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February Chapter Meeting Recap
Written by Monte Cely   
Thursday, 26 February 2015 22:13

Ten members of the Rogers Hornsby Chapter met Thursday evening, February 26, 2015 at IronWorks BBQ in downtown Austin.  This was the chapter's 99th consecutive monthly meeting!

Topics of discussion included the opening of Spring Training and the prospects for the attendees' favorite teams.

Jim Kenton gave a report on the status of the Alzheimer's Memory project.  This is an effort to use baseball memories and experiences to help enhance the well-being of early-stage Alzheimer's patients.  Jim reported that the local Austin-area chapter of the Alzheimer's Association was highly supportive of this effort, and they are in the process of recruiting participants for a "trial season".  It's envisioned that about ten participants, plus their care-givers, will engage with SABR members in a bi-weekly session to talk baseball.  More details will be forthcoming. 

Monte Cely and Mike Dillon shared their experiences at Serie del Caribe 2015, the Caribbean World Series, held in San Juan, Puerto Rico.  This was followed by a quiz about Latin American baseball, with a Puerto Rican flavor.  Dan Walsh won the quiz, with an excellent score of 18 of 25.  The quiz is here.  A picture of Dan, wearing his prize (a Puerto Rican bandana), is here:

    

Plans are being made for our 100th consecutive monthly meeting next month - March, 2015.  More details will follow.

Last Updated on Thursday, 26 February 2015 22:21
 
Hornsby Chapter joins SABR Day celebration
Written by Gilbert Martinez   
Sunday, 25 January 2015 19:50

 A dozen chapter members and guests celebrated SABR Day on Saturday, Jan. 24, along with nearly three dozen chapters across North America.

Cy Morong, who traveled from San Antonio to join us, brought a copy of "Computerized Baseball Guide," a paperback book filled with baseball statistics and rankings published in 1974. Published by Stadia Sports Publishing, Inc., the book authors are listed as the Compu-Scout System, though no names are given. Morong found that the book had some system for the computerized rankings, but did not fully explain how calculations were made.

The group shared a toast in memory of Mr. Cub, Ernie Banks, who passed away the day before. Speaking of Banks, Morong shared research he did that showed that Banks led the National League in RBIs and fielding WAR (for all players, not just shortstops) in 1959. Morong said that a cursory check showed that the two others who have led in those categories were Honus Wagner and Johnny Bench.

SABR shared the Hornsby Chapter group photo above on their Facebook page and Twitter account, which were liked, commented upon and shared even more.

Check out SABR Day on social media by clicking on this link and you'll see the above photo, which I shared on my social media networks/ You'll also see photos from many other SABR Day celebrations, including our friends with the Larry Dierker Chapter, which had a table at the Astros FanFest.

 

Last Updated on Monday, 09 February 2015 21:41
 
Moon, Footer share baseball playoff memories at winter meeting
Written by Gilbert Martinez   
Friday, 23 January 2015 19:03

 

The 1954 National League Rookie of the Year and three-time World Series Champion Wally Moon (pictured above) and MLB.com national correspondent Alyson Footer spoke at the Ninth Annual Winter Meeting of the Rogers Hornsby Chapter of SABR on Saturday, Jan. 17, 2015.

 

Thirty-five members and guests gathered at Texas State University’s historic Old Main building in San Marcos to talk baseball, reminisce about the 2014 season, gripe (and, for some of us, celebrate) the Hall of Fame vote and share baseball memorabilia.

 

A World Series Champion with the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1959, 1963 and 1965, Moon said he was impressed with Madison Bumgarner’s pitching performance with the San Francisco Giants in the 2014 World Series, but he said Sandy Koufax’s three pitching appearances in the 1965 World Series were better. Koufax’s performance included a complete-game shutout of the Minnesota Twins in Game 5, and, on two days rest, another complete-game shutout to clinch Game 7 and the Series.

 

Moon also shared that as a young boy, he used to listen to baseball games on the radio with his grandfather. He remembered that his grandfather used to turn down the volume between innings. When Moon asked why, his grandfather told him, “I don’t want to hear no god-damn beer commercials!”

 

Moon also recalled vividly his first major league at-bat. In fact, he didn’t get a warm reception at Busch Stadium, mostly because he was replacing the future Hall of Famer Enos Slaughter, who was a favorite player of Moon’s growing up. He said he heard the crowd booing and chanting, “We want Enos!” as he went to bat. After taking the first two pitches, he hit a homerun. By the time he rounded second base, he said, the boos had turned to cheers.

 

Moon also took the opportunity to express how much the fans meant to him. He said he has some fans who have kept in touch with him for 50 and 60 years, ever since he played minor league ball in Omaha, Nebraska. He said he still gets letters and holiday cards from some every year, and that one of his longtime fans even named her parakeet Wally Moon.

 

Moon also sold and signed copies of his book, “Moon Shots.”

 

After Moon’s recollection of the 1965 World Series, the group heard about another memorable postseason 40 years later from Alyson Footer (pictured below), a national correspondent for MLB.com and former social media manager for the Houston Astros and former beat reporter covering the Astros for eight seasons, including their playoff runs in 2004 and 2005.

 

 

Footer remembered clearly how close the Astros were to reaching the World Series in Game 5 of the National League Championship Series in 2005. Because MLB.com requires game stories to be posted within five minutes of the last out, she had written much of the story about the Astros, who were leading in the ninth inning. But when the Cardinals’ Albert Pujols crushed Brad Lidge’s slider, not only did it silence the deafening crowd in the stadium, but Footer said she had to delete her story and start from scratch. “Not one word was relevant at all,” she said.

 

She also recalled that – after the Astros went on to win Game 6 at the very last game at Busch Stadium II and punch their ticket to the franchise’s first Fall Classic – she worked late into the night and early morning. Once her work was done, she poured herself a Budweiser beer in the sportswriters lounge at 3 a.m. – perhaps the last beer drunk at that ballpark, she said.

 

Footer also talked about the changes in sportswriting. She said she’s doing more video now and writing shorter stories because videos get four times the clicks online than articles.

 

In addition to Moon and Footer, attendees were treated to “Crop Shop,” a warm-up presentation by Hornsby member Jim Baker (pictured below). He shared zoomed-in portions of famous baseball photographs and images to see if the group could recognize them. Though the group caught on quickly and recognized most of the images, Baker stumped everyone on a few images.

 

 

 

Hornsby Chapter founder Bill Gilbert gave a 2015 Houston Astros Preview and predicted a break-even season for them. He summarized the additions to and subtractions from the big league club and discussed promising prospects that may make it to the big leagues later this year or in the next few years.

 

New Hornsby member Jim Kenton (pictured below) talked about a successful program in St. Louis called the Baseball Reminiscence League in which volunteers spend time helping Alzheimer’s patients by discussing baseball players and games from earlier in their lives. Kenton is working with local groups who help Alzheimer’s patients in Austin in hopes of creating something similar here and recruiting volunteers.

 

 

 

Dan Walsh (pictured below), a 30-year SABR member and active Hornsby chapter member, shared some research he did on Starting Pitchers Game Score and described some of the greatest pitching performances in MLB history. A Bill James metric, game score determines the strength of a pitcher’s performance in a particular game.

 

 

 

Also, members brought sports memorabilia and participated in a baseball book exchange. Hornsby Chapter member Jeremy Schmidt (pictured below on right) shared a collection of Craig Biggio baseball cards and a signed ball, and donated a mint Biggio rookie card as a door prize, which was won by Ira Siegel (pictured below).

 

 

 

The Winter Meeting also featured something new. Jan Larson (pictured below), on the Hornsby Chapter leadership team, led the audience through a discussion about next year’s Hall of Fame vote, and then allowed everyone to place their own ballot. For better or worse, our group’s voting results matched the Baseball Writers Association of America pretty closely on players who have been on a the ballot for at least a year. Judging by our results, only Ken Griffey, Jr. (93 percent of the vote), will be elected to next year’s HOF class. Three who were close included Mike Piazza (73 percent), Jeff Bagwell (67 percent) and Tim Raines (60 percent). Other notables in our voting were Barry Bonds (57 percent), Edgar Martinez (53 percent) and Roger Clemens (50 percent).

 

 

 

Click on this link to see the presentation slides by Baker, Gilbert, Kenton and Walsh. You can also see the results of the Hornsby Chapter’s Hall of Fame vote for 2016 by clicking this link.

 

Much thanks to Wally Moon, Alyson Footer and all of our presenters and visitors. We’re glad that the weather cooperated fully on Jan. 17, especially after we had to reschedule from the previous Saturday after icy conditions in Central Texas.

 

It was another great day of baseball talk at Old Main. A big thank you to our speakers, and also to Monte Cely, a member of the Hornsby Chapter leadership team who worked tirelessly to organize much of the winter meeting. We also thank Raeanne Martinez for her assistance in organizing the lunch orders.

 

Also, many thanks to Hornsby Chapter member Ryan Pollack who volunteered his time to take photos during the Winter Meeting. All photos on this page are used by permission and owned by Pollack. Here’s his website: www.ryanpollack.com

 

More photos from the Winter Meeting are below. See you next year!

 

 

 

Last Updated on Sunday, 25 January 2015 19:29
 
December Meeting Recap
Written by Jan Larson   
Tuesday, 16 December 2014 22:51

Eight members of the Rogers Hornsby Chapter, including San Antonio member Cy Morong who made the trip north, gathered at Iron Works BBQ in downtown Austin on the evening of December 16 to discuss baseball in general and the active 2014 off-season in particular.  The group was also treated to holiday cookies provided by Monte Cely.

Discussion topics included the recent signings and deals by the Red Sox, White Sox and Dodgers among others, the possible role for A-Rod with the Yankees and the upcoming Hornsby Chapter Winter Meeting.  As sometimes happens at these types of gatherings, the conversation took an unexpected turn which resulted in substantive discussion of the career of Ted Williams.

Dan Walsh, one of the chapter's most prolific authors of triva quizzes, presented a quiz on the 2014 season.  Jan Larson was the winner and took home a major award.

The next time chapter members gather will be at much anticipated Ninth Annual Winter Meeting on Saturday, January 10 at Texas State University in San Marcos, TX.

 

Last Updated on Monday, 19 January 2015 21:10
 
November Chapter Meeting Recap
Written by Monte Cely   
Tuesday, 18 November 2014 22:03

Nine chapter members met Thursday, November 18 at Iron Works BBQ in downtown Austin.  Off-season discussion topics were wide ranging, including current trade and free-agent market activity, the recently completed playoffs and World Series, the Cy Young voting, and the Astros' new TV contract to appear locally on AT&T u-Verse via ROOT Sports.

Mike Dillon posed a quiz topic that we worked on as a group -- With Albert Pujols recently joining the 500-home run club, could we name all the previous 500 home run hitters?  There are now 26 players who have hit at least 500 career home runs.  See how many you can name.

Monte Cely covered the status of the 2015 Hornsby Chapter Winter Meeting agenda.  Wally Moon, 1954 NL Rookie of the Year, and Alyson Footer, MLB network national correspondent, will be our two headliners.  The upcoming Winter Meeting will be held Saturday, January 10, 2015 at Texas State University.  More details will be forthcoming.

Our next chapter meeting will be Tuesday, December 16 at 6pm back at Iron Works BBQ.  A reminder and call for rsvp's will be emailed to chapter members as that date approaches.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 18 November 2014 22:04
 
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