Baseball memories dominated the 12th Annual Winter Meeting on Saturday – reminiscing about the Houston Astros’ memorable World Series win, hearing about beisbol in Cuba, learning about volunteer opportunities with RBI Austin and electing just one player in our mock Hall of Fame vote.
Keynote speaker Branch B. Rickey (pictured above), president of the Pacific Coast League, returned to the winter meeting to share anecdotes about his career in Major League and Minor League Baseball. He talked about the difficulty of enforcing rules, such as those that punish players for leaving the dugout during brawls. He also shared some background in how San Antonio will feature a Triple-A team in 2019, and what that means for the other PCL teams.
Nearly 50 chapter members and guests also heard from author Anne Keene (pictured above), the daughter of former professional baseball player Jim Raugh. She talked about baseball in the 1940s and a little-known Navy team that featured Ted Williams. Her father was a batboy on that team, which also featured Johnny Pesky and Johnny Sain. Her forthcoming book, The Cloudbuster Nine, is scheduled to be published on May 1 and can be pre-ordered on amazon.com.
KHOU Digital Content Producer and proud Texas State alumna Lisa Carter (pictured above) shared her perspectives and photos from the 2017 World Series, in which she covered every game in Los Angeles and Houston. She talked about receiving a call from her editor immediately after the Astros won the American League Championship Series, which gave the Astros their ticket to the World Series. Little did she realize that she would be on a plane the next day to cover the first game of the World Series in Los Angeles.
Chapter member Monte Cely (pictured above) talked about his week-long trip to Cuba in September with other SABR members to watch baseball and learn about the Caribbean island nation, noting that even though politics may divide our countries, it’s beisbol that unites us. Highlights of his trip included meeting the son of legendary Cuban player Martin Dihigo and Cuban national team star pitcher Pedro Luis Lazo.
Award-winning journalist, broadcaster and voice of the Round Rock Express, Mike Capps (pictured above), returned to the winter meeting to give his insight about the Express and outlook for the Texas Rangers in the upcoming season. He said he’s looking forward to adding San Antonio to the travel schedule for the Express in 2019 and beyond. He expressed concern for the Rangers’ chances, especially in a division with a strong Astros team and an improved Angels squad. He suggested that Rangers fans hope that their team can play .500 ball during most of the season, giving them a shot at a Wild Card spot, that Rougned Odor returns to form and that the Rangers find effective starting pitching, whether through trades, free agent acquisition or from the farm system.
As has been the practice at the winter meeting recent years, Jan Larson conducted a Hall of Fame election for everyone in attendance at the meeting. At the end of the meeting, he shared that our meeting participants elected only one player to the Baseball Hall of Fame – Chipper Jones, who was selected on 27 of the 31 ballots. Twenty-four votes (or 75 percent) were needed to be elected. Close calls on our ballots included Jim Thome (19 votes) and Curt Schilling (18 votes). Roger Clemens, Edgar Martinez and Mike Mussina all had 16 votes. Barry Bonds and Vladimir Guerrero had 15 votes each, and Trevor Hoffman had 12 votes. All other names on the ballot were in single-digit vote totals or had zero votes. Also, there were an average of 7.1 selections (out of a maximum of 10) on each ballot. The official Hall of Fame vote is scheduled to be revealed on Jan. 24.
Chapter member Ira Siegel talked about his volunteer work with RBI Austin, an affiliate of MLB’s RBI program. In addition, Jordan Boessling, who also volunteers with RBI Austin, talked about working with underserved communities in Austin and helping teach baseball and provide opportunities for young people. More information about RBI Austin can be found at their website: http://www.rbiaustin.org/
Jim Baker (pictured above) kicked off the meeting with an entertaining group activity – Name the Player, Name the Car, which featured advertisements and promotions of baseball players posing with motor vehicles.
Many thanks to everyone who attended another very successful day of baseball chatter at the Winter Meeting! Also, well wishes are in order for Ryan Pollack, who coordinated the agenda for the Winter Meeting but was unable to attend because of illness. Get well soon, Ryan! And, much appreciation to Raeanne Martinez for arranging and organizing lunch from Which Wich.
This was the 134th consecutive month in which the chapter has met, a streak dating to December 2006.
In honor of the Ninth Annual SABR Day, the chapter is planning on gathering for lunch at 12:30 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 27, at Macaroni Grill at the Arboretum in north Austin. More details of this and other SABR Day events around the country can be found at this link: http://sabr.org/sabrday
More pictures from the winter meeting: