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

May 2023

Stew Thornley

Index to past stories in The Holy Cow!

  • Spring Chapter Meeting Draws Sitting-Room Crowd; Josh Ruffin of Twins a Hit as Featured Speaker
  • Upcoming Events
  • New Members
  • Season Outlook from SABR Chapters in American League Central Division
  • Who’s Going to SABR 51 in Chicago?
  • History Day Award Recipient Announced
  • Cow Chips
  • Calendar
  • Board of Directors
  • Resources

    Spring Chapter Meeting Draws Sitting-Room Crowd; Josh Ruffin of Twins a Hit as Featured Speaker
    Thirty-five members and guests—Fred Buckland, Roger Godin, David Lande, Bob Tholkes, Daniel Dorff, Rich Arpi, John Swol, David Karpinski, Howard Luloff, Ed Edmonds, Bill Axness, Stew Thornley, Brenda Himrich, John Buckeye, Randy Krzmarzick, Joe O’Connell, Arthur Mugalian, Jeff Lenz, Terry Bohn, Gene Gomes, Hans Van Slooten, Jim Cox, Aaron Sinner, Sam Sundermeyer, Doug Skipper, Bob Komoroski, Sarah Johnson, Glenn Renick, Jerry Janzen, Mike Haupert, Patrick Byrnes, Calvin Pipenhagen, Dave Anderson, and Luke Azoulay-Haran—attended the Spring Chapter Meeting, which was captured into posterior by ace correspondent John Buckeye:

        Sam Sundermeyer was back to give a presentation on the saga of Curt Flood and black players just after integration which eventually led to the fight for free agency in baseball.
        Flood was brought up in Oakland, a baseball talent hotbed in that era, and he quickly made a name for himself in the sport. Eventually he was drafted by the Reds, who also drafted Frank Robinson from this same talent pool. Many teams, unfortunately, felt that there was a quota on black players. And as the Reds already had a couple other black outfielders coming up in their system, Flood was left on the outside. He was traded to St. Louis after several years in the minors and Flood decided he was not going to let the same thing happen to him again.
        Flood had to deal with abuse in many of his minor league stops, but when he made the majors he had a really good rookie year. Then it went downhill for three years, arguably affected by a manager. He supposedly made a misplay in centerfield in the ֹ68 World Series, which caused him to lose some favor with the Cards.
        Players of Flood’s era had already started to have some hard feelings about the reserve clause, not liking that it tied them to one team against their will. And Philadelphia at the time was seen as a bad place for black players to go. So when Flood was traded there, he refused to go and began thinking about challenging the system that made hardships like this and others possible.
        The second presentation was by Mike Haupert, examining The Inglorious Exit of Cap Anson. The man who for a long time was seen as “The Greatest Man in the History of Baseball” hailed from Iowa, where he played with his dad, Henry. Henry was reluctant to have his son play ball as a profession, but Cap had other ideas. He played for Rockford, then went to Philadelphia in the National League, before he was signed by the Chicago White Stockings. His wife did not want him to move teams, but owner Albert Spalding would not let him out of his contract.
        Their partnership was successful enough early on that Spalding and Anson took some professionals on a tour of England, then a world tour, which was memorable for both of them. Anson then signed a ten year deal with the White Stockings. He ingratiated himself with the owners of that league when he took their side in the whole Players’ League rebellion and migration a few years later. Not so much with the players though. By this time he was manager of the team and had an ownership stake in the team.
        Anson wanted to get into the ownership side of the business, but when Spalding retired he would not make Anson president of the club, nor give him a controlling stake. What’s more, the new president—who’d taken over the ownership and new structure of the team—had re-written Anson’s contract for one fewer year without telling him. Anson also had been offered a chance to buy a controlling stake in the team, but couldn’t get enough finances together to do it.
        All this led to a breakdown, as he had six losing seasons in a row, and when he found out that his contract expired a year earlier than he thought, tried to sue the new owner- a case he eventually lost. He tried to buy a Western League team, just before they get rolled into the American League. And when that failed, he started a short-lived semi-pro team called Anson’s Colts. He eventually became a city clerk (and got kicked out of that job), then tried his hand at bowling, and eventually moved on to the Vaudeville performing circuit (in which he didn’t have much success). He died penniless in 1922.

    Mike Haupert

    Mike Haupert addressed Adrian Anson’s hemorrhoids during his presentation. (Photo by Gene Gomes)

        Terry Bohn gave us a presentation on Joe Cantillon and The Western All-Star Tours. The first team he went on the road with in 1901-02 included Rube Waddell and Nap Lajoie. The players involved had to cover their own expenses, but they were promised five hundred dollars at the end of the trip. He had one group recruited from the American League, and another from the National League. The NL team had mostly players from Cincinnati, St. Louis, and Pittsburgh. They were to meet up with the AL squad towards the end of the tour. There were some fans though, that felt they were being ripped off by not being to see whole teams of players.
        The following year the team Cantillon put together played what was billed as a Championship series between his team and Pittsburgh. This served as a possible precursor to the World Series, though at the time both sides agreed it was not a real championship. The team continued on the road, with eleven future Hall of Famers participating. It went almost as well as the previous offseason’s, though some players started to get injured and had to be replaced. The tour had to be wrapped up early when the team’s financial manager apparently committed suicide in a Sacramento hotel. Though he had apparently been an avid gambler, the tour had not been in financial trouble, and his family suspected foul play.
        Ed Edmonds’s presentation was on Baseball’s Salary Arbitration System. He started us off with an explanation on what Baseball’s Arbitration system is. It’s become famous enough in the arbitration community that some call it the Baseball system. Technically the phrase is Single or Final offer. This means that both parties give their only offer for what they think the player’s upcoming salary for the season should be, and the panel has to decide between the two numbers. Their only prerogative is to go with whichever number is closer to the player’s value, so this system incentivizes both parties to go as reasonable as possible.
        In baseball specifically it’s a panel of three who hear the case. They were one of the pioneering sports unions to earn this system, and it came about from the negotiating of Marvin Miller. Miller had originally proposed arbitration for players after two years, which is what now happens in some cases.
        Each side tries to present cases of what specific players made who compare to the player in question that they think will support their case in front of the panel. The panel looks at several facets of the comps overall, such as what they made in their “platform” (or most recent) year, how many years experience they had, and of course how they did in their platform year.
        With this system in place, however, teams generally try to avoid having to go to it. In most cases where teams get out of having to use it, it’s because they instead offered the player a multi-year deal. In recent years especially, the pendulum has started to swing towards the teams winning the arbitration cases more often, and it had already favored them more often than the players. This has been after players and owners collectively negotiated a pre-arbitration bonus pool that’s allocated to players based on Awards and WAR rankings.
        Ed then went over for us the specific case of Ryan Thompson, who had gone on Twitter to discuss his displeasure with the way his arbitration case with the Rays was handled. He felt that the team was using unfair stats that they would never use in their own assessments of players to sway the panel to their side. He also felt that the team’s logic was flawed in some cases, such as that of when the Rays discussed how much he was used against left-handed batters (a metric that Thompson himself has no control over). Ultimately Thompson felt that the panel should have had to justify their findings. Ed himself, a law professor, disagrees. He argued that the role of an arbitrator is less that of a judge and more that of a juror. They don’t mete out verdicts. They are just supposed to be an impartial decision maker.
        The guest speaker for the chapter meeting was Josh Ruffin, Minnesota Twins Assistant Director of Player Development Research. He came to teach us a little bit about what his position entails and take questions about how they use statistics and data to assess what they have in players and how they can help players reach their full potential.
        He started off by running through some basic statistics that get us closer to understanding the types of stats that they use. In some of the cases, it has been a matter of ditching an old stat- such as strikeouts per nine innings- and going with a new, more telling stat, such as strikeout percentage, in this case as it relates to pitchers. They also use a lot of motion capture to get a picture of what pitchers actually have in their arsenal, and what changes to pitches or totally new ones might make them a more effective pitcher. He cited the example of how they really liked what they had seen in Pablo Lopez from a stuff perspective, specifically his changeup. And now that he’s added a sort of “sweeper,” he can be even more effective.
        The Hawkeye system is really helpful in some of these scenarios, to determine how pitches compare to those of other pitchers, and what results you tend to get from them. They also use markerless Motion Capture to determine what the best mechanics for the players they’ve drafted ought to be.
        And of course one of the biggest parts of his job is to work with the coaches and players to help them understand what the Front Office thinks their goals should be and how that can help the team win games. This takes the form of Player Development Plans, assessing the strengths and weaknesses of each player, and deciding how best to invest time, and drill tracking—using drills where they can track the progress of a player trying to work on a specific skill. All of this then needs to be communicated to coaches, who are not only taught what all the info means, but also try to optimize how to convey that info to the players.
        The coaches aren’t the only ones who are trained to understand, though. The players are all also given meetings with coaches and the development side in which they discuss what the team is trying to do with them. It might not at first align with the player’s goals, but these are to try to get everybody on the same page. And Josh was very candid, that there turn out to be some players that they can’t afford to spend as much time on, but everyone they draft and acquire is at least given a chance to show they are worth the investment.

    Howard Luloff and Gene Gomes with the baseball quiz

    The meeting wrapped up with Howard Luloff’s ever-popular Jeopardy baseball quiz. Howard (on the left) and Gene Gomes (on the right) upgraded the presentation by getting it on a Powerpoint, which could be shown on the big screen.

    The business meeting included the election of John Buckeye, Daniel Dorff, Rich Arpi, and Howard Luloff to two-year terms on the chapter board of directors, succeeding Daniel Dorff, Sarah Johnson, Gene Gomes, and John Swol.

    The next chapter board of directors meeting will be at 6:00 p.m. on Sunday, June 11 and will include all current board members and the newly elected board members; the board term for the latter will begin July 1 although the incoming board members and the holdover board members (not the ones who expire on June 30) will elect, from among themselves, a president, vice president, secretary, and treasurer.

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    Upcoming Events
    The Fred Souba Hot Stove Saturday Morning, an informal breakfast gathering for the purpose of talking baseball, will be at Manning’s at 22nd and Como in southeast Minneapolis on Saturday, May 13 at 9:00 a.m. We can get tables reserved if we have some idea of how many are coming. Please RSVP to me, stew@stewthornley.net, if you plan to attend. This is an informal RSVP, so feel free to show up even if you haven’t RSVP’d and/or don’t sweat it if you RSVP and can’t make it (although an un-RSVP, if possible, would be appreciated).

    The next Research Committee meeting, via Zoom, will be Monday, May 15. Registration Link for the meeting. Research Committee members are co-chairs Dave Lande or Gene Gomes as well asBrenda Himrich, Sarah Johnson, Dan Levitt, Doug Skipper, Stew Thornley, Rich Arpi, Anders Koskinen, Hans Van Slooten, Mike Haupert, Bob Tholkes, Daniel Dorff, Darryl Sannes, Tom Swift, David Karpinski, Glenn Renick, John Buckeye, Terry Bohn, Art Mugalian and Bob Komoroski.

    Because of weather, the April Book Club was banged and rescheduled for Saturday, June 10 at Barnes & Noble in Har Mar Mall at 9:30 a.m. The book selection will remain the same, The Grandest Stage: A History of the World Series by Tyler Kepner. Brent Heutmaker has organized a list of all the book selections since the book club started in August 2002: Halsey Hall Book Club Selections

    Join your fellow members and friends to eat, guzzle, talk baseball, watch the All-Star Game, and check out the new cans at Manning’s, 22nd and Como in southeast Minneapolis, at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, July 11.

    Keep up to date with chapter activities on social media:

    SABR Halsey Hall Chapter Facebook page

    Halsey Hall Chapter Twitter page

    Please visit both pages, and, if you haven’t yet, “Like” the Facebook page and “Follow” the Twitter page and set your notifications to be alerted to new posts.


    Regular Events

    Video Archives of Past Events

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    New Members
    New to the Halsey Hall Chapter and SABR: Aaron Brush and Josh Ruffin

    The Halsey Hall Chapter has welcomed eight new members since our previous chapter meeting and has 164 members.

    Know a potential member? Here are resources for getting that person happily involved in SABR:

    Membership application

    Get more out of your membership experience by checking out SABR Member Benefit Spotlight Series.

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    Season Outlook from SABR Chapters in American League Central Division
    SABR chapters in Detroit, Cleveland, Chicago, Kansas City, and Minnesota had a zoom meeting April 2 to discuss the upcoming season for the teams in the American League Central Division. The Halsey Hall Chapter’s John “Twins Geek” Bonnes gave an outlook for the local team, as as did representative from the other chapters for their teams. The meeting included discussion among all attendees.

    John Bonnes

    John Bonnes (shown above) represented the Halsey Hall Chapter in providing a season outlook for the Minnesota Twins and deftly fielded a cogent question from a concerned citizen (shown below).

    Vince the Crash Test Dummy

    The event was organized by Gary Gillette of the Southern Michigan Chapter and drew about 50 participants. John, one of the grand hoo haws of Twins Daily, covered the Twins in Florida and spring training and provided insightful insights about the current roster as well as who is in the pipeline. The meeting is on-line:

    Season Outlook among SABR Chapters in the American League Central Division—April 2, 2023.

    It is also listed, along with other chapter events, on our Video Archives of Events page.

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    Who’s Going to SABR 51 in Chicago?

    SABR 51 Logo

    So far, Dan Levitt, Dirk Lammers, Hans Van Slooten, John Gregory, Rich Arpi, Art Mugalian, Bill Parker, Daniel Dorff, Joe O’Connell, Paul Spyhalski, T. S. Flynn, and Mike Haupert of the Halsey Hall Chapter have registered for the SABR convention in Chicago July 5-9. Join the cool kids and get signed up: Community Calendar. SABR has a video with instructions to help people navigate the registration process. Also, feel free to sign up to be an onsite volunteer.

    Main Convention Page

    SABR 51 Onsite Volunteers Sign-Up Sheet

    The earlybird discount for registration ends May 5. After registering, members will get a link to reserve rooms at the Harry Palmer House Hilton in Chicago at a discounted rate (about $80 per night cheaper than usual). Rooms are still available, although the hotel is filling up and may be sold out at some point.

    If anyone is driving and has room for another passenger, please contact Daniel Dorff, daniel.dorff@gmail.com, 612-816-1917.

    For those heading down a day early, the Cubs are visiting the Brewers for a 3 p.m. game July 4 at Miller Park. (Yeah, I know, it’s got some other name now, but don’t expect me or anyone else to keep up on the changing names of stadiums, such as loanDepot Park or Bushbalm Ballpark. I go for clarity, and everyone knows, or should know, what and where Miller Park is.)

    It’s possible that a convention in the next few years will require less travel. The Halsey Hall Chapter, which has hosted SABR conventions in 1988 and 2012, is in line to host the convention in one of the next two years. Stay tuned for exciting developments. While we don’t have any on-line recaps of our 1988 convention (we were lucky to be able to chronicle that one on foolscap), there is a good recap of the 2012 event:

    SABR 42

    Meanwhile, be sure and vote in the elections for the SABR Board of Directors. A couple of chapter members are among the candidates.

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    History Day Award Recipient Announced
    Sarah Johnson has headed our participation in History Day for a number of years and provided this report on this year’s event:

    Thanks to the Local Grants Program from SABR, the Halsey Hall Chapter was able to sponsor a prize for National History Day in Minnesota, an annual project-based competition for students. With a theme of “Frontiers in History: People, Places and Ideas,” the prize this year went to Hudson Warren, a student at the Twin Cities German Immersion School in St. Paul, for his website Jackie Robinson: A Legend of the Civil Rights Frontier Both On and Off the Baseball Field. His multimedia website, which used SABR resources, was chosen from a range of projects involving baseball topics. Hudson will receive $150, a complimentary SABR student membership, and information on other student opportunities to get involved in SABR.

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    Cow Chips
    Justin Mckinney, who gave a presentation about the 1884 St. Paul team in the Union Association on March 9, was awarded one of the 2023 SABR Baseball Research Awards, “which honor outstanding research projects completed during the preceding calendar year that have significantly expanded our knowledge or understanding of baseball.” Justin was recognized for his book, Baseball’s Union Association: The Short, Strange Life of a 19th-Century Major League.

    The SABR-Rucker Archive

    Cary Smith is one of the principals in the SABR-Rucker Archive, which now has more than 10,000 images, a collection that will eventually be more than 75,000. Photos are available for viewing and/or purchasing. Cary has done photo archiving at the Baseball Hall of Fame and now oversees volunteers in cataloging the photos. Volunteers are still being sought. Contact Cary, zinnbeck@me.com, if you are interested in helping.

    Daniel Dorff has written an article on Lee Quillin for the SABR BioProject.

    The SABR Games Project has new entries by chapter members:

    Recommended Reading—The new rules in baseball seem to be going over well with the between-pitch clock getting a lot of thumb’s-up. Not everyone likes the changes, with a “Get Off My Lawn” overtone to some of the objections. Kyle Qualls of Deadspin summed up the thoughts of your crusty editor, that the rules are bringing the game back to how we knew it as we were growing up. Read on:

    MLB’s rule changes have made baseball more like itself

    Chapter member Randy Krzmarzick also weighed in on the topic in one of his columns:

    Weeds by Randy Krzmarzick: Messing with tradition

    Women in Baseball Display at Target Field

    A display on Minnesota women in baseball at Target Field includes an entry for one of our distinguished members.

    Sarah Johnson on Women in Baseball Display at Target Field

    The April 2023 edition of Keltner’s Hot Corner, the newsletter of the Ken Keltner Badger State Chapter, is on-line:

    Keltner’s Hot Corner, April 2023

    For past Keltner’s Hot Corner newsletters:

    Keltner’s Hot Corner

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        May 13—Fred Souba Hot Stove League Saturday Morning, 9:00 a.m., Mannings’s, Minneapolis.

        May 15—Research Committee meeting, 7:00-9:00 p.m. via Zoom. For more information, contact Dave Lande or Gene Gomes. Registration Link

       June 10Book Club, Barnes & Noble, Har Mar Mall, Roseville, 9:30 a.m., The Grandest Stage: A History of the World Series by Tyler Kepner.

        June 11—Halsey Hall Chapter Board of Directors meeting, 6:00 p.m. For more information on attending, contact Gene Gomes.

        July 11—All-Star Game Viewing Party, 7:00 p.m., Manning’s, Minneapolis. For more information, contact Howard Luloff, 952-922-5036.

        November 11—Fall Chapter Meeting, 8:45 a.m., Faith Mennonite Church, Minneapolis. For more information, contact Howard Luloff, 952-922-5036, or Bob Komoroski.

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    Board of Directors 2022-2023
    President—Gene Gomes
    Vice President—David Karpinski
    Secretary—Sarah Johnson
    Treasurer—Jerry Janzen
    Daniel Dorff
    John Swol
    Bob Tholkes

    Events Committee Chair—Howard Luloff
    Research Committee Co-Chairs—Dave Lande, Gene Gomes
    Membership Committee Chair—Stew Thornley

    The Holy Cow! Editor—Stew Thornley
    Ass. Editors—Jerry Janzen, Brenda Himrich, and John Buckeye
    Webmaster—John Gregory
    Ass. Webmasters—Frank Kadwell, Hans Van Slooten, and Stew Thornley
    Social Media Directors—Bob Komoroski, Facebook; Hans Van Slooten and Tom Flynn, Twitter

    Halsey Hall Chapter Web Page

    Past issues of The Holy Cow! are available on-line.

    Chapter History

    Chapter Procedures and By-Laws

    Society for American Baseball Research

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