SABR Day 2015: St. Louis

SABR Day 2015 – St. Louis, Missouri (Bob Broeg Chapter)

Fifty-six members and guests of the Bob Broeg SABR Chapter attended the annual Hot Stove Luncheon on SABR Day, Saturday, January 24, 2015. The event was held at Mike Shannon’s Steaks and Seafood Restaurant in downtown St. Louis.

Chapter president Brian Flaspohler welcomed everyone to the event prior to the enjoyment of a buffet style lunch featuring a standard ballpark fare of burgers, hot dogs, brats, nachos, lettuce salad, pretzels, potato salad and dessert.

The first speaker of the afternoon was former major leaguer Tom Lawless. In his eight-year career he played for the Reds, Expos, Cardinals, and Blue Jays; and recently concluded the 2014 season as the interim manager of the Houston Astros. He spoke of his love of working with the young players in the farm system, which he will continue to do in the Astros system this coming season. Other topics were getting the phone call to manage in the big leagues and dealing with the media (“just be honest with them”), playing in the Metrodome during the 1987 World Series, hitting his first big league home run off Ken Dayley (his future roommate), and his home run off Frank Viola in the 1987 World Series.

Next up was Bob “Droopy Drawers” Sampson from Decatur, Illinois, a pioneer of vintage baseball. Bob still toils for the Rock Springs Ground Squirrels during the summer even though younger men have already ‘retired’. He presented some slides from the Ground Squirrels games at various venues, including their home field of beautiful Trobaugh Field west of Decatur, and also spoke about the early days of beginning the team, and also the various rules used.

Chris Correa, the newly named Director of Scouting for the St. Louis Cardinals was the next guest speaker. He spoke of the immediate concerns in the organization following the death of Oscar Taveras, the various levels and types of scouting, combining statistical analysis with old school techniques in the development and assessment of prospects, and named a few coming prospects to keep an eye on.

This year’s heavy-hitting clean-up hitter was 2007 Spink Award winner Rick “The Commish” Hummel. He began by giving a brief analysis of each major league team and division, with an emphasis on the Cardinals strengths (starting pitching) and weaknesses (offense). He thinks St. Louis is still the team to beat in the NL Central but did site the improvement of the Cubs. Another major topic he touched upon was the Hall of Fame voting process.

The final guest speaker of the day was Paula Homan, Curator & Manager of the St. Louis Cardinals Hall of Fame and Museum. She gave a slide presentation on the construction of the museum and spoke of the close deadline to make sure the opening coincided with opening day in 2014. She also spoke of the layout and selection process of the items currently displayed in the museum. There are roughly 23,000 items in the museums collection, but only about 1,000 are on display.

Flaspohler announced the inaugural Bob Broeg Chapter Research Conference/Rygelski Awards, which will take place Saturday, July 11, 2015.

The following chapter officers for 2015 were approved: President – Brian Flaspohler, Vice President – Jeff Ecker, Secretary – Jim Leefers, and Treasurer – Wayne Hebden.

The trivia contest, “Illinois Born Cardinals”, presented by Jim Leefers, was won by Mark Stangl, with a score of 34/40. Bob Tiemann was second with 30/40 and Lew Levey finished third with a score of 29/40.

The 2015 meeting dates for the Bob Broeg SABR Chapter are as follows: Monday, February 23; Tuesday, March 17; Monday, April 20; Tuesday, May 19; Monday, June 22; Tuesday, August 25; Monday, September 14; October – TBA; Tuesday, November 17; and Monday, December 14. Meetings take place at The Original Crusoe’s Restaurant on the corner of Osceola and Compton in South St. Louis with dinner from 5:30 p.m. and the business portion at 6:45 p.m.

— Jim Leefers