SABR 44 fever … catch it
I drove back today from another thoroughly excellent Society for American Baseball Research national convention. Houston’s Larry Dierker Chapter did a top-notch job hosting. The convention is three days of presentations and committee meetings, with panels that included Dierker, Jimmy Wynn, Enos Cabell, Jose Cruz, Bob Watson, Bobby Brown, Alan Ashby, Art Howe and Roger Clemens. (Clemens didn’t take any Hall of Fame or steroids questions, although Art Howe talked about how disappointed he was about his portrayal in the movie “Moneyball.)
At one point during the convention, I found myself on the same elevator as Eddie Robinson, a player I frankly wasn’t familiar with. He played in 13 major league seasons, and is part of the answer to a remarkable trivia question. He was the seventh player to hit a ball out of Comiskey Park. The first six were a group of ballplayers of some note: Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Jimmy Foxx, Hank Greenberg, Ted Williams and Mickey Mantle. I would have never guessed Robinson was 93 years old.
The last big event of the weekend was a Saturday night ballgame between the Blue Jays and Astros, perhaps the most eventful major league game I’ve ever attended. It included:
- Jose Altuve scoring from first on an errant pickoff throw (plus another error):
- A Chris Carter home run that we thought went all the way out of Minute Maid Park. It was the first August game played with the roof open in 10 years, and he smoke a ball to left. We were looking into the sun and never saw or heard it hit anything, but were told it had hit something before it left the stadium.
- An inside-the-park home run by Jon Singleton, initially ruled out at home by the umpire but overturned by replay.
- A home run robbed by Houston’s Robbie Grossman, saving Moss Point’s Tony Sipp from allowing a blast on the only pitch he threw in the game.
- And L.J. Hoes diving into the left-field stands to make a great catch. (I chose not to buy a T-shirt for Carla with his name on the back. I don’t believe that would have been well received.)
But the most earth-shattering event came in the top of the sixth when Toronto’s Danny Valencia hit a looping line drive down the first-base line. It bounced in the stands about five or six rows in front of me, and I grabbed it on one hop. Never even got out of my seat and didn’t have to reach for it.