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The BASEBALL RELIQUARY Inc.


Baseball Reliquary Announces Candidates for
2011 Election of the Shrine of the Eternals

            The Baseball Reliquary, Inc. has announced its list of fifty eligible candidates for the 2011 election of the Shrine of the Eternals, the membership organization’s equivalent to the Baseball Hall of Fame. This year marks the thirteenth annual election of the Shrine, a major national component of the Baseball Reliquary, a Southern California-based organization dedicated to fostering an appreciation of American art and culture through the context of baseball history. The thirty-six individuals previously elected to the Shrine of the Eternals are, in alphabetical order: Jim Abbott, Dick Allen, Roger Angell, Emmett Ashford, Moe Berg, Yogi Berra, Ila Borders, Jim Bouton, Jim Brosnan, Bill Buckner, Roberto Clemente, Steve Dalkowski, Rod Dedeaux, Jim Eisenreich, Dock Ellis, Mark Fidrych, Curt Flood, Josh Gibson, William “Dummy” Hoy, Shoeless Joe Jackson, Bill James, Bill “Spaceman” Lee, Roger Maris, Marvin Miller, Minnie Minoso, Buck O’Neil, Satchel Paige, Jimmy Piersall, Pam Postema, Jackie Robinson, Lester Rodney, Pete Rose, Casey Stengel, Fernando Valenzuela, Bill Veeck, Jr., and Kenichi Zenimura.
           
The Shrine of the Eternals is similar in concept to the annual elections held at the Baseball Hall of Fame, but differs philosophically in that statistical accomplishment is not a criterion for election. Rather, the Shrine’s annual ballot is comprised of individuals – from the obscure to the well-known – who have altered the baseball world in ways that supersede statistics.
           
On a procedural level, the Shrine of the Eternals differs significantly from the Baseball Hall of Fame in the manner by which electees are chosen. While the Baseball Hall of Fame’s electees are chosen in voting conducted by a select group of sportswriters or committees, the Baseball Reliquary chooses its enshrinees by a vote open to the public. A screening committee appointed by the Reliquary’s Board of Directors prepares a ballot consisting of fifty candidates, on which the membership votes annually. The three candidates receiving the highest percentage of votes gain automatic election.
           
Among the fifty eligible candidates for 2011, ten individuals appear on the Shrine of the Eternals ballot for the first time. An eleventh candidate, Glenn Burke, returns to the ballot after an absence of eight years. (Burke appeared on the Shrine ballot three previous times from 2000-2002.) The newcomers and returnee, in alphabetical order, are:

FRANK C. BANCROFT (18461921)—Primarily remembered now, if at all, as the manager of the powerhouse 1884 Providence Grays, a team that featured two of pre-modern baseball’s most dominant hurlers, Hoss Radbourn and Charlie Sweeney, Bancroft enjoyed an extremely long career in the game. The former hotel owner from New Bedford, Massachusetts began his baseball life in 1877 when his town was granted a franchise. After cutting his teeth as manager there, Bancroft took his sharply-honed social skills to other 19th-century hotbeds of pro ball: Worcester, Detroit, Cleveland, Philadelphia, Indianapolis, and Cincinnati. The affable “Banny” toured Cuba with a picked team in 1879, the first American team to visit there, effectively opening Cuba for potential profits and a breeding ground for new talent. In 1891 Bancroft accepted the position of business manager with the Cincinnati Reds, a position he retained until 1920. When he died the following year at age 75, Bancroft had spent nearly forty-five years in baseball, a longer career than any other figure to that date.

GLENN BURKE (19521995)—A stylish, speedy outfielder whose career was undermined by raging homophobia, Glenn Burke spent parts of four seasons patrolling the pasture for the Dodgers and A’s in the late 1970s. Remembered as MLB’s first openly gay player, Burke had the great misfortune to debut under the aegis of Tommy Lasorda, no friend to gay men, and was treated as a pariah by many of his teammates. He is widely cited as the originator of the “high-five” hand slap, a form of salutation and congratulations that quickly spread throughout the world. He died from AIDS-related illness at the absurdly young age of 42.

L. ROBERT “BOB” DAVIDS (19262002)—Founder of the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR), Bob Davids was a career civil servant with a number of agencies, including the Atomic Energy Commission, when he started the publication Baseball Briefs in 1971. Later that year he gathered in Cooperstown with a group of other baseball historians and researchers to launch SABR, a fan-based organization dedicated to the research, preservation, and dissemination of the history and record of baseball. It now consists of more than 6,700 members—including many prominent writers, officials, and former players—worldwide.

DONALD FEHR (b. 1948)—Succeeding Marvin Miller and Ken Moffett as head honcho of the Players Association, Donald Fehr—the union’s former general counsel—presided over the rocky negotiations between baseball labor and management from 1985 to 2009. During his tenure Fehr steered the union through lockouts, player strikes, basic agreement tiffs, drug-testing efforts, expansion and television revenue issues, and the notorious collusion case of the mid-1980s in which the union emerged victorious over then-commissioner Peter Ueberroth and a cabal of owners. Generally effective as spokesman for the union, the telegenic and normally unflappable Fehr nevertheless took a huge PR hit during the protracted and bitter player strike of 1994, becoming the focal point for both fan and owner hostility.

CHARLIE HOLLOCHER (18961940)—The short life of Chicago Cubs infielder Charlie Hollocher is one of baseball’s great mysteries. Arriving to the Cubs in 1918 with a reputation as a great glove man, Hollocher was central to the team’s capture of the NL pennant. Throughout the remainder of the deadball era and into the 1920s, Hollocher was an offensive sparkplug and near-perennial .300 hitter. In 1922 he set a still-unbroken NL record for fewest strikeouts in a season, whiffing only five times in an astonishing 692 plate appearances. Despite his on-field success, Hollocher was a visibly unhappy man, frequently yielding to a combination of real and mysterious ailments. These recurring illnesses led to the quick collapse of his career; he left the game for good in 1924 at the age of 28. Drifting through a variety of jobs after baseball, Hollocher continued experiencing health trouble. These ended when his body was discovered in a parked car, the victim of an apparent self-inflicted shotgun wound. 

BOB HOPE (b. 1946)—No, not the famous late comedian, this Bob Hope is a veteran publicity director with 40 years of experience in Atlanta and New York. After starting as an intern with the Atlanta Braves in 1966, the team’s first year in Georgia, Hope rose to prominence during Henry Aaron’s pursuit of Babe Ruth’s lifetime home run record in 1973/74, shepherding the slugger through the intense media blitz that preceded the event. During owner Ted Turner’s early reign, Hope contrived a memorable series of promotional events for the lowly Braves, including his most famous (and most sexist) stunt, the 1977 Wet T-Shirt Contest.

CURTIS PRIDE (b. 1968)—Head baseball coach at Gallaudet University since 2008, Curtis Pride debuted with the Montreal Expos in 1993, becoming the first deaf player to appear in the majors since 1945. Deaf at birth from rubella, Pride was a standout multi-sport schoolboy athlete, excelling at baseball, basketball, and soccer. He enjoyed parts of twelve seasons as a bench player for eight different teams, used primarily as a left-handed pinch hitter and outfield defensive or injury replacement. In 1996 Pride received the Tony Conigliaro Award, presented annually to an MLB player who best overcomes adversity. He is actively involved with the Together With Pride Foundation, a non-profit that aids hearing impaired children.

ANNIE SAVOY (b. 1988)—The most memorable and sexiest character to appear in any baseball film, Annie Savoy, the sashaying acolyte of the Church of Baseball in director Ron Shelton’s romantic comedy Bull Durham, has become a popular culture icon. As played by actress Susan Sarandon—infamous Hollywood liberal, once banned from appearing at the Baseball Hall of Fame because of her “political” views—the baseball-, poetry-, and sex-loving Annie spends each season tutoring a fledgling player in the mysteries of baseball, love, and life before sending him out into the world. She rhapsodizes beautifully on the mysteries of baseball, encourages her charges to experiment unabashedly with sex and philosophy, and steadfastly wears her love for the Durham Bulls on her sleeve. Annie Savoy could easily have been a cheap stereotype of the ubiquitous “baseball Annies” (sex groupies) who flit around ballplayers. Instead, thanks to Sarandon’s portrayal and Shelton’s dialogue, Annie Savoy is the most fully formed, believable character in the world of contemporary baseball art and fiction.

DAVID WELLS (b. 1963)—A rambunctious, voluble, and talented southpaw known as much for his Ruthian training regimen—booze, brawls, and babes—as for his ability to frustrate the most stoic of managers, “Boomer” Wells nonetheless became a huge fan favorite in New York with the early-dynastic Yankee clubs of 1996 and 1997. The well-traveled lefty (nine different teams over 21 seasons) authored a perfect game for the Yanks in 1998 and further entertained pinstripe faithful by once wearing an original Babe Ruth cap on the mound. After years of battling weight issues, Wells was diagnosed with diabetes in 2007, his last season in baseball. 

J.L. WILKINSON (18781964)—Promoter and innovator James Leslie Wilkinson is best remembered today as the founding owner in 1920 of the legendary Kansas City Monarchs of Negro League fame. An entrepreneurial savant, the white businessman was the first owner to experiment with and use portable lights for barnstorming night baseball games on a regular basis. Wilkinson is also widely-remembered for launching the baseball career of Jackie Robinson, saving the career of Satchel Paige, guiding the House of David team through some of its greatest years, and sponsoring some of the first barnstorming games played between white and black athletes. Lesser known, but perhaps most important, was Wilkinson’s founding of the “All Nations” team in 1912, a barnstorming wonder comprised of a multi-ethnic array of players—African- and Native-Americans, Cubans, Asians, Polynesians, Italian immigrants, and…women!

WILBUR WOOD (b 1941)—The Chicago White Sox relied almost exclusively on chubby knuckleballer Wilbur Wood as their pitching ace during the first half of the 1970s. Rubber-armed Wilbur, a throwback to the deadball era who looked like “a left-handed accountant or pastry chef on a Sunday outing” (Roger Angell), frequently pitched on a mere two days of rest and was the last pitcher to start both ends of a doubleheader in the 20th century. After leading the American League for three seasons in appearances by a relief pitcher (19681970), Wood converted to a starter in 1971 under manager Chuck Tanner, who would have started Wood every day if possible. Between 1971 and 1975 Wood compiled astonishing totals for a starting pitcher, averaging 45 starts, 336 innings, 21 wins, and 20 complete games per season. In 1973 his 44 decisions in 48 starts (a phenomenal .920 ratio) were good for an eye-popping 24-20 W/L record.

            A complete list of all fifty candidates for the 2011 election of the Shrine of the Eternals follows. Election packets, containing ballots and biographical profiles of all candidates, will be mailed to Baseball Reliquary members on April 1, 2011. To be eligible to vote, all persons must have their minimum $25.00 annual membership dues paid as of March 31, 2011.
           
The three new inductees will be announced in May, with the Induction Day ceremony scheduled for Sunday, July 17, 2011 in Pasadena, California. In addition to the presentation of plaques to the 2011 inductees, this year’s ceremony will honor the recipients of the 2011 Hilda Award (named in memory of Hilda Chester and acknowledging a baseball fan’s exceptional devotion to the game) and the 2011 Tony Salin Memorial Award (presented annually to an individual dedicated to the preservation of baseball history).
           
For additional information on the Shrine of the Eternals, contact Terry Cannon, Executive Director of the Baseball Reliquary, at P.O. Box 1850, Monrovia, CA 91017; by phone at (626) 791-7647; or by e-mail at terymar@earthlink.net.

       

 THE SHRINE OF THE ETERNALS
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CANDIDATES FOR THE 2011 ELECTION w

 

2011 Candidates
The number to the right of candidates' names indicates number of years on Shrine of the Eternals ballot.

1. Eliot Asinof (8) 26. Dr. Frank Jobe (9)
2. Frank C. Bancroft (New!) 27. Charles "Pop" Kelchner (4)   
3. Steve Blass (2) 28. Effa Manley (13)
4. Chet Brewer (12) 29. Conrado Marrero (2)
5. Charlie Brown (4)   30. Dr. Mike Marshall (6)
6. Jefferson Burdick (2) 31. Tug McGraw (8)
7. Glenn Burke (4)   32. Fred Merkle (5)
8. Helen Callaghan (8)         33. Manny Mota (4)
9. Charles M. Conlon (10) 34. Phil Pote (9)
10. L. Robert Davids (New!) 35. Vic Power (3)
11. Dizzy Dean (11 36. Curtis Pride (New!)
12. Ed Delahanty (8) 37. Dan Quisenberry (5)
13. Bucky Dent (3)  38. J.R. Richard (12)
14. Hector Espino (2) 39. Annie Savoy (New!)
15. Donald Fehr (New!) 40. Rusty Staub (6)
16. Eddie Feigner (11) 41. Chuck Stevens (3)
17. Lisa Fernandez (11)    42. Luis Tiant (9)
18. Rube Foster (13) 43. Fay Vincent (10)
19. Ted Giannoulas (9)          44. Rube Waddell (13)
20. Eddie Grant (2) 45. John Montgomery Ward (5)
21. Jim "Mudcat" Grant (7)      46. David Wells (New!)
22. Pete Gray (13)       47. J.L. Wilkinson (New!)
23. Ernie Harwell (8)      48. Maury Wills (2)
24. Charlie Hollocher (New!)  49. Wilbur Wood (New!)
25. Bob Hope (New!)    50. Don Zimmer (7)

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