2017 SABR Day: St. Louis

The eighth annual SABR Day was celebrated by the Bob Broeg St. Louis Chapter on January 28, 2017, as 48 members and guests gathered at Favazza’s Restaurant for their Hot Stove Luncheon in the historic neighborhood known as The Hill.

Randy FloresFavazza’s provided a wonderful buffet that included beef, chicken, vegetables, toasted ravioli, salad, dinner rolls, and cannolis for desert.

Chapter President Brian Flaspohler welcomed everyone and thanked various members who had contributed to the planning and preparation for the luncheon.

The first guest speaker of the day was Randy Flores, former major league relief pitcher for the Rangers, Rockies, Cardinals, and Twins. Randy is currently entering into his second season as the scouting director for the St. Louis Cardinals. Randy entertained the crowd as he related his path to the big leagues, starting in high school as he was trying to decide whether to attend the Air Force Academy, or try to become a walk-on baseball player for the USC Trojans. He chose USC, went 11-1 as a freshman, and still holds the all-time program record for pitching victories with a 42-10 mark. He talked about the emotions involved, as he became the winning pitcher, for the Cardinals in game #7 of the 2006 NLCS against the Mets, which led to an eventual World Series championship. Upon retirement he continued his academics, did some coaching, became an on-air analyst for ESPN, and also started his own company, OnDeckDigital. Always keeping in contact with Cardinals General Manager John Mozeliak, he finally got the call to become the scouting director for St. Louis in late 2015. He talked about the keys of Teamwork/Discipline/Buy-In (to the program) and the challenges that lay ahead (including the possible penalties, that were imposed just a couple of days later in the computer hacking scandal).

Next up was the 2007 J.G. Taylor Spink award winner, Rick Hummel, better known as “The Commish” in BBWAA circles. He started with a position-by-position comparison of the 2017 projected line-ups of the Cardinals and the division rival, and current World Champion Chicago Cubs. He pointed out where the Cardinals needed to improve to make up the 17½ game deficit that they suffered last year and felt positive that it could be done. He feels that the two teams to watch this year are the Nationals (he feels that their window of opportunity is about to end), and the Rockies (his sleeper pick).

After a short break, former Chapter President Mark Stangl presented the second annual Jim Rygelski Research Award to Brian Flaspohler for his presentation, at the chapter research conference last August, entitled “Racial Bias in Hit By Pitch Data”.

Dan Martin, cartoonist for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch gave a slide presentation on the history of sports cartooning, primarily focusing on his predecessor Amadee Wohlschlaeger, but also including Rube Goldberg and Robert Ripley, among others.

Gary Kodner, author of St. Louis Cardinals Uniforms & Logos: An Illustrated History - 1882-2016, followed with a slide presentation on the development of his book. Gary has worked as a graphic design consultant for the Cardinals since 1982 and in 1996, along with Bill DeWitt III, they refined the Cardinals logos and uniform graphics. The cataloging of all the various logos and variations of the iconic “birds on the bat” down through the years provided the impetus for the book.

The next order of business was the presentation of chapter officers for the coming year. Each of the current four officers were retained for this year and are as follows: President – Brian Flaspohler, Vice-President – Jeff Ecker, Treasurer – Wayne Hebden, Secretary – Jim Leefers.

The trivia quiz was presented by Bob Tiemann and titled “Lucky 7’s” and covered each of the years ending in 7 from 2007 back to 1877, with a total of 77 possible answers. Prizes were awarded for the top four scores: Mark Stangl was the 1st place winner with a score of 70, Steve Gietschier was 2nd with 66, Jim Leefers was 3rd with 57, and Scott Battles finished 4th with 23.

The dates for the regular meetings have been set for the coming year: February 20 (Monday), March 21 (Tuesday), April 24 (Monday), May 22 (Monday), June 20 (Tuesday), July 18 (Tuesday), September 18 (Monday), October-TBD, November 14 (Tuesday), December 19 (Tuesday). The February meeting will be at our regular location, The Original Crusoe’s. The location of the other meetings are not yet determined.

The Baseball Fellowship Meetings are held at the Sports Café in Bridgeton on the first Wednesday of the month from February through November.

The third annual Bob Broeg Chapter Research Conference will be held Saturday, August 19, 2017.

All meetings and events are open to non-members and our regular meetings do not conflict with Cardinals home games.

View more photos from SABR Day below. (Click here to view the slideshow on mobile devices.)

— Jim Leefers, Secretary