Oscar Charleston Chapter meeting recap – 4/27/2019

On Saturday, April 27, 2019, SABR’s Oscar Charleston Chapter met at the Haughville branch of the Indianapolis Public Library. The meeting included three presentations.

Professor Todd McDorman introduced Pete Rose’s efforts in image repair following the revelation of the allegations that he gambled on baseball games during his career. Through several autobiographies and public appearances, Rose’s image repair tactics have included denying culpability, evading responsibility, dampening the offensiveness of the gambling allegations, personal mortification regarding the allegations, and efforts to correct any harm the allegations might’ve caused. Professor McDorman referred to Rose’s story as exemplifying the American Dream, in its best (Rose’s hard work bred great success) and worst (the allure of success and fame tainted that success) manifestations.  

Professor Geri Strecker chronicled the history and evolution of the Indianapolis Indians logo and marketing. The logo’s look has ranged from a Coca-Cola-sponsored Native American stereotype in the 1940s, to more innocuous geometric shapes in the 1960s, to a Chief Wahoo lookalike in the 1980s during the Indians’ time in the Montreal Expos’ franchise. Geri contrasted the controversies that have surrounded other teams’ logos with the Delaware-Miami tribe’s tacit approval of the modern Indians logo, which Mr. Carlos Sosa constructed based on his research into traditional Delaware-Miami woven arts.

Reid Duffy interviewed former Major League pitcher Bill Sampen, who appeared for the Expos, Royals, and Angels. Bill discussed his professional experiences, detailing the challenges of transitioning from a starting role to a relief one, and described his perspective on developing young players in our current age of advanced metrics. For example, Bill’s son, Caleb, who pitches in the Tampa Bay Rays system, routinely analyzes launch angles that opposing hitters achieve off of his pitches. In conjunction with Bill’s youth player development, he and his wife also run a nonprofit called Strikeout Type 1 Diabetes that raises money to help raise awareness of, and assist medical professionals in finding a cure for, Type 1 diabetes.

Finally, Walter Biskupski won Saturday’s trivia contest and received the top prize: a copy of SABR’s Cuban Baseball Legends, co-edited by the late Pete Bjarkman, and donated by Bjarkman’s wife, Professor Ronnie Wilbur.

Please mark your calendars for Saturday, July 27 for the next chapter meeting. We’ll be in touch with more details later!

— Trent Morton