Bob Broeg Chapter meeting recap – 8/15/2011

Nineteen people were present at the start of the August 15, 2011, monthly roundtable of the Bob Broeg St. Louis Chapter, held at the usual location, the Original Crusoe’s in South St. Louis.

Bob Giovanni gave a report of the book The Corporal Was a Pitcher: The Courage of Lou Brissie, by Ira Berkow. Bob said he hadn’t heard of Brissie before noticing the book at the library and came away with a great appreciation of Brissie’s courage in fighting back from a near fatal World War II injury that could have resulted in an amputated left leg, and how Brissie went on to have a brief but rewarding seven-year big-league pitching career with the Philadelphia A’s and Cleveland Indians, 1947-53.

Jim Rygelski gave a report on the book The Greatest Game Ever Pitched: Juan Marichal, Warren Spahn and the Pitching Duel of the Century, by Jim Kaplan. Rygelski said the book was worth reading but was really a short biography of both pitchers sandwiched around mentions of the July 2, 1963, game in which both pitchers went all 16 innings of a game in Candlestick Park in which the Giants won 1-0 on a one-out homer by Willie Mays. Jim said the author, Jim Kaplan, did a lot of great research.

Members looked at diagrams of the strike zone from before 1988 and discussed whether the current smaller strike zone could be expanded vertically. One of the diagrams was Ted Williams’ chart showing baseballs covering the entire strike zone in his era (armpits to the knees) with a batting average written inside the baseball. The Williams chart showed that he believed he would hit .400 on balls over the middle of the plate but higher than the belt. An article produced from 1988 noted that umpires weren’t calling a pitch above the belt a strike even before the current strike zone upper limits were set that year. If there was a consensus of the membership, it was that umpires should call the strike zone consistently.

Discussion topics included upcoming Cardinals contract negotiations, the N.L. Central race, Carlos Zambrano’s meltdown, the trade of Colby Rasmus, among other things.

Chapter members will be reminded in an e-mail about the availability of bargain prices for leftover caps and T-shirts from the 2007 SABR Convention hosted by the chapter. Those interested in ordering the $5 all-red caps and $10 white shirts may call Wayne Hebden at 618-628-2642.

Trivia quizzes – on the 1996 Cardinals, compiled by Bob Tiemann, and on Albert Pujols’ careers, compiled by Barbara Sheinbein, concluded the evening.

Upcoming roundtables are set for September 19; October 17; November 21 and December 19, all Mondays, at Crusoe’s. The chapter is looking at either January 21 or 28, Saturdays, for its annual Hot Stove League Luncheon, to be held, as usual, at Cardinal broadcaster Mike Shannon’s steaks and seafood restaurant in downtown St. Louis.

— Jim Rygelski