The BASEBALL RELIQUARY Inc.
Baseball Reliquary Announces Candidates for
2002 Election of the Shrine of the Eternals
The Baseball Reliquary, Inc.
has announced its list of fifty eligible candidates for the 2002 election of the Shrine of
the Eternals, the membership organization’s equivalent to the Baseball Hall of Fame.
This year marks the fourth annual election of the Shrine of the Eternals, which has become
a major national component of the Baseball Reliquary, a Southern California-based
organization dedicated to fostering an appreciation of American art and culture through
baseball history. The nine individuals previously elected to the Shrine are, in
alphabetical order, Moe Berg, Jim Bouton, Dock Ellis, Curt Flood, Bill
“Spaceman” Lee, Satchel Paige, Jimmy Piersall, Pam Postema, and Bill Veeck, Jr.
The Shrine of the Eternals is similar in concept to the National Baseball Hall of Fame, but differs philosophically in that statistical accomplishment is not a criterion for election. The Shrine’s annual ballot is comprised of individuals, from the obscure to the well-known, who have impacted the baseball landscape in ways that do not necessarily have anything to do with numbers.
On a structural level, the Shrine of the Eternals differs significantly from the Baseball Hall of Fame in the manner in which electees are chosen. While the Baseball Hall of Fame’s electees are selected in voting conducted by sportswriters or committees, the members of the Baseball Reliquary determine the annual Shrine electees, and membership is 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, with the three candidates receiving the highest number of votes gaining automatic election.
Among the fifty eligible candidates for 2002, ten individuals appear on the Shrine of the Eternals ballot for the first time. The newcomers, in alphabetical order, are as follows:
BRENDAN C. BOYD & FRED C. HARRIS, baseball fans and authors who are the second twosome to be named to the Shrine ballot in four years (the first being Fritz Peterson and Mike Kekich). Boyd and Harris authored The Great American Baseball Card Flipping, Trading and Bubble Gum Book, the landmark 1973 work which was the first book to explore the psychological and sociological ramifications of baseball cards on American childhood culture. Their portraits of the men who graced or trampled the diamonds of our youth, from Stan Musial and Ted Williams to Wayne Terwilliger and Coot Veal, are filled with humor and affection. In their “Acknowledgments” section of the book, the authors forbade readers to write them to complain “about how we have maligned your favorite ballplayer, belittled baseball, befouled the very air you breathe. We know only too well that we could not have played baseball half as well as even the most inept players mentioned herein. We know that much better than you, in fact. We tried.”
RALPH BRANCA, the Brooklyn Dodgers pitcher whose respectable career was forever marred by throwing the pitch that Bobby Thomson hit for “The Shot Heard ‘Round the World” in the 1951 National League playoff series against the New York Giants. Not a superstitious figure, Branca (who wore uniform number 13, and during the 1951 regular season posted 13 victories and 13 complete games) has been haunted by that pitch and has never had a day since without someone bringing it up: “What still amazes me is how guys tell me exactly what they were doing the instant Thomson hit it. It’s like Pearl Harbor and the day Kennedy was shot.”
DAVE BRESNAHAN, a light-hitting minor league catcher who stepped into baseball immortality in 1987 with one of the classic stunts in the game’s history. While playing for Williamsport (Pennsylvania) of the Eastern League, Bresnahan sculpted a potato in the shape of a baseball. In a late-season home game, with the potato concealed in his catcher’s mitt and a runner on third base, he threw the potato wildly past his third baseman, hoping the runner would think he made an errant pick-off throw. The play worked perfectly, as the runner at third trotted home and Bresnahan tagged him out with the baseball. For his deception, Bresnahan was ousted from baseball, but in the process became an overnight celebrity and eventually had his jersey number retired by the Williamsport club. “Lou Gehrig had to play in 2,130 consecutive games and hit .340 for his number to be retired,” said Bresnahan, “and all I had to do was bat .140 and throw a potato.”
PETE BROWNING, one of the most colorful characters in baseball history and a 19th century hitting star, who compiled a .341 batting average over the course of 13 seasons (1882-1894), mostly with Louisville of the American Association. Unfortunately, afflicted with a chronic mastoid infection that destroyed his middle ear and gave him a poor sense of balance, Browning had a difficult time judging flyballs, which resulted in one of the worst lifetime fielding percentages (.883) for an outfielder in major league history.
CHARLES M. CONLON, baseball’s premier photographer during the years he worked from 1904 to 1942. Although his prolific output included many of baseball’s most famous photographs and he was deserving of being ranked with such acknowledged masters of 20th century documentary photography as Eugene Atget and Walker Evans, Conlon was largely an overlooked figure until the publication of Neal and Constance McCabe’s 1993 book, Baseball’s Golden Age: The Photographs of Charles M. Conlon. “The ballpark was Conlon’s universe,” the authors remarked, “an inexhaustible source of unforgettable images: a catcher’s mangled hand, a madman kicking up his heels, an umpire lost in thought. He documented baseball obsessively at a time when critics of photography — had they known of his existence — would have questioned his sanity for taking thousands of photographs of so trivial and ephemeral a subject.”
ABNER DOUBLEDAY, a Civil War general and protagonist of one of the most well-crafted, politically and patriotically motivated hoaxes ever perpetrated on the baseball public. The story that Doubleday “invented” baseball in pastoral Cooperstown, New York in 1839 has been thoroughly debunked over the years, calling into question that village’s link in baseball’s evolutionary history and creating for over half a century a credibility gap for the Baseball Hall of Fame that is located there. Interestingly, Doubleday never once mentioned baseball in his voluminous diaries and has yet to be formally elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame.
ED HAMMAN, the driving force behind the Indianapolis Clowns, the last of the great barnstorming baseball teams. In his prime, Hamman was a first-rate baseball clown in the tradition of Al Schacht and Max Patkin, and from the early 1950s through their final season in 1974, he held the Indianapolis Clowns together in his various capacities as player, owner, business manager, traveling secretary, and public address announcer. With his indomitable spirit and entrepreneurial skills, Hamman was instrumental in keeping alive for half a century that unique piece of Americana known as barnstorming baseball.
JOE PEPITONE, who rose from a brutally abusive childhood to become a fixture at first base and in the outfield for the New York Yankees in the 1960s. Often described as baseball’s rebel without a cause, the fun-loving and carefree Pepitone was as famous for his hairpiece, blow dryer, and disrespect for authority as he was for his play on the field. The title of his X-rated autobiography, Joe, You Coulda Made Us Proud, alludes to his relationship with Italian Mafia bosses, who groomed him as their ethnic hero.
QUINCY TROUPPE, one of baseball’s great Renaissance men. A heralded catcher and manager in the Negro Leagues, Trouppe led the Cleveland Buckeyes to the 1945 Negro World Series championship. In addition, he chronicled many events in his lengthy career through photography and film, providing future generations unique access to the African-American baseball landscape prior to the game’s integration. Trouppe offered further insights into Negro League baseball history when he self-published his autobiography, 20 Years Too Soon: Prelude to Major-League Integrated Baseball, in 1977.
FAY VINCENT, whose short tenure as Commissioner of Baseball (1989-1992) was marked by contentious relations with owners, whom Vincent later charitably referred to as “refreshingly dumb fellows, greedy, shortsighted, and stupid.” Worried about his possible interference in labor relations, the owners forced Vincent’s resignation in 1992, ending, perhaps forever, any pretense that the commissioner’s office is an independent one. As Daniel Okrent aptly commented after Vincent’s ouster, “The commissionership will now have as much potency as a half inch of bourbon awash in a twelve-ounce tumbler of melted ice.”
A complete list of all fifty
candidates for the 2002 election of the Shrine of the Eternals is included. Election
packets, containing ballots and biographical profiles of all candidates, will be mailed to
members on April 1, 2002. To be eligible to vote, all persons must have their $25.00
annual membership dues paid as of April 1, 2002.
The three electees will be announced in May, with the Induction Day ceremony tentatively scheduled for Sunday, July 28, 2002 in Pasadena, California. In addition to the presentation of plaques to the 2002 inductees, this year’s ceremony will honor the recipients of the 2002 Hilda Award (named in memory of Hilda Chester and acknowledging the dedication of a deserving fan) and the first annual Tony Salin Memorial Award (bestowed on an individual who has been dedicated to preserving 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 email@example.com.
The Shrine of the Eternals
List of Candidates for the 2002 Election
|1. Jim Abbott||26. Rube Foster|
|2. Dick Allen||27. Josh Gibson|
|3. George Anderson||28. Pete Gray|
|4. Sparky Anderson||29. Ed Hamman|
|5. Bo Belinsky||30. William “Dummy” Hoy|
|6. Seymour “Sy” Berger||31. Shoeless Joe Jackson|
|7. Yogi Berra||32. Danny Litwhiler|
|8. Brendan C. Boyd & Fred C. Harris||33. Effa Manley|
|9. Ralph Branca||34. Billy Martin|
|10. Dave Bresnahan||35. Marvin Miller|
|11. Chet Brewer||36. Minnie Minoso|
|12. Pete Browning||37. Dave Pallone|
|13. Bill Buckner||38. Joe Pepitone|
|14. Glenn Burke||39. Fritz Peterson & Mike Kekich|
|15. Harry Caray||40. J.R. Richard|
|16. Charles M. Conlon||41. Jackie Robinson|
|17. Jim Creighton||42. Louis Sockalexis|
|18. Steve Dalkowski||43. Casey Stengel|
|19. Dizzy Dean||44. Luis Tiant, Jr.|
|20. Rod Dedeaux||45. Quincy Trouppe|
|21. Abner Doubleday||46. Fernando Valenzuela|
|22. Eddie Feigner||47. Fay Vincent|
|23. Lisa Fernandez||48. Rube Waddell|
|24. Mark Fidrych||49. Fleet Walker|
|25. Sidd Finch||50. Kenichi Zenimura|