To the SABR Board,
The Northwest Chapter held six meetings between SABR38 in Cleveland and this year's convention in Washington D.C.
In August 2008, meetings were held in Vancouver BC and Portland OR. Member Max Weder organized the Vancouver meeting, which featured Marge Callahan of the AAGPBL and Kim Elliott, who played briefly in the minor leagues from 1959-1961. The Portland meeting included a review of the 1957 major league season by chapter President Bob Russon. Among the highlights (lowlights) that year were the Washington Senators, who set a record in base stealing futility with only 13 thefts out of 51 attempts.
In November 2008, the chapter met in Seattle WA. John Hickey, baseball beat writer for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, was the featured speaker. He predicted 2007 1st Round Draft Choice Phillippe Aumont would be on the M's roster sometime in the 2009 season. Other presentations were made by member Steve Steinberg, on the managerial career of Tris Speaker, and the father/son duo of Jim and Joe Gerlitz. Father Jim introduced us to his baseball-themed oil paintings while son Joe spoke of his experience creating Seattle Mariners ad campaigns with the Copacino+Fujikado advertising agency.
In January 2009, the chapter hosted an information table at Seattle Mariners FanFest. Concurrently, a meeting was held at Safeco Field courtesy of the Mariners' organization. Our group heard from new Manager Don Wakamatsu, GM Jack Zduriencik and 1st Base Coach Lee Tinsley on their outlook for the 2009 season. Mariners' Executive VP of Legal Affairs (and SABR member) Bart Waldman walked us through the preparation for an arbitration hearing, citing Felix Hernandez as an example. We also were introduced to the exhaustive statistical analysis program managed by Andrew Percival, M's Coordinator - Video Advance Scouting.
February 2009 saw a return to Portland OR. Our meeting featured Tim Hagerty, announcer for the Portland Beavers. Presentations were made by SABR members Mark Armour on "A Tale of Two Umpires," recounting the firing of Al Salerno and Bill Valentine in 1968 and its aftermath, and John Henshell on "Reversing the Aging Process - Part One," examining the alleged and admitted use of steroids in baseball.
In May 2009, the chapter again met at Safeco Field in Seattle WA. Assistant to the GM (and SABR member) Tony Blengino spoke about the Mariners' season, minor league prospects and upcoming amateur draft. Tony shared with us his vision of prospect Phillippe Aumont (that name again) as a future closer for the M's, not a starter. Also speaking were Bill North, member of the 1973-74 world champion Oakland A's, and Joe Staton, who played briefly for the 1972-73 Detroit Tigers. Both are heavily committed to the Revive Baseball in Inner Cities initiative in Seattle. Ben Walker, student at Seattle Pacific University, presented his research paper on the engineering of the baseball bat from the 19th century to modern times.
Chapter business and a Mariners roundtable, conducted by Mike Rice, were usually on the agenda. Attendance at each meeting totaled between twenty and forty SABR members and guests. There was no admission charge, although donations were occasionally requested to help cover nominal meeting expenses (such as room rental, parking for guest presenters, printing etc.).
We are very appreciative of the SABR publications provided to us by the national office. These were given to many of our featured presenters throughout the year as tokens of gratitude for their participation. We are also grateful to the Seattle Mariners organization for their support throughout the year.
Congratulations are in order for Northwest baseball historian and SABR member Dave Eskenazi, who was invited by the Mariners to throw out the ceremonial first pitch at their Turn Back the Clock game on May 2.
Tim Herlich succeeded Bob Russon as chapter president and John Henshell accepted the role of vice-president for 2009-2010. In addition, Mary Groebner agreed to act as chapter secretary and will work with the national office to establish and maintain a chapter web site similar to those developed recently by other chapters. Our chapter does not maintain a dedicated bank account, with treasurer Paul Andresen handling the minimal chapter finances. Generally, the chapter functions on a reserve of $100-200.
NWSABR plans to host an information table at the Portland Beavers Fan Fest in mid-July 2009 during the Triple-A All-Star festivities week, prior to SABR39. Plans for the remainder of 2009 include meetings in Vancouver BC in August 2009 and in Seattle WA in November 2009.