Baseball Reliquary Announces Recipients of 2010 Hilda Award and 2010 Tony Salin Memorial Award

Tony Salin Award recipient Stew Thornley is a long-time SABR member.

The Board of Directors of the Baseball Reliquary is pleased to announce the recipients of the 2010 Hilda Award and 2010 Tony Salin Memorial Award. The Baseball Reliquary is a Southern California-based nonprofit organization dedicated to fostering an appreciation of American art and culture through baseball history. The recipient of the Hilda Award is Sister Mary Assumpta Zabas of Garfield Heights, Ohio, while the winner of the Tony Salin Memorial Award is Stew Thornley of Roseville, Minnesota. The awards will be formally presented at the Baseball Reliquary’s Shrine of the Eternals 2010 Induction Day, to be held on Sunday, July 18, 2010, in the Donald R. Wright Auditorium of the Pasadena Central Library, Pasadena, California.

Named in memory of legendary Brooklyn Dodgers fan Hilda Chester, the Hilda Award was established in 2001 by the Baseball Reliquary to honor distinguished service to the national pastime by a baseball fan. The 2010 recipient, Sister Mary Assumpta Zabas (Zabaszkiewicz), was born in Portage, Pennsylvania in 1945; she moved to Cleveland, Ohio in 1960 and entered the Roman Catholic women’s religious community of the Sisters of the Holy Spirit in 1962. While her passion for baseball dates to her childhood, Sister Mary has in recent decades developed a strong rooting interest in her beloved Cleveland Indians, including writing and editing her own segment, “Tribe Habit,” for the ABC television news affiliate in Cleveland. Baking cookies for the Cleveland Indians players since 1984 eventually led to a small business operation by her religious community called “Nun Better” Cookies, with the profits helping support the Jennings Center for Older Adults. The cookies are described as being “made in the convent kitchen with only the finest ingredients. Love and prayer are the crucial ingredients, while pure butter and real eggs give them their creamy consistency.” Sister Mary had two cameo appearances in the popular 1989 film, “Major League,” and even has her own baseball card (made by Upper Deck in 1997). Sister Mary will attend the Shrine of the Eternals Induction Day to personally accept the 2010 Hilda Award.

Established in 2002 by the Baseball Reliquary to recognize individuals for their commitment to the preservation of baseball history, the Tony Salin Memorial Award is named for the late baseball historian, researcher, and Reliquarian. The 2010 recipient, Stew Thornley, is a nearly lifelong resident of the Twin Cities and a freelance author who has written several highly-acclaimed books on baseball history, including “On to Nicollet: The Glory and Fame of the Minneapolis Millers,” about the minor-league baseball team that played in Minneapolis prior to the arrival of the Twins; “Holy Cow! The Life and Times of Halsey Hall,” a biography of the Minnesota sportscasting legend and the first man to use the term “Holy Cow!” on a baseball broadcast; and “Land of the Giants: New York’s Polo Grounds,” an in-depth look at the bygone stadium that was home to the New York Giants and other baseball teams. An official scorer for Minnesota Twins games since 2007, Thornley has, since the mid-1990s, visited and documented the known graves of over 200 luminaries enshrined in the National Baseball Hall of Fame, a fascinating hobby which is detailed on his Web site,, and which has earned him the nickname the “Sultan of Cemeteries.” Thornley will attend the ceremony to personally accept the 2010 Tony Salin Memorial Award, and will be introduced by Rick Paulas, a Los-Angeles based writer whose work can be found in a variety of print and Internet publications, including ESPN Page 2, ESPN The Magazine, Deadspin, McSweeney’s, and Vice magazine.

The Shrine of the Eternals 2010 Induction Day will be on Sunday, July 18, 2010, at the Pasadena Central Library, 285 E. Walnut St., Pasadena, California. The festivities begin at 2:00 pm, and admission is open to the public and free of charge. In addition to the presentation of the Hilda Award and the Tony Salin Memorial Award, the 2010 class of electees to the Shrine of the Eternals — Casey Stengel, Roger Angell, and Pete Rose — will be formally inducted. The keynote speech will be delivered by David Kipen, author, former book critic and essayist for the San Francisco Chronicle and National Public Radio, and former Director of Literature at the National Endowment for the Arts, where he managed the Big Read, the NEA’s largest literary initiative.

The Shrine of the Eternals 2010 Induction Day is co-sponsored by the Pasadena Public Library and is made possible, in part, by a grant from the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors through the Los Angeles County Arts Commission.

For further information, contact:
Terry Cannon, Executive Director, The Baseball Reliquary
e-mail:; phone (626) 791-7647

Originally published: June 1, 2010. Last Updated: June 1, 2010.