The Hanlan’s Point Chapter serves the Greater Toronto area.
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SABR chapter meetings are open to all baseball fans. For details on the next chapter meeting, visit SABR.org/events.
Hanlan’s Point Chapter history:
Canada has always played an important role within SABR. There have been Canadian members of SABR as early as 1971 and by the end of the decade, there were enough members in Toronto to field a team. A young educator named Bill Humber envisioned enough of a baseball research community in the Toronto area and in 1979, he founded the Spring Training for Fans class. He continues to organize his baseball interest course at Seneca College each winter to this day. Along with Bill Maxwell, Gavin MacKenzie, and the late Dave Crichton, Bill spearheaded Toronto’s first SABR Convention, which was held in 1981. The convention, held at the Erindale campus of the University of Toronto, was not without controversy. Organization was plagued by both the baseball strike and the Canada Post strike that summer and weeks before his keynote address, Blue Jays broadcaster Early Wynn announced without explanation his decision to withdraw from the programme. In terms of attendance, however, it was SABR’s largest to that date.
Humber remained instrumental within the Toronto baseball research community over the ensuing decades. He wrote and published six books about baseball in Canada, served on the SABR Board in 1982-83 and in 1989, he was the driving force behind “Let’s Play Ball,” an exhibit which celebrated 150 years of baseball in Canada at the Royal Ontario Museum. All the while, Humber attempted to disavow Early Wynn of one of his 300 victories, an endeavour which proved to be unsuccessful. A revolving door of regimes followed Humber and culminated with Toronto’s second convention held in 2005. This convention attracted a wide array of speakers including sportswriter Louis Cauz and Neil MacCarl, former Expos broadcaster Jacques Doucet, and Tom Valcke of the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame. Behind the scenes, Allen and Chris Tait worked tirelessly under adverse circumstances to ensure the convention was a success. The Hanlan’s Point Chapter rewarded Allen for his leadership role with the convention by electing him President of the chapter in September 2005.
Under the current administration, the Hanlan’s Point Chapter has formed a strategic alliance with the Fergie Jenkins Foundation. This association dates back to 1999 when Maxwell Kates worked in radio broadcasting in St. Catharines, Ontario. Through a partnership with Carl Kovacs, John Oddi, Brent Lawler, and their staff at the Fergie Jenkins Foundation, the Hanlan’s Point Chapter has organized several programmes featuring Baseball Hall of Famer Fergie Jenkins, including a book signing and documentary screening in 2009. Other Major League alumni to have appeared at Toronto SABR meetings include Jim Fanning, Dr. Ron Taylor, and Alan Ashby.
In 2006, the Toronto chapter took part in the fundraising effort to establish a historic plaque at Hanlan’s Point on the Toronto Islands to honour the location where Babe Ruth hit his first professional home run in 1914. Highlights of other programmes organized by the Hanlan’s Point Chapter include “The Integration of Major League Baseball” with Michael Wayne of the University of Toronto, David Eisenstadt’s multimedia chronicle of the Detroit Tigers Fantasy Camp, a book discussion of “Remembering the Montreal Expos” with co-authors Danny Gallagher and Bill Young, and an interactive history of the Toronto Blue Jays with broadcaster Jerry Howarth.
The Hanlan’s Point Chapter is an active participant in SABR Day and has designated May and October as additional months for chapter meetings. Please contact any of the chapter executives above for more information.