2020 SABR Day: St. Louis

Emily Wiebe

On Saturday, February 1, 2020, 47 members and guests of the Bob Broeg SABR Chapter of St. Louis celebrated SABR Day by gathering at Favazza’s Restaurant, in the Historic Hill section of the city, just a few blocks away from where Yogi Berra and Joe Garagiola grew up.

Chapter President Rick Zucker welcomed everyone to the event and everyone enjoyed a wonderful buffet meal of Italian roast beef, Sicilian chicken, cavatelli con broccoli, roasted vegetables, toasted ravioli, and salad followed by dessert cannolis.

Ray Dowell

Our three special guests gave wonderful presentations. First up was Dr. Raymond Doswell, Vice President of Curatorial Services for the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in Kansas City, Missouri.

His presentation was titled “ A Whirling Demon: Jackie Robinson Steals Home & History”. With a variety of photos and film clips he chronicled the 19 regular season career steals of home by Jackie, along with his most prominent one in Game 1 of the 1955 World Series.

Emily Wiebe, Manager of Player Development & Performance for the St. Louis Cardinals followed. She is primarily involved with handling the data requests from the coaching and training staffs in the organization. She mentioned that every decision they make with the data (which is purchased by each team from independent vendors) points toward predicting future performance. The various factors, which go into the data received, include ballpark dimensions, pitch tracking, batted ball tracking, the strike zone (which tends to fluxuate), and even the individual player’s preferred learning style of the data. She stated that it is no longer “if” teams use the data but “how” they use the data.

Dan O'Neill

Our third and final speaker was Dan O’Neill, former columnist and beat writer for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and author of the recent book, “Celebration-The Magic of The Cardinals in The 1980’s”. With photos, film clips, and anecdotes he took the audience on a trip back through the 1980’s and the exciting times of Whiteyball. In approximately 12 months, early in the decade Herzog made moves involving 31 players to rebuild the team with speed, defense, and pitching. The result was three trips to the World Series over six years with a championship in 1982.

After a short break, President Zucker presented the annual Jim Rygelski Research Award to Tyler White for his presentation, at the chapter research conference last September, entitled “Mastering the Breath: A Potential Way to Improve Performance, Endurance, and Reduce Injury”.

The next order of business was the presentation of chapter officers for the coming year. The four current officers were willing to retain their positions and a motion was made, seconded, and approved to reelect the following: President – Rick Zucker, Vice-President – Jeff Ecker, Treasurer – Mark Stangl, Secretary – Jim Leefers.

The trivia quiz was presented by last year’s champion Mark Stangl and titled “2019 Cardinals Season”, with a total of 43 possible answers. Prizes were awarded for the top two scores: Bob Tiemann was the 1st place winner with a score of 31, Jim Leefers was 2nd with 26.

The dates for the regular meetings have been set for the coming year: March 2 (Monday), April 13 (Monday), May 19 (Tuesday), June 15 (Monday), July 7 (Tuesday), August 17 (Monday), October 12 (Monday), November 17 (Tuesday), December 14 (Monday). The meetings begin at 6:30 and will be at The Sports Café in Bridgeton.

The Baseball Fellowship Meetings are informal and held at Lester’s Sports Bar & Grill in Ladue, beginning at 5:30 on the following Wednesdays: April 1, May 6, June 3, July 1, August 5, September 2, September 30, November 4, and December 2.

The 6th Annual Jim Rygelski Research Conference will be held Saturday, September 12, 2020.

All meetings and events are open to non-members.

— Jim Leefers, Secretary

Tyler White