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Former Minnesota Gophers All-American Mark Merila (above) was the featured speaker at the fall meeting of the Halsey Hall Chapter October 6.
Roger Raina, Howard Luloff, Stew Thornley, Lee Temanson, Bob Komoroski, Brenda Himrich, Fred Buckland, David Rasmussen, Dave Jensen, Jerry Janzen, Art Mugalian, Steve Ginader, Rich Arpi, Gregg Nelson, Leanne Rohrbach, Cary Smith, Dan Levitt, Doug Kenison, Gene Zavadil, Mendal Mearkle, Scott Cummings, Doug Skipper, Dan Levitt, George Rekela, and Sarah Johnson attended the meeting, which featured three research presentations:
After lunch and the business meeting Mark Merila spoke about his life in sports. He grew up in Plymouth, Minnesota, played hockey and baseball, and went to the University of Minnesota on a baseball scholarship.
Mark was an All-American in 1993, his junior season, and played on Team USA that season. While in college he also played summer ball in the Cape Cod League, where he had the chance to use a wood bat for the first time.
Mark was drafted in the 10th round by the Minnesota Twins but came back to the Gophers for his senior season. Just before the conference season started, Mark had a seizure, the result of a brain tumor. The tumor was benign, he was able to return to baseball, and he received All-America honors again. Because of his medical condition, he dropped in the draft and was taken by the San Diego Padres in the second round.
Mark played in the San Diego system, for Spokane and Idaho Falls, in 1994 and 1995. The Padres then asked him to be their bullpen catcher. In 2005, when the Padres were in New York, he had another seizure. The tumor that caused this seizure, in the left posterior temporal part of his brain, was controlled by chemotherapy, and Mark also participated in an experimental program using the drug Avastin.
He dealt with partial paralysis and a diagnosis that indicated he might have only a few months to live. No longer able to warm up pitchers, Mark became an assistant to Padres coach Glenn Hoffman, working with the teams infielders and helping to steal signs. In 2012 the Padres made him a scout based in Minnesota. Working with a stopwatch and charting pitches, Mark determines how much time pitchers take to deliver a pitch and how long it takes a catcher to come up from a crouch and make a throw to second. He also looks for tendencies of pitchers and hitters.
Mark said he feels very lucky to be back home, where I grew up, and be a part of baseball.
The meeting concluded with Stews Big Balls beating Carys Jewish Major Leaguers 2-0 in Howard Luloffs Jeopardy Quiz.
After the meeting several members went to a downtown watering hole to watch the playoffs.
The next Fred Souba Hot Stove Saturday Morning, an informal breakfast gathering for the purpose of talking baseball, will be at 9:00 on November 10 at Bakers Square in Richfield (66th Street to the east of Xerxes Avenue).
Howard Luloff was honored at St. Louis Park High School on October 4 for his years of service as a public-address announcer at the school. Since in 1995, Howard has done public-address announcing for St. Louis Park for volleyball, soccer, football, hockey, lacrosse, and basketball.
Dan Levitt, editor of Short But Wondrous Summers: Baseball in the North Star State, looks on as Kristin Anderson addresses a gathering at Barnes & Noble in Roseville on September 27. More than 10 of the authors of Short But Wonderous Summers, the convention publication for SABR 42, spoke on the articles they wrote for the journal.
Category: The Twins Win the 1987 World Series
1. Hes the first Twin to hit a World Series home run since Mudcat Grant in 1965.
2. The Twins’ third starting pitcher was the first Venezuelan to pitch a World Series game.
3. Though he played only 20 games with the Twins, he came through with a mammoth home run in Game 6.
4. The only Twins relief pitcher to win a World Series game.
5. In Game 7 the Twins faced this Cardinal pitcher, who was the first to start games 1 and 7 without any other starts in between.
Category: Baseball Comes to Dallas-Fort Worth
1. Nicknamed Hondo, he hit the Rangers first home run at Arlington Stadium.
2. The 1972 season wasn’t splendid for the Rangers first manager, who retired at seasons end.
3. The Rangers left fielder in their first home game is currently a team broadcaster.
4. On April 22 he pitched the first shutout in Rangers history and was the fifth pitcher to go directly from the draft to the majors.
5. When Arlington Stadium was built in 1965, it was known by this name.
Category: It Happened This Season
1. The only Twins pitcher to win more than 10 games in 2012.
2. Brought up in April from Salt Lake City, this Angel outfielder became the youngest player to hit more than 20 home runs and steal more than 40 bases in the same season.
3. At 19 he’s the youngest Oriole to make his major league debut since Mike Adamson in 1967. No, he’s not related to a wrestler.
4. Daily Double: Four of the six Mariner pitchers who combined on a no-hitter against the Dodgers.
5. Reds fans could see this shortstop in 2013 after he stole 155 bases, breaking Vince Coleman’s record of 140 in 1983.
Category: Triple Crown Winners
1. We wont ask you to spell the name of the last player to win the batting triple crown.
2. The only Twin to win the Triple Crown was this pitcher who won 19 games in 2006
3. The first player to win two batting Triple Crowns was the last to hit .400.
4. In 1933 these two players were the only ones to win the Triple Crown for two different teams in the same city.
5. The last pitching Triple Crown winner to win 40 games.
Category: Darryl, Daryl, Darrell
1. While serving a cocaine suspension with the Yankees, he played with the St. Paul Saints for two months and hit a 522-foot home run off Duluth-Superior pitcher Pat Ahearne.
2. In 1984, he was the Twins’ starting center fielder before Kirby Puckett.
3. Not only was he the first player to hit 40 home runs in both leagues, he was the oldest, at 38, to lead the American League in home runs.
4. This pitcher for the 1968 world champion Tigers also played for the A’s and Cardinals in 1971.
5. In 1979 he became the sixth catcher in major league history to score 100 runs and drive in 100 runs.
Category: Touching the Twins Minor League Cities
1. Go after spring training and you can look for shells on Sanibel Island before you catch a Florida State League game at Hammond Stadium.
2. On your way to see the Cubs, White Sox, or Brewers, stop by Pohlmann Field in one of the smallest cities to host a minor league franchise.
3. Many Twins players, past and present, started their baseball careers in this Tennessee Tri-City
4. Before you head for Frontier Field, you might want to head for Silver Stadium, where the Twins AAA team played for 68 years.
5. Not too far from the Basketball Hall of Fame is Beehive Field in the city that was also known as Hardware City.
Final Jeopardy Question
November 10Fred Souba Hot Stove Saturday Morning, Bakers Square, 66th and Xerxes, Richfield, 9:00 a.m. For more information, contact Mark Johnson, 952-831-1153.
December 2Halsey Hall Chapter Board Meeting, 3 p.m. For more information, contact Art Mugalian, 612-721-2825.
April 20Spring Chapter Meeting. For more information, contact Howard Luloff, 952-922-5036.