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The BASEBALL RELIQUARY Inc.


Baseball Reliquary Announces Candidates for
2013 Election of the Shrine of the Eternals

           

            The Baseball Reliquary, Inc. has announced its list of fifty eligible candidates for the 2013 election of the Shrine of the Eternals, the membership organization’s equivalent to the Baseball Hall of Fame. This year marks the fifteenth 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 forty-two 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, Ted Giannoulas, Josh Gibson, Jim “Mudcat” Grant, Pete Gray, William “Dummy” Hoy, Shoeless Joe Jackson, Bill James, Dr. Frank Jobe, 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, Luis Tiant, Fernando Valenzuela, Bill Veeck, Jr., Maury Wills, 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 2013, eleven individuals appear on the Shrine of the Eternals ballot for the first time. One candidate, Sy Berger, returns to the ballot after a long absence. (Berger appeared on the ballot twice, in 2001 and again in 2002.) The newcomers and returnee, in alphabetical order, are:

Sy Berger (b. 1923) – Frequently cited as the father of the modern baseball card, Berger joined the Topps Company, manufacturer of chewing gum, as a sales promotion executive after WWII.  In 1952 he designed the template for and oversaw the production of an annual series of baseball trading cards that would quickly emerge as the most coveted Pop Culture artifacts of the 1950s and 1960s – the Topps baseball card – and send the fortunes of the company soaring.

Octavius V. Catto (1839-1871) – African-American scholar, educator, community activist, political organizer, and baseball player, Catto founded and managed the all-black Philadelphia Pythian Baseball Club shortly after the end of the Civil War. In 1869 Catto’s Pythians played the first recorded interracial baseball game in history, taking on an all-white nine comprised of Philadelphia newspapermen. His growing prominence in local and national Republican Party affairs made him an increasing threat to white Democrats; he was assassinated on his doorstep in 1871 as he returned from voting.

Rocky Colavito (b. 1933) – Bronx-born slugger who became the most popular Cleveland Indians player during the 1950s, the Rock’s 1960 trade to the Detroit Tigers started a protracted pennant death-spiral in The Forest City. Endless Indian woes later gave rise to The Curse of Rocky Colavito, sportswriter Terry Pluto’s ironic riff on The Curse of the Bambino, which put the whammy on Red Sox Nation for decades after Boston’s sale of Babe Ruth to the Yankees earlier in the century.

Warren Cromartie (b. 1953) – Dependable, fan-friendly Major League outfielder/first baseman with the (erstwhile) Montreal Expos whose infectious spirit led the franchise to christen a confection – the Cro-Bar – in his honor. Cromartie’s later career as a respected gaijin (outsider) player in Japan was documented in his 1992 autobiography, Slugging It Out in Japan. In 2012 he became a leading spokesman for The Montreal Baseball Project, a community-based effort to return professional baseball to Montreal.

Carlos Delgado (b. 1972) – Puerto Rican-born slugger who modeled his career and later social activism upon the work of Roberto Clemente, his boyhood idol. A perennial standout for the Blue Jays, Marlins, and Mets, Delgado played from 1993 through 2009, clouting 473 career home runs in the process. In 2004, increasingly troubled by U.S. belligerence in Iraq and Afghanistan, Delgado began silent protests by walking off the field while “God Bless America” played during the seventh inning stretch. He is currently involved in a variety of philanthropic and educational causes.

Fred Hutchinson (1919-1964) – A favorite son of Seattle known as much for his grind-it-out work ethic as his explosive temper, this mid-century Detroit Tigers twirler later became a successful manager, leading the Cincinnati Reds to an NL pennant in 1961. His untimely death from cancer following the thrilling conclusion of the 1964 NL season galvanized the baseball community; the Hutch Award is annually presented to players exhibiting perseverance in the face of adversity. In 1975 the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center was founded in his name in Seattle.

 Bo Jackson (b. 1962) – Bo knew football. But unlike other gridiron stars who found the diamond a personal field of screams, Bo knew baseball, too. One of the most popular (and marketable) athletes of the 20th century, Bo exploded on the professional sports scene in 1987 after a celebrated Heisman Trophy-winning football career at Auburn University. Juggling twin careers with the NFL’s Los Angeles Raiders and the AL’s Kansas City Royals, Bo electrified fans with the range of his athletic skills. His titanic home run during the 1989 All-Star Game, his mighty whiffs, and his highlight reel outfield catches enthralled both fans and fellow players. Sadly, both careers were cut short by a hip injury suffered during a football playoff game in 1991. The series of “Bo Knows” ads for Nike in the early 1990s made him one of the most visible and successful celebrities worldwide.

Bill Lange (1871-1950) – Consistently named alongside some of the game’s greatest stars (Cobb, Speaker, DiMaggio), and called “the Willie Mays of his day,” nineteenth-century centerfielder Bill “Little Eva” Lange was one of the most talented unknown men in baseball history. A five-tool player with the NL’s Chicago Colts, Lange played a mere seven years (1893‒1899), but established impeccable credentials (.330 lifetime average, 400 stolen bases, a 123 career adjusted OPS). Amazingly, in an act inconceivable to 21st-century Americans, Lange left the game . . . for love. Lange gave it all up at the tender age of 28 in order to marry the daughter of a San Francisco insurance mogul who thought baseball an inappropriate career for his future son-in-law. The marriage soon turned sour, but Lange never played baseball again.

 David N. Mullany (1908-1990) – Former amateur pitcher and pharmaceutical company employee who invented and successfully marketed the Wiffle Ball – friend to every kid who ever broke a window with an errant baseball. Named after the popular shorthand for a strikeout – a “whiff” – the Wiffle Ball (no ‘h’) celebrates its 60th anniversary as a perennial staple of the toy industry in 2013.

 Pete Reiser (1919-1981) – Brooklyn Dodger supernova whose career battle with outfield walls and a rash of injuries derailed a can’t-miss shot at superstardom. After becoming the youngest player to win a NL batting title in 1941 (.343 average), this fleet and sweet-swinging 22-year-old portended pennants to come for title-starved Brooklyn fans. Instead, Reiser endured a series of injuries, including concussions after running headlong into cement outfield walls, beanings, bone fractures, and multiple hospitalizations. What might have been a Hall of Fame career flamed out almost as dramatically as it had begun, effectively ending after the 1947 season.

 Christy Walsh (1891-1955) – Ambitious and enterprising lawyer turned public relations pioneer  who cashed in on America’s obsession with sports celebrities by creating a pool of writers who would “ghost” newspaper stories for ballplayers such as Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig. The Christy Walsh Syndicate would ultimately represent athletes in all fields, paying them handsomely for the use of their names and stories in ghost written columns nationwide. Walsh parlayed this success into the creation of an entirely new profession, the sports agent, a livelihood that would soon become both blessed and cursed within the culture of professional sports.

John Young (b. 1949) – Los Angeles-born pro baseball player and scout who responded to a lack of baseball resources for urban youth by founding Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities (RBI), a program designed to attract, instruct, and mentor promising schoolboy athletes. Now administered by Major League Baseball, the RBI program is active in communities throughout the country; notable RBI alumni include pitcher C.C. Sabathia, shortstop Jimmy Rollins, and former Dodger first baseman James Loney.

            A complete list of all fifty candidates for the 2013 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, 2013. To be eligible to vote, all persons must have their minimum $25.00 annual membership dues paid as of March 31, 2013.
           
The three new inductees will be announced in May, with the Induction Day ceremony scheduled for Sunday, July 21, 2013 in Pasadena, California. In addition to the presentation of plaques to the 2013 inductees, this year’s ceremony will honor the recipients of the 2013 Hilda Award (named in memory of Hilda Chester and acknowledging a baseball fan’s exceptional devotion to the game) and the 2013 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
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 THE SHRINE OF THE ETERNALS
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CANDIDATES FOR THE 2013 ELECTION w

2013 Candidates
The number to the right of candidates' names indicates number of years on Shrine of the Eternals ballot.

1. Eliot Asinof (10) 26. Effa Manley (15)
2. Sy Berger (3) 27. Conrado Marrero (4)   
3. Steve Bilko (2) 28. Dr. Mike Marshall (8)
4. Chet Brewer (14) 29. Tug McGraw (10)
5. Charlie Brown (6)   30. Fred Merkle (7)
6. Jefferson Burdick (4 31. Manny Mota (6)
7. Glenn Burke (6 32. David N. Mullany (New!)
8. Bert Campaneris (2        33. Hideo Nomo (2)
9. Jose Canseco (2) 34. Lefty O'Doul (2)
10. Octavius V. Catto (New!) 35. Joe Pepitone (3)
11. Rocky Calavito (New!) 36. Phil Pote (11)
12. Charles M. Conlon (12) 37. Vic Power (5)
13. Warren Cromartie (New!)  38. Curtis Pride (3)
14. Dizzy Dean (13 39. Dan Quisenberry (7)
15. Carlos Delgado (New!)  40. Pete Reiser  (New!)
16. Hector Espino (4) 41. J.R. Richard (14)
17. Eddie Feigner (13)   42. Annie Savoy (3)
18. Lisa Fernandez (13)  43. Rusty Staub (8)
19. Charlie Finley (3)          44. Toni Stone (2)
20. Rube Foster (15) 45. Fay Vincent (12)
21. Ernie Harwell (10)     46. Rube Waddell (15)
22. Fred Hutchinson  (New!)        47. Christy Walsh (New!)
23. Bo Jackson  (New!)     48. John Montgomery Ward (7)
24. Bill Lange  (New!) 49. John Young (New!)
25. Annabelle Lee (2)    50. Don Zimmer (9)

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