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Portland SABR meeting at the Hillsdale Library
Written by Mark Brunke   

The Pacific Northwest Chapter of SABR held a chapter meeting on Saturday, February 16 at the Hillsdale Library in Portland, Oregon. The meeting was attended by 24 members and guests. The attendees were evenly split between those from Portland area and Willamette Valley, and those members who drove down from Puget Sound. The meeting was run by new chapter Vice President Mark Armour, and featured three member presentations as well as special guests. The guests were former major leaguer Pete Ward as well as representatives from the new short season A-ball team, the Hillsboro Hops,  President Mike McMurray and General Manager K. L. Wombacher.

The first presentation was from Dan Schlewitz, and it sought to demonstrate a method for an objective presentation of ranking pennant races. Dan's method looked at the pennant races from 1903-1993, prior to the inclusion of wild cards. Dan looked at all the pennant races, and alloted a certain number of points to teams based on their ordinal placement in the standings beginning with games following the Memorial Day weekend from each year. Dan then provided a countdown of the pennant races that accumulated the most points.

The next presentation was from Neal Traven. Neal's was titled "All for one, one for all". Neal looked at the extremes of players who had only played one position for their entire career, and players who had played all nine positions in their career. He started with the four players who have played all nine positions in a single game, pointing out peculiarities in each of those games. Neal then looked at the 45 players who have played all nine positions in their career, and broke that down by time periods. Finally, he looked at the different players who have played the most games at a single position without ever playing any other defensive position, as well as showing the top players in that category at each position for both career and active.

Following a break, we welcomed Mike McMurray and K. L. Wombacher from the Hillsboro Hops, the new Class A Short Season club in the Portland area. The Hops play in the Northwest League, and had been in Yakima, Washington since 1990. Prior to that they were in Salem, Oregon. The Hops have been affiliated with Arizona since 2001. Mike and K. L. presented a few slides of the new stadium under constructions in Hillsboro. They expect it to be one of the best minor league parks in the Northwest. In addition, they provided some insight into life in the minor leagues, and many of the players they have sent further up the Diamondbacks system. Mike has been involved in the minors for 20 years, and K. L. has been with the Hops for 12 years, and is in his 9th as a GM.

The Hops were followed by our special guest Pete Ward. Pete played for 9 years in the majors, mostly with the Chicago White Sox, but he saw 8 games in his first year with Baltimore, and ended his career playing in 66 games for the 1970 Yankees. In between, he had his best years with the White Sox. Pete finished 2nd in Rookie of the Year voting in 1963 and 6th in MVP voting in 1964. He shared many stories of life in the minors and majors. Pete had played high school and college ball in Portland before signing with Baltimore and working his way up their minor league system. Pete also looked quite fit, wearing the same uniform he wore in 1970 with the Yankees.

Finally, Mike Rice covered the Mariners with an annual preseason roundtable. He looked at the 40 man roster, possibly expected starting lineups, and reviewed trades from the last couple of years and how those have impacted the current roster. He concluded by giving a review of the changes for the not only the teams in the AL West, but the changes to the division itself the possible impact of that (Houston). Finally, there was a discussion of what will success be for the Mariner's this year.

The next meeting of the chapter will be in Seattle on Saturday, May 25, 2013. The meeting will be held in the meeting room of the library at SPU. Further details will be posted on our events page. It will be an open meeting, so the members are encouraged to attend as well as the public.


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Chapter Officers

Bob Russon 
Portland, President

Tip Wonhoff
Tacoma, Vice President

Mark Brunke
Seattle, Secretary

Tim Herlich
Seattle, Treasurer