Derek Sharrer Dazzles Members at Fall Chapter Meeting
St. Paul Saints general manager Derek Sharrer was the featured speaker at the Fall Chapter Meeting Saturday, November 5. (Photo by Gene Gomes)
Guest correspondent John Buckeye did a great job summarizing Dereks presentation as well as the research presentations by members:
New member Sam Sundermeyer gave the first presentation of the morning, titled The Dawn of the Long Night: Origins of Baseballs Color Barrier. Long before Jackie Robinson, black players and white players often did play on the same teams, though often with black players facing discrimination. This came about in the wake of the Civil War, when many at the time still harbored racist sentiments and would in many cases refuse to play with or against any black players. Sam walked us through the grim history pre- the so-called Gentlemens Agreement from when there were black players and teams, to when there were no longer in the major leagues as they were known then.
He also gave us a great rundown on the tactics used by racist owners and players to drive them from the sport. Sometimes it was done on the field by players such as Cap Anson; other times it was by barring whole teams of black players or forcing teams to release their black players or else be barred from the league. They even used some of the inherent conditions of running a black team against them. More black teams of the time had to play on Sundays than their white counterparts, given the schedules of their fans. So certain leagues would say they couldnt be in the league nominally because of those tendencies, covering up the more insidious true reasons.
The second presentation was given on Baseballs Misunderstood Antitrust Trilogy by Ed Edmonds. Ed is originally a law professor at the University of Notre Dame and is living back in the Twin Cities now, so this is right up his alley. He ran us through the main suits in the history of organized baseball which challenged the monopoly MLB seems to have on professional baseball at the highest level in this country. Those cases are the Federal League antitrust suit vs. the National League, the suit by Earl Toolson against the New York Yankees, and the Curt Flood case.
Floods is probably one of the most famous such cases in recent memory. That case was brought by the Cardinals player who did not want to be traded to the Phillies, and so sued baseball, with the support of Marvin Miller and the players union. It was eventually brought up to the US Supreme Court, who voted 5 to 3 with Major League Baseball against Flood. Miller seemed to know the case was a loser, but he still thought a necessary one, which would prove prescient.
But the precursors to that case were what established the exception to the Sherman Antitrust act, one that baseball still enjoys. In order to prove an illegal monopoly, the plaintiff needed to prove that there was 1) Concerted Behavior, 2) Restraint of Trade or Commerce, and 3) Interstate Commerce. The main point the Appeals Court made was that baseball was not actually trade or commerce, it was sport. The Toolson case later addressed the complaints of several players who felt that they were being blocked from playing at the highest level, and that they should have other opportunities to ply their trade. But in this case the US Supreme Court ruled that they were not going to overturn the previous ruling (in the Federal League case) because without the exception now the whole system would come crashing down.
Criticizing the pace and excitement in the game of baseball seems to be almost as old as the game itself. Every year it seems, there are new calls for any kind of mechanism to make it faster or imbue it with more action. In the third presentation of the day, Bob Tholkes went back about as far as you could go in the game to give us a glimpse into what the newspapers of the time were saying about the game and the dangers inherent within.
Drawing on newspaper stories from the year 1867 in the United States of America, Bob came up with four main complaints given against the game by the newspapers themselves and the Big Business interests who backed them. He summarized them as 1) All Play and No Work, 2) Pay for Play, 3) Game of Chance, and 4) Fatal Attractions. Many of these seem needlessly paranoid about the game and what it might become, as any new industry can tend to do to the status quo.
The businesses worried that the game was starting to take up too much of the players lives and that they would become unemployable, detracting from the available workforce. Not many were being paid to play yet, so most would have still had to hold down 9 to 5s (or whatever crazy hours that were required at the time). This feeling became so widespread that many businesses would refuse to hire if they knew a prospective employee played Base Ball.
They worried that if they did start to get paid to play, there would be corruption of the game and it would open up a whole can of worms. And as that happened, if say the players did not get paid enough by gate receipts, they would turn to gamblers and get paid to put the fix on games. Finally, and very much in the way of stretches, many newspapers seemingly unfairly attributed a bunch of deaths to players exerting themselves too much in a game as to bring on their own demise. And yet they would oftentimes ignore the conditions in the area, such as an epidemic that had killed a lot of young people.
Stew Thornley took us back to the early days of baseball in our great state with his remembrance of Babe Ruth and all the times he visited Minnesota. It was really entertaining to see how much of a celebrity a baseball player could be back in the days before there was more than just it, boxing, and horseracing to entertain people.
The Babe first came to Minnesota when he visited the town of Sleepy Eye in 1922 on a stop on his teams barnstorming tour. Stew visited earlier this year to help celebrate the 100th anniversary of the event and gave a speech that he was totally prepared for. They played a game that day, and then Stew got a few more games of townball in while in the area.
He came back several times later, at least once more for purposes of baseball. Later in the 20s he was here in the Twin Cities in order to participate in other forms of entertainment at the time, such as at least one vaudeville show, dressing for the University of Minnesota Golden Gophers football team, and visiting a hurt Notre Dame football player in the hospital.
Derek Sharrer was the keynote speaker, and offered some amazing insights and stories from his time running not just the St. Paul Saints, but also the Fort Myers Miracle (now the Mighty Mussels) and the Charleston RiverDogs. Given that the ownership group includes famous buster of ghosts and antagonist of gophers Bill Murray, Sharrer relates how he never could have escaped without a Bill story of his ownand he didnt disappoint. This reporter could never do it complete justice, but Dereks retrospective relief was palpable when he related how Bill revealed that he knew it was actually his older son that almost killed him with a pitching machine and not Sharrer himself (Yes, Lukethat is why I love you, and Homer I do not).
Hearing about the complications running any baseball franchise was very interesting as well. The weather in Florida, which leading them to create Big Splash Day at the park for all the kids or to cancel games after a brief but wild summer storm that quickly dissipated by gametime. And having to convince his wife to move to St. Paul and away from beautiful Charleston, SC certainly could not have been easy (though it sounds like Mike Veeck and his wife were a big help). And the mountain of dominos that had to fall to allow the Saints to build one of the most beautiful parks at their level of the game and then become a Twins affiliate after years in independent league ball was staggering.
And any true disciple of Veecks certainly had his share of great promotion stories. The philosophy they came up with together was to ask Does it sell tickets? Does it sell sponsorship? And Does it sell media attention? Using those three questions, they came up with some all-timers, many of which never even happened! That includes a Free Vasectomy on Fathers Day, and a Voo Doo Day that happened to fall on a Good Friday. Though they also picked a few fortuitous promotions- Celebrating National Tap Dance Day with a BobbleFoot giveaway, in honor of a certain Idaho Senator who did a thing at MSP airport.
There was also celebrating the anniversary of the Love Boat TV show they only way you possibly could in the Minnesota sports scene circa the mid-oughts. The floaty toy was distinctly purple and gold. But in baseball promotion you have to play to your strengths, and what people love are Muppets and hating the Astros. So as the 2020 season approached the Saints released a talking Astro the Grouch toy which revealed potential pitches thrown when you pressed a button. They sold like hotcakes all over the country, especially in places like Boston and Los Angeles. Though once the Saints were a Twins affiliate, they had to tone down sales.
Here is a link to the powerpoint presentation by Ed Edmonds: Baseballs Minunderstood Antitrust Trilogy
Here are links to a couple of television stories related to Babe Ruths 1922 appearance in Sleepy Eye and the centennial celebration held October 15:
Thirty-one people attended the meeting: Tom Rooney, Sarah Johnson, Bob Tholkes, John Buckeye, Doug Skipper, Dan Levitt, Steve Bratkovich, Art Mugalian, Hans Van Slooten, Daniel Dorff, Dave Lande, Rich Arpi, Al Strauss, Aaron Sinner, Glenn Renick, Sam Sundermeyer, John Gallo, Joe OConnell, Jeff Lenz, David Karpinski, Brian Larson, Roger Godin, Gene Gomes, Dave Anderson, Bob Komoroski, Bill Axness, Gregg Nelson, Jerry Janzen, Ed Edmonds, Howard Luloff, Brenda Himrich, and Stew Thornley.
Two by-laws were amended during the business meeting:
Under Article V: Appropriations, Section 1-Approval Process, Appropriations of chapter funds exceeding $100.00 must be subject to approval by the board of directors was changed to Individual members of the board of directors are authorized to spend up to $100.00 for items such as stamps and supplies that are routine for the functioning of the chapter. Appropriations of chapter funds that are not routine for the functioning of the chapter or in excess of $100 must be approved in advance by the board of directors.
Under Article I, Section 3-Meetings, For voting and quorum purposes, telephone or electronic means of attendance shall be treated as equivalent to in-person attendance was added to the end of the section.
Sarah Johnson handled the duties to broadcast our meeting on Facebook Live. The meeting can be watched and re-watched on the SABR Halsey Hall Chapter Facebook page.
Events Committee chair Howard Luloff announced April 15, 2023 as the date for the next Spring Halsey Hall Chapter meeting at Faith Mennonite Church.
Members are invited to submit a proposal to make a research presentation at the meeting. Proposals must be sent by April 1 to Research Committee co-chairs Dave Lande or Gene Gomes and include a title and brief outline of what the presentation will consist of with emphasis on the research that will be included. Standard oral 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.
One presentation slot is always reserved for a first-time presenter until four weeks before the chapter meeting (March 18). If a slot remains after that, any member can submit a proposal until April 1, two weeks before the meeting, when the Research Committee will wrap up the schedule of presentations.
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The book club will meet at Barnes & Noble in Har Mar Mall at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday, December 10 and discuss Ty Cobb: A Terrible Beauty by Charles Leerhsen. Brent Heutmaker has organized a list of all the book selections since the book club started in August 2002: Halsey Hall Book Club Selections
The next Research Committee meeting, via Zoom, will be Monday, December 19. The one after that will be Monday, January 23. Contact co-chairs Dave Lande or Gene Gomes if you would like to attend. Other Research Committee members are Brenda 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, and Bob Komoroski.
The Fred Souba Hot Stove Saturday Morning, an informal breakfast gathering for the purpose of talking baseball, will be at Mannings at 22nd and Como in southeast Minneapolis on Saturday, January 14 at 9:00 a.m. We can get tables reserved if we have some idea of how many are coming. Please RSVP to me, email@example.com, if you plan to attend. This is an informal RSVP, so feel free to show up even if you havent RSVPd and/or dont sweat it if you RSVP and cant make it (although an un-RSVP, if possible, would be appreciated).
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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 havent yet, Like the Facebook page and Follow the Twitter page and set your notifications to be alerted to new posts.
Video Archives of Past Events
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Roger Barnstormer Groening is semi-retired as an educator with injured workers, trauma victims, and people with learning disabilities. He lives in Winnipeg with his wife, Ruth, a retired social worker. They have three children and two grandchildren. One daughter is a biologist (her partner is a filmmaker), another is a movie actor (her partner is has a forest management business), and a son is an educator for Parks Canada (his partner is a midwife).
Roger has four brothers. With two of them and his dad, he went to his first major-league game, against the Yankees, in 1964. His dad had been a good ballplayer who continued to hit fly balls to his sons well into his 90s.
Roger was a first baseman and part-time pitcher in Little League and later in industrial senior mens baseball. A left-hander, he emulated the batting stance of his baseball hero, Roger Maris. He followed baseball closely growing up and subscribed to Sport magazine and The Sporting News. He remembers the 1962 World Series. I pretended to be sick so I could listening to the game on radio (we didnt have television as yet) and kept score.
Roger learned the lineups of every major-league team in the early 1960s by playing a form of dice baseball with a schedule derived from the major leagues. He attended Winnipeg Goldeyes games when they were a Cardinals affiliate and got to see, among others, Ray Sadecki, Johnny Lewis, Dal Maxvill, and Steve Carlton along with Stan Musial, who came to Winnipeg for an exhibition game and caught a fly ball behind his back.
Fan highlights for Roger include seeing Pedro Martinez pitch at Fenway Park, Harmon Killebrew hitting a home run to beat the Yankees in the first game Roger attended (July 31, 1964?), Denny McLain beating the Twins in 1968, and Mudcat Grant pitching in 1965. Roger later met Grant.
A card collector, Roger is fascinated by the era of barnstorming teams, the Mandak League, the Northern League, the Minneapolis Millers, and the Winnipeg Goldeyes.
Born in 1951, Roger shares his May 2 birthday with Eddie Collins, Neftali Feliz, Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Clay Carroll, Larry Cheney, Gates Brown, Ed Bressoud, Keith Moreland, Felix Jose, Baron Manfred von Richtofen, Bing Crosvy, David Beckham, Dwayne The Rock Johnson, Hedda Hopper, Ben Spock, War Admiral, Yung-lo, L. Music, Lesley Gore, and Jerome Jerome.
Cliff Miller is from Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, and is now a data analyst at Hormel Foods in Austin. He went to his first game in the summer of 2010. Though he has yet to experience many significant in-person games, he used to love watching Ryan Braun and Prince Fielder hitting back-to-back.
Born in 2000, Cliff shares his April 21 birthday with Gary Peters, Terry Tiffee, Kip Wells, Alonzo Bumbry, Ken Caminiti, Jesse Orosco, Jordan Romano, Dick Green, Stan Rojek, Marse Joe McCarthy, Joc Pederson, Hardy Richardson, Charlotte Bronte, Kate Vernon, Elaine May, and Queen Elizabeth (the one who just died).
Dennis Lange hails from Jamestown, North Dakota, and now lives in west-central Minnesota. He is a mostly retired veterinarian.
Because of farm work, Dennis never got to play any organized baseball, but he grew up with the Twins listening to Ray Scott, Herb Carneal, and Halsey Hall. He attended the Twins Fantasy Camp and planned to return the next year, hoping to make a better showing and meeting the modest goals of hitting the ball out of the infield and speaking Spanish with Tony Oliva but had some health problems and had to bail out.
Dennis became interested in baseball history when he returned to North Dakota in 1977 and heard his grandfather talk about seeing Satchel Paige. Dennis spent a winter of construction work lay-off researching baseball in North Dakota in the 1920s and 1930s, which led him to the integrated semi-pro teams that had Paige as well as Hilton Smith, Quincy Trouppe, and Double Duty Radcliffe. Sadly, I had to earn a living and didnt return to his really unexpected part of North Dakota history.
Born in 1952, Dennis shares his September 20 birthday with Tom Tresh, Zeke Bonura, Charlie Dressen, Jason Bay, Bill Stewart, Henry Boyle, Mickey Klutts, Guy Lafleur, Ray Cullen, Red Auerbach, Tommy Nobis, Matt Blair, Jim Taylor, Anne Meara, Sophia Loren, George R. R. Martin, Debbi Morgan, Upton Sinclair, Stanley Fafara, Billy Bang, Slappy White, and Gary Lumbergh Cole.
Dave Anderson grew up on the east side of St. Paul and graduated from Johnson High School. Now retired, he still lives in St. Paul. Dave last played baseball in college (Lakewood Community College). He is the editor of Before the Dome: Baseball in Minnesota When the Grass Was Real, author of Johnny Baseball Seed, and editor of Quotations from Chairman Calvin.
Dave was in the left-field bleachers at Met Stadium in June 1977 when Rod Carew had four hits to raise his average above .400, Glenn Adams drove in eight runs, and a drunk fan ascended the left-field foul pole.
Born in 1950, Dave shares his May 19 birthday with Gil McDougald, Eric Show, Rick Cerone, Ji-Man Choi, Curt Simmons, Ed Whitson, Jake Early, Earl Naylor, Dan Ford, Nora Ephron, Malcolm X, Dolph Schayes, Kevin Garnett, Bill Fitch, Dick Scobee, Johns Hopkins, Helena of Moscow, Curly Neal, Andre the Giant, Marshmello, Pol Pot, Nicole Brown Simpson, and Ho Chi Minh.
Editors note: We are happy to have Dave back with us. Dave had been active in the 1980s when he owned Brick Alley Books in Stillwater, which was the gathering and launching site for a group of chapter members to go to Clear Lake, Wisconsin, to visit Burleigh Grimes. The book Dave mentions, Before the Dome, is an anthology he edited and includes articles from several chapter members. Dave is an active member of the Original St. Paul Old Timers Hot Stove League, which puts on an annual banquet and has monthly meetings at the VFW in Roseville. Dave brings the monthly trivia quiz, which is always a hit. Dues to the Hot Stove League group are only $25 a year and cover the beer and pizza at the monthly meetings. Other chapter members in the group include Carl Rogan, Herb Brunell, and Al Strauss. Anyone interested in attending may contact me, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Also new to the Halsey Hall Chapter and SABR: Aaron Strike and Michael Wallace
The Halsey Hall Chapter has welcomed 20 new members since our previous chapter meeting and has 235 members.
Know a potential member? Here are resources for getting that person happily involved in SABR:
Get more out of your membership experience by checking out SABR Member Benefit Spotlight Series.
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A Colorful Quiz from Dave Lande
The November Research Committee meeting included a quiz submitted by guest quiz whizzer Dave Lande:
- He played on three consecutive World Series championship teams. He was awarded the Cy Young award and the MVP award. He is the last switch-hitter to be awarded the MVP award in his league. He is the only pitcher to be credited with a win in the All-Star game for both the American and National Leagues. Who is he?
- He spent his entire major league career with one team in the American League. He was signed almost immediately after his release from prison by this major league team. In his first major league plate appearance, he hit a pinch-hit home run. He is the only player in major league history with his given first name. Who is he?
- He played his entire career in the National League. He was awarded several Gold Gloves and was selected for several All-Star games for his play at first base. He recorded the first base hit in Candlestick Park. He served as president of one of the major leagues. Who is he?
- He hit an inside-the-park home run at Fenway Park when he hit a fly ball that hit the ladder on the Green Monster and caromed away from Ted Williams and Jimmy Piersall. At one time, he was tied with several others for having the most runs-batted-in in a single inning. He finished third one season behind Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris for the most home runs in the American League. After all these accomplishments, he became a Minnesota Twin. Who is this player?
- He pitched in three major leagues: the Negro National League II, the National League, and the American League. He was awarded the Rookie of Year. He graduated from Morgan State University before he started his professional baseball career. After his baseball career ended, he earned his masters degree and worked his way up the corporate ladder to become a senior executive with the Greyhound Corporation. Who is he?
- This Hall of Famer was in the outfield where he made a game-saving catch during another Hall of Famers opening day no-hitter. Two seasons later he pitched the only no-hitter of his career. He is the only manager to win a World Series after starting the season managing another club. Who is he?
- This member of the Hall of Fame spent his entire career in the American League where he pitched for three teams. His first six seasons were spent pitching for the Boston Red Sox who had terrible teams at that time. Of all pitchers in the Hall of Fame with 100 or more losses (1920 and onward), he had the worst record at the time of his 100th loss, 53-100. Who is he?
- He is one of six members of the Hall of Fame to have played in the Federal League. Other than his two years in the Federal League, his entire career was spent in the National League. He played on back-to-back world championship teams, the second of which was the last for this franchise for over a century. He lost most of one finger in a farming accident. He is the only player in major league history with his given first and last names. Who is he?
- This Hall of Famer played his entire career in the 19th Century. He played for nine teams in his career, tied with three other Hall of Famers for the second-most teams played with during their career. He was voted in to the Hall of Fame over a century after his career ended. Who is he?
- This member of the Hall of Fame is the only player to hit a home run in the Negro Leagues and the White major leagues in the same season. He hit the first home run by a Black player in the history of the American League. Who is he?
Quiz Answers below
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Minnesota History Day April 22
By Sarah Johnson
The Halsey Hall Chapter was awarded a grant through the SABR Local Grants program to honor a high school student participating in History Day in Minnesota. Through this program, an annual project-based competition, the chapter selects the best baseball-related presentation. For the 2022-23 school year the theme is Frontiers in History: People, Places, and Ideas, and the chapter seeks your help! We would like to send some suggestions to our contact at the Minnesota Historical Society for them to distribute to students who may be seeking assistance in picking a topic. If you have an idea for a baseball-related presentation that would fall under the theme, please send them to me at email@example.com. The student winner, who will be chosen at the State History Day at the University of Minnesota on April 22, 2023, will receive $150, an invitation to present at an upcoming chapter meeting, a complimentary SABR membership, inclusion in the chapter newsletter, and information on other student opportunities to get involved in SABR.
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Rollie Seltz, who attended our Fall Chapter meeting in 2016, died at the age of 98 on October 13. A multi-sport athlete (along with his brother Dick, who became an amateur baseball legend in Austin) at Humboldt High School, Rollie attended Hamline University in St. Paul and later played in the National Basketball Association with the Anderson Packers. Rollie was also a member of the Excelsior baseball team that won the state Class A amateur tournament in 1949.
According to Armand Peterson, who had interviewed Rollie for his book on town ball, in the 1949 State Tournament Dick was shortstop on the Class AA champion Austin Packers, while Rollie was played second base and was manager for the Class A champion Excelsior. Rollie was selected as the tournaments MVP. He hit .643 (9 for 14) in three games, while brother Dick hit .565 (13 for 23) in five games.
Armand was the featured speaker November 17 for the New York Giants Preservation Society with a presentation, which is now on-line, on
Richard Bogovich has a new book, Frank Grant: The Life of a Black Baseball Pioneer. Grant was one of the best Black players in baseball in the 1880s. He challenged baseballs color barrier to play for several top professional teams that were otherwise all-white, and two minor-league teams in Pennsylvania even fought a courtroom battle for his services. Grant was elected to the Hall of Fame in 2006.
The SABR Games Project has new entries by chapter members: August 4, 1972: Dick Allen adds to his MVP rѐsumѐ by beating Texas with a ninth-inning double by Tom Merrick and June 6, 1990: Nolan Ryan falls to As in return from back injury and May 28, 1989: Mike Schmidt plays final game in Phillies loss to Giants by Steve Ginader.
Several games stories by chapter members that are in the Metropolitan Stadium book are now on-line:
The November 2022 edition of Keltners Hot Corner, the newsletter of the Ken Keltner Badger State Chapter is on-line:
Keltners Hot Corner, November 2022
For past Keltners Hot Corner newsletters:
Keltners Hot Corner
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Answers to Quiz
- Vida Blue
- Gates Brown
- Bill White
- Jim Lemon
- Joe Black
- Bob Lemon
- Red Ruffing
- Mordecai Brown
- Deacon White
- Willard Brown
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December 10Book Club, Barnes & Noble, Har Mar Mall, Roseville, 9:30 a.m., Ty Cobb: A Terrible Beauty by Charles Leerhsen.
December 19Research Committee meeting, 7:00-9:00 p.m. via Zoom. For more information, contact Dave Lande or Gene Gomes.
December 10Book Club, Barnes & Noble, Har Mar Mall, Roseville, 9:30 a.m., Ty Cobb: A Terrible Beauty by Charles Leerhsen.
December 11Halsey Hall Chapter Board of Directors meeting via Zoom, 6:00 p.m. For more information on attending, contact Gene Gomes.
January 14Fred Souba Hot Stove League Saturday Morning, 9:00 a.m., Manningss, Southeast Minneapolis.
January 23Research Committee meeting, 7:00-9:00 p.m. via Zoom. For more information, contact Dave Lande or Gene Gomes.
April 15Spring Chapter Meeting, 8:45 a.m., Faith Mennonite Church, Minneapolis. For more information, contact Howard Luloff, 952-922-5036.
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Board of Directors 2022-2023
Vice PresidentDavid Karpinski
Events Committee ChairHoward Luloff
Research Committee Co-ChairsDave Lande, Gene Gomes
Membership Committee ChairStew Thornley
The Holy Cow! EditorStew Thornley
Ass. EditorsJerry Janzen and Brenda Himrich
Ass. WebmastersFrank Kadwell, Hans Van Slooten, and Stew Thornley
Social Media DirectorsBob 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 Procedures and By-Laws
Society for American Baseball Research
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