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Summer 2004
Written by Field of Dreams Chapter   
Sunday, 15 August 2004 00:00

Click here for pictures from this meeting.

The Field of Dreams chapter held their latest meeting on August 15, 2004 in conjunction with the Keokuk Baseball Reunion. Fifteen SABR members and several former Keokuk minor league players and their wives gathered at Rand Park in Keokuk on a beautiful Sunday afternoon.

FOD chapter members Steve Smith and Shane Etter were instrumental in organizing the Keokuk reunion, and served as our hosts for the day. Shane displayed some of his impressive collection of Keokuk baseball memorabilia, and Steve Smith introduced former Keokuk players Bill Dailey, Jerry DelGaudio, Dick Hughes, Demorris Smith, Larry Spinner, Byron Klapprott, and former Keokuk batboy Gary Grice.

After lunch, DeMorris "Mickey" Smith, son of Hall of Famer Hilton Smith, spoke for a few minutes about the Negro League career of his father, Hall of Famer Hilton Smith.. Smith summarized his father's career in baseball and spoke of the experience of sharing the stage with Bill Mazeroski, Kirby Puckett, and Dave Winfield at the 2002 induction ceremony in Cooperstown .

Following Smith was an open question and answer session with the returning players, moderated by Steve Smith. The former Keokuk players obviously enjoyed themselves at the weekend-long reunion.

R.J. Lesch presented the mystery of Samuel "Pony" Sager. It is known that Sager was a teammate of Cap Anson's on the 1871 Forest City club of Rockford , Illinois . Less clear is whether Sager teamed up with Anson on earlier clubs. Although Anson wrote that Sager helped Marshalltown win the Iowa state championship, scant evidence exists that Sager was born in or was a resident of Marshalltown . One theory posits that Sager was a "ringer" who was recruited for the local nine while he was visiting his sister, who was a resident of Marshall County . This is one of those great baseball tales that has no clear resolution. We can only hope that future research will uncover more of the Sager saga.

Finally, Steve Smith spoke briefly on the pitfalls of compiling historic rosters. Specifically, he warned of the dangers of going strictly by the annual guides, as those tend to miss players who participated in less than ten games. It was suggested that the chapter could take on the task of compiling and verifying rosters for all of Iowa 's past and present minor league teams.

New business consisted largely of planning upcoming events. We will gather at the Bob Feller Museum in October, and hope to do another ballpark tour next spring, probably at Clinton or Burlington . Steve Smith pointed out that reunion attendee Lydia Halbach is now a member of the Lumber Kings board, and offered assistance in setting up a meeting.

In the trivia quiz, Gary Plunkitt, a SABR member from Frankfort , Indiana , took top honors (and the traveling trophy) with a score of 18 out of 30. Congrats to Gary , and our thanks for visiting our FOD chapter.

Once again, thanks to Steve Smith and Shane Etter for all their hard work in arranging the Keokuk Reunion.

The next Field of Dreams chapter meeting will be held on Saturday, October 16, 2004 at the Bob Feller Museum in Van Meter, Iowa .

Tim Rask
Umpire-in-Chief

Amended 8/24/04 by Charles R. Crawley, Scorecard-Keeper (Webmaster)

Last Updated on Friday, 30 January 2009 15:30