East Tennessee Chapter meeting recap – 5/24/2014

East Tennessee Chapter
Meeting: Saturday, May 24, 2014
Location: Seymour Heights Christian Church, Seymour, TN
Time: 3:30pm

Attendees: Mark Aubrey, Drew Jenkins, Tim McComas, Brad Ridenour, Ed Ripley, Will Ripley, Steve Searcy, Bryan Steverson

Special Guest: Steve Searcy, former MLB pitcher (Tigers & Phillies)

Within an open Q&A format, Steve Searcy provided a very entertaining and educational session. He has been voted into the Univ. of Tennessee Hall of Fame, Knoxville Sports Hall of Fame and Glens Falls, NY Sports HOF. At the University of Tennessee, Steve holds the single season ERA record of 2.63, set during his sophomore campaign in 1983. He was the first pick in the third round in 1985 by the Detroit Tigers. In 1986 with Glens Falls of the Class AA Eastern League, Searcy was an All Star and led the league with 139 strikeouts. He played five years in the major leagues and was a teammate of many notables including John Smoltz, Jack Morris, Alan Trammel, Lou Whitaker, Fred Lynn, John Kruk and Dale Murphy. Steve’s biggest baseball moment came in 1988 when he was called up by the Tigers and told he would be their starting pitcher the next day. In his first MLB start on the afternoon of August 29 versus the Chicago White Sox at Comiskey Park in Chicago, Steve threw 7.1 innings of 5 hit ball while striking out 5. His openness, sense of humor and sharing of baseball knowledge made this a very meaningful meeting.

(Steve Searcy’s talk was recorded.  When it is available for download I will send another message. – Mark)

After our meeting, members attended the TN Smokies vs. Mobile Bay Bears game at Smokies Park. Mobile won by a 2-1 score but Smokies 3rd baseman and Cubs #2 prospect, Kris Bryant went 2 for 3 with his league leading 14th home run. Bryant also leads the Southern League in RBI and OPS while sporting a .339 batting average, good for second in the league.

The nomination of Milan Tennessee’s Burnis “Wild Bill” Wright for the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame, Class of 2015, will be submitted in June by Steve Short of Milan, TN and Bryan Steverson. A former Negro League All Star and a member of the Mexican Professional Baseball HOF, Wright was called “the Black Joe DiMaggio.” Endorsements have been received from Dr. Raymond Doswell, VP NLBM;  Dr. Layton Revel, Director, Center For Negro League Baseball Research; Dr. Leslie Heaphy, Director SABR; Larry Lester, Co-chair Negro Leagues  Committee of SABR; City of Milan; and Gibson County Sports HOF.

Our friend Skip Nipper of Nashville SABR was the keynote speaker and former Kansas City All Star and World Series Champion, Willie Wilson, the luncheon speaker at the MTSU Baseball in Literature and Culture Conference, Friday,  April 4. Joe White and Bryan Steverson from our chapter attended.

Regarding New York Yankee shortstop Derek Jeter in his last year in MLB, writer Tom Verducci wrote, “Take a good look, folks, and appreciate one last season to watch the finest player of his generation and the greatest shortstop since Honus Wagner hung up his spikes in 1917. “

Three very good recent books:
Outsider Baseball, The Weird World Of Hardball On The Fringe, 1876-1950 by Scott Simkus.  Historian John Thorn called this 2014 book, the best baseball book you read this year.

If You Were Only White, The Life of Leroy “Satchel” Paige by Donald Spivey provides a very readable and informative compliment to Larry Tye’s 2009 bio on the baseball legend. Many former players were interviewed for this very interesting treatment.

Jackie & Campy, The Untold Story of Their Rocky Relationship and the Breaking of Baseball’s Color Line by William C. Kashatus details the two contrasting approaches to the race problem and how it manifested itself in these HOF personalities.

Next Meeting: East TN SABR Chapter Meeting
                 Saturday July 19, 2014
                 Time: TBA
                 Location: Pioneer Park, Tusculum College, Greeneville, TN
                 Guest: Author Lynn Sutter
                 Game to follow: Danville Braves vs Greeneville Astros

Upcoming Events:

* MLB All Star Game Tuesday July 17, Target Field Minneapolis, MN
*  AAA All Star Game, Durham, NC, Wednesday July 16
*  East TN SABR Chapter Mtg., Saturday July 19, Greeneville, Author Lynn Sutter will be the guest speaker.
*  Hall of Fame Induction Weekend, Cooperstown, July 25-28
*  National Sports Collectors Convention, Cleveland, OH,  July 30-August 3
*  SABR National, Houston, TX, July 30-August 3
*  Jerry Malloy Negro League Conference, Detroit, MI, August 14-16 Satchel Paige’s oldest son and family spokesperson Robert Paige as special guest.
*  East TN SABR Chapter Mtg, Saturday, November 8, Knoxville, Lawson McGhee Library

— Mark Aubrey