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Spring 2005
Written by Field of Dreams Chapter   
Sunday, 12 June 2005 00:00
The latest meeting of the Field of Dreams (Iowa) chapter was held on Sunday, June 12 in Clinton, Iowa. Fourteen SABR members and guests gathered on a warm and humid afternoon at Alliant Energy Field (nee Riverview Stadium), Clinton's beautiful WPA-era ballpark.

Our group gathered in the ballpark's “picnic garden,” where we munched on traditional baseball fare (hot dogs, bratwurst, peanuts, and cold beverages) while browsing through old Clinton baseball programs. Member Steve Smith also showed off a 1962 program from the final minor league game played in Keokuk, Iowa.

For the first presentation, Larry Johnson introduced us to Charles “Bunt” Frisbee, an Iowan who enjoyed a brief career in the National League in 1899-1900. Frisbee is buried in Alden, Iowa, and Larry is trying to pieced together the trail of Frisbee's career, which included stints with Boston and New York, as well as minor league stops in Worcester, Mass. and Toledo, Ohio, as well as a half-season managing the Waterloo, Iowa club. If anyone has any information on Charles Frisbee, contact Larry Johnson at lpjohnson@iowaconnect.com .

Our featured guest for the day was Lydia Halbach, the Secretary of the Clinton ball club and longtime member of their Board of Directors. Lydia got her start in baseball as a teenager, when she handled some office duties for Keokuk's club. When she later married and moved to Clinton, she became an active member of the board there. She recounted many tales of life in the minors, and outlined some of the improvements at Alliant Energy field, which should begin its facelift later this year.

R.J. Lesch was the victor in the trivia contest, which was presented by Steve Bennett. Steve, in turn, correctly answered the Steve got in on the trivia fun himself, as he correctly answered the Lumberkings' trivia question of the day (What year did a Texas Ranger win both MVP and Manager-of-the-Year? A: 1996). Steve earned 3 Lottery bucks for his prowess, while R.J. will have to be content with some baseball cards and the FOD traveling trophy

As to the afternoon's Midwest League game, the hometown Lumberkings fell to the Kane County Cougars, 3 to 1.

In a final note, I am proud to say that our visit may have contributed to the upcoming renovations at Alliant Energy Field. As I was settling our tab with Clinton GM, Ted Tornow, I showed him some of the old Clinton programs I had brought along. On the cover of the 1957 program, Ted noticed two owl statues sitting atop the ballpark gates. He said that they were considering adding some decorative gargoyles to the structure, and if owls were historically accurate, why not owls?

The next chapter meeting is tentatively scheduled for Sunday, October 9 at Bill Zuber's Restaurant in Homestead, Iowa (one of the Amana Colonies). If you would like to make a presentation at the meeting, please contact me at timrask@worldnet.att.net .

Tim Rask, Umpire-in-Chief, Field of Dreams Chapter-SABR

Addendum by RJ Lesch:

I failed to announce this at the meeting:

The Biography Committee is trying to fill in certain gaps in the SABR player database, including the following:

  • Scouting information: who scouted a particular player, who signed him, etc. This is on the SABR Encyclopedia now, so you can check what SABR's Scouts Committee has available.
  • High school attended, if any: the idea is that birthplace might not be relevant to a player's development (people move, or are born at sea, etc.), so high school attended might be more useful to a biographer. This is not on the SABR website yet.
  • Burial site, if any.

Rod Nelson sent me a spreadsheet of Iowa-born players, showing what info the Biography Committee has on hand. If interested, send me a note offlist and I'll pass it on.

- R. J. Lesch, Adel IA