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Sunday, July 20, 2003 ~ 2:00 PM
Donald R. Wright Auditorium, Pasadena Central Library
285 East Walnut Street, Pasadena, California
Free Admission / Information (626) 791-7647

             The Baseball Reliquary will sponsor the 2003 Induction Day ceremony for its fifth class of electees to the Shrine of the Eternals on Sunday, July 20, 2003, beginning at 2:00 PM, at the Donald R. Wright Auditorium in the Pasadena Central Library, 285 East Walnut Street, Pasadena, California. The doors will open at 1:30 PM, and admission is open to the public and free of charge. The inductees will be Jim Abbott, Ila Borders, and Marvin Miller. The keynote address will be delivered by Robert Elias, Professor and Chair of the Politics Department at the University of San Francisco and editor of the book Baseball and the American Dream: Race, Class, Gender and the National Pastime. In addition, the Baseball Reliquary will honor the recipients of the 2003 Hilda Award, Ruth Roberts, and the 2003 Tony Salin Memorial Award, David Nemec.
The festivities will commence with an Induction Day tradition, the ceremonial bell ringing in honor of the late Brooklyn Dodgers fan Hilda Chester; everyone who attends is encouraged to bring a bell to ring for this occasion. The National Anthem will be performed on violin by comedian and Pittsburgh Pirates fan Hugh Fink, whose version was inspired by Jimi Hendrix’ legendary rendition at Woodstock.
For further information, contact the Baseball Reliquary by phone at (626) 791-7647 or by e-mail at The 2003 Induction Day is co-sponsored by the Pasadena Public Library.


            The highest honor afforded an individual by the Baseball Reliquary is election to the Shrine of the Eternals. Three individuals are elected on an annual basis in voting conducted by the national membership of the Reliquary. Similar in concept to the National Baseball Hall of Fame, the Shrine of the Eternals differs philosophically in that statistical accomplishment is not a criterion for election; the Shrine, rather, honors individuals who have impacted the baseball landscape in ways that do not necessarily have anything to do with numbers. The 2003 electees — Jim Abbott, Ila Borders, and Marvin Miller — will join previous inductees Moe Berg, Jim Bouton, Dock Ellis, Mark Fidrych, Curt Flood, Shoeless Joe Jackson, Bill Lee, Minnie Minoso, Satchel Paige, Jimmy Piersall, Pam Postema, and Bill Veeck.
            An inspiration and role model for many people with disabilities and physical challenges, Jim Abbott beat the odds with a ten-year major league career (1989-1999) as a left-handed pitcher with the California Angels, New York Yankees, Chicago White Sox, and Milwaukee Brewers. Born without a right hand, Abbott learned how to deftly shift the glove to his left hand after his pitching follow-through to put himself in position to field the ball. Among his career highlights were winning the Sullivan Award in 1987 as the nation’s top amateur athlete; pitching the championship game for the gold medal-winning 1988 U.S. Olympic baseball team; and hurling a no-hitter for the New York Yankees in 1993. Abbott was a model of class and fortitude throughout his major league career, which saw him post 87 victories, and he maintained an amiable and positive demeanor, even as his career faded and he suffered through the adversity of a 2-18 season with the Angels in 1996. Due to a previous commitment in his home state of Michigan, Jim Abbott will be unable to attend the ceremony; however, his acceptance speech will be videotaped beforehand and shown at the ceremony.
Although her dreams of becoming the first woman to play in the major leagues went unrealized, left-handed pitcher Ila Borders made great strides in breaking down one of baseball’s last and most formidable barriers. A Southern California native, Borders was the first woman to be awarded a college baseball scholarship (1993), the first woman to pitch a complete game victory in a college game (1994), the first woman to win a men’s regular-season professional baseball game (1998), and the first woman to play three full seasons of men’s professional baseball (1997-99 in the independent Northern League). Borders retired in 2000, but her talent and courage left an impression on many, and her determination in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds will surely inspire other women who seek to compete at baseball’s highest levels. Following former umpire Pam Postema as the second woman elected to the Shrine of the Eternals, Ila Borders will attend the ceremony to personally accept her induction. She will be introduced by Jean Hastings Ardell, a freelance writer whose book about women and baseball is forthcoming from Southern Illinois University Press.
One of the most innovative and influential figures in the evolution and development of baseball, Marvin Miller was successful in transferring the balance of power from owners to players during his 18 years as executive director of the Major League Baseball Players Association (1966-1983). Formerly an assistant to the president of the United Steelworkers, Miller was a brilliant student of labor law and a masterful negotiator who revolutionized the game’s labor-management relations and turned a moribund company union into a powerful bargaining agency. During Miller’s tenure, the owners’ stranglehold on the players was eliminated with the abolition of the reserve clause, and he guided the players through five labor contracts which solidified their ranks, improved working conditions, and raised salaries and pension benefits to unprecedented levels. Now 86 years of age and a resident of New York City, Marvin Miller will attend the ceremony to personally accept his induction. He will be introduced by baseball lawyer Richard Moss, a Harvard Law School graduate who served as legal counsel for the Players Association for 11 years during Miller’s stewardship. Moss was an architect of the salary arbitration system and argued the Andy Messersmith case in 1975, which ended baseball’s reserve system and created free agency for the players.


            The keynote address for the 2003 Induction Day will be presented by Robert Elias, Professor and Chair of the Politics Department at the University of San Francisco, where he also founded the Legal Studies and the Peace & Justice Studies programs. A former college baseball player who was once offered a contract by the San Francisco Giants, Elias edited the book Baseball and the American Dream: Race, Class, Gender and the National Pastime (2001). He has been the editor of Peace Review for over ten years and has been active in the peace, civil rights, and anti-apartheid movements. He was a member of the “Baseball for Peace” tour of Nicaragua in 1987, in which war-torn baseball fields were repaired and the sport was used to build goodwill between the American and Nicaraguan peoples. Elias is currently completing research on Curt Flood and on baseball and the Cold War.
The ceremony will also feature the presentation of the 2003 Hilda Award, named in memory of the beloved Brooklyn Dodgers fan Hilda Chester and given annually to a fan for his/her extraordinary passion for and dedication to baseball. This year’s recipient is longtime New York baseball fan Ruth Roberts, who has delighted generations of fans from coast to coast as the composer and lyricist of the popular baseball anthems “It’s a Beautiful Day for a Ball Game” (1960), the radio theme of the Los Angeles Dodgers for many years, and “Meet the Mets” (1963). Roberts also provided words and music for the 1956 song “I Love Mickey,” a celebration of Yankee slugger Mickey Mantle which was recorded by Teresa Brewer.

Another highlight of the ceremony will be the presentation of the 2003 Tony Salin Memorial Award, named for the late baseball author and researcher, which annually honors one individual for his/her dedication to preserving baseball history. This year’s recipient is San Francisco-based novelist and baseball historian David Nemec, whose contributions to baseball literature include The Rules of Baseball: An Anecdotal Look at the Rules of Baseball and How They Came to Be (1994), The Beer and Whisky League: The Illustrated History of the American Association — Baseball’s Renegade Major League (1995), The Great Encyclopedia of 19th Century Major League Baseball (1997), and The Great Book of Baseball Knowledge (1999).

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