There was a lively meeting of the Smoky Joe Wood Chapter on February 27, 2016, at Quinnipiac University in Hamden, Connecticut.
About 30 SABR members and guests shared a frosted marble cake with “Happy Birthday, Zoc” written in icing across it. It was the day after the birthday of TOM ZOCCO.
ALAN COHEN announced the line-up for the October meeting: Former umpire TERRY TATA, former player MATT MERULLO, and RICHARD ELLIOTT, author of the Clem Labine book.
LARRY LEVINE spoke about the history of Jews and Baseball. He touched on the pervasiveness of antisemitism and the contributions of great players like Koufax and Greenberg. Larry also focused on the contributions of Jews off-the-field, including Mel Allen, Marvin Miller and Allan Roth, who Larry called “the original sabermetrican” due to the fact that Roth’s scientific and stat-based analysis for the Dodgers started in the 1940’s.
STAN DZIURGOT spoke about guidelines for chapter engagement and activities, as discussed in his prior conversations with Marisa Elliot. This included a review of what a SABR member should expect from a local chapter such as a minimum of 4 meetings per year, that each individual has a voice to be heard, that there should be ballpark events, and that news about SABR at the national level should be shared.
KARL CICITTO spoke about economics of the Sandlock book and two ideas for a future chapter book project. The first 100 books had an effective investment of $9.80 per book which would drop to $5.40 per book in subsequent runs, an effect of 1x design costs. The two ideas for future chapter books projects are “CT Baseball Mysteries & Firsts” and “CT’s All Time All Star Team”.
18 copies of the Sandlock book were purchased at the meeting.
There was discussion on the Sandlock book about getting it into local stores and stadium souvenir shops, and in doing book talks in stores, schools and libraries. The subject of asking SABR for remuneration for making the book into an E Book was also raised and Karl is following up.
TY WATERMAN updated us on the Miami convention and recent discussions by the SABR Board. Ty also had a set of mystery player clues and asked the group to guess which St. Louis Brown player he was describing. DON HARRISON needed only one clue to quickly solve the puzzle with: Harlond Clift. Amazing, Don!
Former Big Leaguers RON DIORIO and KEN MACKENZIE appeared as the featured panelists of the day. Ken pitched for the Braves, Mets, Giants, Cardinals and Astros from 1960 to 1965. Ron pitched for the 1972 and 1973 Phillies, appearing in 23 games and pitching to a 3.03 ERA in ’73. They entertained us with memories of teammates, managers and adversaries for 90 minutes.
Among their nuggets:
On Jim Lonborg: There was no more beautiful person in baseball.
On Ken Brett: He was the off-the-wall element that every team needs.
On Steve Carlton: There was a clubhouse story about a bottle of vodka, a gun, and a biting slider.
On Casey Stengel: If anyone was going to have a bird fly out of his cap it was Casey. Everyone else had to play baseball.
On Jimmy Piersall: After he was chastised for running the bases backward on his 100th career home run, Jimmy said, “And when I hit my 200th I’m going to SLIDE into every (bleeping) base. There is no rule against that!”
STEVE KREVISKY concluded the day with trivia. Earlier, Steve reminded all that they could be thinking about contributing to the next issue of The Wood Pile, which deadlines on July 1.
NEXT UP: A March breakfast on a date to be announced.
Before ending this wrap-up, here is a poem about Hank Greenberg by Edgar Guest, which Larry shared:
A Poem by Edgar A. Guest
The Irish didn’t like it when they heard of Greenberg’s fame
For they thought a good first baseman should possess an Irish name;
And the Murphys and Mulrooneys said they never dreamed they’d see
A Jewish boy from Bronxville out where Casey used to be.
In the early days of April not a Dugan tipped his hat
Or prayed to see a “double” when Hank Greenberg came to bat.
In July the Irish wondered where he’d ever learned to play.
“He makes me think of Casey!” Old Man Murphy dared to say;
And with fifty-seven doubles and a score of homers made
The respect they had for Greenberg was being openly displayed.
But upon the Jewish New Year when Hank Greenberg came to bat
And made two home runs off Pitcher Rhodes—
They cheered like mad for that.
Came Yom Kippur—holy feast day world wide over to the Jew—
And Hank Greenberg to his teaching and the old tradition true
Spent the day among his people and he didn’t come to play.
Said Murphy to Mulrooney, “We shall lose the game today!
We shall miss him on the infield and shall miss him at the bat,
But he’s true to his religion—and I honor him for that!”
— Karl Cicitto