Meet the Hoopers (Harry’s family)

The Great Fenway Park Writers Series

A Public Service of the Boston Red Sox

2 August 2016

Dear Special Friends of The Writers Series:

Our next event honors the memory of Harry Hooper, member, Baseball Hall of Fame, and the only Red Sox player to ever play on four World Series team – 1912, 1915, 1916, and 1918.

Fifty members of the Hooper family will join us for our luncheon, Thursday, August 11, in the EMC Club (enter at 20 Yawkey Way). Please note the starting time – 11 am (that’s earlier than normal but necessary).

To bring back those memories of Mr. Hooper’s career, we have invited two exceptional speakers.

First, Mike Vaccaro, lead sports columnist of the New York Post, and author of, “The First Fall Classic: The Red Sox, the Giants, and the Cast of Players, Pugs and Politicos who Reinvented the World Series in 1912”; and, second, Dr. Thomas Whalen, associate professor at Boston University, and author of, “When the Red Sox Ruled: Baseball’s First Dynasty, 1912-1918.”

Dick Flavin will be Dick Flavin and have a special poem memorializing Harry Hooper, and Gordon Edes, the new Red Sox Historian (and the genesis of this program), will introduce our special guests, including a Barber Shop Quartet.

Oh, this should be great fun with you, and the Hooper family back at Fenway.

The cost of the luncheon in EMC is $45, with Mr. Vaccaro’s and Dr. Whalen’s books available for sale and signing separately

RSVP: FenwayParkWriters@gmail.com.
If you have questions, I invite you to call: 619-249-6379, or find details online at www.fenwayparkwriters.org.

NOTE: ESPN’s Brian Kenny, author of, “The Curve: Inside The Baseball Revolution”, speaks September 13 at our luncheon.

Cheers,

George Mitrovich
Chairman

The Great Fenway Park Writers Series
4 Yawkey Way | Boston, Massachusetts 02215 | 617.226.6781

VINTAGE BASE BALL IN OUR ‘BACK YARD’.

Vintage BB 3

Enjoy some barehanded, 1861 rules Base Ball in the coming weeks.

The Thames BBC schedule for August/September (all times TBA):

Sat Aug 6              Woodstock Hilltoppers @ Woodstock, CT

Sat Aug 20            Wethersfield Red Onion @ Fort Trumbull

Sat Aug 27            Bristol Blues BBC @ Bristol, RI or South Dartmouth, RI

Sun Sep 25           Bristol Blues BBC @ Concordia Boatyard in South Dartmouth, RI

Thames home games are at Fort Trumbull State Park in New London.  More info at:  http://www.thamesbbc.org/schedule/2016-season/

 

Schedule information for the Lisbon Tunnelman, another vintage team in CT, can be found at:.

www.lymetavernersbaseball.org/2016-schedule/

 

All dates are tentative.  Before attending, confirm the date and game time with Michael Dreimiller (mcd@dreimiller.com) or Jim Wyman (jnwyman10@aol.com).  In addition to being good guys and fine vintage players, Mike and Jim are CT SABR members.

And don’t forget that a special Vintage BB event will happen on Sat., July 30, 11 AM, at the Springfield, MA Armory.  Two back-to-back games will be played beginning between the Lisbon Tunnelmen and the Woodstock Hilltoppers, demonstrating Civil War era rules, costumes, equipment and culture of the 1860s. Bring your lawn chairs, blankets, picnic lunch and enjoy seeing the game as it was played 150 years ago!  More info at:  http://www.friendsofvintagebaseball.org/

Bob Wirz recalls the ’69 Royals, Stan Musial & the Commissioner’s Office.

Bob W

 

 

By Karl Cicitto

 

CT SABR member Bob Wirz is best known as the PR Director for two former Commissioners of Baseball.  His career arc is rich.  Bob has been a journalist, a BB HOF voter, a football, basketball and baseball broadcaster, a sports TV show host, a minor league and major league PR Manager, the owner of a Sports PR & Marketing firm and a family man blessed with a dear wife, four children and five grandchildren.

 

Bob’s memoir, The Passion of Baseball, is scheduled to be published in October.

 

I had the opportunity to do a Q & A with Bob on July 1, 2016.

 

 

You were the PR Director for the expansion KC Royals in 1969.  What was it like to help bring MLB back to that city?

 

Selfishly, first of all, it was wonderful being in the major leagues after coveting that for so long.  We knew there was a great opportunity in Kansas City because of the hijinks with which Finley treated the fans and his subsequent move to Oakland just as the team was becoming good.   The A’s never had a .500 season in 13 years in KC.  We knew we had an opportunity and we knew we had to build from the ground up.  Because of all the success my Cardinals had enjoyed, people drove through KC to get to St Louis to see the Cardinals.

 

We had to work at building a fan base.  In our preseason campaign we would always have a caravan that would for two weeks visit towns in MO, KS, NE, IA, OK to build interest.  Sometimes Ewing Kauffman’s jet was available to us to go to Tulsa or Springfield, MO, and into towns that were clearly in Cardinal territory.

 

By the time I left to go to the Commissioner’s office we had not achieved great success in KC.  We had achieved relative success for an expansion team, finishing 2nd in the division at least once.  That was before the Royals got good for the first time.  At that point, we kind of thought great success was coming.  George Brett came up in 1973, which was the 5th of my 6 years with the Royals.  Brett was very green and I was wondering what the scouts saw in the guy because he had a hard time.  He really struggled from both a hitting and fielding standpoint.  He was up and down in 1973 and in KC full time in 74.

 

1973 was when Royals Stadium opened.  It was fortunate for me to participate in the opening and marketing of a new stadium and to help win over the fans.  The very first game there was against Texas on a 39 degree night.

 

In those early years especially before Royals Stadium opened the Royals still had trouble drawing.  Tampa Bay’s present attendance looks good compared to what we drew.  But everything is relative.  Other teams struggled in those years, too, including the White Sox, the A’s and Red Sox.  I remember going to Fenway at the time and it was far from a sell-out as the team struggled.  But I have wonderful memories from the opportunities during my time in KC.  Being with the team helped put me on the map with the media.  I connected with the big time columnists and all.

 

I later learned it is much more fun to be with a team than to work for the Commissioner.  It’s the difference between having a team to cheer for and cheering for attendance figures, umpires and that the World Series will go 7 games.

 

That’s how it was when you worked in the Commissioner’s Office.  You really felt that separation when the Commissioner had a dispute with one team and the local media usually sided with that team and opposed the Commissioner.  Those were challenging times.

 

Bob, I want to throw some names at you and get your fast reactions.

OK.

 

John Scheurholz

An exceptional talent.  A good friend.  He and I started together in KC, although he had had some previous time with the Orioles.  We were roughly the same age.  There were a lot of jokes about us being the young guys in the office.   You had a feeling from the start that John was going to go someplace in the game.  A very good talent and very hard working, which is what it takes.

 

Joe Gordon

Joe was a wonderful human being and a lot of fun to be around.  I don’t know how his managing skills are rated overall, maybe not nearly as good as his playing skills, but he was there that first year in Kansas City and was lots of fun.  Trader Vics, a popular restaurant chain at that time, offered a certain dark rum that Joe liked.  I remember going to Trader Vics with Joe on a road trip to Oakland.  I also recall the day when Joe and Ted Williams, who was managing Washington, had a long, animated discussion before a game in Fort Myers.  They were talking about hitting, and commanded the attention of everyone within earshot.

 

Bob Lemon

Great guy.  He became a great personal friend.  I could tell you a lot of stories about Lem.  I’ll tell you a quick one.  He managed the Royals before his off and on time with the Yankees.  After the 1978 playoff game won with the Bucky Dent homer, I needed to fly to Kansas City for ALCS Game 1 the next night.  I had to get to KC more for advance planning on the World Series than to attend the ALCS.  I had gone to Fenway with Bowie Kuhn.  We were able to watch the game without much distraction or work interruptions.  But it wasn’t easy to find a flight from Boston to KC.  The Yankees graciously invited me onto their charter.  This was not something  I really wanted to do because they’d be celebrating and I was unknown to everyone but Lemon, Lou Piniella and few others.  Still, they encouraged me to fly with them and I accepted a seat in the back row.  Well, about halfway to KC, Lem found out I was on board and insisted that I sit with him in first class, and I did so for the rest of the trip.  He had maybe had a cup of tea or two by that time.  He was a great human being.

 

 

 

 

 

When you began writing at The Daily Nebraskan in college, what did you discover about yourself and your relationship with writing and Sports in general?

 

Oh my goodness.  (Laughs.)  I don’t know, Karl.  My whole motivation from age 8, as this book attempts to explain, was to be involved in baseball in some way.  So, I developed into a sports fanatic, like many others.   Most of my motivation in getting my education and various jobs was aimed at getting myself into the game of baseball.  I know that’s not a direct answer to your question but it’s the best one I can give.

 

I asked because of your collegiate journalism experience.  Perhaps writing for the college paper was your first opportunity to attend a game and write the story.

 

Well, that probably is true.  The first serious times for me covering events and writing features would have been when I was at the University (of Nebraska).  I don’t think I’d count the 5 cents or 10 cents per column inch (laughing) that I got in high school when writing for a local weekly.  I consider both the writing opportunities at The Nebraskan and the radio broadcast work I did at the University as being all geared to getting some experience and figure out where I fit into the baseball world.  I knew I couldn’t hit the curveball.

 

 

Nebraska ended Oklahoma’s 74 game winning streak in 1959.  Where were you when Ron Meade intercepted a Sooner pass in the end zone to end it?

 

Right.  (Laughs).  Your research is remarkable.  I don’t remember the details of the game but I remember exactly where I was.  I was working part time at The Lincoln Journal.  When Nebraska had home football games The Journal published a 4 page Extra wrapped on pink paper, believe it or not, that would be available on the streets virtually as people walked just blocks from Memorial Stadium back to downtown after the game.  As a part timer and low man on the totem pole, I was on a head set for that game listening to the radio broadcast and writing a running summary.  I did this for the Oklahoma game while my boss & Sports Editor, Dick Becker, was in the press box writing a one paragraph lead.  Our first edition story was Becker’s lead followed by my running summary.  I’ll probably reproduce a copy of that game story in the book.  That was my little part of that historic event.

 

 

You were a Stan Musial fan?

 

Oh, of course.  I saw my first MLB game on August 16, 1949 in Wrigley Field, Cardinals vs. Cubs.  We were on a trip to see my aunt near Cleveland.  Six of us traveled by car.  I don’t think we had air conditioning.  My Mom and Dad, my sister, and my aunt and Uncle drove from Nebraska to Cleveland, with a side trip to Niagara Falls.

 

Although Cleveland was the main destination, we managed to see a Ladies Day game, which were very popular events in those days at Wrigley.  Musial was 2 for 2 with 2 walks, the Cards losing the game late.  The reason I remember the date so clearly was it was one year to the day that Babe Ruth died, and the Cubs did a moment of silence to recognize his passing.  It was a nearly full house and we had gotten there very early.  In those days you could stay late after the game, and we did.  I could virtually touch some of the Cardinals as they came out of their dressing room.  My Uncle was approached by a number of people for autographs because he resembled the Umpire Frank Dascoli.  What a red letter day that was for me to finally see my first major league baseball game.  We went on and saw 2 games in Cleveland – one against the Yankees and one against Washington.  I saw Bob Feller hit his first home run after returning from the War.  I saw Satchell Paige pitch.  The game versus the Yankees was on Gene Woodling Night.  I still have the programs.  The covers of those programs will be featured in the book, too, because of what they mean to me.

 

(Read the rest of the interview with Bob Wirz (after August 1) in The Wood Pile.  You can purchase a copy of Bob’s book, The Passion of Baseball, this October at www.wirzandassociates.com or through his  blog, www.indybaseballchatter.com  It will also be available in e-book and print format on Amazon and the web-site of Barnes & Noble.)

 

 

 

A Surprise on the Book Trail

All 3 Shots

 

The first time Alan and I did an author talk (June 9, Suffield Library), we and Mike Sandlock were the sole focus for the 75 minute program.  The attendees included devoted and knowing BB fans.

 

Earlier this evening at our second author talk (Bloomfield Library), Alan and I had 10 minutes in total and shared the program with 6 other authors plus one absentee that the Librarian pitched.  Each author also received just 10 minutes.

 

It was an open mike format.  Our BB talk (we led off) was followed by one on adult fiction (deviation), dystopian science fiction parables with political themes, how to be a virtuous woman and not be alone, how God can deliver you from addiction and injury, love for the aching heart, growing up Jewish in Brooklyn, and dealing with life changing injury.

 

Suffice it to say that the vibe was very different between the two events.  And – there was one ironic surprise.

 

In order to pull more attendees in just before the program started, the Librarian walked the floor and encouraged patrons to come to the event.  And who just happened to be in the library and decided to join us?  It was none other than our own Norm Hausmann, the author of the chapter on Bulkeley Stadium, a man widely known to hang out in libraries all over CT.

-Karl

 

 

TEAMMATES & CONCURRENT STREAKS

schedule

Red Sox Jackie Bradley, Jr. and Xander Bogaerts respectively have 27 and 16 game hitting streaks heading into tonight’s game against the Rockies and Jorge De La Rosa.  They will both have to break the 20 game barrier to enter elite territory for teammates.

If you didn’t see it on SABR-L last night, Trent McCorter identified 14 concurrent hitting streaks of at least 20 games by teammates dating back to Bill Dahlen and Jimmy Ryan of the 1894 Chicago Colts.  Here is Trent’s email….

From:    Trent McCotter <treant985@GMAIL.COM>

Subject: Concurrent hitting streaks

 

Cliff Otto asked about the fact that the Red Sox have two players with

active long hitting streaks (Bogaerts up to 16 in a row, Bradley up to 27

in a row).

 

Here are the games of which I’m aware where a team had two players who each

reached or extended hitting streaks of 20+ games:

 

Bill Dahlen & Jimmy Ryan, CHI NL, 7/18/1894 (Ryan’s 20th, Dahlen’s 26th)

Hugh Duffy & Jimmy Bannon, BOS NL, 8/23-8/25/1894 (Bannon’s 20th-23rd,

Duffy’s 23rd-26th)

George Decker & Bill Everitt, CHI NL, 7/27/1896 (Everitt’s 20th, Decker’s

23rd)

Patsy Donovan & Denny Lyons, PIT NL, 8/25-8/26/1896 (Lyon’s 20th-21st,

Donovan’s 23rd-24th)

Carson Bigbee & Charlie Grimm, PIT NL, 7/8/1921 (Grimm’s 20th, Bigbee’s

22nd)

Ken Williams & George Sisler, STL AL, 8/22-8/24/1922 (Sisler’s 20th-22nd,

Williams’s 26th-28th)

Paul Waner & Clyde Barnhart, PIT NL, 6/19-6/20/1927 (Barnhart’s 20th-21st,

Waner’s 22nd-23rd)

Bing Miller & Mule Haas, PHI AL, 6/25/1929(G2) (Haas’s 20th, Miller’s 26th)

Hal Trosky & Roy Weatherly, CLE AL, 7/28/1936 (Weatherly’s 20th, Trosky’s

22nd)

Hal Trosky & Odell Hale, CLE AL, 7/29(G2)-7/30/1936 (Hale’s 20th-21st,

Trosky’s 24th-25th)

Mel Almada & George McQuinn, STL AL, 8/11(G1)-8/11/1938 (G2) (McQuinn’s

20th-21st, Almada’s 28th-29th)

Joe Gordon & Buddy Hassett, NYY AL, 6/8/1942 (Hassett’s 20th, Gordon’s 25th)

Al Oliver & Richie Zisk, PIT NL, 8/28/1974 (Zisk’s 20th, Oliver’s 21st)

Mickey Rivers & Al Oliver, TEX AL, 9/8-9/9/1980 (Oliver’s 20th-21st,

Rivers’s 23rd-24th)

Dan Uggla & Freddie Freeman, ATL NL, 8/6/2011 (Freeman’s 20th, Uggla’s 27th)

 

You’ll see that the Indians in 1936 came very close to having three players

with active 20+ game streaks at the very same time.

 

Trent McCotter

HANO!

HANO

There will be a special screening of the acclaimed documentary HANO! A CENTURY IN THE BLEACHERS.  Please mark your calendar for June 18 at 10 AM.

HANO! Screening

Sat., June 18

10:00 AM

Chapman Hall

Middlesex Community College

100 Training hill Rd.

Middletown, CT 06457

 

Arnold Hano authored A DAY IN THE BLEACHERS in 1954, forever preserving the game in which Willie Mays made his immortal catch of Vic Wertz’s drive in the World Series.  Arnold  has spent the 62 years since then pursuing journalism and social justice.  He is truly an amazing person.

To get a sense of how interesting this documentary is click here to watch the trailer:

www.hanodoc.com/trailer/

On the 18th, the Film maker, Jon Leonoudakis, will skype with us for a Q & A following the screening.

Coffee, Decaf, water and munchkins will be available.

If you would like to order your own DVD of HANO! for $20 plus shipping just go to www.hanodoc.com.

A limited autographed bundle is available.  It includes the HANO! DVD and a copy of the book, A Day In The Bleachers, signed by Arnold Hano.  The bundle is $50.  If you are interested in the bundle please email me at kcicitto@cox.net.  I’ll set up a group shipment to minimize shipping expenses for all.

Thank you and have a wonderful weekend.

Karl

Pre-Loved BB Books for a Buck (or two)

 

Book Wallpaper

Alan has culled a number of good BB books from local book sales and added to the list of tomes available for purchase.  Most are $1.  You can email Alan at adc0317@comcast.net to reserve a book and arrange payment.  Payment can be made by mail or at a chapter function like the breakfast on May 14.  Or the screening of HANO! on June 18.  All funds go to the chapter treasury.  Here is the list:

SABR – CT Smoky Joe Wood Library
Author Title Price
Angell, Roger The Summer Game $1
Appel, Marty Pinstripe Empire $3
Asinof, Eliott Eight Men Out $1
Bouton, Jim Ball Four Plus Ball Five $2
Carter, Gary (w John Hough, Jr.) A Dream Season $1
Collins, Jim The Last Best League $1
Costas, Bob Fair Ball $1
Deford, frank The Entitled $1
Eig, Jonathan Luckiest Man $1
Einstein, Charles Fireside Book of Baseball – Volume 4 $2
Feller, Bob (w Bill Gilbery) Now Pitching Bob Feller $1
Fleder, Rob Sports Illustrated: Great baseball Writing $1
Ford, Whitey (w Phil Pepe) Few and Chosen $1
Ford, Whitey (w Phil Pepe) Slick $1
Garagiola, Joe Baseball is a Funny Game $1
Gewecke, Cliff Day by Day in Dodgers History $1
Gordon, Peter Diamonds are Forever $1
Halberstam, David Summer of ’49 $2
Halberstam, David October, ’64 $2
Harrelson, Bud (w Phil Pepe) Turning Two $1
Jackson, Reggie (w Mike Lupica) Reggie $1
Johnson, Davey (w Peter Golenbock) Bats $1
Kahn, Roger The Boys of Summer $2
Kahn, Roger Good Enough to Dream $1
Kearns-Goodwin, Doris Wait Till Next Year $1
Kiner, Ralph (w Joe Gergen) Kiner’s Korner $1
Luciano, Ron Remembrances of Swings Past $1
Madden, Bill Pride of October $1
McCarver, Tim (w Danny Peary) Baseball for Bran Surgeons and Other Fans $1
McCarver, Tim (w Tim Robinson) Oh, Baby, I Love It $1
Nemec, David 20th Century Baseball Chronicle $3
O’Nan and Stephen King Faithful $1
Ritter, Lawrence S. The Glory of Their Times $2
Shaughnessy, Dan Reversing the Curse $1
Smith, Ira L and H. Allen Smith Low and Inside $1
Stadler, Mike The Psychology of Baseball $1
Staudohar, Paul Baseball’s Best Short Stories $1
Thorn, John The Game for All America $1
Thorn, John Total Baseball $3
Underwood, John It’s only Me: The Ted Williams we Hardly Knew $1
Vincent, Fay The Last Commissioner $1
Ward, Geoffrey C. and Ken Burns Baseball $3
Wells, David (w Chrise Kreski) Perfect I’m Not $1
Will, George Men at Work $1
Zimmer, Don (w Bill Madden) Zim: A Baseball Life $1

Bill James, Rob Neyer in Provincetown May 27.

Bill James

 

INSIDE BASEBALL: Bill James in Conversation with Rob Neyer
Friday, May 27, 7:00 p.m. $25.  At The Barn, 25 Miller Hill Rd., Provincetown, MA.

Buy Tickets

Bill James, whose quantitative analysis of baseball revolutionized the sport, will talk with baseball writer Rob Neyer about his life, his career, and the national pastime. James, who now serves as a senior advisor to the Boston Red Sox, began writing his annual Bill James Baseball Abstract in the 1970s. These books focused on what James later termed “sabermetrics”—the objective analysis of the game. His ideas reached a larger audience when Michael Lewis wrote about him in Moneyball, a book later made into a movie starring Brad Pitt. Neyer, a writer for FOX Sports and the author or coauthor of six books on baseball, spent fifteen years as a columnist for ESPN and has served as the baseball editor for SB Nation.

Thanks to Joanne Hulbert of the Boston Chapter for forwarding this info.