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

June 2017

Stew Thornley

Emma Charlesworth-Seiler Hired as Umpire in Gulf Coast League

Emma Charlesworth-Seiler

Emma Charlesworth-Seiler has become the eighth woman to be hired to umpire in organized baseball. Her dad, Scott, announced the news on Facebook on May 6: “IT IS NOW OFFICIAL! Emma has signed the papers to be an employee of Minor League Baseball! After all her training, she begins umpiring the games of professional athletes! Her assignment is to the Gulf Coast League in Florida. The Gulf Coast League is where many major league umpires’ careers have begun!”

Emma has shown herself to be one of the greatest go-getters ever in the Halsey Hall Chapter.

In 2015 she was the recipient of the Jack Kavanagh Memorial Baseball Award for her essay, Invisible Barriers: Why Baseball Isn’t America’s National Pastime. The award came with a cash prize and SABR membership as well as a scholarship for Emma to attend the SABR convention in Chicago. That fall, Emma made a presentation on the topic of her paper at the Halsey Hall Chapter meeting.

Last year she pitched for and played on a club team in the Sydney suburbs and a tournament team representing Australia from September through mid-December. The tournament team played in the Taiwan International Women’s Baseball Tournament against the Singapore 18-and-under national team.

In addition to playing baseball, Emma has been umpiring and was discovered by directors of umpire development for Major and Minor League baseball. She attended Major League Baseball’s Pro Prospect Development Camp in 2016 and earlier this year attended the Minor League Baseball Umpire Training Academy at Historic Dodgertown. Emma is the only woman to complete the academy and was then hired by the Gulf Coast League.

Scott Charlesworth-Seiler concluded his Facebook post with this: “So far, none [of the women umpires in organized baseball] have reached the majors, but I won’t bet against Emma!”

Neither will we.

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Upcoming Events
Bloody Mary Bunny’s Breakfast
A breakfast is planned on Saturday, June 3 at 9:00 at Bunny’s Northeast, 34 13th Avenue NE, Minneapolis 55413, 612-545-5659 (in what was the keg warehouse of the Grain Belt Brewery). This is to check out Bunny’s as a possible location for future Hot Stove Saturday Mornings. Bunny’s has several breakfast options that include a bloody mary or screwdriver with a beer chaser.

Book Club
The Halsey Hall Chapter Book Club will meet Saturday, June 10 at 9:30 a.m. at the usual spot, Barnes & Noble in Har Mar Mall in Roseville. The book selection is The Catcher Was a Spy: The Mysterious Life of Moe Berg by Nicholas Dawidoff. The group will also discuss the telecast of the 1981 All-Star Game. The game is available for viewing on YouTube: 8/9/81: 1981 All-Star Game @ Cleveland Stadium, Cleveland

Fred Souba Hot Stove Saturday Morning
The next Fred Souba Hot Stove Saturday Morning, an informal breakfast gathering for the purpose of talking baseball, will be at 9:00 on Saturday, July 8 at Curran’s, 4201 Nicollet Avenue in Minneapolis.

Research Committee Meeting
The Research Committee will meet Monday, July 24 at 7 p.m. at the Ridgedale Library, 12601 Ridgedale Drive, Minnetonka 55305. The meeting will consist of a recap of the SABR convention with attendees presenting on their experiences at the convention, which is at the end of June in New York.

Road Trips
A townball game and two Northwoods League games are planned:

Friday, June 23: Townball game with the Cannon Falls Bears at the Dundas Dukes. The game is at 7:30 p.m. Meet at the game or starting at 5:00 at L & M Bar & Grill, 224 Railway Street, Dundas 55019, 507-645-8987. It is Seinfeld Night/Halfway to Festivus Night at Memorial Park that night.

Saturday, July 15: Northwoods League game with the Waterloo Bucks at the Mankato MoonDogs at Franklin Rogers Park. The game is at 6:05 p.m., and Howard Luloff has arranged activities with the MoonDogs, including presentations by the broadcaster and team officials starting at 1:00.

Saturday, July 29: Northwoods League game with the Mankato MoonDogs at the Thunder Bay Border Cats. The game is at 6:05 p.m. (and Thunder Bay is on Eastern Time). Contact Stew Thornley, 651-415-0791 if you are interested. We will try to organize carpools (and members are encouraged to contact others and set up their own, if possible) and leave the Twin Cities early that morning. This will leave time for lunch in Duluth or along the North Shore and some sightseeing in Thunder Bay. (You have to see the Sleeping Giant.) The plan is to stay overnight at the Super 8 (807-344-2612—call to arrange your own reservation) in Thunder Bay and return on Sunday. You will need a passport.

Keep up to date with chapter activities on social media:

SABR Halsey Hall Chapter Facebook page

Halsey Hall Chapter Twitter page

Regular Events

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Member and Chapter News

Divorcees, Barmaids and Cranks

Jeff Bozovsky is having a book event Monday, June 19 at the Fargo Public Library (102 3rd Street North, Fargo, North Dakota 58102) for Divorcees, Barmaids and Cranks: The 1897 Red River Valley Baseball League.

Anthony Bush has written Denfeld Baseball Began 70 Years Ago and has also completed a biography of Burt Keeley for the SABR BioProject.

Cary Smith uncovered an article in the August 29, 1908 Minneapolis Tribune about Rube Foster, who was in the Twin Cities and pitched for the St. Paul Colored Gophers, no-hitting Hibbing.

Rube Foster story

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New Members
Gregg Hansen, who lives with his wife, Robyn, in Walnut Grove, has one older son (Dalton), daughters Alandra and Sierra, and a young son, Alexander. Gregg is president of Hansen Agri-Commodities, LLC, a company that helps farmers and producers market their grain and livestock. He is also a commodity broker.

Gregg has been a Twins fan for as long as he can remember. He also started following the Cardinals in the mid-1990s while living in central Illinois. A Twins season-ticket holder for 10 years, Gregg says, “The older I get, the more I enjoy the game of baseball more than the other sports.”

Gregg shares his December 13 birthday with Ferguson Jenkins, Larry Doby, Lindy McDaniel, Carl Erskine, Ricky Nolasco, George “Shotgun” Shuba, Josh Fogg, J. C. Martin, Ron Taylor, Billy Loes, Matthew LeCroy, Dick Van Dyke, Tim Conway, Ted Nugent, Christopher Plummer, Taylor Swift, Bill Vukovich, Sarah Lincoln, and Mary Todd Lincoln.

Warren E. “Woodsie” Woods is from Fridley. He is widowed and has three adult children and five grandchildren.

Woodies spent most of his career in warehousing and distribution except when, from February 1976 to January 1980, he was the surplus sales manager for the Materials Management Division of the Minnesota Department of Administration, a unique position that permitted him to have been in every prison, state hospital, state university, and community college in Minnesota.

Warren had a two-day tryout as a walk-on with the Minnesota Twins in 1961. In 1988—as a 51-year-old switch-hitting outfielder with an above-average throwing arm—he was a member of a team that played in the state amateur tournament at the Mini-Met in Jordan.

Woodsie has published three baseball calendars—for 1986, 1990, and 1995. On June 5, 1998 he organized a St. Paul Saints Reunion at Mancini’s for Saints players from the late 1940s and early 1950s. He conducted a Shoeless Joe Jackson Night at Midway Stadium and had petitions for Jackson’s reinstatement sent to Commissioner Bud Selig, which whom he has corresponded ever since, exchanging 35 letters.

He wrote two songs that his wife and a former church member sang and that have been transferred to a CD: Was It Just a Dream? and Do They Play Baseball in Heaven?

For the past 12 years Woodsie has been a member of a creative writing group that meets weekly in Coon Rapids. A 2008 paean Warren wrote is below.

I Still Remember Her by Warren E. “Woodsie” Woods
I remember the first time we met. I was 12 and she was 53 years old. She was beautiful; she was everything that I had heard about her and more. She didn’t wear earrings. There was no necklace, no lipstick, no perfume. Yet though more than 40 years difference in our ages, she was charming and alluring that day and she seduced me.

I literally ran away from home to see her. Yes it was just for a few hours and then of course I returned home to worried parents. I came from rural Fridley and she resided in south Minneapolis. This lady was unique, different from any other. Her measurements 336-435-279 are ingrained in my memory forever. And the mere mention of her name, Nicollet . . . Nicollet Park can yet cause me to smile and make my heart beat a little faster. That day in 1949, Saturday, April 30th, we met for the first time. Ten cents—one dime—was all that I paid to enter and experience the intimacy of her beauty and to view her private world.

Nicollet was nestled in a section where business and industry merged with homes. Her borders were the bright lights and noisy traffic of Lake Street and Nicollet Avenue. Her softer side touched residences and family dwellings on Blaisdell Avenue and 31st Street. From the moment I walked through the little gate, I was transformed by her unparalleled charm. As the usher took the ticket stub, he directed me to a section beyond third base where other knot-hole youth and uniformed boy scouts were rapidly increasing in numbers. As I sat on the wooden bleacher plank, I was in awe of this new happening. It was as if Nicollet was silently speaking to me. “LOOK AT ME! HERE I AM! LOOK AT ME! ” And look I did. After all I had listened to every radio broadcast on WLOL during the 1948 season and heard Dick Enroth’s voice as he referenced various landmarks during the course of the 77 home games. And now reality was replacing imagination.

The field was cloaked with a gown of rich green. Grass manicured and cut with such precision that I was sure it rivaled the groomed golf greens of Interlachen, Minikahda, and Augusta. Two brilliantly white chalked foul lines gave shape to her figure. She sported a diamond that seemed to sparkle with three white canvas bases spaced in an arrangement of 90 feet apart. Equally white (but without fabric) was homeplate. This 17 inch wide stationary object would soon be the center of activity where pitchers would use as a target in attempts to fool the hitter and batters would take swings in their attempts to prove to the pitcher that they weren’t fooled.

Looking to my left I saw the American Association scoreboard and just above was the large round Bulova clock suspended from two steel poles. The left field was a series of eight side-by-side metal advertisement billboards that extended to centerfield. The centerfield wall was barren of advertising. Painted in dark green, this wall was higher, about twenty feet tall. In front of it was a flag pole with the flag hanging limply some forty feet from ground level. The portable batting cage was parked nearby and could become a contending nemesis for a centerfielder when a flyball carried to this distance. The outfield wall from this point became two-tiered. Except for the National and American League scoreboards in right-center, 16 metal double-decked sign-boards completed this wall until it reached the foul line. As if the 279 foot distance was not enough of an inviting target for left-handed batters, Nicollet teased and flirted with the hitter as the rightfield grandstand that had run parallel with the foul line, began angling inward as it approached the bull pen. Like a woman’s narrow waist that flared downward to her hip, so did Nicollet slowly and subtly thrust her curvy structure into fair territory. Two rows of bleacher seats for 17 feet made it even more tempting. It was possible to achieve a 262 foot home run in this very specific area.

Time passed quickly. Going into the bottom of the ninth, the Minneapolis Millers were losing 10 to 8. Hitters on both teams were getting the better of the pitchers. There had been 7 homeruns; Columbus had two, the Millers hit 5, yet were behind. The Columbus relief pitcher seemed to be confident as he went to the mound in the ninth. He had retired the Millers 1-2-3 the previous inning and many of us expected that it would finish with the Redbirds winning. However, Nicollet must have recalled the wisdom of Yogi Berra, the Millers rallied for 3 runs for a come-from-behind 11 to 10 victory. It was an unbelievable, memorable day.

Nicollet had seven siblings. They had names like Borchert in Milwaukee, Swayne in Toledo, Victory in Indianapolis, Blues in Kansas City, Red Bird in Columbus, Parkway in Louisville. She also had a sister in St. Paul by the name of Lexington Park. Lexington (who was one year younger than Nicollet) died in a fire. City fathers and mothers in St. Paul got together and in 1916 rebuilt and renamed this child, Lexington also. She resided on the same grounds as her predecessor did though she faced in the opposite direction. I had a passionate radio romance with Lexington in 1947 when I discovered baseball. When that season finished, I ended this affair and in 1948 began one with Nicollet. This ardor increased and led to that special 1949 Saturday. I was loyal to Nicollet and the Minneapolis Millers and except for a single time during the summer of 1953, I had never seen any of her brothers or sisters. In 1953 I attended a game in Lexington with Hu-Hu and his dad. While this was enjoyable and she was very pretty, in my eyes Lexington could not match the inner beauty of Nicollet. I have maintained that night was only a fling and NOT an affair.

Nicollet and I saw each other only once after that. It was Thursday, July 21st, 1955 and Nicollet hosted the All-Star Game. The Millers played a collection of the other teams’ best players that were determined by fan voting. This time I went with my friend Ralph. [Little did I realize then that another Miller would play an important role in my future. A 14½ year old girl by the name of Karen Miller was living just 2 miles west of the ballpark. She would become my wife 5½ years later and Ralph would be the best man at our wedding.] On this second visit to Nicollet, you might say I didn’t get to “first base.” Ralph and I had general admission tickets and we sat in the front row of the rightfield bleachers. Our seats were so close to the field that we could carry a conversation with the pitcher as he warmed up if we chose to. We were sitting where Nicollet began her slinky curve.

It had been six years since my first visit with Nicollet. I was older and more mature and savvy (at least in a baseball sense). During the pregame warm-ups and player introductions I found myself looking across the diamond to the third base side and reflecting to that 1949 April day when my romance with Nicollet began. Nicollet was older too. She was in her 60th year and this was to be her last season. Construction had already begun on a new ball park 10 miles to the south in Bloomington. Next April the Millers would be playing in Metropolitan Stadium. Five years later major league baseball with the arrival of the Minnesota Twins would be using this facility. The same year the Minnesota Vikings of the NFL would call this their home too. The new stadium would be vastly different from Nicollet. It offered ample parking. A large electronic scoreboard replaced the three manuals and the hanging numbers. No more metal billboards serving as outfield walls. A 15 foot wide warning track in the new park to alert outfielders and honest to goodness individual seats that replaced the plank version at Nicollet. And that unique, intimate rightfield zone where 17 feet of roofed bleachers jutting and crossing into fair territory would not be duplicated. I thought about all of the history and excitement that the little park witnessed. Baseball legends through the years with names of Rube Benton, Joe Hauser, Ted Williams, Babe Barna, Ray Dandridge, Willie Mays, and Hoyt Wilhelm. Nicollet could call them as her own.

In 1957 Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr co-starred in a film with the title, AN AFFAIR TO REMEMBER. I fondly recall my two affairs with Nicollet. With all of her charisma, color, and coziness she was one unforgettable lady.

Warren E. Woods

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

Halsey Hall Chapter events

Membership application

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    June 3—Bunny’s Bloody Mary Breakfast, 9:00 a.m. Bunny’s Northeast, northwest quadrant of Broadway and Marshall in northeast Minneapolis.

   June 10Book Club and Vintage Game Video Club, Barnes & Noble, Har Mar Mall, Roseville, 9:30 a.m., The Catcher Was a Spy: The Mysterious Life of Moe Berg by Nicholas Dawidoff and the 1981 All-Star Game.

    June 23—Townball: Cannon Falls Bears at Dundas Dukes, 7:30 p.m., Memorial Park. For more information, contact Stew Thornley, 651-415-0791.

    July 8—Fred Souba Hot Stove Saturday Morning, Curran’s, 42nd and Nicollet, 9:00 a.m.

    July 15—Northwoods League: Waterloo Bucks at Mankato MoonDogs, 6:05 p.m. (pre-game events starting at 1:00 p.m.), Franklin Rogers Park. For more information, contact Stew Thornley, 651-415-0791.

    July 24—Research Committee meeting and SABR convention recap, 7:00 p.m, Ridgedale Library, Minnetonka. For more information, contact Brenda Himrich, 651-415-0791,or Sarah Johnson.

    July 29—Northwoods League: Mankato MoonDogs at Thunder Bay BorderCats, 6:05 p.m., Port Arthur Stadium. For more information, contact Stew Thornley, 651-415-0791.

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Board of Directors 2016-2017
President—Frank Kadwell
Vice President—Tom Flynn
Secretary—Brent Heutmaker
Treasurer—Jerry Janzen
Gene Gomes
Lloyd Kepple
Doug Skipper

Board of Directors 2017-2018
Tom Flynn
Gene Gomes
Brent Heutmaker
Jerry Janzen
Frank Kadwell
Bob Komoroski
Hans Van Slooten

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