Boston Chapter meeting recap – 7/30/11

By Joanne Hulbert

The SABR Boston Chapter held its mid-summer meeting on Saturday, July 30, at the NonProfit Center, 89 South Street, Boston. The meeting got off to a great start at 11:30 a.m. with lunch and great baseball conversation at Clarke’s at South Station, a restaurant inside the South Station main lobby. A short walk over to 89 South Street at 1 o’clock brought the group to a program that will remain in the memories of the attendees for a long time.

A few months ago, the Boston Chapter was contacted by Kerrie Ferrell about her book detailing the life and baseball career of her father, Rick Ferrell, and that she would be in Boston during the July 30 weekend. We jumped at the opportunity to have her speak. She gave a wonderful presentation about Rick and his unique position as a knuckleball catcher. Many of the photographs she displayed were from her family’s private collections and had never been seen before. Rick Ferrell, Knuckleball Catcher is available from McFarland & Company.   

Next came Marty Dobrow, author of Knocking on Heaven’s Door, the stories of six minor leaguers aspiring to the big leagues — each a unique portrait of the trials and tribulations each one faced. He gave each story a local focus as the players were native New Englanders or had advanced their careers here. Marty focused on Charley Zink, a knuckleball pitcher who advanced through the Red Sox organization and ultimately stepped up to the mound at Fenway Park. His book is available on Amazon, and I have seen copies still available at local Barnes and Noble outlets, if you are lucky enough to snag one there!

Several months ago, the Boston Globe published an article about a local teenager who had developed an interest in collecting autographs from baseball players. He advanced his interest by seeking out information about former Negro League players. He contacted many of them, researched their careers, and also reunited many former players who had lost contact over the many decades since the dissolution of the league. Cam Perron is an unusual young man doing important work. Perhaps you have seen him selling Boston Baseball magazine outside Fenway Park, but his commitment to baseball goes way beyond promoting my personal favorite magazine and scorecard.

At the meeting, he described how he became a researcher and how he found some of the most obscure players in baseball history. And as if that was not enough, along with Cam appeared Connecticut resident Gilbert Hernandez Black, a former player with the Indianapolis Clowns. When Gil faced the audience he said he had never talked about himself in front of an audience before: “So bear with me!” But once he started, no one wanted him to stop. Many who attended said he was one of the very best speakers the chapter has ever had. “CAM” by Gilbert Hernandez Black is included here, along with his “Bio & Personal Memories of his Passion: Baseball.” Gil’s telling of his love for baseball hit for the cycle and the home run was a grand slam. How fortunate we all were to have been there on July 30.

We had a few moments before the 5 o’clock close for three members of the chapter to update us about their books and travels.