Rocky Mountain Chapter annual banquet recap – 11/15/2014

For the 90 attendees of the Rocky Mountain Chapter’s 17th Annual Banquet on November 15, 2014, it was a memorable night. Filling up the Grand Ballroom at the Denver Athletic Club all the guests were treated to a fine evening of baseball conversation and camaraderie.

Banquet Chairman Paul Parker introduced Ed Henderson, baseball scout, sportscaster, and the evening’s Master of Ceremonies.

Mr. Henderson introduced Leslie Heaphy, National SABR Board Member. Leslie is the winner of the 2014 Bob Davids Award, SABR’s highest national honor. Leslie spoke about SABR and the regional chapters and their various activities and the members’ variety of baseball interests that brings together historians, statisticians, researchers, and fans with the love and interest of the game.

It was then time to move on to the evening’s program beginning with Herschel Cobb, the featured speaker and author of the book, Heart of a Tiger: Growing Up with My Grandfather, Ty Cobb, Mr. Cobb spoke about Ty Cobb being a loving grandfather who opened up to his grandchildren about his successes and failures, which also became lifelong learning experiences.

Next, the presentation of the John Zajc Award for meritorious service to the Rocky Mountain Chapter was made to Nick Wilson by Leslie Heaphy. He is a longtime SABR member, a chapter board of director, donors’ club member, and an accomplished author. Mr. Wilson was very surprised to be getting the award and humbly accepted it.

Ed Henderson then introduced Michael Kent, Colorado Rockies Vice President of Finance. Mr. Kent presented to Pat Daugherty the Rocky Mountain SABR Award, a new award recognizing Lifetime Achievement in Baseball.  Mr. Daugherty, who retired this year from the Colorado Rockies as a Special Assistant to Baseball Operations  after 42 years of baseball service. He was also a long time MLB Scout and Rockies Scouting Director. Michael Kent also provided some fantastic insight into the impact some of Pat’s draft picks had on the Rockies and baseball.

The evening then reached its high point with the Keynote Speaker, Brad Lidge, former Major League closer who provided highlights of his baseball career, game day experiences and baseball travels. Mr. Lidge was a high school star at Cherry Creek in Greenwood Village, Colo., and played collegiately at University of Notre Dame before being selected in the 1st round by the Houston Astros, taken 17th overall in the 1998 Major League Baseball Draft. In the summer of 2004, the Astros moved Lidge from setup man to closer. He set a new National League record for strikeouts by a reliever with 157, passing Goose Gossage’s total of 151 set in 1977. He was the Astros’ closer during their National League Championship Series run in 2004 and the franchise’s lone World Series trip in 2005. He also was a key member of the Phillies’ bullpen during their 2008-2011 seasons, which included a World Series title in 2008. Lidge finished the 2008 season/post season with 48 out of 48 save opportunities, a 1.95 ERA, and 92 strikeouts in 62 games. He saved the decisive Game 5 of the 2008 World Series in Philadelphia on October 29, 2008 with a strikeout, thus completing his perfect season. He last pitched in the Majors with the Washington Nationals in 2012.

— John Paul
RM SABR Secretary