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

April 2013

Stew Thornley

Spring Chapter Meeting April 20

The Spring Chapter Meeting will Saturday, April 20 at the Faith Mennonite Church, 2720 E. 22nd Street in south Minneapolis. Registration is at 8:30 with research presentations beginning at 9:00. The featured guest and trivia will start at 1:00. A business meeting will be held during lunch. The cost for the meeting and lunch is $10. The meeting only is $5. Those wanting lunch must RSVP to Howard Luloff, 952-922-5036.

Members are invited to submit a proposal to make a research presentation at the meeting. Proposals must be made in writing (e-mail is fine) to Research Committee Chair Rich Arpi, 2445 Londin Lane E., Unit 410, Maplewood, Minnesota 55119-5547, and should include a title and brief outline of what the presentation will consist of with emphasis on the research that will be included. Standard presentations are 20 minutes (with an additional eight minutes for questions) although the duration may be longer or shorter depending on the needs of the presenter and of the schedule. The Research Committee (which also consists of Dan Levitt, Stew Thornley, Sarah Johnson, Brenda Himrich, and Bob Tholkes) will finalize the schedule of research presentations by April 6, two weeks before the meeting, so proposals must be submitted by then.

The following presentations have already been approved:

  • Tom Flynn, Tom Sheehan’s Memorable Major League Debut. Tom Sheehan is Tom Flynn’s great-great uncle, and the latter Tom has researched the career of the former Tom, which includes a major league career with the Philadelphia Athletics and other teams. Sheehan also pitched semi-pro baseball for Albert Lea in southern Minnesota and pitched for both the St. Paul Saints and Minneapolis Millers (also managing the Millers). In 1923 with the Saints, Sheehan won 31 games in 1923, tying the American Association record set by Long Tom Hughes of Minneapolis in 1910.
  • Stew Thornley, Dancing Statistics: Numerical Moving Targets, a presentation on statistics and records that have changed because of errors discovered in their compilation. It includes the controversy over the race for leadership in batting average in the American League in 1910 between Larry Lajoie and Ty Cobb, Christy Mathewson’s additional win, added in the 1940s, and a discussion regarding the propriety of changing statistics.
  • Rich Arpi, Minnesota Baseball History: Compiling a More Complete Record - A Project for the Halsey Hall Chapter, which will review existing sources of information and opportunities to fill in gaps and perform groundbreaking research on teams and leagues that have been overlooked or barely looked over.

During the business meeting, four members will be elected to the chapter’s board of directors to succeed outgoing directors Art Mugalian, Fred Buckland, Gary DeSmith, and Brenda Himrich. Doug Skipper, Leanne Rohrbach, Scott Cummings, and Gary DeSmith have agreed to run for a two-year term. Anyone else interested in running may contact Nominating Committee Chair Brenda Himrich at 651-415-0791.

That evening, the group will attend the movie 42, which is about Jackie Robinson.

Other events:
The Halsey Hall Chapter Book Club will meet Saturday, April 6 at 9:30 a.m. at Barnes & Noble in Har Mar Mall in Roseville to discuss The Yankee Years by Joe Torre and Tom Verducci.

The next Fred Souba Hot Stove Saturday Morning will be May 4 at Bakers Square at 66th and Xerxes in Richfield at 9:00. Gary Hackenmueller missed the March breakfast as he recovered from mitral valve heart surgery in Rochester, but he hopes to be back and see others on May 4.

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Road Trips

Several Halsey Hall Chapter members will be attending the A Celebration of Baseball conference Friday and Saturday, June 7-8 at the University of Wisconsin, LaCrosse. The event begins with a Mississippi River baseball cruise on Friday night. Saturday will consist of baseball research presentations and discussion panels during the day and a Northwoods League game at Copeland Park at night. The group has reserved the Homerun Haven in right field for attendees to have a buffet dinner and watch the game between the defending league champion LaCrosse Loggers and Green Bay Bullfrogs.

The riverboat dinner cruise on Friday night (6:00 to 8:00) is $40. The research and discussion panels from 8:00 to 5:00 on Saturday are $31 (which includes, parking, breakfast, lunch, and snacks), and the ticket for dinner and the baseball game Saturday night is $35. To register, send a check made out to University of Wisconsin - LaCrosse to Mike Haupert, Department of Economics, University of Wisconsin - La Crosse, 1725 State Street, LaCrosse, Wisconsin 54601. Be sure and include the names of all people attending and for which events, along with your address, phone number, and e-mail address.

A block of rooms has been reserved at the Best Western in La Crosse at a special Celebration of Baseball rate of $89.99. Call the Best Western at 888-253-1628 and mention the Celebration of Baseball to get the conference rate. This special rate will only be in effect until May 7 (and the hotel is sold out beyond this block of rooms).

For more information on the conference, contact Mike Haupert.

Some members are also planning to go to Duluth for a Northwoods League game between Duluth and Alexandria at Wade Stadium on Saturday night, July 7. 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.

The last time the Halsey Hall Chapter made a group trip to Wade Stadium, an irresponsible couple took the responsibility of watching John Gregory’s daughter and lost her, although they were able to return a reasonable facsimile to John (and the facsimile has since graduated from Stanford University, so John wasn’t too upset).

Those interested in the Duluth trip may contact Stew Thornley at 651-415-0791. (Just don’t trust him to watch your children.)

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Research and Member News

Joel Rippel has been researching early University of Minnesota baseball and tracking down dates of their first games. He writes, “Baseball is the oldest sport on the University of Minnesota campus. It apparently is older than we thought. According to published records, the first baseball game in University of Minnesota history was against the St. Paul Saxons in 1876. But recent research has revealed that a University baseball team played in 1868. After being closed during the Civil War, the University of Minnesota reopened in 1867 as a prepatory school with considerable financial help from the Pillsburys. It was upgraded from a prepatory school to a college in 1869. George Richter, an 1874 graduate of the University of Minnesota, told the Ariel (a campus publication) in 1896, ‘In ‘68 or ‘69, a number of young men who had attended the Pennsylvania Military Academy returned and brought to the University the game of baseball among other evidences of culture. A University nine was organized, and it is first public appearance was defeated by the redoubtable ‘Saxons’ of St. Paul.’ According to Richter, the score of the game was 91 to 37. The Minneapolis Tribune mentioned games between the University club and the Saxons in 1868 and 1869. The published score of neither of those games was 91 to 37. So, there is still more research to do.”

Also, in the aftermath of Tom Windle’s no-hitter on March 8, Joel assembled a list of all no-hitters pitched by the Gophers:

  • March 8, 2013—Tom Windle, 9 innings, 3-0 over Western Illinois
  • April 4, 1993—Joe Westfall, 7 innings, 5-1 over Penn State
  • April 13, 1971—Jeff Ward, Ken Schultz, and Glen Novack, 7 innings, 4-0 over Macalester
  • April 14, 1970—Roger Zahn and Karl Johnson, 7 innings, perfect game, 7-0 over Macalester
  • April 5, 1969—George Hoepner and Gary Petrich, 6 innings, 9-0 over Wisconsin, Stevens Point
  • April 6, 1963—John Stephens, 7 innings, 6-2 over Parsons
  • May 28, 1960—Clyde Nelson, Bob Wasko and Jim Rantz, 7 innings, 8-0 over Iowa
  • May 5, 1942—Norm Gallup and Dick Treat, 9 innings, 15-0 over Augsburg
  • June 3, 1931—Walfrid Mattson, 9 innings, 3-0 over Wisconsin
  • May 20, 1926—Al Redding, 9 innings, 11-0 over Iowa
  • April 22, 1914—Helmer Roen, 9 innings, 3-0 over Hamline

In addition, Joel found that Whitey Skoog came within an out of a no-hitter against the New Ulm amateur team in New Ulm on May 25, 1949. Hank Nicklasson singled with two out in the last of the ninth. Skoog finished with a two-hit shutout.

Clark Field at the University of Texas

Joel also had an item in the March 22, 2013 Star Tribune: Newspaper of the Twin Cities about the first visit of the Texas baseball team to Minnesota, which was occurring that weekend. The story was accompanied by a photo of Clark Field, where the Longhorns played through 1975 (above), provided by the University of Texas. The photo shows the chalk cliffs, which were in play, in the outfield. Many Minnesota Gophers players and coaches have talked about playing at Texas and the familiarity of the Texas outfielders with the terrain and their adeptness at scaling the cliffs and tracking down long flies that landed on it. Glenn Gostick recalls one of his teammates in 1950, Wayne Robinson, reaching the cliff with a drive and said, “The Texas center fielder went up there like a billy goat and retrieved the ball.” Robinson, also a member of the Gophers football team, legged out an inside-the-park grand-slam home run despite the dexterity of the Texas outfielder. Years later, when Gostick was an assistant coach under Dick Siebert, he watched center-fielder Ron Causton try in vain to get up the cliff when a Texas batter hit a long fly onto it. “There was a path up the rock cliff,” said Causton, “but if you couldn’t find the right starting point, you were in trouble.” Siebert began making his outfielders learn how to find a way up the cliff, and Greg Wasick, who played later in the 1960s, said there was mandatory practice on the cliff as soon as the Gophers arrived in Texas each year. (Gostick, Wasick, and Causton were guests at a Halsey Hall chapter meeting and breakfast in the fall of 2004.)

Terry Bohn came across an article in Minnesota News section of the Monday, September 3, 1877 Bismarck Tri-Weekly Tribune (below) that shows the extent of the baseball rivalry of Minneapolis and St. Paul as they sought the services of the Younger brothers, who were imprisoned after their raid (which may have included Frank and Jesse James) on the First National Bank in Northfield, Minnesota, a year before.

Bismarck Tri-Weekly Tribune of September 3, 1877

A list of all Minnesota Twins Home Postponements, 1961-2009 is now on-line. The list includes rain-shortened games and interesting and sometimes amusing notes, such as a rain delay in July 1976 when Bert Blyleven of Texas called the Twins dugout at 10 p.m., pretending to be a Twins official, and said the game had been called. The word was sent to the locker room, and the players started undressing and showering. It wasn’t until 10:15 that the game was actually called.

Mike Haupert has created a list of MLB’s annual salary leaders, 1874-2012.

Game-by-game results of all Minneapolis Millers games from 1884 to 1960 are now on-line. The dates and scores are grouped by decade and include notes about the games as well as statistics for each year. The site also has a list of each of Joe Hauser’s 69 home runs in 1933 and game-by-game statistics for Ted Williams and Willie Mays when they played for the Millers.

John Gregory and his son David attended World Baseball Classic games in Phoenix March 8-10 and nearly caught a “smoking line drive” hit by Joe Mauer, but they avoided it and a nearby fan fielded it on the carom.

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    April 6—Book Club, Barnes & Noble, Har Mar Mall, Roseville, 9:30 a.m., The Yankee Years by Joe Torre and Tom Verducci. For more information, contact Art Mugalian, 612-721-2825.

    April 7—Halsey Hall Chapter Board Meeting, 3:00 p.m. For more information, contact Art Mugalian, 612-721-2825.

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

    May 4—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

Halsey Hall Chapter Web Page

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


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