Goold: St. Louis native Shieber has a hand in the Hall of Fame

From Derrick Goold at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch on July 31, 2016, on SABR member Tom Shieber:

He doesn’t remember the exact street in University City where fortune intersected with baseball and sent him in this direction. It was near Flynn Park Elementary, sometime in the 1970s, and Tom Shieber was walking toward home when he saw a baseball – discarded? misplaced? – abandoned along the road.

The ball was covered in signatures, actual autographs, not the printed scrawls available at every team store. This ball had been held by the men who signed it, and Tom, in elementary at the time, recognized a few of the names.

Stan Musial.

Joe DiMaggio.

There were far more that he didn’t – Frankie Frisch, for one – and so, with the help of his dad he pulled the family copy of The Sporting News’ “Daguerreotypes” and leafed through the photos of baseball greats to line up the facts with the names.

“Little by little,” Shieber said this past week. “That was the beginning.”

It wasn’t just the ball itself, but the research that intrigued Shieber. That ball acted as a key that unlocked many pursuits, ones that would take him from St. Louis to Reed College, from the West Coast to the East Coast, up a mountain near Los Angeles, down Main Street in Cooperstown, and from studying the sun to mixing with baseball’s stars. Whether it’s the Cardinals or the Bucks, Max Scherzer or The Sporting News, St. Louis has had a hand in making, calling, and covering baseball history. Shieber is the St. Louis native who has his hand on it.

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Originally published: August 2, 2016. Last Updated: August 2, 2016.