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Summer Squibber Lands

The Squibber, the Bob Davids Chapter's quarterly newsletter, landed in member inboxes in time to provide some last-minute beach reading. Topics include:

CONTENTS – August 2014
1. SUMMER MINOR LEAGUE MEETING OF THE BOB DAVIDS CHAPTER: Join Us in Bowie on Aug. 30
2. A FIRST-HAND ACCOUNT OF SABR 44: Annual Convention Rated Among the Best, by David Hughes:
3. WHIZ KIDS PROJECT: BioProject Writers Needed
4. TALKIN' BASEBALL: Upcoming Talks Scheduled, by Dave Paulson
5. REMEMBERING DON ZIMMER: Sixty-Six Years of Just Baseball, by Jeff Stuart
6. CENTRAL PENNSYLVANIA REPORT: Atlantic League Picks Up the Pace, by Barry Sparks
7. HONORING HISTORIC BASEBALL SITES: Project Launched to Memorialize Forgotten Ballparks
8. VOLUNTEER NEEDED TO INDEX “THE SQUIBBER”: Now In its 14th year

Submissions for future editions can be sent to Squibber editor Walt Cherniak at wcherniakjr@aol.com. Keep sending us those squibs, and those ideas for squibs!

 

 

Last Updated on Sunday, 31 August 2014 09:37
 
Davids Chapter Members Enjoy Houston Convention
Written by David Hughes   

Three days and four nights in Houston in late July-early August did not sound promising when I first learned of the site for SABR 44.  My concerns were unfounded.  In reality, the hosts, the hotel, the attendees, and the myriad invitees from across baseball’s wide spectrum made this convention perhaps the best of the six I’ve attended.  This was a lot of fun.

Throughout SABR 44, I saw many familiar faces owing to the fact that over 40 members of the Bob Davids chapter had joined me.  Among the additional 500 SABR members who came, there was ample opportunity to renew old friendships and make new ones.

Where else, while standing in line to buy a drink ticket at Wednesday’s welcome reception, could I strike up a 15-minute conversation with former Astros’ great Larry Dierker?   Where else could I hear four heretofore unknown (at least to me) anecdotes about the inimitable Yogi Berra, as told by former teammates 93-year old Eddie Robinson (http://sabr.org/bioproj/person/3030255d) and 89-yar old Dr. Bobby Brown(http://sabr.org/bioproj/person/abd081a0)?  By the way, both of those fellows are still sharp.

The easy answer is, nowhere else!

After the ice-breaker on Wednesday, we were off and running on Thursday as Houston Astros executive Reid Ryandelivered the opening remarks.  Panel presentations followed, with former Colt 45s Jimmy Wynn, Bob Aspromonte, Carl Warwick, and Hal Smith recounting their days with the team as it played in the mosquito-ridden Colt Stadium for three seasons prior to the opening of the Astrodome.  In the afternoon came the College Baseball panel featuring, among others Lamar coach Jim Gilligan and the always controversial Roger Clemens.  And no, there were no questions from the crowd concerning PEDs. 

Over the course of two days we also heard from Enos Cabell, Jose Cruz, Grover "Deacon" Jones, and Tal Smith, who discussed the Astros of the 1980s; Jays’ broadcaster Buck Martinez and others, who discussed their experiences in today’s changing world of the media; Bob Watson joined Dr. Brown and Eddie Robinson to talk about their experiences as front office decision-makers; and a panel of women who have contributed to baseball either as media reporters, a former player from the All-American Girls’ Professional Baseball League, and an executive from the College Baseball Hall of Fame, discussed past and present roles of women in the game.  Many other panels and presentations were available for attendees to listen, ask questions, and hobnob with panel participants and presenters. 

Last Updated on Monday, 11 August 2014 19:16
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Chapter Function Filled with Fun and Facts
Written by David Hughes   

Did you …

- Ever wonder about who has the dubious distinction of throwing the most pitches in the first inning of a game since pitch counts became a reliable statistic?

- Ever hear the one about Syd Cohen, who also played professional baseball under the alias “Pablo Garcia”? 

- Know that the presence of a Fussell Ice Cream advertisement in a ballpark scorecard meant that you had to be scoring that game in Washington, D.C.?

- Know that the same guy played with Larry Bowa and Denny Doyle, roomed with pro football Hall of Famer Bob Griese in college, and had the dubious distinction of being flattened at home plate in the minor leagues by none other than Mr. October?

- Ever wonder how the terabytes of “Big Data” collected during MLB games can yield useful information for the purpose of putting a lineup together against a particular pitcher in a particular park?

- Know that authenticated, new information about the life and times of Babe Ruth is still surfacing as recently as last year?

Well, if you had attended the Bob Davids Chapter’s 40th Annual Meeting on January 25, 2014, you would have learned the answers to these and many other questions during an entertaining seven hours of presentations, anecdotes, baseball trivia, reminiscences and camaraderie, not to mention lively question and answer sessions with our speakers and presenters.

But first, the Chapter did a little business.  The membership re-elected D. Bruce Brown as President, Don Seaman as Secretary, and Mark Pattison as an At-Large Board Member, all starting two-year terms.

With a paid attendance of 135, the meeting heard Amy Tetlow Smith, summarize the research she did on “Scorecard, Advertisement and Social History,” a presentation that had received an honorable mention at SABR 43 in Philadelphia.  Amy described the systematic analysis of the advertisements she and her husband Dave had catalogued while analyzing thousands of scorecards from the 19th century to the present and how the changing product lines reflected wider societal changes across the country. (Amy's detailed research can be found on the Retrosheet site.) Although Amy’s solo performance proved a tough act to follow, Dave Smith, a perennial favorite, scored his usual big inning with a sampling of his famous insights to milestones and oddities of the 2012 and 2013 seasons. 

Vince Gennaro, SABR’s national president, reprised the award-winning presentation he made at the national convention this year in Philadelphia with an updated rendition of "Analyzing Batter Performance Against Pitcher Clusters."  Analyzing pitchers using five factors, Vince provided examples of how manager could employ such analysis to try to determine the most favorable match-up opportunities for his roster against any specific pitcher in a given ballpark.

Del Wilber, Jr., President of the Perfect Game Foundation, followed with a discussion of his father Del’s decades long career in professional baseball, a career that included experiences as a player, coach, manager, and scout.  Del also described his own athletic career that included a short two-sport stint at Purdue University, and minor league stops in the Phillies’ organization.

After lunch, Vince Gennaro talked about the current state of SABR, and answered questions from the assembled group about the successes of SABR’s recent history and the need for continued improvement in its delivery of service to membership as well as its contributions to the overall baseball community.  Thereafter, Ned Rice of the Baltimore Orioles discussed the application of sabermetric analytics in today’s baseball operations.  Film maker Aviva Kempner discussed additional footage associated with her film “The Life and Times of Hank Greenberg,” along with some entertaining recollections of the adventures of former Washington Senator Syd Cohen (a/k/a “Pablo Garcia”).  Mike Gibbons and Sean Herne, representing the Babe Ruth Birthplace and Museum and the Sports Legends Museum at Camden Yards, noted that the day marked the 100th anniversary of Babe Ruth’s first professional contract.  Mike and Sean talked about the upcoming birthday bash for the Babe (February 6), discussed some newly discovered facts and memorabilia associated with the Babe’s life, and talked about the plans for events that will coincide with the Bob Davids Chapter’s MLB game this year (June 7, at Camden Yards).  To wrap it up, a guest from the Connie Mack chapter, Brian Englehardt gave a research presentation about the history of baseball in Reading, PA, focusing on Lee McPhail and his Reading Brooks.

All in all it was a great way to spend a SABR Day next to the proverbial “Hot Stove.”  Oh, by the way, the pitcher who threw the most pitches in the first inning of a game since pitch counts became a reliable statistic is none other than Bartolo Colon.  Needless to say, it wasn’t his best start that year.

Be of good cheer.  Spring Training is just a few short days away.

 
Autumn Squibber Falls in Member Inboxes

Members, check your inbox for the Bob David Chapter's latest quarterly newletter, The Squibber. This month's articles include: 

  1. NOT YOUR GREAT-GRANDFATHER’S ORIOLES: Inaugural A.L. Season Kicked Off in Baltimore, by Fred Glueckstein
  2. TALKIN’ BASEBALL: Upcoming Talks Scheduled, by Dave Paulson
  3. A ‘SUN-Y’ DAY IN HAGERSTOWN: Recapping this Year’s Minor League Outing, by David Hughes
  4. CENTRAL PENNSYLVANIA REPORT: Harrisburg’s Mirowski Completes Sparkling Relief Season, by Barry Sparks
  5. REPORT FROM BETHESDA: Holiday Baseball Auction Coming Up, by Bill Hickman

Comments and suggestions for future editions can be directed to Squibber editor Walt Cherniak at wcherniakjr@aol.com.

Last Updated on Monday, 09 December 2013 11:35
 
Chapter Spends a Sun-y Day in Hagerstown
Written by David Hughes   

The annual minor league outing for SABR’s Bob Davids Chapter took place on August 17, where 25 chapter members gathered for a South Atlantic League game at Hagerstown Municipal Stadium.  Thanks go to event organizer David Newman.

Municipal Stadium is a historic ballpark and, despite its age, has a certain rustic charm.  The evening’s activities began in the picnic area, with Eli Pearlstein (Suns’ Director of Media Relations, Radio Announcer, and general public information officer) addressing the group and leading a Q&A about the team, the stadium, his job, and his career experience and aspirations.  Eli acknowledged that he has a long way to go to achieve his career goals, and he is working his way up from the bottom rungs.  Unfortunately, while Eli (and virtually everyone else present) knew the significance of two of the stadium’s three retired numbers (located on decals on the wall in the right field corner, two of the numbers are “42” for Jackie Robinson and “24” for Willie Mays), he could not answer for the third number on the wall, “50” (a few days later, an outside source provided the answer: the “50” is for John Henry Moss, highlighting his 50 years of service to the South Atlantic League).  A fourth decal on the outfield wall commemorates the late Nick Adenhart, former Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim pitcher who played many years of youth baseball in the Hagerstown area.

After Eli’s presentation, chapter President Bruce Brown moderated an impromptu trivia contest.  The champion crowned that evening was Paul Sekula, with the prize being a DVD of “The Life and Times of Hank Greenberg.”  After a hearty ballpark buffet, we had the opportunity to watch Brett Mooneyham (Nationals’ 3rd rounder out of Stanford, 2012) face those pesky Tourists from Ashville, including the league’s then-leading hitter, 20-year old Rosell Herrera (Rockies’ free agent, Dominican Republic).  Mooneyham was dominant in the game, as he went 7 innings with 9 Ks.  Hagerstown won the crisp, 2:15 contest, 4-0, before an announced crowd of 1,139.

Last Updated on Friday, 30 August 2013 09:26
 
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Bob Davids

Bob Davids

L. Robert Davids, SABR Founder