SABR Salute: Stan Grosshandler

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. Stan Grosshandler received the SABR Salute in 1993; the following biographical sketch appeared in that year’s membership directory.

Stan Grosshandler was not one of the original SABR members, but he did get heavily involved soon after he joined as member #50 on September 28, 1971. At that time he lived in the Milwaukee suburb of Greendale, Wisconsin. In fact, he was the first member from the Badger State. A decade of almost constant activity followed. He served as Secretary-Treasurer of SABR 1972-74, was a member of the Society’s first Board of Directors, 1974-76; was Vice-President, 1976-77; and back on the Board, 1977-81. Although he lived 80 miles north of the Windy City, he was primary organizer of the 1973 SABR convention in Chicago. He also conducted the business meeting in absence of the President. He repeated that role at the 1974 convention in Philadelphia.

Stan was born May 9, 1926, in Youngstown, Ohio: He played baseball and football on the high school teams He studied at the University of Cincinnati, 1945-46, before moving on to Wooster College, where he received a BA in Psychology in 1949. He gained his medical doctorate at Ohio State University in 1955 and practiced one year in Youngstown before going into the military as a captain in the Army Medical Corps. In 1957-58, he was Commanding Officer of an Eighth Army medical detachment in Korea. He even served as team physician of the Eighth Army’s boxing and football teams. After private practice anesthesiology in Milwaukee, 1962-76, he moved to Raleigh, North Carolina, where he continued his practice and. where he served as Medical Director of the Raleigh Pain Clinic, 1984-19 88.

His first baseball article for SABR was in the first Baseball Research Journal in 1972. It was about the “30-odd” players he had researched in baseball’s past who threw lefthanded and batted right and was appropriately titled “When Right is wrong.” Jimmy Ryan, Patsy Donovan, Hal Chase, Johnny Cooney, and Cleon Jones were some of the better. known unorthodox types. Rickey Henderson was not on the scene at that point. At the Chicago convention in 1973, one of the trivia questions was “Who was the only righthanded hitting lefty, to win a batting title?” It was Hal Chase who hit .339 for the Reds in 1916.

In Stan’s long list of articles for SABR publications, one dealt with no-hit game catchers, and another with a pitcher’s choice of a particular catcher who might not be the regular backstop. Carlton & McCarver and Fidrych & Kimm were contemporary examples that sparked the article, and Alexander & Killifer made up an earlier combo. Fred Lieb suggested some early batterymates in Cy Young & Lou Criger; Christy Mathewson & Frank Bowerman; and Connie Mack’s double duo of Eddie Plank & Doe Powers and Jack Coombs & Jack Lapp.

Another article was the forgotten all-star game of July 7, 1942, where a AL team, which had defeated the NL squad the night before, met a team of military stars at Cleveland’s Municipal Stadium. It was a thrill for young Stanley to se this game although it ended in the uneven score of 5-0 for the AL team. Of course, that early in the war, the latter still had Ted Williams, Joe DiMaggio, and Bobby Doerr, while the service team was led by Bob Feller and Cecil Travis. Stan has the score card of this game as well as the 277 other major league games he has seen since 1936.

“Diamond Docs” in the 1975 Research Journal was a natural for Dr. Grosshandler. He discussed all the major leaguers from Anile Pond to Bobby Brown who became medical doctors. He earned this subject a step farther by interviewing Johnny Berardino for another article entitled, “When Dr. Hardy Played for the Browns.”

Stan was so prolific in his baseball research and writing that he had to turn to monthly publications as well to handle his large output. He has published 37 articles in Baseball Digest in the last 25 years. They included such subject titles as Best Hitting Infields; Thirteen Most Forgotten Stars; No-hitter No Guarantee of Stardom; and many interview, articles on such players as Wally Berger, Eddie Joost, Dave Philley, Billy Jurges, and Burgess Whitehead. Stan, who had played college varsity football against George Blanda, also wrote many articles on that sport for Football Digest and publications of the Pro Football Researchers Association, a SABR spin-off organization. The second edition of Total Baseball carries his chapter on Two-Sport Stars.

While living in Milwaukee, Stan supplied articles for the Brewers’ publications—as he does to the present. In 1976 he spearheaded the SABR effort to provide franchise-oriented articles to other clubs as well. At the December 1976 Major League-Minor League meetings in Los Angeles, he was given the opportunity to speak to the club PR directors about SABR and its capabilities in baseball history, research, and statistical analysis. A similar approach was taken, with the assistance of Cliff Kachline, with The Sporting News, the Elias Bureau, the Hall of Fame Veterans Committee, and the Commissioner’s Office. Having good relations with these organizations was an important step in the maturing process of the Society and it was helped along by the steady hand of the Good Doctor.

Stan married Mary DiFrangia of Youngstown, Ohio, in June 1960. They have three daughters and two sons, and three grandchildren. They keep him on his toes, but Stan still plays racquetball a couple times a week to stay in shape. His medical practice continues.


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