On Saturday, March 7, 2020, an engaged group of 15 SABR members and guests gathered in St Marys to kick off 2020 activities of the SW Ontario branch of the Hanlan’s Point Chapter. Following opening remarks, President Allen Tait gave a fascinating presentation about the 1919 Chicago Black Sox, reviewing and dispelling the myths surrounding the scandal. He also introduced the question, ‘was Cincinnati good enough to win the World Series without the games being fixed?’ based on a study done by SABR member Adrian Fung, which was previously presented to our Toronto group.
After the Black Sox presentations, Guelph, Ontario, artist Sean Kane spoke about his unique baseball glove paintings, some of which are in the collections of the Hall of Fame at Cooperstown, the Negro Leagues Museum, The National Pastime Museum and various private and corporate collections across the US. These hand-painted masterpieces feature player portraits, career highlights and more. Attendees were treated to up close looks at Sean’s Edd Roush, Babe Ruth and Roy Halladay creations, as well as a photo of his Joe Jackson glove. Sean explained the painstaking process behind his works, including the quest for gloves matching the era and playing characteristics of his subjects. The Babe Ruth piece, for example, is painted on a left-handed glove manufactured by Draper & Maynard, whose products were endorsed by the Bambino. The museum curators in the audience were especially interested to learn that Sean treats and preserves his creations in such a way that the gloves may be handled without fear of damage. Even those in frames are not protected by glass. For more images and information, visit http://www.seankane.com.
After a short break, our President reviewed the events planned for the next few months, including a vintage baseball game at the Beachville Museum on June 6. He then opened discussion to members’ ideas for group activities. There was general agreement that there is enough baseball material in the area to justify quarterly meetings and there was a short discussion of potential speakers at such get-togethers. Another idea that was positively received was for a group project to produce a guide to historical baseball sites in SW Ontario, e.g., ball fields, players’ residences, gravesites. Allen will be issuing a separate email with details on the Chapter entering a team for the Beachville game, as well as initiation of the baseball site guide project.
Scott Crawford, Director of Operations for the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, provided a brief update on events there, highlighting the 2020 induction weekend, June 18-20, which will honour Justin Morneau, Duane Ward, John Olerud and Jacques Doucet, with Larry Walker, Fergie Jenkins and other luminaries on hand for the golf tournament and the ceremony. See the poster at https://baseballhalloffame.ca. Following Scott, Andrew North, in his capacity as a CBHFM volunteer, announced that the process of cataloguing all the books and magazines in the Hall of Fame’s collection has been completed. The list will be posted to the website of the Centre for Canadian Baseball Research (http://baseballresearch.ca) in the near future. Switching to his role as Director of CCBR, Andrew mentioned that this year’s history conference will likely take place in Toronto in early November. Thanks to Bill Humber, discussions with the Toronto Reference Library as the venue are underway.
Finally, Chip Martin said a few words about his most recent book, The Man Who Made Babe Ruth: Brother Matthias of St. Mary’s School. Matthias was an imposing Cape Bretoner, a brother of the Congregation of St Francis Xavier, who more or less became Ruth’s surrogate father. As publisher MacFarland puts it: This is the first telling of the full story of the man who gave the world its most famous baseball star. For more, or to buy a copy go to: https://mcfarlandbooks.com/product/the-man-who-made-babe-ruth/
— Barry Naymark