The largest winter meeting of the Rogers Hornsby Chapter had a little bit of everything on Saturday, Jan. 12 – updates on the Houston Astros and Texas Rangers, a statistical analysis of the psychology of umpires calling balls and strikes, the Texas League president’s perspective on his duties, a preview of the 2014 SABR convention and a review of 1840’s-era baseball in New York.
Fifty-one SABR members and guests gathered at historic Old Main on the campus of Texas State University for the seventh annual winter meeting – the largest attendance ever, including a dozen members from the Larry Dierker Chapter (Houston), which is hosting the SABR convention in Houston in 2014.
Longtime Astros broadcaster Bill Brown (pictured below) talked about his return to the television booth for the upcoming season, including his thoughts about the Astros chances in the American League West. He also brought and signed his memoir, “My Baseball Journey: A Sportcaster’s Story,” proceeds of which support the National Foundation for Ectodermal Dysplasias.
Tom Kayser, president of the Texas League (AA),talked about his activities and duties as a minor league official. He didn’t skip a beat when an unexpected power outage in Old Main darkened the windowless room on the third floor. While organizers scrambled to figure out what to do, Kayser kept the crowd entertained and answered questions about his duties. Shortly thereafter, the group relocated to a classroom with windows and continued with the meeting schedule.
Aaron Baggett, professor of psychology at the University of Mary Hardin Baylor in Belton, presented his research (co-authored with Grant Morgan of Baylor University) examining umpires’ objective and subjective tendencies when calling balls and strikes. Click here to see the presentation slides.
Connie Mack biographer and former SABR board member Norman Macht (pictured below) kicked off the meeting with another group ice-breaker activity that featured questions involving the names of vice presidents and baseball players. Macht also shared his involvement in the 150th anniversary celebration of Connie Mack’s birth in East Brookfield, Mass. To try your hand at Norman's creative icebreaker quiz, click here or go to the Contests tab above and select "Quizzes."
Bob Tholkes, a longtime SABR member active in the Halsey Hall Chapter in Minneapolis, traveled to Texas to avoid the harsh winter in the north. He shared his research about the New York Knickerbockers rules of baseball from the 1840s. His presentation can be viewed by clicking here.
Award-winning radio broadcaster Mike Capps of the Round Rock Express gave his assessment of players in the Texas Rangers' farm system to watch out for in the coming year.
Bob Dorrill of the Dierker Chapter invited Hornsby Chapter members to participate and volunteer at the 2014 SABR national convention to be held in Houston. An exact date for the convention won’t be set until Major League Baseball announces the 2014 baseball schedule (expected later this year).
This was the Seventh Annual Winter Meeting held at Texas State University-San Marcos, and the sixth consecutive meeting held in Old Main, the oldest building on campus. Dr. Judy Oskam, director of the School of Journalism & Mass Communication, which is housed in Old Main, welcomed the group and shared her softball experience as a pitcher in elementary school.
Much thanks to Monte Cely, Jan Larson and Steve Fall for their hard work in preparing for the winter meeting and ensuring a smooth day on Saturday. Special thanks to “Baseball Jan” Opella for taking photos throughout the meeting, three of which are shared here. To view more photos from Baseball Jan, click here.
Special thanks also go out to those who were able to join us in San Marcos this year. If you missed us, we missed you! It’s never too early to start planning for next year’s winter meeting!
A small but enthusastic group of chapter members gathered at Iron Works BBQ on Thursday, December 20 for some baseball talk, barbeque and holiday treats.
A wide-ranging assortment of baseball-related topics were covered including current topics such as the offseason acquistions by the Toronto Blue Jays, the signing of Josh Hamilton by the Angels, the trade of R. A. Dickey by the Mets and the signing of Carlos Pena by the Astros as well as topics from the past such as the Pythagorean W-L record of the '62 Mets and the one game career of Houston Colt .45 player John Paciorek.
Monte Cely provided copies of the itinerary for the upcoming chapter Winter Meeting. Gilbert Martinez updated the group on potential construction disruptions that may affect the Winter Meeting venue on the Texas State University campus.
A potential group outing to the Rangers - Padres exhibition game in the Alamo Dome in San Antonio scheduled for March 30, 2013 was also discussed. More information will be forthcoming as the date approaches.
The monthly meeting for January will be the annual Winter Meeting. We encourage all chapter members to attend.
Thanks to Monte Cely (more specfically his wife, Linda) for supplying the assortment of desserts for the December meeting.
Eight members enjoyed barbeque in downtown Austin while discussing the announcement of various baseball awards.
Jan Larson pitched a fun quiz focusing on prominent players and plays throughout baseball history, holding the group to high expectations. Tom Thayer took first prize, a Tim Kurkjian book, while Jim Baker placed second and took home a Dusty Baker toothpick-holder bobble-head. Click here to try your hand at the quiz, or go to the Contests tab above.
Discussions also included initial reaction to the latest franchise fire sale of the Miami Marlins franchise, the Silver Slugger Awards, the prospect of an Ozzie Guillen-Bobby Valentine talk show, the National League and American League Managers of the Year, and Brian Kenny's Clubhouse Confidential show on MLB Network.
This was the 72nd consecutive month that the chapter has met. In December, we seek to tie Barry Bonds' single-season home run record of 73.
The next meeting will be at 6 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 20, at Iron Works BBQ in downtown Austin.
Nine members and guests watched the San Francisco Giants continue their good baseball play, taking a three-games-to-none lead on the Detroit Tigers.
Jim Baker hosted the watch party, supplying a delicious barbeque assortment of ribs, brisket, turkey and sausage, along with yummy sides such as potato salad and baked beans. Special thanks to Jim for hosting for the second consecutive year.
Most of us were impressed with Giants catcher Buster Posey's inexplicable catch of a fast ball that appeared to have gotten by him. Even home plate umpire Fieldin Culbreth, who was wearing a microphone during the game, thought the ball had gotten past Posey.
Pictured above are (seated, from left): Jan Larson, Michael Bass and Raeanne Martinez; (standing, from left): Ira Siegel, Tom Thayer, Jim Baker and Gilbert Martinez (Photo by Connie Larson).
Below is the graphic Jim Baker modified for the watch party announcement.
Eleven members of the SABR Rogers Hornsby Chapter met at Iron Works in Austin for dinner on the evening of Thursday, September 20. We enjoyed great weather on the patio and far-ranging discussion of current baseball events.
Hot topics included the continued success of the Orioles, potential roster strategies for the one game wild card play-in game, playoff match-ups, the status of the Astros' managerial search, Ichiro's current adventures with the Yankees, and much more.
Jim Baker presented the quiz, "The 50 Years of Metiness", covering highlights over the fifty years of New York Mets' history. Jan Larson won the quiz with an outstanding 24 out of a possible 30 points. The quiz is here.
Our next chapter meeting will be our annual Playoffs Watch Party, to be held Saturday October 27 (which should be Game Three of the World Series). Jim Baker will host at his house. More information will be forthcoming.
Also, remember to mark your calendars for Saturday January 12, 2013 for our chapter's seventh annual Winter Meeting, to be held again at Texas State University in San Marcos.