Looking Ahead to SABR 42 in Minneapolis

Editor’s note: SABR 42 will be held June 27-July 1, 2012. Click here for more information.

Holy Cow! Do we have a great event coming up in 2012.

SABR 42 will be back in Minneapolis, 24 years after a convention that is still remembered fondly by those who attended. The Halsey Hall Chapter of SABR will be hosting the event — in case you weren’t aware, Halsey Hall was using Holy Cow! as his trademark expression long before those imitators in St. Louis and New York — and the chapter has been busy for many years planning for a great time.

When SABR last came here in 1988, the group saw a game at the Metrodome. Now the venue will be Target Field, on the other side of downtown Minneapolis. In addition to a Twins game, a trip for food, fun, and baseball is planned to see the St. Paul Saints.

Other events on the tentative agenda include:

  • Various panels, including ones with executives, former players, and official scorers.
  • A special session with a slideshow of various Minnesota professional and amateur ballparks.
  • A Women in Baseball panel, possibly with former players from the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League.
  • A presentation on baseball memorabilia by Minnesota Twins curator Clyde Doepner.
  • A session and display on black baseball in Minnesota, hosted by Frank White, a longtime Minnesota sports official whose dad played on black teams in the state.
  • A one-man show about Branch Rickey.
  • A tour of the Minneapolis Central Library (for both the architecture and resources), hosted by principal librarian Connie Hill 

The convention will be in downtown Minneapolis, and light-rail service makes it easy and cheap to get from the airport and hotel.

A suburban attraction for many visitors is a shopping center known by several names, including MegaMall, Mall of America, Sprawl of America, and the shopping center on steroids. Baseball fans will appreciate that this was the site of Metropolitan Stadium, and we will have a tour of this and two other ballpark sites: Nicollet Park and Lexington Park. If it works, the tour will include Lakewood Cemetery and the gravesites of many baseball players and personalities, as well as a great view of Lake Calhoun (see below). Those wanting to go to the megamall on their own can easily do so on the light rail.

The Twin Cities has a lot of other attractions, including:

  • The Mississippi River: The downtown side has the Mill City Museum, which highlights the city’s history as a milling center. On the other side are restaurants and watering holes along historic Main Street. Either side of the river is great for a walk. You can cross the river on the Stone Arch Bridge (a former railroad bridge now used for bicycles and pedestrians; also the site of a 1996 wedding between two SABR members) and come back on the suspension bridge, the site of the first permanent crossing of the Mississippi River. Along that route, stop off on Nicollet Island, one of the city’s treasures.
  • The city’s jewels: Lake Harriet, Lake Calhoun, Lake of the Isles and Cedar Lake. The lakes, with trails for biking, running and walking, are connected. A complete circuit is 12 miles, although they can be enjoyed individually. The lakes aren’t far from downtown; probably a little too far to walk, but not to run. We have a member who has volunteered to organize a run, and others have volunteered to drive people down and around the lakes. Bike rentals are available, too (check out https://www.niceridemn.org).
  • Art museums and theaters: The Guthrie Theater on the river, the Walker Art Center on the edge of downtown Minneapolis, and the Minneapolis Institute of Arts are among the biggies. St. Paul has some notable attractions, as well, including the Minnesota History Center, the capitol, and Landmark Center.

If you have a few extra days, consider a drive to Duluth (150 miles from the Twin Cities) and beyond. Duluth is a great city in the summer. Make your reservations early for hotels in the Canal Park area and maybe take in a Northwoods League game at historic Wade Stadium. Continue on the North Shore Highway for another hour and you’ll experience a pair of tunnels burrowed through the bluffs, Split Rock Lighthouse and Gooseberry Falls, along with an unbeatable view of Lake Superior the entire way. Keep going, and you’ll wind up in Thunder Bay, Ontario.

Summer in Minnesota is usually pleasant, and the weather can’t be any hotter than it was in 1988. But the convention will be. You betcha.

— Stew Thornley

Originally published: July 15, 2011. Last Updated: July 15, 2011.