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Sunday, July 19, 2009
Pasadena, California


            Another standing-room-only crowd of nearly 200 Reliquarians was in attendance for the 2009 Induction Day ceremony for the Shrine of the Eternals on Sunday, July 19, 2009. The eleventh anniversary ceremony was in the Donald R. Wright Auditorium at the Pasadena Central Library. The 2009 inductees — Roger Maris, Jim Eisenreich, and Steve Dalkowski — were elected by the membership of the Baseball Reliquary in voting conducted in April and May 2009, and they received the highest number of votes from a ballot consisting of fifty candidates.
The Keynote Address was delivered by Don Malcolm. The ceremony also featured the presentation of the 2009 Hilda Award to Bob Colleary and the 2009 Tony Salin Memorial Award to Mike Shannon.
For additional coverage of the ceremony, see Tom Hoffarth’s column in the Los Angeles Daily News, July 18, 2009, entitled “A new chapter too good to be true, even for Dalkowski.”

~ All Photographs Courtesy of Jeff Levie ~


A packed house at the Pasadena Central Library’s Donald R. Wright Auditorium, where the Shrine of the Eternals Induction Day ceremonies have been held annually since 1999, awaits the beginning of the afternoon’s festivities.



The Baseball Reliquary’s Executive Director, Terry Cannon, rings a cowbell to commence the 2009 ceremony.





One of only a handful of skilled musical glass players in the world, Douglas Lee performs his unique arrangement of the National Anthem before a mesmerized audience.

Then, Douglas Lee switches to the musical saw for his version of “Take Me Out to the Ball Game.”



Bob Colleary accepts the 2009 Hilda Award, which is presented annually by the Baseball Reliquary to recognize distinguished service to the game by a baseball fan. Born in Brooklyn, Colleary considers himself a baseball nomad and the biggest fan anywhere without a favorite team. One of his main passions is collecting baseball relics from its past. At one time or another he owned Donn Clendenon’s 1969 Mets World Series ring, Babe Ruth’s spittoon, and the lineup card from Game Six of the 1975 World Series which was won by Carlton Fisk’s 12th-inning homer. As a gift to his long-suffering Bucky Dented Red Sox fan friends, he also performed a complex ritualistic exorcism which Reversed The Curse using a straight razor which had once shaved Babe Ruth. While much of his collection has been redistributed throughout the collecting landscape, Colleary’s prize possession remains Bill Veeck’s wooden leg, which is the centerpiece of his Strat-o-Matic baseball league, which is known as Bill Veeck’s Leg. The annual draft lottery is conducted each New Year’s Eve by placing dice inside the leg and rolling them onto the floor.







Mike Shannon walks to the podium to accept the 2009 Tony Salin Memorial Award, which is presented annually by the Baseball Reliquary to recognize an individual’s commitment to the preservation of baseball history. Shannon is the founder and editor of Spitball: The Literary Baseball Magazine since 1981. While Spitball originally debuted as a baseball poetry journal, it quickly evolved into a broader literary magazine that included baseball short fiction, prose, art, and book reviews. In 1983, Spitball inaugurated the CASEY Award, the first award specifically designed to honor authors and publishers of outstanding baseball books, and this prestigious annual award has been presented for 27 consecutive years. The author of 15 baseball books himself, Shannon, who resides in Cincinnati, Ohio, concluded his acceptance remarks by reading a poem that he wrote specifically for the occasion, "I Was the Kid."

Reliquarians Mark Diamond (decked out in his Reliquary finest) and Tom Tully await the Keynote Address.


The 2009 Keynote Address is delivered by Don Malcolm, who has had a shadowy literary career ever since the mid-1970s, when he wrote the first "hypertext" novel — before "hypertext" had even been invented. In the 1990s he turned his offbeat style and disturbing, ambiguous tone to baseball, crashing together numbers and literature in the controversial follow-on to Bill James’ Baseball Abstract, called The Big Bad Baseball Annual. He went on the lam in 2001 and has last been seen editing and writing for the Film Noir Foundation’s e-zine, The Noir City Sentinel. His book on noir, The Dark Embrace, will be published in 2011. While working assiduously to remain "under the radar," Malcolm has become a stalwart (though covert) ally of the Baseball Reliquary, an organization he steadfastly refuses to join "because they are the only ones who would accept me as a member."


Andy Strasberg, who takes enormous pride in being referred to as Roger Maris’ most loyal and faithful fan, introduces Maris and accepts his induction into the Shrine of the Eternals on behalf of the Maris family. Strasberg, who established himself as one of baseball’s most innovative marketers in 22 years with the San Diego Padres, told some wonderful anecdotes about his baseball hero, including the story of how his own life fatefully intersected with Maris’ life over and over again, the details of which have been published in Sports Illustrated and Chicken Soup for the Baseball Fan’s Soul.


Jim Eisenreich’s induction into the Shrine of the Eternals was accepted by his close personal friends, Jill and Mike Magnante. Eisenreich was unable to attend due to a coaching commitment. Mike Magnante, who is currently a schoolteacher in the San Fernando Valley, was a star pitcher at UCLA, was drafted by Kansas City in 1988, and made his major league debut with the Royals in 1991 as a teammate of Eisenreich’s. He had an excellent career as a left-handed relief pitcher with the Royals, Houston Astros, Anaheim Angels, and Oakland Athletics, retiring from the pro game in 2002. The Magnantes provided considerable insight into Eisenreich’s battles in overcoming the debilitating effects of Tourette Syndrome.


Filmmaker Ron Shelton introduces Steve Dalkowski prior to his induction into the Shrine of the Eternals, while Dalkowski and his sister, Patricia Cain, listen attentively from their seats. A former minor league ballplayer himself, having spent five years in the Baltimore Orioles system from 1967-1971, Shelton played in some of the same towns as Steve Dalkowski did a few years earlier in the Appalachian, California, and International Leagues. After retiring from baseball, Shelton would establish himself as one of the preeminent filmmakers of our times, with his filmography including, among others, Bull Durham, White Men Can’t Jump, and Tin Cup. 


Steve Dalkowski, now 70 years of age and living in New Britain, Connecticut, accepts his induction into the Shrine of the Eternals. Dalkowski etched his name in baseball lore during nine legendary minor league seasons from 1957-1965. The lefthander threw terrifying fastballs estimated, in the days before radar tracking, at 105-110 mph, amassing nearly 1,400 strikeouts in only 995 innings pitched. In addition to being fast, Dalkowski was also wild, walking a career total of 1,354 batters in the same 995 innings. On the cusp of making the Baltimore Orioles roster in 1963, Dalkowski blew his arm out. While he never made it to the big leagues, his mystique as the fastest pitcher of all time has grown in the ensuing decades.


Arnold Hano, the renowned author of 26 books including A Day in the Bleachers, attends the ceremony with his friend, Jean Hastings Ardell.


Ron Shelton with Tony Salin’s brother, Doug, who was attending from his home in San Francisco.


Adrienne Bratton, the daughter of late umpire and 2008 Shrine of the Eternals inductee Emmett Ashford, visits with Ron Shelton.

An admiring fan shakes the hand of Steve Dalkowski.


Hilda Award winner Bob Colleary shows off his prized possession, Bill Veeck’s wooden leg, which he purchased many years ago through an auction.



Among those enjoying the ceremony were Carmen Fanzone and Sue Raney.

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