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SABR 51: Featured Speakers

Learn more about our featured speakers and panelists at SABR 51 below.

Jason Benetti is a Chicago native and in his eighth season as the Chicago White Sox’s television play-by-play broadcaster, working alongside Steve Stone. He also works as a national broadcaster with Fox Sports on college football and basketball, NFL and Major League Baseball games, and he served as the voice of NBC Sports’ “MLB Sunday Leadoff” games beginning in 2022. He is a part of the Cerebral Palsy Foundation’s “Just Say Hi” campaign. He holds a bachelor’s degree in broadcast journalism, economics, and psychology from Syracuse University and a J.D. from Wake Forest University’s School of Law.

Maybelle Blair was already an accomplished softball player when she joined the Peoria Redwings of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League for one season in 1948. She later moved to California and spent nearly four decades working at the Northrop Corporation. After retirement, she became vice president of Central Extended Learning for Seniors. At 96 years old, she is actively involved in fundraising and publicity efforts for AAGPBL reunions and the International Women’s Baseball Center. She recently made a cameo and serves as a consultant on the new Amazon Prime show, A League of Their Own.

James E. Brunson III

James E. Brunson III is a historian and artist, and the assistant vice president for Diversity & Equity in Student Affairs & Enrollment Management at Northern Illinois University. In 2019, he published his three-volume magnum opus, Black Baseball: 1858-1900: A Comprehensive Record of the Teams, Players, Managers, Owners and Umpires, which was selected as one of SABR’s top 50 baseball books of the past half-century. He is a recipient of the Henry Chadwick Award for his many contributions to baseball research.

Adrian Burgos Jr. is a Professor of History at the University of Illinois, where he specializes in US Latino history, sport history, and urban history. He is the author of Cuban Star: How One Negro League Owner Changed the Face of Baseball and Playing America’s Game: Baseball, Latinos, and the Color Line, which was a finalist for the SABR Seymour Medal. He is the former Editor-in-Chief for La Vida Baseball. He has consulted on the National Baseball Hall of Fame’s Viva Baseball exhibit, the Smithsonian’s Latinos and Baseball: From the Barrios to the Big Leagues exhibit, and on numerous documentaries, including Bernardo Ruiz’s Roberto Clemente and Ken Burns’ The Tenth Inning and Jackie Robinson.

Chase Carpenter is the Senior Director of Strategy & Analytics for the Chicago Cubs, where he leads the organization’s predictive analytics efforts, focusing on ticket pricing, food, beverage and event operations, and guest experience. Prior to joining the Cubs, he worked at RSG, a consulting company focused on product development and pricing strategy. He attended Dartmouth College for undergrad and competed on the men’s baseball team all four years. He completed his MBA at the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business.

Adam Darowski

Adam Darowski is the Product Director for Sports Reference, makers of Baseball Reference and Stathead. Adam has been a SABR member since 2013 and serves as co-chair of the 19th Century Overlooked Legends Committee. He created the Hall of Stats in 2012 and is the host of two podcasts: Building the Ballot (about the Baseball Hall of Fame’s Era Committees) and The Outsider Baseball Notebook (about baseball outside of the major leagues before integration). Adam tweets about baseball history at @baseballtwit.

Kristie Erickson is the Deputy Executive Director at The History Museum in South Bend, Indiana, where she oversees the museum’s Collections, Exhibits, and Education departments. The History Museum serves as the national repository for the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League, with thousands of artifacts including photographs, programs, film footage, scrapbooks and playing equipment used by the teams. She holds a master’s degree in Archeological Studies from Yale University and a bachelor’s degree in Anthropology from Purdue University.

Dan Evans

Dan Evans ​is a Chicago native and a baseball executive who has had decision-making roles with five Major League Baseball franchises over the past four decades, including a stint as Executive Vice President and General Manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers from 2001 to 2004 and, most recently, a scout and Director of Pacific Rim Operations for the Toronto Blue Jays. He is the Chief Operating Officer for The Field of Dreams Movie Site, President of Baseball Operations for Athelyix Inc., mentors Sports Management Worldwide’s Baseball GM & Scouting online course, and is President for SABR’s Rocky Mountain Chapter. He is a graduate of DePaul University and he lives in Denver, Colorado.

Nancy Faust entertained generations of Chicago White Sox fans as the organist for 41 seasons at Comiskey Park, old and new, until her retirement in 2010. She helped popularize the use of contemporary music between innings and during breaks in the action, most notably when she played the fan favorite “Na Na Hey Hey Goodbye” as opposing pitchers left the game. She played in more than 3,000 White Sox home games, including the 2005 World Series. In 2018, she was inducted into the Baseball Reliquary’s Shrine of the Eternals.

Matt Flesch is a lifelong baseball fan and SABR member who in March 2023 released his first documentary, Last Comiskey, the story of the final White Sox season played at Chicago’s Comiskey Park. He works in patient advocacy and communications for a Chicago-area biotechnology company. He grew up in Elmhurst, attended and played baseball at North Park University in Chicago, and now lives in Arlington Heights with his wife Stacey and daughter Maggie.

Chuck Garfien is an anchor and reporter for NBC Sports Chicago, where he has worked since 2004, and host of the White Sox Talk podcast. He serves as the live pregame and postgame anchor for White Sox broadcasts along with Ozzie Guillén, Frank Thomas, and other analysts. He has won six Chicago/Midwest Emmy awards for feature stories on Chicago sports.

SABR 51: Ozzie Guillen

Ozzie Guillén is currently a White Sox studio analyst for NBC Sports Chicago and a former major-league player and manager. He was a shortstop for 16 seasons from 1985 to 2000 and an American League Rookie of the Year and Rawlings Gold Glove Award recipient. In 2005, he managed the White Sox to their first World Series championship in 88 years and became the first Latino manager in major-league history to win a Series title. He also managed the Miami Marlins in 2012 before joining ESPN Deportes in 2013 and NBC Sports Chicago in 2019.

Ed Hartig is the Chicago Cubs Team Historian, a SABR member since 1992, and a lifelong baseball fan. He has written or edited many articles for the Cubs’ magazines, media guides, and website, and led tours at Wrigley Field. He also works for NielsenIQ as a Principal Data Scientist. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Mathematics from Lewis University and a master’s degree in Applied Probability and Statistics from Northern Illinois University.

Leslie Heaphy

Leslie Heaphy was elected to the SABR Board of Directors in 2010 and now serves as the organization’s Vice President. She has been a member of SABR since 1989 and chair of the Women in Baseball Committee since 1995. She is on the board for the International Women’s Baseball Center. She is an associate professor of history at Kent State University at Stark and publishes in the areas of the Negro Leagues and women’s baseball. In 2008, she became the founding editor of the journal Black Ball, published by McFarland. She was the 2014 winner of the Bob Davids Award, SABR’s highest honor.

Kelly Holton is a Brand Activation Manager for Populous, where she has worked on such stadium projects as Wrigley Field’s renovations, Climate Pledge Arena in Seattle, and Texas A&M University’s football training complex. She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Graphic Design from the Kansas City Art Institute.

Katie Krall is Senior Product Manager, Baseball Strategy, at Hawk-Eye Innovations, where she spearheads development and identifies solutions for building new products that leverage biomechanics, player tracking, bat, and ball flight data. Previously, she worked for the Boston Red Sox and Cincinnati Reds front offices, at the Office of the Commissioner of Major League Baseball, and as an Assistant General Manager in the Cape Cod Baseball League. In 2016, she planned the World Series Trophy Tour for the Chicago Cubs. She graduated from Northwestern University and is pursuing her MBA from the University of Chicago.

Fred Mitchell is an award-winning sportswriter who spent over 41 years with the Chicago Tribune and is now an adjunct professor of journalism at DePaul University’s College of Communication. He is the author of 11 books, including biographies with Cubs Hall of Famer Billy Williams and Chicago Bears legend Gale Sayers. He has received numerous awards for sports journalism, including the Ring Lardner Award from the Chicago Union League Club and the Jim Murray Award from the American Football Foundation.

Dr. Louis Moore is a Professor of History at Grand Valley State University, where he teaches African American history, civil rights, sports history, and US history. His research and writing examines the interconnections between race and sports. He is the author of I Fight for a Living: Boxing and the Battle for Black Manhood, 1880-1915 and We Will Win the Day: The Civil Rights Movement, the Black Athlete, and the Quest for Equality.

Mike Veeck is part of a legendary multi-generation family of baseball executives and a longtime co-owner of minor league teams around the country. He was instrumental in the reintroduction of independent baseball in the early 1990s and his creative promotions have inspired teams throughout MLB and the minor leagues. He is the author of Fun is Good and founder of an employee engagement consulting firm of the same name. He is also a restaurateur, professor, and philanthropist. In 2021, he was named as one of SABR’s 50 most influential people in baseball over the past 50 years.  

Dr. Kat Williams is a Professor of Women’s Sport History at Marshall University, President of the International Women’s Baseball Center, author of several articles about women’s sport including “Sport A Useful Category of Analysis” and two books, The All-American Girls After the AAGPBL and Isabel “Lefty” Alvarez: The Improbable Life of a Cuban American Baseball Star.

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