Results tagged ‘ SUNY Oneonta ’

SABR Day in Cooperstown

By Jim Gates

The Society for American Baseball Research (SABR) celebrated its annual National SABR Day on Saturday, Jan. 28, with local chapters holding meetings throughout North America. The Baseball Hall of Fame recognized the work of this organization by hosting a meeting of the Cliff Kachline Chapter in the Hall of Fame’s Bullpen Theater.

Chapter president Jeff Katz opened the meeting with some general business items, including a discussion of how to promote the summer meeting which occurs every year on the Sunday evening of Induction Weekend. The chapter will try to set up a tent to hand out information that weekend. The meeting is open to all, and interested parties should drop by the tent to learn more. Research presentations were then delivered by chapter members.

The presentations included one from Professor Jon Arakaki of the State University of New York-Oneonta, who has been conducting research on the appearance of baseball on the covers of Sports Illustrated from 1954 to date. He has examined 3,299 covers for which 605 or 18.3 percent are baseball related, only five of which do not concern the major leagues. Of all the baseball covers, appearances were broken down by person, team, race and gender. The most revealing numbers relate to the breakdown by race. 

During the 1950s, 88% of Sports Illustrated covers were related to Caucasians, 9% to African-Americans, and 3% to Hispanics. By the 1990s these figures had changed to 55% for Caucasians, 28% for African-American, and 16% for Hispanics. This data served to support Arakaki’s general conclusions that these magazine covers mirror our culture and represent what is a hot topic, and that they also serve to suggest who wields cultural influence at any time.

Anyone seeking additional information on the Society of American Baseball Research can check out their web site, www.sabr.org, and anyone interested in becoming involved in baseball research should consider becoming a member.  The next meeting of the Cliff Kachline Chapter will be Sunday evening, July 22nd.

Jim Gates is the Librarian at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.

A passion for the game

Francis_90.jpgBy Bill Francis

They came because of their love of baseball; they left with an enriched knowledge of the game.

More than 160 people from throughout the country converged on the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum from June 3-5 to attend the annual Cooperstown Symposium on Baseball and American Culture. The 21st edition, with programs held in the Museum’s Grandstand Theater, Bullpen Theater and Education Gallery, featured more than 60 presenters on such wide-ranging topics as baseball in literature, baseball iconography, Babe Ruth and baseball in American dance.

6-8-09-Francis_Symposium.jpgHall of Fame Librarian Jim Gates, a co-coordinator of the event, said the total of this year’s attendees, who traveled from as far as Australia and Hawaii, surpassed the previous high watermark by approximately two dozen participants.

While most of the participants came from the world of academia, there were also two judges, a dentist, former big league first baseman Dan Ardell — who played seven games for the 1961 Los Angeles Angels — and Hugh Hewitt, who broadcast his nationally syndicated radio show from the from the Hall of Fame Library Atrium for two nights.

According to the Symposium’s other co-coordinator, Bill Simons, a history professor at the SUNY College at Oneonta who has participated in all 21 Symposium’s, this year’s was the best quality.

“We have some incredible people here from a variety of disciplines, and there’s a special dimension that you feel,” Simons said. “We have become a Symposium that welcomes new people, whether it is graduate students or women, which add a tremendous vitality. I think this is reflected in the quality of the presentations.

“We have built up a great history, and that history continues and goes forward,” he added. “This is the preeminent academic baseball conference.”

Keynote speaker Paul Dickson, who was at his first Symposium, opened the conference by talking about his work on the recently re-released Dickson Baseball Dictionary.

“It’s just been absolutely beyond my expectations,” said Dickson, who has published 55 books, including eight on baseball, and is currently working on a biography of Hall of Fame owner Bill Veeck. “There’s a great sense of camaraderie here. As a non-scholar, as a straight-up writer, I go to some scholarly events, and you are always considered the outsider, but here it’s just the opposite. They don’t check your Ph.D. at the door to make sure you’re part of the club. It’s a very welcoming, wonderful environment.

“Coming in, I thought it would be a little dryer. I didn’t realize there was going to be such vitality and spirit. And I thought the panel on Curt Flood and anti-trust on Thursday was the level of an Oxford debate.”

On Friday, as his three long days were coming to an end, Gates half-jokingly said he came up with an advertising slogan Thursday night: “This is the ultimate baseball geekfest.”

The annual Cooperstown Symposium on Baseball and American Culture, co-sponsored by the State University of New York College at Oneonta and the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, examines the impact of baseball on American culture from inter- and multi-disciplinary perspectives.

Bill Francis is a library associate for the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.

Culture Clubs

Francis_90.jpgBy Bill Francis

If baseball and cricket aren’t brothers, they are probably distant cousins. And sometimes visiting relatives, when they get together, are not always readily accepted.

Such was the point made by Beth Hise, a guest curator for the Marylebone Cricket Club Museum in London, England, during a presentation on Wednesday afternoon in the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum’s Education Gallery. Hise’s work, entitled The Crowd Began to Shout “Atta Boy” With a Lancashire Accent: The English Response to Baseball Exhibition Games in the Early 20th Century, was one of many presentations that took place on the first day of the annual Cooperstown Symposium on Baseball and American Culture.

6-6-09-Francis_Wright.jpgHise, who lives in Australia but was raised in Cleveland as an Indians fan, is currently working on an exhibit on cricket and baseball. She combined her appearance at the Symposium with her continuing research at the Hall of Fame.

“Today’s talk was looking in detail at one small element of the exhibition, which is the spreading of the two games,” said Hise. “Cricket spread internationally very strongly through the British Empire, where they weren’t imposing a foreign game; they were imposing an entirely foreign system. And the game came as part of it.

“Where baseball is very different is that baseball tried to missionize and send out teams around the world but they sent out two star-studded teams to play each other,” she added, referring to exhibition games held throughout Europe by the Chicago White Sox and New York Giants in both 1913-14 and 1924. “My talk looked at the reception of those two tours in the early 20th Century and how England, in particular, received those tours.”

According to Hise, England saw in those tours something that was outside of anything that they would have anything to do with.

“It was great spectacle, thousands showed up for the matches, they were watched by royalty, but what I did was I looked at the press response,” she said. “I found a lot of different things that the reporters wrote about – very humorous, very good natured, very much enjoying the spectacle, enjoying what they learned about Americans but keeping it all pretty much at arm’s length.”

Hise added the Major League Baseball International is now promoting the fact that our national pastime isn’t strictly an American game but can be adopted for each country’s own needs and have it reflect what they want it to.

“But in the early 20th Century it was really brought over to England as an American export and very much enjoyed in a very strongly American, patriotic sense.”

The annual Cooperstown Symposium on Baseball and American Culture, co-sponsored by the State University of New York College at Oneonta and the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, runs through Friday. Each year, the event brings baseball scholars from throughout the country together to examine the impact of baseball on American culture from inter- and multi-disciplinary perspectives.

Bill Francis is a library associate for the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.

21st Annual Cooperstown Symposium Begins Wednesday

6-1-09-Carr_Hall.jpgCarr_90.jpgBy Samantha Carr

Twenty-one years strong and bigger than ever before.

The Annual Cooperstown Symposium on Baseball and American Culture, co-sponsored by the State University of New York College at Oneonta and the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, begins Wednesday morning in Cooperstown. Each year, the event brings baseball scholars from throughout the country together to examine the impact of baseball on American culture from inter- and multi-disciplinary perspectives. 

6-1-09-Carr_Dickson Mug.jpg“This year we have more speakers than ever before and it will last from Wednesday morning until Friday evening,” said Jim Gates, the Hall of Fame’s librarian. “We have a wide range of subject listings, and I’m looking forward to it.”

This year’s event will feature keynote speaker Paul Dickson, author of The Dickson Baseball Dictionary, The UnWritten Rules of Baseball, The Joy of Keeping Score and many other baseball titles. Dickson will be speaking about his work on the historical lexicography of baseball terms and expressions.

The Symposium will feature discussions on everything from baseball and the law to monuments and memorials to music and poetry. It will conclude Friday evening with a screening of Diamond in the Dunes: Hope and Baseball in China’s Wild West, a work-in-progress documentary.

Samantha Carr is the media relations coordinator at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.

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