SABR Salute: Eddie Gold

Editor’s note: The SABR Salute, first bestowed upon writer Fred Lieb in 1976, was designed as a manner of recognizing the contributions of some of the older members of the Society. Subsequent SABR Salutes appeared in the SABR Membership Directory and honored members who had made great contributions to baseball historical research. Eddie Gold received the SABR Salute in 1995; the following biographical sketch appeared in that year’s membership directory.

Edward Alan Gold was discovered (born) May 10, 1932, in Green Bay, Wisconsin. The Packers were not playing that day, but his retroactive recollection was that the Cubs beat the Giants 9-2 as Lon Warneke pitched a five-hitter and Billy Jurges collected three hits. He followed the Cubs closely after his family moved to Chicago. It started when he was a six-year old rushing home from school to hear his favorite radio programs — Orphan Annie, Captain Midnight, the Lone Ranger, and Jack Armstrong. However, all the local stations were broadcasting the Cubs-Pirates game and some loquacious guy named Gabby Hartnett hit a big home run. That was in September 1938. Ed’s brother Mickey took him to his first game on August 1, 1939. Bill Nicholson hit a homer in his Cub debut, and the youngster had his first hero.

After two years at the University of Illinois, Eddie was hired as a copy boy at the Chicago Sun-Times in 1951. He worked there for the next 44 years, with time out for Army duty in Korea. As a sports writer, he covered everything but the waterfront. He even had a five-year stint with the hockey Black Hawks.

Eddie and Audre Rose were married June 30, 1957. The ceremony did not take place at home plate in Wrigley, but on their honeymoon they did make stops at Briggs Stadium, Cooperstbwn, Yankee Stadium, Ebbets Field, and the Polo Grounds. Audre shares her husband’s interest in baseball and currently owns AU Sports Memorabilia, a store in Chicago with more than 4 1/2 million cards. Sons Steve and Bruce are employed there.

Eddie joined SABR April 4, 1972, as member #93. Membership attrition over the past 24 years has moved him up 50 rungs on the seniority ladder. That does not qualify him for a Golden Globe Award, but participation in 17 national conventions should help. He has authored or co-authored seven baseball books. They include Eddie Gold’s White Sox and Cubs Trivia Book; Day by Day in Cubs History; and The Cubs, The Golden Era, 1876-1940. The latter two he co-authored with fellow SABR member and Chicago colleague Art Ahrens. The two also worked together on SABR convention research presentations.

At the Toronto gathering in 1981, Eddie, at the podium, presented the case for Jimmy Ryan for the Hall of Fame. He would punctuate his remarks with: “Ain’t that right, Art?” From his seat in the back of the room came the very deep and authoritative voice of Mr. Ahrens, who would agree fully and add strong support data to Ryan’s cause. It was a very impressive dual performance that delighted the audience. Eddie also performed many times with the strong Chicago team in the annual convention research quiz. Of course, this was right up his alley as he prepared the trivia quiz for the Sunday Sun-Times.

In addition to writing articles for Baseball Digest, the Oldtyme Baseball News and Cubs Vine Line, his many articles in SABR publications include such titles as “Hall Would Be Home for Hulbert,” “Baseball Movies,” “My Favorite All-Time Teams,” “Wrigley Field Homers,” and “Chicago’s Mad Russian (Lou Novikoff) Rides Again.” He also can pass as the Society’s Poet Laureate for his whimsical convention presentations and his published baseball poems. In “Baseball Rhyme Time”, carried in the 1975 Baseball Research Journal, he put together 16 verses of baseball names, two of which went like this:

Pete Rose, Billy Loes, Mike de la Hoz
Boots Day, Carlos May, Pete Gray
Herman Franks, Howard Shanks, Ernie Banks
Bunny Brief George Strief and good grief!

Tom Seaver, Buck Weaver, Sam Leever
Walter Johnson, Stan Bahnsen, Evar Swanson
Ralph Garr, Jim Barr, Ray Starr
Billy Sunday, Rick Monday, and Tuesday Weld.

A sampling of verse from his 1974 poem “What is Baseball?” includes the following:

It’s the vendors hawking scorecards, peanuts and ale
And it’s Landis the Czar, with his chin on the rail.
It’s pilots like Huggins, Mack, and old Case,
And it’s a boner by Merkle, who skipped second base.
It’s Billy Sunday, from sinner to saint,
And it’s Willie Keeler, who hit where they ain’t.

It’s writers like Lardner, Rice, and Runyon,
And it’s Wagner at bat, resembling Paul Bunyan
It a crestfallen guy called Shoeless Joe,
And it’s the kid who pleaded “Say it ain’t so.”
It’s opening day with the Prez in the park,
And it’s a homer by Hartnett, hit in the dark.

No, Eddie has not yet called it a career. He still writes a weekly column for the Sun-Times. He is also writing a book entitled Don’t Evers to Tinker with chance Or you’ll know how Steinfeldt.


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