We are going to check out a new venue for our February lunch meeting. Join us at Hoover's at 2002 Manor Rd in Austin on Saturday February 20 at 11:00 a.m. We are meeting at 11:00 a.m. for two reasons, (1) the weekend brunch menu is served until 11:30 in case anyone would prefer a breakfast item, and (2) the restaurant is less crowded before noon which increases our chances of getting a large table for our group in a timely manner.
Please RSVP so we can provide an accurate headcount for seating purposes to Jan Larson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Seven chapter members joined SABR members across the nation and around the world to recognize SABR Day on Saturday, Jan. 30.
We talked about the Astros’ recent pickup of Doug Fister, weighing the pros (proven record with the Tigers and Nationals) and the cons (struggled last season when he was demoted to the Nats’ bullpen). Fister has incentive to do well in this one-year contract, but if he doesn’t, the Astros still have other options at starting pitching.
Meanwhile, Jim Baker, Predictatron impresario, shared that he wasn’t surprised when the winter meeting predicted the Astros to win the World Series later this year. He said he figured this would happen because of the many Astros fans in the group. Jan Larson added that the Astros have improved enough as a team that the prediction shouldn’t come as a surprise. Whatever happens, the humble author of this summary hopes we’re right!
Thirty-nine members and guests enjoyed a full day of baseball discussions – including a presentation about Hall of Famer Robin Roberts, reviews and previews of the upcoming season for the Houston Astros and the Texas Rangers and a historical review of baseball players in Central and West Texas – at the 10th Annual Winter Meeting of the Rogers Hornsby Chapter of the Society of American Baseball Research on Saturday, Jan. 9, at Texas State University.
Evan Drellich (pictured below), Astros beat writer for the Houston Chronicle, shared his views in covering the team the last three years, including an inside look at the Astros clubhouse through the highs and lows of the surprise season in 2015.
Mike Capps (pictured below), the voice of the Round Rock Express, gave his assessment of the farm system for the Rangers.
Kathleen Sullivan (pictured below), coordinator of the Honors Academy at Richland College in Dallas and author of “Our White Boy” with Jerry Craft, shared stories from her book about Craft, who was a Jacksboro rancher and the first white man to play baseball in the semi-professional West Texas Colored League during the summers of 1959 and 1960.
Eric Robinson (pictured below), educator and writer living in Denton, discussed his research about black baseball players in Texas, with a focus on the central part of the state, including Waco, Austin and San Marcos.
C. Paul Rogers III (pictured below), former dean of the SMU Law School and author of two books with Robin Roberts, told of interviewing and spending time with his childhood baseball idol. Rogers is also the president of the Ernie Banks-Bobby Bragan DFW Chapter of SABR.
Jim Kenton (pictured below), Hornsby Chapter member, gave an update about the very successful first year of BasebALZ, a partnership with the Central Texas Alzheimer’s Association that uses baseball memories as part of a reminiscence therapy for Alzheimer’s patients. Kenton said that a second season is planned for this year and hopes that other SABR chapters follow our lead in implementing this popular and meaningful form of therapy.
For the second year, Jan Larson organized the Hall of Fame vote by the meeting participants. Last year, the group elected only Ken Griffey Jr. to the Hall, with Mike Piazza coming one vote short of election by our group. With the 2016 Hall vote fresh in our minds, the group on Saturday elected two players to the Class of 2017: Jeff Bagwell (94.3 percent) and Ivan Rodriguez (77.1 percent). Tim Raines just missed election in his last year on our ballot with 74.3 percent. Other notable vote totals include Trevor Hoffman and Edgar Martinez (both with 57.1 percent), Roger Clemens (54.3 percent) and Barry Bonds (51.4 percent). Jan Larson and Raeanne Martinez are shown below compiling the results.
Jim Baker, coordinator of Predictatron, led the group in creating a Hornsby Predict-O-Rama ballot for the 2016 baseball season. In just 25 minutes, Baker assembled predictions in each of the divisions by polling the group via applause and shows-of-hands. As a result, this group ballot predicted the Houston Astros and the Toronto Blue Jays battling in the American League Championship Series and the Chicago Cubs and San Francisco Giants clashing in the National League Championship Series. We predicted the Astros versus the Giants in the World Series, with the Astros winning it all, one year ahead of the predicted Sports Illustrated magazine cover prediction. Are we going to be right? Only time will tell.
We also had two excellent trivia quizzes. Former SABR board member Norman Macht sent a presidential quiz involving names of presidents and baseball players. You can try that quiz by clicking here.
Also, Ryan Pollack, who coordinated this year’s winter meeting, had a sabermetric-centric trivia quiz involving the 2015 season in which each team was the correct answer for one of the 30 questions. Jeremy Schmidt won the quiz with 21 correct answers and took home a Yogi Berra bobblehead. You can try that quiz by clicking here.
Speaking of Jeremy Schmidt, for the second consecutive year, he brought baseball cards as door prizes to raffle off at the end of the meeting. Jim Baker, Mike McNulty and Ira Siegel were the winners of the cards, which were of Tony Gwynn, Cal Ripken Jr. and Ozzie Smith. Many thanks to Jeremy for his generosity.
Also, many thanks to Raeanne Martinez for coordinating with Which Wich to ensure that box lunches were delivered to our meeting in historic Old Main.
Looking forward, our next get-together will be to recognize the 7th Annual SABR Day on Saturday, Jan. 30. More details to come. Many thanks to everyone who participated in this year's winter meeting! Hope to see you next year!
A dozen Hornsby Chapter members gathered at Romano's Macaroni Grill in Austin for lunch, to catch up on the off-season player transactions that have been taking place and to theorize how those transactions may help and hurt the various clubs. The discussion centered on the on-paper improvement of the Chicago Cubs and the recent dealings of the Houston Astros, specifically their trade with the Phillies of former no. 1 draft pick, Mark Appel.
Bill Gilbert provided a quiz on the 2015 season (and more) that was won by Jan Larson with Mike Dillon and Gilbert Martinez sharing the runner-up honors. Try your luck at the quiz here.
Monte Cely treated attendees to an assortment of cookies that had been prepared by his wife, Linda. Many thanks to Monte and Linda.
Our next meeting will be the tenth edition of the popular Hornsby Chapter Winter Meeting scheduled for Saturday, January 9 on the Texas State University campus in San Marcos, TX. All SABR members and guests are welcome. A detailed schedule of events will be posted in the coming weeks.
Twelve chapter members celebrated nine full years of monthly meetings on Saturday, Nov. 14, by returning to the County Line, the scene of the very first chapter meeting in 2003.
The current monthly meeting streak of 108 actually dates to December 2006, but County Line on the Lake also holds the distinction of hosting the meeting in January 2006 when the petition for chapter recognition was signed.
Topics around the table ranged from marveling at the remarkable run the Kansas City Royals had in the post-season to considering the managerial change for the Los Angeles Dodgers and elsewhere. In addition, we talked about the Astros outfielder Colby Rasmus being the first player ever to accept his team’s qualifying offer and what it might mean for the Astros next season. We also talked about whether the strong finish by the Texas Rangers will result in the Manager of the Year for Jeff Banister.
We also have noticed that weekend meetings have generally been a big hit for our members. Avoiding downtown Austin on a week night, as was the norm for several years, is proving beneficial for most of us. You can expect more weekend meetings in the future. We’ll also try to rotate meetings to various locations around the Greater Austin metropolitan area.
Mark your calendar for next month’s meeting – we plan to have it at 12:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 12, at Macaroni Grill in the Arboretum in Northwest Austin.