Fifteen members and guests of the Bob Broeg St. Louis Chapter gathered at The Original Crusoe’s Restaurant in South St. Louis on Tuesday, December 15, 2014.
Chapter vice-president Jeff Ecker called the meeting to order.
Ecker announced three confirmed guest speakers for the annual Hot Stove Luncheon. The date will be SABR Day, January 24, 2015. The confirmed guests are Chris Correa, Director of Scouting for the St. Louis Cardinals; Paula Homan, Curator of the St. Louis Cardinals Hall of Fame and Museum; and Bob Sampson, Professor of History and Vintage Baseball Pioneer. There are still plans to have an ex-player and a media representative.
Rich Applegate’s presentation on baseball personnel who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country featured the Christmas Eve 1944 sinking of the SS Leopoldville, on which three professional ballplayers lost their lives. Minor leaguers Leonard E. “Link” Berry and Howard W. DeMartini, and semi-pro player Gilbert D. Carrell were among 763 casualties when the ship was torpedoed in the English Channel, five miles from the port of Cherbourg, France. Harvey Riebe, who had caught 11 games for the Detroit Tigers in 1942, spent 45 minutes in the icy water before he was rescued. The sinking of the Leopoldville and the tragic loss of life was an embarrassment to the American and British governments and kept secret for many years. Even the families who lost loved ones that night were never told the truth and documents related to the sinking were not declassified until 1996.
Steve Gietschier, who has the privilege of voting for the Baseball Hall of Fame, shared sample ballots and conducted a poll of the attendees on their choices for the hall. The attendees ‘elected’ five players: Craig Biggio, Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez, Mike Piazza, and John Smoltz.
Items noted in “Today in Baseball History” were the 1920 trade between the Yankees and the Red Sox, where the principal players were Waite Hoyt, Wally Schang, Del Pratt, and Muddy Ruel; the 1933 decision for both leagues to adopt the same uniform baseball; and Dave Winfield becoming the highest-paid player in baseball, in 1980, with a 10-year, $15 million contract with the Yankees.
Open discussion included Jason Motte signing with the Cubs, the renovations taking place at Wrigley Field, the remaining off-season free agents and recent trades.
Steve Gietschier announced that he has several Sporting News guides and registers available for all four major sports dating back to 1980. He also amused the attendees with some memories of games he attended at Ebbets Field.
Rich Applegate is on the selection committee for SABR’s Ron Gabriel Award.
Bob Tiemann’s trivia topic this month was 2004 Cardinals Trivia. Mark Stangl was the winner getting 30 correct answers out of a possible 37.
— Jim Leefers, Secretary