SABR Arizona chapter renamed to honor Roland Hemond

SABR’s Arizona chapter has changed its name.

Incorporating the name of legendary Major League Baseball executive Roland Hemond, the chapter is now known as the Hemond-Delhi Arizona Chapter.

Members attending the group’s SABR Day meeting held January 28, 2017, at Tempe Diablo Stadium voted unanimously for the change. Hemond, 87, also will be honored with a plaque. Hemond did not attend the SABR Day event, but when notified of the vote he said: “Wow, that’s great. What an honor.”

The humility is typical of Hemond — a longtime Phoenix resident — who has one of the game’s longest-tenured and most-distinguished careers that began in 1951 as a front-office member of the Hartford Chiefs of the Eastern League.

Along the way, Hemond has accumulated a long list of honors, led by being the second recipient of the Buck O’Neil Lifetime Achievement Award — bestowed upon him in 2011 by the National Baseball Hall Of Fame and Board of Directors.

Hemond, currently a special assistant to Arizona Diamondbacks President and CEO Derrick Hall, also is a three-time winner of Major League Baseball’s Executive of the Year Award —1972 and 1983 with the Chicago White Sox, 1989 with the Baltimore Orioles.

Hemond also was the first non-uniformed winner of the prestigious Branch Rickey Award for contributions to the community, and his charitable efforts include being president of the Association of Professional Ballplayers, and helping found the Professional Baseball Scouts Foundation.

Hemond also was highly instrumental in the formation of the Arizona Fall League, and has four annual awards named in his honor — including an award by SABR’s Scouts Committee, which is given to baseball executives who have displayed great respect for scouts.

Flame Delhi’s name was attached to the Arizona SABR chapter in 1995, three years after it formed. Lee William ‘Flame’ Delhi was the first Arizona native to play in the major leagues. He was born in 1892 in the mining town of Harqua Hala before his family settled in Santa Monica, California.

Delhi’s entire big-league career consisted of one three-inning relief outing on April 16, 1912, as a 19-year-old with the Chicago White Sox. Delhi allowed seven hits and six runs (three earned) to the Detroit Tigers.

In a minor-league career cut short by arm injuries, Delhi — nicknamed Flame for his red hair — compiled a 97-81 record and 3.57 ERA in 212 games over seven seasons. His last career stop was with the Ray Copper Mine team in Ray, Arizona, where he learned civil engineering. He later went onto a highly successful and lucrative career in the steel industry.

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Originally published: February 17, 2017. Last Updated: February 17, 2017.