atlanta braves

This weekend I had the great fortune of attending the Society for American Baseball Research annual convention.SABR40 Convention Graphic | SABR40 was hosted by the Magnolia Chapter in the city of Atlanta.  At the time of submitting my registration for the conference, I was living just south of the city and expected to make an easy commute to and from home to partake in the panels and discussions on the agenda.  However since that time, the family has begun a transition to pursue opportunities in New England, so the commute now included a plane flight.  Fortunately, (or not so fortunately) the house is still on the market and I was able to take care of some home maintenance upon my return to Atlanta, while also attending the convention.

My overall impression is that there are many incredibly smart individuals with extraordinary passion driving their pursuit of greater knowledge of the game of baseball. I was in awe of the exquisite detail included in the member presentations, while thoroughly enjoying the exchanges during the panel discussions.

Here are some notes:

My first event was Thursday evening and the panel discussion of Women Baseball Writers held at Charis Books and More in the Little Five Points district of Atlanta. The panel consisted of Dorothy Seymour Mills, Christina Kahrl and Cecilia Tan. Also listed on the panel was Judith Testa who was unable to attend for some reason.  I was looking forward to seeing Judith since I had done a Cover the Bases podcast with her about her biography of Sal Maglie.

  • Cecilia is also a previous guest on the podcast, so it was great to meet her this night and to see her throughout the weekend live blogging on her site Cecilia read the introduction and a favorite passage of her book The 50 Greatest Games in Yankee History
  • Dorothy Seymour Mills discussed her work with her husband and colleague Harold Seymour, as well as her biography A Woman’s Work and her recent book Chasing Baseball.
  • I was really impressed with Christina Kahrl’s story of building up the Baseball Prospectus from it’s initial beginnings to an essential publication for serious baseball fans.  She has succeeded in collaborating on the annuals inspired by the Bill James Baseball Abstracts.
  • Also getting a chance to tell us about her current work was Stephanie Liscio who is publishing a book titled Integrating Cleveland Baseball.
  • One of the benefits of being in town this weekend was the series with the San Francisco Giants. Tonights ballgame was a big 3-2 win over Tim Lincecum. I also fired up the MLB Package on DirectTV and watched the Padres take one from the Dodgers.

Day two started out with a panel discussion called 1990’s Braves “Worst to First” Era Panel including Phil Niekro, Mark Lemke, Bobby Cox and Ron Gant, moderated by recent Cover the Bases guest Pete Van Wieren. Braves Panel | SABR 40 |

  • Sat next to a gentleman who produced a baseball for the Braves panelists to sign.  He mentioned to me that it was from the previous night’s ballgame.  As he told the story, it had bounced off the hands of another fan in front of him and it presented itself softly in front of him.  It was a foul off the bat of Alex Gonzalez who homered two pitches later!
  • To my left was a guy who was admiring my iPad and we discussed how he could use it for work purposes.  Unfortunately the hotel was a complete black hole as far as internet connectivity.  One of the discoveries of this weekend is how much better the AT&T 3G coverage is in Boston than it is in Atlanta.
  • My seat mates and I talked a lot of about the Braves and I was able to relate the importance of Pete Van Wieren to the entire Braves community.  We also discussed autographs and his pursuit of the identity of a former Orioles player whose signature he cannot decipher.
  • One of the best lines of the panel came from Bobby Cox when jokingly discussing umpires said, “I like all umpires .. except for the one in Florida last night!”.  The night before, umpire Bob Davidson had missed a fair / foul call that cost the Florida Marlins a win over the Phillies.

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Meet Lisa Jacobi. She is a multi-instrumentalist and vocalist with the band Steel String Session. You will want to catch them at a festival or bluegrass venue when you get the chance, and their latest release is called Ocoee Road.

But, if you were a fan of the Atlanta Braves during the 80’s you may remember the time when Chief Noc-a-homa had a little compadre – Princess Poc-a-homa.

During a lean period for the team, prior to their amazing success that began in the 90’s, an entrepreneurial teenager decided to head down to the front office to audition for a job.

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1969 Topps Francona Card

by on March 24, 2008

The Braves / Red Sox lineage remains strong to this day. This Tito is the paderfamilias!

Based upon the condition of this card, I’d have to say that it was once used in the spokes of a bicycle – I probably wasn’t too impressed by a guy named Tito.

Topps Francona | Baseballisms