Bob Broeg St. Louis Chapter meeting recap – 12/18/2012

Twenty-four people attended the December 18, 2012, monthly roundtable of the Bob Broeg St. Louis SABR Chapter, held at the usual location, the Original Crusoe’s in St. Louis.

Bob Giovanni reported on the recently published book, Bushville Wins! The Wild Saga of the 1957 Milwaukee Braves, by John Klima. Bob said the book offered a good look back at that season, in which the Braves won their first pennant in Milwaukee since moving there from Boston in 1953 then upset the New York Yankees four games to three in the World Series. Bob also brought his 1957 Cardinals scrapbook, compiled when he was 10 years old. The membership enjoyed looking at the old newspaper clips therein.

Norm Richards presented the case for including Fred McGriff in the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown (McGriff is a returnee to this year’s ballot). Presenting statistics, Richards argued that McGriff’s career numbers match favorably with those of HOFers Willie Stargell, Willie McCovey, Tony Perez, and Orlando Cepeda. During the ensuing discussion, a few members noted that McGriff’s lack of identity with one team (he played with several) and his yearly home run consistency without a monster year, and his falling seven short of 500 homers may have hurt him.

Steve Gietschier, a member of the Baseball Writers Association of America and a person who votes annually for HOF nominees, brought a copy of the ballot for a mock vote by chapter members, something he has done at chapter meetings in recent years. Steve declined to say in advance how he will vote but asked for a show of hands among members present for the names on the ballot. Since 75% of BBWAA members must approve a nominee 18 votes of those at the meeting were needed in the mock vote. Steve read each name and members voted after some discussion. Accordingly, those favored by the Bob Broeg membership included Jeff Bagwell, Craig Biggio, and Fred McGriff. Steve said that in past years votes by the Bob Broeg Chapter have nearly matched those of the BBWWA. Members discussed suitability of players from the so-called steroids era, including Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens. One member asked rhetorically, “What is acceptable cheating?” One member, who doesn’t favor putting in Bonds, Pete Rose or Joe Jackson, said the argument that Bonds qualified for the HOF by his stats before the late 1990s (when he was accused of pumping up with steroids) means that Rose and Jackson should be included because of the stats they registered before their respective World Series fixing and gambling problems. Another member said he thought that steroid-era accomplishments would forever cast suspicion of doping on any player who had two consecutive great seasons.

Jeff Ecker provided statistical sheets on salaries for the 2013 Cardinals and on the highest-paid current major leaguers. Brian Flaspohler presented stats on the number of major league players certain cities have produced through 2011. St. Louis had seen 274 of those born here reach the majors. New York, including Brooklyn, topped the list with more than 450.

Mark Stangl noted that the Cardinals’ acquisition of Ty Wigginton last week brought to the Redbirds the first player with the name Ty since Ty Waller in 1980.

Mark Stangl and Jim Leefers tied with 26 (of 42 points) in the monthly trivia quiz compiled by Bob Tiemann, this one titled So Long, ’Stros, about the history of the Houston Colt .45s-Astros, who are moving to the American League in 2013.

Members said they would be open to scheduling some monthly chapter roundtables on Tuesdays of the third week of the month in 2013 rather than the usual third Monday of the month. Tuesday meetings allow some people to attend who are prevented by Monday commitments.

New member Carl Riechers brought brownies for desert.

On behalf of the membership, chapter president Norm Richards gave Angie Wissler, the regular waitress for the monthly roundtables, a cash gift to thank her for her service for the year.

The next chapter meeting will be the annual Hot Stove Luncheon on SABR Day, Saturday, January 26, 2013, at Mike Shannon’s Restaurant in downtown St. Louis. Main speaker and cost of the luncheon is yet to be determined.

— Jim Rygelski