The Connie Mack/Philadelphia Chapter held its annual SABR Day meeting virtually on Zoom on Saturday, January 30, 2021. Almost 40 members, guests and friends (including nine-year-old Jordan, the youngest participant and Bryce Harper fan) logged on for a day of talks leading up to the national presentations featuring Baseball Hall of Fame president Tim Mead and sportscaster Bob Costas.
Chapter co-chair Matt Albertson worked hard to put together the program and took advantage of the virtual nature of things to invite speakers from outside of the Philadelphia area, who otherwise wouldn’t be able to speak to our chapter.
Our leadoff hitter was the lone local chapter member to present, Steven Glassman, who regularly gives talks at chapter meetings and the national convention. He spoke about Wayne Redmond, who played with the Phillies in the spring of 1971.
Next up was Justin Klugh, who hosts a podcast called “The Dirty Inning”. Each episode talks about one particular bad inning in Phillies history (there have been a few). He spoke to our group about Hal Kelleher, whose dirty inning would be the last one he ever threw in the majors. He allowed 12 runs in the bottom of the eighth inning in a game the Phillies lost to the Chicago Cubs, 21-2, on May 5, 1938.
Thomas Gilbert, author of How Baseball Happened, was the next speaker. His book received the 2020 CASEY Award as the best baseball book of the year. His topic was Col. Thomas Fitzgerald, who founded and was President of the Athletic Base Ball Club in Philadelphia. The Colonel was also instrumental in organizing one of the first interracial baseball games in the country in Philadelphia in 1869.
After a quick break for lunch and an on the honor-system trivia contest (won by Steve Glassman), we had our keynote speaker: Tyler Kepner. Tyler is the national baseball writer for the New York Times and author of the book K: A History of Baseball in Ten Pitches. He spoke about his book and took questions from the audience about it as well as general baseball questions.
Author J. Daniel talked about his book, Phinally!, which is about one of the most popular seasons in history — at least as far as Phillies fans are concerned — 1980. He mentioned how his original plan was to write a book about the decade of the ’80s but that he had so much information about 1980, he decided to concentrate on it.
Our closer zoomed in from the West Coast, Matthew Lieb, who gave a presentation on disgraced pitcher Jim Devlin. It was a preview of the one he plans on giving during the 11th annual SABR Frederick Ivor-Campbell 19th Century Base Ball Conference which will be held virtually on April 22-24, 2021.
In all, it was a great day of baseball.
— Rock Hoffman
Connie Mack Chapter co-chair