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The Newsletter of the Halsey Hall Chapter
Society for American Baseball Research (SABR)

June 2013

Stew Thornley

Dan Levitt Wins Larry Ritter Award—Other Book and Research News

Dan Levitt is the recipient of the Larry Ritter Book Award for The Battle That Forged Modern Baseball: The Federal League Challenge and Its Legacy as the best book related to the Deadball Era published in the previous year. Of The Battle That Forged Modern Baseball, the awards committee wrote, “It is a rare book that brings fresh perspectives and insights to conventional wisdom. . . . His account provides a more complex and nuanced story than that previously drawn. He illuminates the Byzantine-like economic, legal, and corporate maneuvers that characterized the Federal League’s challenge to the American and National Leagues, and Organized Baseball’s response to that challenge. In doing so, Levitt clarifies developments that led in 1922 to the U.S. Supreme Court’s exemption of Organized Baseball from federal anti-trust laws. His compelling story not only advances our understanding of baseball’s evolution between 1913 and 1922, but it casts light on how Organized Baseball developed into the closed monopolies so familiar to us today.”

The award will be presented during the Deadball Era Committee’s meeting at the SABR convention in Philadelphia this summer.

Dan also worked with Mark Armour to update earlier work defining the spread of integration in major league baseball since Jackie Robinson debuted in 1947, Baseball Demographics, 1947-2012.

Joe Niese has had his book, Burleigh Grimes: Baseball’s Last Legal Spitballer, published. It is available on the Joe Niese website.

Chapter members Todd Peterson, with May the Best Man Win: The Black Ball Championships 1866-1923, and Michael Mitchell, with Recorded Games of Frustration: Win Expectancy and the Boston Red Sox, had articles published in the Spring 2013 SABR Baseball Research Journal.

Anthony Bush has written another article on Duluth baseball history, The 1904 Duluth White Sox: Champs on the Field, Losers off. This article was also published in a weekly supplement to the Duluth News Tribune.

The Twins Daily blog has had several articles and threads recently related to Halsey Hall Chapter members, including About Avatars, There Is No Cheering in the Press Box: One Fan’s Observation, and Official Scoring Questions Thread.

John Rosengren, author of Hank Greenberg: The Hero of Heroes, was the subject of an interview in the April 2013 Chicago Magazine, “How the White Sox Struck Out the Name ‘Comiskey’”.

By request, past issues of The Devil Advocates and Mule Droppings have been added to the The Holy Cow! archives.

Tom Dunkel at Common Good Books

Tom Dunkel (above) was in St. Paul May 16 to discuss his book, Color Blind: The Forgotten Team That Broke Baseball’s Color Line, at Common Good Books.

Of other interest:
A chapter member is editing an anthology on the Polo Grounds that will include essays. Anyone with memories of the Polo Grounds who would like to submit them for the book may contact Stew Thornley.

Sarah Johnson will chair a committee to explore ways for the chapter to be involved in the 2014 All-Star Game in Minnesota. Anyone interested in getting involved may contact Sarah.

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Road Trips

The A Celebration of Baseball conference in LaCrosse, Wisconsin, June 7-8 has been canceled.

However, another road trip is still on. Some members are planning to go to Duluth for a Northwoods League game between Duluth and Alexandria at Wade Stadium on Saturday night, July 6. The group will gather between 4:00 and 4:30 for a pre-game meal at Gannucci’s Italian Market, 301 N. Central Avenue, Duluth 55807, 218-624-2286. Carpools will be arranged. Those interested in the Duluth trip may contact Stew Thornley at 651-415-0791.

Upcoming events:
The Halsey Hall Chapter Book Club will meet Saturday, June 15 at 9:30 a.m. at Barnes & Noble in Har Mar Mall in Roseville to discuss Francona: The Red Sox Years by Terry Francona and Dan Shaughnessy. A new feature for the meeting will be discussion of complete-game telecasts of baseball games. Members are invited to purchase the telecast for Game 7 of the 1965 World Series, available on iTunes for $1.99, and discuss the game and the telecast. If members are interested in continuing watching vintage games, the group will decide on other games to watch and meet in conjunction with the book club or at a separate time. Gary DeSmith will oversee the video group.

The next Fred Souba Hot Stove Saturday Morning will be July 13 at Bakers Square at 66th and Xerxes in Richfield at 9:00.

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New Members

Josh Ostergaard grew up in Kansas (where his parents still live) and in Chicago (where his sisters still live) for eight years before moving to Minneapolis, “so my teams are the hapless Royals, the lowly Cubs, and the sometimes-pretty-good Twins. . . . although I’m a Royals fan, I have developed a grudging respect for Billy Martin.

“My first memory of major league baseball is listening to the Pine Tar Incident while riding in my parents’ station wagon on the highway between Minnesota and Kansas. I was six years old. I played baseball in the city leagues until I was about 16. I wasn’t very good, but I wasn't usually terrible, either. I still play wiffle ball whenever possible, though my arm lasts about nine pitches. I’ve seen games in a lot of parks (though probably no more than the average SABR member), but one that sticks out is the day Mark McGwire tied Roger Maris with number 61 in St. Louis. That was an electric game. I saw McGwire a few weeks later in Milwaukee, where he broke his own record. Also exciting, but not as wild as number 61. Most of what I know about baseball I learned by listening to Fred White (rest in peace) and Denny Matthews, the two Royals announcers during the ‘80s and early ‘90s, followed by lots of reading. In 2004, I gave a talk on Denny Matthews at the Cooperstown Symposium on Baseball and American Culture at the Hall of Fame.”

Josh has written a book, The Devil's Snake Curve: A Fan’s Notes on Baseball and America, that will be published by Coffee House Press of Minneapolis in 2014.

Josh worked at the Field Museum in Chicago and now works as a grant writer and fundraiser for Graywolf Press, a nonprofit literary publisher.

Josh shares his March 17 birthday with Hank Sauer, Pete Reiser, Clarence Gaston, John Smiley, Danny Ainge, Juan Segura, Chris Davis, Jimmie Hall, Charley Root, Hy Vandenberg, Pierce Butler, Pat Seerey, Robb Quinlan, Clive Rosengren, Homer Plessy, Nat King Cole, Sammy Baugh, Rudolf Nureyev, Shemp Howard, Dana Reeve, Bobby Jones, Rob Lowe, Savannah Lowe, and John Wayne Gacy.

Also new to the Halsey Hall Chapter: David Campbell.

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Target Field Trappings

Big Ten Tournament at Target Field

Above: Target Field was the site of the recent Big Ten baseball tournament, which went all 11 games in the double-elimination format with Indiana beating Nebraska for the championship. For lovers of “inside baseball,” the tournament featured 20 sacrifices. Indiana coach Tracy Smith made Gene Mauch look like Earl Weaver with his passion for “making things happen.” In the top of the 11th of a potential tournament-ending game, Smith had Dustin DeMuth (who came into the game with an on-base percentage of .459 and slugging average of .576), try to sacrifice. Nebraska successfully countered this proven strategy (from 100 years ago) and won it on a home run in the last of the 11th, forcing another game the next day.

In this one, with the game tied in the last of the ninth and with runners on first and second and no out for Indiana, Smith tried it again, this time with Sam Travis (on-base percentage of .405 and slugging average of .519 for the season to go with his four-game tournament record of 9 hits in 16 at bats, 2 doubles, 2 home runs, and 8 runs batted in, which earned him the Most Valuable Player award). Travis squared to bunt and took two pitches for balls, fouled off two pitches trying to bunt, and then drew two more balls to load the bases. Scott Donley drilled a liner to the fence in left-center to bring in the winning run, win the tournament for Indiana, and validate the value of small ball. (That was sarcasm, folks.)

Below: Twins employees Ken Brown, Joe Mauer, and Glen Perkins model 1948 Milwaukee Brewers and St. Paul Saints uniforms, which will be worn in a game between the Brewers and Twins on May 30.

Twins modeling St. Paul Saints uniforms

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    June 15—Book Club and Vintage Game Video Club, Barnes & Noble, Har Mar Mall, Roseville, 9:30 a.m., Francona: The Red Sox Years by Terry Francona and Dan Shaughnessy and Game 7 of the 1965 World Series. For more information, contact Art Mugalian, 612-721-2825, and Gary DeSmith, 320-286-5127.

    July 13—Fred Souba Hot Stove Saturday Morning, Bakers Square, 66th and Xerxes, Richfield, 9:00 a.m. For more information, contact Mark Johnson, 952-831-1153.

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Board of Directors 2012-2013
President—Art Mugalian
Vice President—Howard Luloff
Secretary—Fred Buckland
Treasurer—Jerry Janzen
Gary DeSmith
Brenda Himrich
Dave Jensen

The Holy Cow! Editor—Stew Thornley
Webmaster—John Gregory 
Ass. Webmaster—Stew Thornley

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