapter):  While occasionally looking at a large-screen TV showing the funeral of St. Louis Cardinals legend Stan “The Man” Musial, 44 SABR members and guests attended the annual Hot Stove League Luncheon of the Bob Broeg SABR Chapter on January 26, held at its usual location, Mike Shannon’s Steaks and Seafood in downtown St. Louis, a block from Busch Stadium. The funeral procession for Mr. Musial, who died January 19, went by the ballpark and its two statues of him. Meeting speakers included three prominent baseball people from the St. Louis area, two of whom played in the major leagues and the college coach who oversaw one of them and the son of the other. Frank Baumann, a 1952 graduate of Central High School in St. Louis, went on to an 11-year major league career with the Boston Red Sox, Chicago White Sox and Chicago Cubs. Baumann spoke endearingly of former Red Sox teammate Ted Williams, noting how Williams once advised him to “move up in the batter’s box” against a particular pitcher, and how doing so helped Baumann to get a hit and drive in runs to help the Red Sox win the game. Baumann also spoke highly of Bill Veeck, owner of the White Sox for the first few years Baumann pitched for them. He related getting a phone call from Veeck, who said, “Gotcha” in expressing his joy at bringing Baumann to the White Sox in a trade. Baumann also described the high of pitching a complete-game win over the Yankees and hearing Casey Stengel’s reaction, then the low the next season of giving up back-to-back homers to Roger Maris and Mickey Mantle in Yankee Stadium during their record-setting 1961 season. Each homer hit the foul pole. Brian Boehringer, born in St. Louis, pitched for 10 years in the majors, for the New York Yankees, San Diego Padres, San Francisco Giants and Pittsburgh Pirates, mostly in relief. The right-hander was part of the 1996 Yankees’ World Series championship squad. He described the “amazing atmosphere” of the Yankees clubhouse in those years. He said he had played with Yankees standouts Andy Pettitte, Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera in the minors. Individual Yankee players might have gone their separate ways after the game, Boehringer said, but “everybody was on the same page” in the clubhouse and on the field. Ric Lessmann, a 1955 graduate of Southwest High School in St. Louis, also spoke. He coached college baseball for 44 years in the St. Louis area, first at the Meramec campus of St. Louis Community College for 27 years, winning the JUCO title in 1974, and then for 17 years at Washington University. Overall his teams had a 1,365-556 record. Two of his players who made the majors were Brian Boehringer and T.J. Mathews. Lessmann also coached Frank Baumann’s son, Scott. Lessmann related a discussion he had with Stan Musial about colleges’ use of metal bats. He spoke about the cost savings over wooden bats and asked Musial if he remembered how as kids they’d taped broken wooden bats to use again. “Remember how we hit the ball off the end of the bat?” Lessmann said he asked Musial. There was a pause, Lessmann said, then Musial finally responded, “I never hit the ball off the end of the bat.” The audience roared at the reminiscence. St. Louis Post-Dispatch writer Joe Strauss, who covered the Cardinals for 12 years before his recent assignment as a sports columnist, said he was “intrigued” by the 2013 Cardinals. He said some questions remain on how effective the team’s starting rotation will be and wondered about the situation at shortstop. “They could be good, but they have vulnerabilities,” he told the group. Dwayne Isgrig gave a PowerPoint presentation on the history of the St. Louis Giants of the Negro National League. Fred Heger, longtime treasurer of the chapter, received a Bob Broeg SABR Chapter Service Award for his many years of tracking the chapter’s finances. Chapter officers for 2013, elected by voice affirmation at the meeting, include President Norm Richards, Vice President Brian Flaspohler, Treasurer Wayne Hebden, and Secretary Jim Rygelski. Robert Tiemann won the trivia quiz compiled by Mark Stangl, all the questions on the career of Stan Musial. Stangl said he’d planned the trivia quiz as a tribute to The Man on the 50th anniversary of his retirement from baseball before Mr. Musial’s death the week before. — Jim Rygelski

Seattle, Washington (Northwest Chapter): The Northwest Chapter of SABR held a meeting on January 26 at Safeco Field in Seattle. The event was one of several local chapter gatherings going on across the country as part of national SABR Day activities. In addition to the meeting itself, several NW SABR members volunteered at an informational booth during the Seattle Mariners FanFest. One of the exciting things to see was the ongoing construction in left field, as the Mariners are moving in the fences this year. The view above is from behind our booth along the third base line. The Seattle Mariners provided a great group of guests for the 35 members in attendance. We were able to meet, listen to and ask questions of each of the guests. First up was Chris Gwynn, the Mariners new Director of Minor League Operations. Chris spoke about his new position and his impressions of the Mariners minor league system and some of its top players. Chris was followed by Assistant General Manager Jeff Kingston. Jeff has spoken to the NW SABR group for several years in a row now, and its always good to hear his observations. Jack Zduriencik followed and gave some insight into various aspects of his position.  Jack talked about the Mariners' recent decision to move in the fences, as well as the expectations he has of some of the young players. Eric Wedge then spoke to the group. Heading into his third season as the M's manager, Wedge provided a candid assessment of the team and expressed a great deal of faith in the talent of the club, expecting to improve both run production and wins this year. The final guest of the afternoon was the Mariners Baseball Operations Analyst Wesley Battle. Wesley talked about the methods and processes by which the Mariners develop and use technology and statistics across all facets of the organization, and the role the analysts have in developing tools for the coaches, scouts, and managers throughout the organization. The local chapter members who volunteered for the SABR informational booth at FanFest were Tip Wonhoff, Mark Brunke, Bob Russon, Bill Woodward, Tim Jenkins, Bob Webster, Mike Rice & Rick Solomon. We would also like to thank the members of the Mariners organization who assisted us in having our meeting again at Safeco Field. Corporate Business Assistant Kristin Harwood provided invaluable assistance in helping us set up our NW SABR Booth and Marketing Manager Camden Finney did a fantastic job in coordinating our guests with the Mariners Front Office. Finally, David Eskenazi exhibited items from his collection of Northwest baseball history in the Diamond Club section in Safeco Field. David is also a member of NW SABR, and there is an online exhibition of photos on our Chapter site. View more photos of the SABR Day event here. — Mark Brunke

Toledo, Ohio (Bresnahan-Mudhens Chapter, Detroit Chapter, Don Lund Chapter and Wally Pipp Chapter): 36 baseball fans attended the joint meeting of the Detroit, Bresnahan-Mud Hens (Toledo), Don Lund (SE Michigan) and Wally Pipp (W. Michigan) chapters on SABR Day 2013 at the Sylvania branch of the Toledo-Lucas County Library. Featured speakers were Giants professional scout and former major league catcher Brian Johnson, author and SABR member David Fleitz, and Mud Hens historian and SABR member John Husman. Johnson was engaging and candid, talking about the 2012 World Series between his Giants and the hometown Tigers he scouted, about the life of a scout, and about the Steroids Era. Fleitz talked about his upcoming book Napoleon Lajoie: King of Ballplayers — the first book-length bio of the great second baseman. Fleitz's book is due to be published by McFarland in June. Husman engaged the attendees with details of the long and glorious history of baseball in Toledo. Two cartons of books from the estate of SABR founder Bob McConnell were distributed, courtesy of the Bob Davids Chapter. A trivia quiz prepared by Peter Morris stumped most of the crowd, as usual. A dozen people attended the lunch beforehand at Tony Packo's Cafe in Sylvania. — Gary Gillette

Victoria, British Columbia (Northwest Chapter):  SABR Day was celebrated by a small group in Victoria, British Columbia. Five SABR members gathered for lunch at John’s Place restaurant, underneath the large painting of old Tiger Stadium. This was the first time that most of us had met one another, so much of the conversation was about our interest in baseball – just getting to know one another better. Our discussions touched on SABR events and baseball games attended, parks visited, and future plans (including the up-coming World Baseball Classic). We were joined by Holly Jones, the General Manager of the Victoria HarbourCats of the West Coast League.  The HarbourCats are an expansion franchise in the league, which features collegiate players drawn from across the United States and Canada. The team begins its inaugural season in June 2013. Holly fielded a number of questions about the club, ranging from player recruitment to media relations. The club seems poised for a very successful season, with strong season ticket sales and a number of highly-rated college players already signed. The HarbourCats will also be hosting the WCL All Star Game in July, and given the quality of the players in the league, there’s already a buzz in the scouting community. Another highlight was member David McDonald’s vintage baseball cards. Dave brought a number of cards featuring the players of the Victoria Bees of the Northwestern League, dating from 1911.  It was amazing to see these century-old artifacts. There were some chuckles over some of the archaic language used to describe the players, but just as interesting were the things that haven’t changed in a hundred years. Although it was a small group and very informal, it was great to connect with other SABR members. We pledged to get together again soon; attending a HarbourCats game as a group seems a likely prospect. — Martin Monkman

Don't see your meeting listed? Send in your recap or photos of SABR Day 2013 to Jacob Pomrenke at jpomrenke@sabr.org.

 

To view a map with details of all scheduled 2013 SABR Day events, click the image above.

To learn more about all upcoming SABR events, including chapter meetings in your area, view our calendar at SABR.org/events.


SABR Day 2012: For highlights from SABR Day 2012, click here

SABR Day 2011: For highlights from SABR Day 2011, click here

SABR Day 2010: For highlights from SABR Day 2010, click here (PDF)

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