Last Saturday, November 8, was a great meeting for the East Tennessee Chapter of SABR. Lots of good baseball talk, a bit of business, two authors talking about their books (Gerald C. Wood on Smoky Joe Wood and Bryan Steverson on Baseball: A Special Gift from God). It was our highest attended chapter meeting, including a few guests.
My deepest thanks to Bryan Steverson who took detailed notes and assembled some extra goodies.
I recorded the meeting and am in the process of making the audio web-ready. Another e-mail will go out when the clips are posted.
Chairman, E. TN SABR Chapter
East Tennessee SABR Chapter
Meeting: Saturday, November 8, 2014
Location: Lawson McGhee Library, Knoxville, TN
Time: 10 am-12:30 pm (social lunch followed)
Attendees: Marshall Adesman, Mark Aubrey, Ken Fricke, Joe Gallagher, Drew Jenkins, Brad Ridenour, Ed Ripley, Skip Nipper, Bill Steverson, Bryan Steverson, Bob Watson, Edra Wood, and Jerry Wood
Gerald C. “Jerry” Wood, author of the 2014 SABR Seymour Medal Award winning biography, Smoky Joe Wood, The Biography of a Baseball Legend. The Seymour Medal honors the best book of baseball history or biography published during the preceding calendar year.
Skip Nipper, President, Grantland Rice-Fred Russell Nashville Chapter of SABR
Visitors (potential SABR members):
Next Meeting: East TN SABR Chapter Meeting
Date: SABR Day, Saturday, January 24, 2015
Location: Lawson McGhee Library, Knoxville, TN
Jerry Wood’s discussion of his book and the life of Smoky Joe Wood was captivating. Members received a valuable appreciation for the depth of research involved in the award winning biography. “Smoky Joe” was an outstanding pitcher for the early Boston Red Sox (1908-1915) and later a valuable position player for the Cleveland Indians. He followed up his professional career by coaching at Yale. We all left with an appreciation for the true greatness of this player and the baseball environment of his time.
Ken Fricke’s discussion on the Strat-O-Matic game was most interesting. Ken’s examples of game he has played and the future enhancements possible had many of us wanting more. Strat-O-Matic is both a card game and a computer based baseball simulation game based upon statistics. More info on the game can be found at http://www.strat-o-matic.com/
Skip Nipper gave an informative update on the Nashville SABR chapter, plans for the Old Timers Banquet and the new Sounds ball park in 2015. Nashville is also submitting a proposal to host the 2015 Jerry Malloy Negro League Conference. The city has a rich baseball and Negro League (Norman “Turkey” Stearnes, Jim Gilliam, William Soo Bridgeforth, Henry Kimbro, Butch McCord, Sydney Bunch and Jim Zapp among them) history.
Drew Jenkins discussed his attendance at the 2014 SABR National Convention, his writings on the Tampa Bay Rays and more recently with the St. Louis Cardinals. Drew has just started writing and editing at SportsRants.com. We were all wanting to know more and Drew has agreed to a more in depth talk at the upcoming SABR Day.
Bryan Steverson gave an overview of his recently released book, Baseball A Special Gift from God. Our game is truly a gift and the linkages to scripture are evident as detailed in the book.
On the 2015 Hall of Fame ballot by the Golden Era Committee are the following former players: Dick Allen, Ken Boyer, Gil Hodges, Jim Kaat, Minnie Minoso, Tony Oliva, Billy Pierce, Luis Tiant and Murray Wills. Bob Howsam, the late General Manager of the Cincinnati Reds is on the ballot also. The 16-person Golden Era Committee consists of noted SABR members and meets in December at Baseball’s Winter Meeting. A 75% vote (12) is needed for election into the Hall of Fame.
With 13 members present at our chapter meeting Saturday, a secret ballot was conducted with the question as to who (of the 10) we thought should be voted into the Hall.
Only one of the 10 candidates received the required 75% or more votes. It was Gil Hodges and he received votes from ten attendees.. Minnie Minoso came up one vote short.
Other baseball news of note:
Knoxville resident and former Brooklyn Dodger (1949 & 1950) hurler Ezra “Pat” McGlothin passed away on October 24 at age 93. Our chapter had a memorable visit with Pat at his Knoxville home in April of 2012. Mark Aubrey represented our chapter at the funeral service.
November 15, 2014: Rickwood Field Memorabilia Show, Birmingham,. AL
(visit and tour Rickwood Field)
January 22, 2015: Nashville Old Timers Banquet, Marriott, Nashville
RedsFest 2014 is scheduled, Friday December 5 and Saturday December 6 at the Duke Energy Convention Center in downtown Cincinnati. Although a widely attended event, it is also a wonderful and inexpensive opportunity to meet current and former Cincinnati Reds players and staff.
The nomination of Milan Tennessee’s Burnis “Wild Bill” Wright for the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame, Class of 2015, was be submitted in June. Although Mr. Wright, The Black Joe DiMaggio, was not among the two posthumous selections for 2015, his nomination remains active for another four years.
The 2015 Baseball in Literature and Culture Conference, at Middle Tennessee State University is scheduled for Friday, April 3, 2015. Former Big Red Machine and New York Yankee outfielder, Ken Griffey, Jr. is the scheduled luncheon speaker.
The recent issue of Sports illustrated (November 3, 2014) has excerpts from Al Michael’s new book, You Can’t Make This Up. Included in the story was this eulogy to Ken Boyer delivered by Howard Cosell on national television during a Cardinals-Braves playoff game.
“So when you look at the long and storied history of the St. Louis Cardinals franchise, you can go back and you can have your Rogers Hornsby. You can have your Joseph (Ducky) Medwick and Jay (Dizzy) Dean as well. You can take Albert (Red) Schoendienst and, yes, even the Man himself, Stanley Frank Musial of Donora, Pennsylvania. Because when it comes to the embodiment of the St. Louis Cardinals franchise, look no further than the countenance of one Kenton Lloyd Boyer. He was a man’s man. And we’ll miss him.”
Dr. Layton Revel, Director of the Center For Negro League Baseball Research, Carrollton, TX, has plans to open a museum at the recently opened Regions Field in Birmingham, AL in April or May of 2015. The museum, with historic baseball memorabilia, will tell the story of black baseball in America through the eyes of Birmingham.
For those interested, Kit Krieger is planning another Cuban baseball tour in March of 2015.
Our Tennessee Smokies have will open their 2015 regular season campaign on the road against the Mississippi Braves. The first home game will be Wednesday, April 15 against the Pensacola Blue Wahoos (Cincinnati Reds affiliate).
The New York Yankees will have a team in the Appalachian League next season. The Pulaski Yankees will be playing at Calfee Park in Pulaski, VA
The Nashville Sounds (PCL) have announced a four-year Player Development Contract with the Oakland Athletics, running through the conclusion of the 2018 playing season. In 2014 they were affiliated with the Milwaukee Brewers.
The 2015 major league regular season begins with the ESPN Sunday Night Baseball on April 5 (teams TBA). Monday April 6 will be the traditional Opening Day for all 30 teams.
The University of Tennessee opens its season in Miami on February 13 and will play it’s home opener on February 18 against Tennessee Tech.
In our earlier January meeting, Tennessee Smokies General Manager, Brain Cox, stated we could expect to see position player prospects Kris Bryant and Jorge Soler playing for our Smokies in 2014. Both did play at Smokies Park with Soler later making it to the major league Cubs. Kris Bryant played for half a year with us before being promoted to Class AAA Iowa. Kris was named the Minor League Player of the Year in 2014 by both Baseball America and USA TODAY.
For those who may not be aware, Bobby Plapinger of Ashland, OR sells old and often out-of-print baseball books. Many of these are at reduced prices and SABR members receive an added discount. S&H on orders of $25.00 or more has been free. He periodically send emails with his catalog listing the books and prices. . The contact info if you want to be on his mailing list is:
R. Plapinger Baseball Books
P.O. Box 1062