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

October 2012

Stew Thornley

Mark Merila Speaks at Fall Chapter Meeting

Mark Merila

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:

  • Dan Levitt with Battle at the Dock! Based on research from his book, The Battle That Forged Modern Baseball, Dan outlined he formation of the Federal League and the attempt of Federal League owners to sign major leaguers as they returned from a world tour in the spring of 1914.
  • Dave Jensen with An Enlightened Look at Concussions. A former surgical nurse, Dave described concussions and the damage done to the brain from them. He talked about players who suffered concussions from the past, including Wally Pipp and Mickey Cochrane, and modern players such as Corey Koskie and Justin Morneau. Dave explained how baseball has changed its policy toward concussions recently with the establishment of the seven-day disable list for concussions, annual baseline testing, tests after a high-risk injury, and protocols for clearing concussion victims to return to the active roster.
  • Chicago-native Art Mugalian talked about the collapse of the 1977 team, which held a two-game first-place lead after a 13-inning 16-15 win over Cincinnati at Wrigley Field on July 28, a game with 11 home runs. Jose Cardenal entered the game as a pinch-hitter in the last of the eighth, when the Cubs scored three runs to pull within a run, and stayed in the game, playing second base, in the top of the ninth. He booted a grounder by Pete Rose, the first batter of the inning, nd then was moved to shortstop and back to second base as manager Herman Franks tried to move Cardenal, normally an outfielder, to where the Reds were less likely to hit the ball. After the Cubs tied the game in the ninth, Cardenal moved to right field to start the 10th inning with right-fielder Bobby Murcer moving to the infield and ending up with a position line of rf,ss,2b,ss,2b,ss,2b,ss,2b,ss. The defensive gyrations by coaches Barney Schultz and Peanuts Lowrey, making the moves after Franks was ejected, along with bringing in Rick Reuschel in the 13th inning, worked out as the Cubs won. However, the Cubs lost 12 of their next 17 games to fall 7 games out of 1st. Chicago finished the season 20 games behind Philadelphia.

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 team’s 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 Stew’s Big Balls beating Cary’s Jewish Major Leaguers 2-0 in Howard Luloff’s Jeopardy Quiz.

After the meeting several members went to a downtown watering hole to watch the playoffs.

Upcoming Events:
The Halsey Hall Chapter Book Club will meet Saturday, October 13 at 9:30 a.m. at Barnes & Noble in Har Mar Mall in Roseville to discuss The Last Hero: A Life of Henry Aaron by Howard Bryant.

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).

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New Members

The Halsey Hall Chapter Welcomes new (and reinstated) members Greg Frank, Phil Miller, and Jack Friebe.

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Member News

New SABR member Anthony Bush had an article on Wade Stadium in Duluth, Frank Wade’s Legacy: Beyond the Brick Walls, published in the October 2012 issue of Zenith City.

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.

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Authors Attend Signing for Short But Wondrous Summers

Dan Levitt and Kristin Anderson

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.

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Howard Luloff’s Jeopardy Quiz

Category: The Twins Win the 1987 World Series

1. He’s the first Twin to hit a World Series home run since Mudcat Grant in 1965.
Dan Gladden

2. The Twins’ third starting pitcher was the first Venezuelan to pitch a World Series game.
Les Straker

3. Though he played only 20 games with the Twins, he came through with a mammoth home run in Game 6.
Don Baylor

4. The only Twins relief pitcher to win a World Series game.
Dan Schatzeder

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.
Joe Magrane

Category: Baseball Comes to Dallas-Fort Worth

1. Nicknamed “Hondo,” he hit the Rangers’ first home run at Arlington Stadium.
Frank Howard

2. The 1972 season wasn’t splendid for the Rangers’ first manager, who retired at season’s end.
Ted Williams

3. The Rangers left fielder in their first home game is currently a team broadcaster.
Tom Grieve

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.
Pete Broberg

5. When Arlington Stadium was built in 1965, it was known by this name.
Turnpike Stadium

Category: It Happened This Season

1. The only Twins pitcher to win more than 10 games in 2012.
Scott Diamond

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.
Mike Trout

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.
Dylan Bundy

4. Daily Double: Four of the six Mariner pitchers who combined on a no-hitter against the Dodgers.
Kevin Millwood, Charlie Furbush, Lucas Luetge, Brandon League, Stephen Pryor, Tom Wilhelmsen

5. Reds fans could see this shortstop in 2013 after he stole 155 bases, breaking Vince Coleman’s record of 140 in 1983.
Billy Hamilton

Category: Triple Crown Winners

1. We won’t ask you to spell the name of the last player to win the batting triple crown.
Carl Yastrzemski

2. The only Twin to win the Triple Crown was this pitcher who won 19 games in 2006
Johan Santana

3. The first player to win two batting Triple Crowns was the last to hit .400.
Rogers Hornsby

4. In 1933 these two players were the only ones to win the Triple Crown for two different teams in the same city.
Chuck Klein and Jimmy Foxx

5. The last pitching Triple Crown winner to win 40 games.
John Clarkson

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.
Darryl Strawberry

2. In 1984, he was the Twins’ starting center fielder before Kirby Puckett.
Darrell Brown

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.
Darrell Evans

4. This pitcher for the 1968 world champion Tigers also played for the A’s and Cardinals in 1971.
Daryl Patterson

5. In 1979 he became the sixth catcher in major league history to score 100 runs and drive in 100 runs.
Darrell Brown

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.
Fort Myers

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.
New Britain

Final Jeopardy Question
In 1917 he pitched the first no-hitter for the Yankees and was the only visiting left-handed pitcher to pitch a no-hitter at Fenway Park.
George Mogridge

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    October 21—Research Committee. For more information, contact Rich Arpi, 651-739-6986.

    October 27—Book Club, Barnes & Noble, Har Mar Mall, Roseville, 9:30 a.m., The Last Hero: A Life of Henry Aaron by Howard Bryant. For more information, contact Art Mugalian, 612-721-2825.

    November 10—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.

    December 2—Halsey Hall Chapter Board Meeting, 3 p.m. For more information, contact Art Mugalian, 612-721-2825.

    April 20—Spring Chapter Meeting. For more information, contact Howard Luloff, 952-922-5036.

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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 

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