Rankin: Dozens of fanatics come together for Canadian baseball history conference

From Dan Rankin at the St. Marys Independent on November 18, 2016, with mention of SABR members Andrew North, Brian Marshall, Bill Young, Chip Martin, Bill Humber, and Scott Crawford:

Seated at tables situated around St. Marys Golf and Country Club’s event hall last Saturday morning were lifelong baseball fans from as far away as Oshawa, Niagara Falls and Ottawa. Through until Sunday afternoon, they were rubbing elbows and talking sports with professors from such institutions as Western University and the University of Toronto, respected sports journalists and, of course, representatives from the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame.

Organized by Andrew North of St. Marys and his friend and fellow Society for American Baseball Research (SABR) member Brian Marshall, what they hope will be St. Marys’ first annual Canadian Baseball History Conference attracted 65 registered attendees. Besides being gathered in St. Marys to celebrate Canadian baseball last weekend, what else did they have in common? Well, an encyclopedic knowledge of baseball history dating back over 100 years, for starters. More than a few were also bilingual, decked out in their Expos gear and hopeful that one day Youppi! the mascot would return to dancing on dugouts in Montreal. They were also well-travelled, and could be heard debating the merits of Arizona’s ‘cactus league’ versus the spring training experience in Florida.

Ben DePetris, 14, was the youngest conference attendee, coming to St. Marys with his father Rob from Niagara Falls. On the older end of the spectrum was Oshawa’s John Charette, who took advantage of one break in the schedule to reach out to other conference attendees who might have information about players in an old defunct Quebec baseball league. Charette’s grandfather, who died in 1956 when he was still a young boy, had played baseball in Quebec with the late Ray Fisher, a member of the Michigan Sports Hall of Fame and a World Series champion in 1919.

Read the full article here: http://stmarysindy.com/2016/11/18/dozens-of-baseball-history-fanatics-converge-on-st-marys-for-conference-nov-12-13/

Originally published: November 21, 2016. Last Updated: November 21, 2016.