SABR Negro Leagues Committee awards $2,500 scholarships in 2015 essay contest

SABR’s Negro Leagues Research Committee is pleased to award $2,500 scholarships to two high school seniors in its sixth annual national essay contest.

Jeff Boelter, a graduate of St. John Vianney High School in St. Louis, and Kari Whiteside, a senior at Granada Hills Charter High School in California, were selected as the 2015 winners.

Boelter will be attending St. Louis’ Maryville University in the fall, where he will double major in Financial Services and Sports Business Management. He is an avid sports fan with a passion for baseball and the St. Louis Cardinals. He spends much of his free time studying the game through articles, books, or documentaries. He is most fascinated by early 20th century Major League Baseball and the economics of MLB teams and the league.  He spent three years working for his high school athletic director as an Athletic Ambassador, which is a gameday operations assistant with duties ranging from assisting players and coaches to tickets and parking. He also found success working in athletics for his parish, where he was a referee and umpire for basketball, soccer, and baseball. His involvement in athletics has inspired him to pursue a career on the business side of Major League Baseball. Outside of sports, Jeff is a member of the International Thespian Honors Society following four years of dedicated theatre performance and work. He is an avid fan of history, movies, and the filmmaking process, and is also an amateur photographer.

Whiteside plans to attend the University of California at Santa Barbara and is majoring in Computer Science. Her favorite subject is Calculus and she is very interested in learning about how computers work. She describes herself as artistic, and her hobbies include painting, drawing, and especially writing. Besides art, she played volleyball in high school and is involved with the Girl Scouts.

The contest was open to high school seniors and carrying a minimum GPA of 2.5 at the end of their junior year. Students had to write a 1,000-word essay answering one of the following questions: “Choose one figure from the Negro Leagues and explain why you believe they are significant” or “Explain who Effa Manley was and her significance to the Negro Leagues.”

The students will be recognized at the Jerry Malloy Negro League Conference on August 6-8, 2015, in Pittsburgh. More than 115 candidates from 38 states and countries applied to the essay contest this year. The selection committee was comprised of educators Leslie Heaphy, Stephanie Liscio, Mel May, and Josh Salvner.

The Jerry Malloy Negro League Conference is the only symposium dedicated exclusively to the examination of black baseball history.

Originally published: May 11, 2015. Last Updated: April 22, 2020.