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Black Baseball Panel Highlights Spring Chapter Meeting
Frank White, author of They Played for the Love of the Game: Untold Stories of Black Baseball in Minnesota, headed a panel on black baseball in the state with Judy Yaeger Jones (friend of Toni Stone), Alex Rowell (playing career in the Twins farm system and currently serving on the executive committee on the Twins Community Fund), Phil Brooks (grandson of Will Brooks), and Carl Rogan (grandson of Hall of Famer Bullet Rogan).
Stew Thornley talked about official scoring in baseball and how it applies to the tenets of laws.
Jacob Carl spoke on gamesmanship in baseball, showing examples that included Adam Lind farting to distract the catcher and put gamesmanship into three categories: physical altering the field and equipment (such as spitballs), rule loopholes and lawyer ball (pine-tar incident), and the absurd (Eddie Gaedel).
Rich Arpi presented on the transitional period after St. Paul and Minneapolis had been dropped from the Western/American League in 1899-1900 and the cities having teams as charter members in the American Association in 1902.
During the business meeting, Bob Komoroski, Frank Kadwell, Hans Van Slooten, and Tom Flynn were elected to two-year terms on the board of directors
A silent auction, organized by Brenda Himrich, raised more than $100. Brenda, who is co-chair of the Research Committee, said that the committee would solicit poster presentations for the fall chapter meeting.
Special Research Committee Meeting May 22 Features Dan Levitt
Other Upcoming Events
Bloody Mary Bunnys Breakfast
Friday, June 24: Townball game with the Cannon Falls Bears at the Dundas Dukes. The game is at 7:30 p.m. Meet at the game or starting at 5:00 at L & M Bar & Grill, 224 Railway Street, Dundas 55019, 507-645-8987.
Saturday, July 15: Northwoods League game with the Waterloo Bucks at the Mankato MoonDogs at Franklin Rogers Park. The game is at 6:05 p.m., and Howard Luloff has arranged activities with the MoonDogs, including presentations by the broadcaster and team officials starting at 1:00.
Saturday, July 29: Northwoods League game with the Mankato MoonDogs at the ThunderBay Border Cats. The game is at 6:05 p.m. (and Thunder Bay is on Eastern Time). This event is confirmed and will not be canceled for lack of interest because there is interest. Contact Stew Thornley, 651-415-0791 if you are interested. We will try to organize carpools (and members are encouraged to contact others and set up their own, if possible) and leave the Twin Cities early that morning. This will leave time for lunch in Duluth or along the North Shore and some sightseeing in Thunder Bay. (You have to see the Sleeping Giant.) The plan would be to stay overnight at the Super 8 (807-344-2612call to arrange your own reservation) in Thunder Bay and return on Sunday. You will need a passport.
Keep up to date with chapter activities on social media:
Terry Bohn completed his second book, Sunday Afternoons on the Prairie: The Growth of Baseball in North Dakota, which was published April 6, the 5-year anniversary of Terry being a cancer survivor. Sunday Afternoons on the Prairie and Terrys first book, Lots More Fun That Way: Amateur Baseball in North Dakota, are both available on Amazon.
Anthony Bush has completed the Proctor Rails Record Book, which covers 70 years of Proctor High School Baseball.
Kyle Traynor, Brenda Himrich, and Sarah Johnson are doing the BOSS (Balls Outs Strikes Spotter) for Twins games at Target Field. They input balls, strikes, outs, runs, hits, and errors in addition to placing runners. The information is shown in the box on the television screen for Fox Sports North telecasts.
Howard Luloff is doing the public-address announcing for St. Louis Park High School baseball.
Mike Haupert was published in the Spring 2017 SABR Baseball Research Journal with an article on Marvin Miller.
Emma Charlesworth-Seiler attended the Minor League Baseball Umpire Training Academy and just returned from umpiring high-school and college games at Dodgertown in Vero Beach, Florida.
Twins Cities native Jeff Nelson, a former guest at a chapter meeting, had a hat-tipping performance as he ended a delay in Milwaukee: Game Delayed by Rubber
Gene Gomes printed a box score of the first game he attendedPirates vs. Dodgers, July 23, 1963and had one of the players in the game, Ken McMullen, sign it. He recommends this for others.
First memories as a child are pretty ephemeral, mine are quite vivid.
They date back to 1948, three years old, on the front porch of our Willowick, Ohio, homeplaying with toy trucks as my mom sat on the steps with me and listened to the radio account of the 1948 World Series. My mothers absolute heroes, Lou Boudreaus team was her boys of summer team. The game announcers were Jimmy Dudley and Jack Graneyvoices of summertime along Lake Erie's shore.
Baseball grew even more important from that point.
My family was a baseball family. They all truly loved the game. My Grandpa Don played in the low minors, managed local kid teams, and, after his family, adored the Cleveland Indians. He attended every world series game held in Cleveland1920, 1948, and 1954. Sat outside a jammed St. Johns Cathedral and followed Ray Chapmans funeral cortege to the cemetery. He rated his greatest thrill as meeting Ty Cobb as a child, giving him a basket of peaches, receiving praise and getting a head rub from the great man. You never heard a bad word about Cobb in my granddads presence.
My mom, Jean Marie Doman, really established the importance for the game to me. She took me to my first game at Clevelands Municipal Stadium . . . a ladies day doubleheader 1953. Vic Raschi and Eddie Lopat vs. Bob Lemon and Early Wynn. Memories fail me on these games, only that they were probably low-scoring pitchers battles. In l956 she kept me home from school one October afternoon so I could watch an important hero of mine, Sal Maglie, pitch for the Brooklyn Dodgers. Can you imagine my excitement as tables turned and I watched Don Larsen mow those Dodgers down inning after inning. I couldnt even tell my mom what was happening in the TV room for fear of jinxing Larsen. I also remember my mom collapsed over the morning paper, tears flowing as she read of Herb Score being hit in the eye by a Gil McDougald line drive. What a mom.
Everyday meant baseball in my neighborhood. The kids did gather. From snow gone until the snow returnedthere were always daily baseball games. A small chunk of plywood for home plate, bases were old boat cushions, baseballs wrapped in electrician tapes, nails pounded in cherished Louisville Sluggers. A toss of a bat determined rosters, the call of chicken claws frequently meant first choice for a deserving captain. Fist fights over contested plays were not uncommonan afternoon break for a swim in Lake Erie and another game, of shorter duration, after supper. Little League games were of lesser import than that daily game with my neighborhood buddies. The card game of APBA Baseball was played on rainy days and winter afternoon and evenings.
Organized kid baseball was initially quite successful, but the lack of hand/eye coordination did me in. My glory season came in 1959, for the Willoughby (OH) Jaycees, Class E champions of Lake County. I was a catcher and forever battery mate to my best pal, John Coxwere still closehe in the state of Virginia me here in St. Paul. I did play in high school and American Legion ball, but spent most of the time on the bench . . . couldnt get around on a fastball and considered to be a Chinese catcher by my HS coach. A Chinese catcher goes by the name of WUN LONG HOP. A time before political correctness.
College came and went. Lots of adventures, partying, causes to defend, rallies and marches to attend. A whole world to save. Baseball kinda got shunted over to one side. Eventually I found myself jobless, then back at home living with my folks.
Found a job in Cleveland and stumbled into photography while working as a factory technician. Ended up loving photography way more than being a technician. Through the gracious help of mentors who saw something in my crude photographic efforts, I eventually ended up as a shooter at The News-Herald in Willoughby, Ohio. A job that paid less money but included a field photo pass to Indians home games.
I was on the field at the old Cleveland Municipal Stadium whenever possible. The newspaper got lots of free coverage out of the Tribe from me. They had Associated Press wirephoto coveragethey didnt need my shots, but they got them anywayson my own time, of course. Learned the trade in a mostly empty stadium with a team that was very lackluster. The mid-1970s Cleveland Indians were not overly talented.
However, on opening day 1975, something important and momentous in major league baseball did occur; Frank Robinson's debut as the first African-American manager in the history of major league baseball. I was there on the field that thrilling day. To add to the thrill, I found out years later that Im in the background of the footage Ken Burns used to illustrate the Robinson story in his wonderful BASEBALL historical opus. I have a screen grab of that footage that is among my most cherished of souvenirs.
I moved on to take a job in Florida, the Miami Herald. This was during a period of time of no major league baseball in a town of many avid baseball fans. Spring training baseball did occur, the Orioles in Miami and the Yankees in Fort Lauderdale. The paper wasn't much interested. I did walk into the locker room at Ft. Laud and almost ran right into Mickey Mantle, Whitey Ford, Yogi Berra, and Roger Maris in uniformliving legends of my youthretired and enjoying their old friendship. I considered myself a pretty tough daily metro big time news photographer. I could only gape and mumble and twitch a bit in the presence of such greatness.
I did photograph George Steinbrenner frequently. He was always big news. This was not one of my favorite assignments. I recall one day coming around a corner by the Yankee dugout at Fort Lauderdale and happening upon Steinbrenner and Reggie Jackson just screaming at one another, I was expecting fisticuffshere again, I could only gapedidnt have the balls to photograph that one. No punches were thrown.
I eventually changed my scenery and move north to St. Paul as a photographer for the Pioneer Press. Kind of fooled everyone on this move. The offer was good, in towns that had more and different sports than 1981 Miami. A new domed multi-use stadium was opening in the spring.
The all-time initial opening day at the Metrodome got me one of my favorite photographs of all time. The youthful Gary Gaetti tried to stretch a triple into an in-the-park home run and was thrown out at home plate. His reaction was a glorious shot of a disappointed baserunner on his knees, looking up to heaven as the home plate ump calls him out. I just love that photo.
Baseball coverage went on night after night in Minneapolis for the next five years or so. Seasons were good, sometimes not so good. Frequently my photos were good, and some games not so good. Baseball is not an easy game to photograph. The Twins had a nucleus of good young players that might go somewhere. My baseball highlights during this period of time pre-l987 were spring training trips to Orlando, recording the hi-jinx of Mickey Hatcher and photographing the development of some splendid young ballplayers. One of the huge ability guys, Kirby Puckett would always warn me that he would cut off my ponytail' whenever he saw me. One time I handed him a pair of scissors. He said no, I wont do it. . . .thats your trademark man. What a shamethat wouldve been a good story to tellHow Kirby Puckett Cut Off My Ponytail. Damn.
In 1985 I went with our wonderful Twins writer Curt Brown to tell the story of Kirby Pucketts south side Chicago, and the mean streets and public housing areas where Puckett learned his craft. 1985 was also the year of the All Star game at the Metrodome and my photo of the Yankees Dave Winfield being decked, or almost decked by Montreals Jeff Reardon. The ball was heading towards his head.
No doubt about it, 1987 was the highlight of my career. I was covering almost every home game all season long. The fun and excitement grew in the Twin Cities. I was sent to Texas as the team clinched the division. Champagne flowed. Detroit and the American League championship series. Champagne flowed. The thrill of covering the World Series in both St. Louis and at home was a gigantic, indescribable thrill. Champagne flowed. After Gussie Busch's W.S. party St. LouisI sang arm-in-arm with Stan Musial...for some reason we sang Its a Small World. It was Musials idea and I bought into it. What a nice man, what an amazing memory. Of course there were lots of wonderful baseball photos made. My season culminated in Washington, D.C., with the team and President Reagan in the Rose Garden. It never got better.
Things became more normal in the next few years. They werent 1987, but I still had a large diet of Twins baseball on a nightly basis. Went to the l99l spring training with the Twins, their first training camp in a new facility in a beautiful part of Florida. They did it again. World Series boundalmost from the beginning. I did the coverage but it wasn't quite as exciting as 87. Travelled to Toronto for the ALCS, but found myself editing the games from deep within the bowels of the stadium. Not my idea of how I wanted to do baseball, got in a few arguments with management and others. Asked to be pulled from coverage and they accommodated me. In retrospect, a dumbass move on my part.
The years following 1991 had a number of proud highlights. I followed Molitor and Winfield around the American League as they quested after their 3,000th hits. Photographed Winfield setting that mark in Minneapolis and Molitors triple for 3,000 in Kansas City. Got a really nice photo of Kirby doffing his batting helmet to hometown fans after his 2,000th hit; he got it early in his career, but was forced to retire before 3,000. So sad. I also had the opportunity to be at the Hall of Fame inductions of all three of these greats in Cooperstown. That is so thrilling for a baseball history junkie like me. I was also there for the truly heart-rending Hall of Fame induction speech of one of my personal favorite players, Pittsburghs Bill Mazeroskithe lovely, meaningful speech from a man who never dreamed of being enshrined in Cooperstown.
I continued to do a lot of coverage into the early 2000s. But moved out of that every night and weekend schedule early in the new years of the century. Took on a daylight schedule with weekends off. I guess thats what you're supposed to do. I was still called on to shoot the Twins on the road and for important series throughout the more recent years. I spent time on the road with the Twins in Chicago, Anaheim, Oaklandas they vied for divisional and league title.
In the year 2000 I went to Cuba and covered the University of St. Thomas baseball team as they became the first U.S. baseball team to compete in Cuba in the last forty years. Boy was that cool.
I retired from the paper three years ago and am now back to being a devoted fan of the game. I spend lots of time reading baseball history, any and all I can find. Needless to say, Im especially interested in all eras of Cleveland baseball history. My main interest is in fifties baseball, specifically 1947 to 1962, from big league integration until the 162-game schedule is in place.
Born in 1945, John shares his July 19 birthday with fellow chapter members Ray Kush and Bob Tholkes as well as Phil Cavaretta, Bob Meusel, Mark Koenig, Marius Russo, Yan Gomes, William VanLandingham, Bob Burda, Lee Elia, Phil Coke, Norm Sherry, David Segui, Lon Simmons, Ilie Nastase, Mary Ann Bickerdyke, Charles Mayo, and Lizzie Borden.
Also new to the Halsey Hall Chapter: Mark Hinton
Know a potential member? Here are resources for getting that person happily involved in SABR:
May 22Research Committee meeting, 7:00 p.m, Ramsey County Library, Hamline Avenue and County Road B. Speaker: Dan Levitt on John McGraw Battles the National Leagues Umpires and Executives. For more information, contact Brenda Himrich, 651-415-0791,or Sarah Johnson.
June 3Bunnys Bloody Mary Breakfast, 9:00 a.m. Bunnys Northeast, northwest quadrant of Broadway and Marshall in northeast Minneapolis.
June 10Book Club and Vintage Game Video Club, Barnes & Noble, Har Mar Mall, Roseville, 9:30 a.m., The Catcher Was a Spy: The Mysterious Life of Moe Berg by Nicholas Dawidoff and the 1981 All-Star Game.
June 23Townball: Cannon Falls Bears at Dundas Dukes, 7:30 p.m., Memorial Park. For more information, contact Stew Thornley, 651-415-0791.
July 15Northwoods League: Waterloo Bucks at Mankato MoonDogs, 6:05 p.m. (pre-game events starting at 1:00 p.m.), Franklin Rogers Park. For more information, contact Stew Thornley, 651-415-0791.
July 29Northwoods League: Mankato MoonDogs at Thunder Bay BorderCats, 6:05 p.m., Port Arthur Stadium. For more information, contact Stew Thornley, 651-415-0791.
Board of Directors 2016-2017
Vice PresidentTom Flynn
Board of Directors 2017-2018