Extra Innings – News from the Ball Hall for September 16th

baseball-day-in-london-2016-4 baseball-day-in-london-2016-8Staff at the Museum noticed an increase in traffic this summer and the numbers bear this out.  As of the end of August,  there were 20% more visitors than in the same period last year.  A big thank you goes out to our students, Evan Thompson, Sarah Hutchings, Jensen Dundas and Danielle Swan, for a great job.  Good luck in school!

Director of Operations Scott Crawford was a special guest at London’s Children’s Museum’s “Baseball Day” on August 31, bringing with him a number of items from the collection and a few baseball-related activities for kids to try.  Visitors had fun taking a baseball apart, learning about the science of baseball and working on their playing skills.

On Friday, September 16, Crawford will be at the 16th Annual Fergie Jenkins Celebrity Classic at Rockway Vineyards Golf Course near St. Catharines with a display about the Hall of Fame and the Town of St. Marys.

In other upcoming events, St. Marys DCVI’s high school baseball game will take place on Cement Field on Wednesday, September 21 at 12p.m.  Come out and cheer our kids!  Then, on September 23, 24 and 25, watch the St. Marys Men’s year-end Slo-pitch Tournament on the Rotary and King Fields.

Inductee birthdays in the last half of this month: September 21 – John McHale, September 22 – Tommy Lasorda, September 24 – Ron Stead and September 29 – Harry Simmons.  Of course, each of these men is worth a column in his own right, but it’s worth focusing on Harry Simmons, not only for his long career as a multi-tasking baseball executive, but for his family’s amazing donation of artifacts to the Museum.

From our website: Harry Simmons was born in New York City on September 14, 1907.  Interested in baseball from an early age, Simmons worked for the International League (IL) from 1945 until 1966, moving his family from New York to Cartierville, QC when the IL moved its headquarters to Montreal. Simmons maintained his Canadian residence until 1995. He died January 14, 1998 in New Haven, CT.

Simmons was widely known and admired for his skill in schedule-making (and this was before computers), developing the playing schedules for MLB and various minor leagues for over 20 years. As a historian and writer, he did much original research into 19th Century baseball, developed and wrote the weekly feature “So You Think You Know Baseball” for the Saturday Evening Post from 1949 to 1961 and published a best-selling book of the same name.  For many years he also wrote the baseball entry in the Encyclopedia Britannica. In 1951, he was called as an expert witness to the Celler Committee hearings on the history of the reserve clause.

At the 1979 baseball winter meeting in Toronto, Simmons was honored as “King of Baseball”. In 1990, his contributions to the game were recognized when he received the SABR Salute. In 2002, he was inducted into the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame.  SABR’s Baseball Reference Bullpen website adds that in the more than 50 years that he was involved in baseball, Harry Simmons collected thousands of items related to the development of the game from earliest times. These included his correspondence with people involved in every level of the game: memos, letters, speeches from the Commissioner’s Office from the 1920s to the 1980s; notes and memos from his days as the major league schedule maker, letters from fans of his “So You Think You Know Baseball” series; articles from the International League; a significant collection of baseball memorabilia, and a major collection of baseball publications and books.

The collection was donated to the CBHFM in 1998 by his son, David Simmons, a resident of Toronto. It has been called one of baseball’s most eclectic, exciting and diverse collections and will be an important component of our future library and research facility.

A piece of the Simmons Collection will be the topic of one presentation at the inaugural Canadian Baseball History Conference taking place at the St. Marys Golf and Country Club on Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 12 and 13 and CBHFM Board Member David Morneau will talk about the Hall of Fame’s expansion plans.  A call for papers and registration has been sent to Canadian SABR and CBHFM members. For anyone else wishing to attend, we’ve posted details on our website, baseballhalloffame.ca.

Closing notes:  Our 2017 Membership Drive has launched with unique benefits for St Marys residents. For details, go to the Hometown Membership form on our website or call the office at 519-284-1838.

Our next bingos at Bingo Country Stratford are scheduled for Friday, Oct. 7 at 5:00 pm and Saturday, Oct. 29 at 1:30 pm.

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