The next general meeting of CT SABR will have a 19th Century theme. It will be on Sat., Oct. 9 at 1 pm in Chapman Hall, Room 605, Middlesex Community College, 100 Training Hill Rd., Middletown, CT 06457.
Bill Ryczek will present on the extraordinary 1884 season. Michael Murphy will share his Retro All Star annual selections for 1876 to 1899. Joanne Hulbert will talk about the wildly popular game of Wicket in CT. Alan Cohen will examine Sunday Base Ball. Karl Cicitto will talk about 19th Century programs and tickets.
The Covid protocols for the college in place at that time will be followed at the meeting. More to come.
I asked Marjorie Adams some Q’s about her family and Doc Adams on August 6-7, 2014. Here is Marjorie, in her own words, at that time.
Marjorie Adams, member of the Joe Wood Chapter, was delighted on July 31 when she learned that her great grandfather, Doc Adams, had been named the Overlooked 19th Century Base Ball Legend by SABR’s 19th Century Research Committee. Marjorie’s goal is to see Doc Adams recognized in Cooperstown with a plaque in consideration of his significant contributions to the game. She is motivated by love for her father, her grandfather, and for Doc Adams.
KC: You are a resident of New London County. Tell us about your background.
I was born and raised on Manhattan Island. That’s where I grew up. Doc lived in New York, too, of course. My Mom’s family has been on Manhattan Island since the Dutch. I have one sister, Nancy. I have no children. Nancy has 4 children and 8 Grandchildren. I am not an athlete. I’m a book person, a history geek. Nancy played baseball and softball and tennis.
5 years after I was born we built a summer home in Wilton. They put in a gravel driveway. I remember my mother telling Nancy to stop using the gravel to practice her throwing.
I did not attend a major league game as a child. I have not attended one even to this day. But I would love to see Jeter play.
I’ve never been to a big league game but I have for the last two years gotten out regularly to the New England Collegiate Baseball League, which has teams in Mystic, Danbury, Newport and other towns. The quality of the games is good. I’ve had a blast and met many nice people there. I believe I’ve seen a few players who might have professional talent.
Let me just explain my motive for pursuing HOF recognition for Doc. It’s for my father, my grandfather and my great grandfather. This is also a history project. Baseball is the National Pastime. It’s important that the historical record is accurate. It’s also for my nieces and nephews.
KC: How did you become aware of your great grandfather’s role in BB history?
There were several Daniel Adams in the family so Mom was careful to find a way to differentiate each Daniel. She referred to Doc Adams as ‘the baseball guy”. I remember as a kid that Mom also referred to Doc as the one who played flute duets with Henry Ward Beecher, the brother of Harriet Beecher Stowe. That meant a lot to me. My Parents felt it was important for their kids to know about our family members. We grew up hearing stories.
KC: Doc played in the first ever game between two base ball teams, held at Elysian Fields in 1846. What do you think about having such an illustrious relative?
Any glory is Doc’s. It is not mine.
We stood at home plate 2 weeks ago (at Elysian site), Nancy and I. It was great fun, terribly exciting. It was thrilling.
KC: What is the main reason that Doc should be inducted?
Doc made some important contributions to the game. That is a fact. He was also a strong leader. Some baseball historians have written that Doc really moved forward the game by pushing the Knickerbocker members to show up at Elysian Fields and play the game. No-shows were a real issue. And they listened, they followed him. In addition to everything else he did, he was a true leader.
KC: Why did Doc remain a bachelor throughout his playing days?
I have no idea. There is a letter, circa 1860, to Doc from his father in which his father expresses his opinion about Doc taking a wife. There was a certain Yankee reticence about it. His father never interfered. I should mention that Cornelia, his wife, was a distant cousin of Walter Avery and George Ireland, Jr., both Knickerbockers.
KC: Doc married your great grandmother when he was 47. He called the marriage his crowning achievement.
He never talked about baseball after he left it. His wife, family, and the education of his children were his world. Yes, he did attend the 1875 reunion of the Knickerbockers and he still made baseballs for his sons and played baseball with them into his 80’s.
One thing that may have been a factor in this is that Doc and Cornelia may have lost a child before leaving New York. The loss of a child is mentioned in a letter between Doc and his father.
Speaking of letters, there is one written by Doc’s sister on June 15, 1832, when he was away at Amherst, in which she addresses his concerns about using his things. “I have not played with your bat and ball as you bid me. I forget it every morning and indeed I have not seen it since you went away.”
KC: His Ridgefield home is now the site of Ballard Park. His last address was 146 Edwards St., New Haven. Have you visited either place?
When I was little my parents drove me by the Ridgefield house so I could see it before it was demolished. I don’t really remember anything about it. But I do have a Revolutionary War cannon ball that came from the backyard of that house. So does Nancy.
As for the house in New Haven there were 2 reasons that Doc moved there from Ridgefield. He had put his sons in Yale and that was expensive. The move saved money. And, moving to New Haven enabled Doc to keep an eye on the boys and make sure they were studying.
KC: Doc retired at age 51, perhaps due to health reasons.
There is the possibility that he had typhus at one point in the 1850’s. He was busy. He was a vaccine physician for New York City. He was building his own practice. He played the flute. He was deeply involved with Base Ball.
When he was young, he was given 2 choices: Be a Minister or a Doctor. I suspect he became a doctor because his father was a doctor. He retired from medicine in 1864, the same year that his father passed.
KC: In John Thorn’s SABR biography of Doc Adams, he writes that Roger C. Adams carried the family line forward. Tell us about the people in the progression from Doc to you.
My father was a well-respected Banker at Marine Midland. My Grandfather was in Engineering. They were the finest, kindest gentlemen that God ever made. Father and Grandfather both dabbled in carpentry.
KC: What are you involved in? What do you want to get done?
I want Doc to be recognized by the Baseball Hall of Fame with a plaque. I am so grateful to SABR for the recognition he received last week. I waited with great anticipation for the message from SABR’s Bob Gregory that confirmed it.
KC: Tell us about the team you have assembled.
Pops O’Maxfield, Karen O’Maxfield, Roger and Cathy Ratzenberger from The Friends of Vintage Base Ball, my sister Nancy and we’ve been recently joined by Bob Gregory and Joe Williams, also SABR members. If it weren’t for the help of the Friends of Vintage Base Ball, we would not be as far along in this quest as we are — and I welcome Joe and Bob to our merry band!
I am very grateful to SABR and its researchers, particularly John Thorn. I know that there is a strong emphasis on numbers in SABR. But they do care about the earliest years of the game. I am so grateful to Adam Darowski, Peter Mancuso and all the members of SABR’s 19th Century Research Committee.
KC: What might it feel like to make the induction speech in Cooperstown?
I am so ready to stand with Nancy on that dais in Cooperstown. Because I am doing this for my family and Doc. And it will be the best moment of my life.
(NOTE NEW TIME) Join in at the next chapter event on Sat, July 10, 2021, a lunch at Rein’s Deli. Meet at 1 p.m. No agenda, just good fellowship and baseball talk. 435 Hartford Turnpike, Vernon, CT 06066. For more information contact Steve Krevisky at SKrevisky@mxcc.commnet.edu.
This event was formerly announced as an 11 AM brunch but has moved to a 1 PM lunch.
Hi, SABR Friends. Please join us at 6:30 PM on Feb. 18 for our next chapter Zoom. The meeting will feature Aaron Gaberman, a young man who battled cancer with his close friend, Bobby Murcer, and triumphed. On hand also will be Neil Scherer, lawyer/antique collector/lover of baseball history, who has presented eye popping exhibitions of memorabilia about the Polo Grounds and the Yankee-Red Sox rivalry.
Hope you can join in.
SABR members can receive the Zoom meeting link by registering to attend by using the below link:
Construction of a new ballpark for the Worcester Red Sox is up and running again. Here’s an update from Ballpark Digest. (Above photo credit: Worcester Business Journal.) – KC
Polar Park still on schedule; development terms change By Kevin Reichard Work continues on Polar Park , future home of the Worcester Red Sox (Class AAA; International League), but the development surrounding the downtown facility has changed in the face of the current COVID-19 economy. Polar Park is scheduled to open in April 2021, with construction approximately 50 percent completed. Despite some construction hiccups due to the COVID-19 pandemic, that opening date still holds. The team announced last week that capacity for Polar Park would be 9,508—echoing the 508 area code assigned to the Worcester area. Capacity is an arbitrary number, of course: there is a specific number of fixed seats at any ballpark, but capacity just mean how many fans you can cram into a facility. In this case, assigning a 9,508 capacity is just inspired marketing. Also announced: a Fan Dugout holding groups up to 20 fans, situated next to the WooSox dugout, in a move that appears to an homage to the dugout seating at the team’s former home, McCoy Stadium. The other news related to Polar Park last week, however, related to development outside the ballpark, as the ballpark is just one part of a larger $240-million redevelopment. There have been other adjustments since the initial redevelopment plan was unveiled , and the news this past week had to do with the downsizing of a hotel and a parking lot, along with an adjustment of competition dates for private development. We’re not talking huge delays in the completion of private development: one to two years. But in this round no private development has been canceled—but the delays do affect when the city can expect revenue from delayed projects. Potential delays were already built into the $130-million ballpark financing plan, and as of now there will be no need for Worcester to dip into general funds to cover shortfalls. From the Worcester Telegram : “The North Star for which this project has continually been premised, that the ballpark will pay for itself, continues with this recommendation,” said [City Manager Edward M. Augustus Jr.]. “The city’s pro forma for the District Improvement Financing District has been updated to reflect these changes. “The biggest impact of the amendment on the pro forma is in the first few years due to the delay development schedule,” he added. “However, through updates to the debt repayment schedule, grant funds and new development, the city has sufficient funding to offset any delays in the early years. Overall, the pro forma is still healthy and shows a considerable return on investment for the city of Worcester over the 30-year life of the (ballpark) bond.” The city also took a proactive step in selling properties in the ballpark area for $5 million, building up a reserve to cover shortfalls and delays. Eventually the development of these properties will contribute to the area tax base, as will a newly planned development in the area. The lesson: big development projects have plenty of moving parts, and these parts won’t always work together smoothly. But with careful planning and conservative revenue estimates, the impact of major events like the COVID-19 pandemic can be minimized. Photo of Polar Park construction courtesy Worcester Red Sox. Kevin Reichard is founder and publisher of Ballpark Digest .
Baseball is happening at Dunkin Donuts Park this Monday, Aug. 3. Mike Mont (World Series Club) sent along this message about the Twilight League games that will help honor Johnny Schoolboy Taylor, a man of color, and one of the best professional ballplayers in Hartford’s history.
I hope you are all doing well, staying safe and healthy, in this difficult time. I’m sure many of you are disappointed that you will not be able to visit our local Dunkin Donuts Park to cheer on the hometown Yard Goats this season, but here’s an interesting opportunity for a great cause that may be of some interest to you.
The Greater Hartford Twilight Baseball League has made it a new tradition to play some games at Dunkin Donuts Park each summer to support many local great causes. In the past, they have donated the gate revenue for these games to Camp Courant, MS 4 MS, and Connecticut Children’s Medical Center. This year, the revenue from the games played will benefit something we all do at every meeting of the World Series Club, remember the past and celebrate the history of baseball.
In recent years, the GHTBL has made it their mission to acknowledge and pay tribute to Johnny “Schoolboy” Taylor, Hartford’s first professional black athlete. They have worked tirelessly, and successfully, to urge City Council members to rename Colt Park Public Field #9 after Johnny Taylor. This year, all of the money raised at the games will go towards the field renovations for the soon to be named Johnny “Schoolboy” Taylor Field. This will be an outstanding way to pay tribute to a man who many say is the best baseball player to come out of Connecticut.
Because of the fact that the games will raise money to help the new field, the city has offered free parking on Trumbull Street (across from the Main Entrance) for the games, which will be played this Monday, August 3rd. First game starts at 6pm, with the second game starting a half hour after its completion. One half of the stadium will be open for the first game, while the other half will be open for the second game, to allow for proper cleaning and distancing. Tickets can be purchased at the door for $10 each with no cost for those that are 14 years or younger. Masks are required for entry, but can be removed once seated.
Below is a link to a 2011 SABR article about Johnny Taylor. I encourage all of you to read up on the history of this great player and attend Monday night’s games, if you are able to and comfortable doing so. To show the importance of this cause and how much we support the GHTBL in their efforts, the World Series Club has agreed to donate $500 to help them get started. We hope to have many more in the stands so they can raise the money needed to get this field cleaned up. Please visit the GHTBL website ( www.ghtbl.org) for more info, and also check up on their social media accounts for more info and updates. See you at the park!