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Sunday, July 17, 2011 ~ 2:00 pm

Donald R. Wright Auditorium, Pasadena Central Library
285 E. Walnut Street, Pasadena, California

            The Baseball Reliquary will present the 2011 Induction Day ceremony for its thirteenth class of electees to the Shrine of the Eternals on Sunday, July 17, 2011, beginning at 2:00 pm, at the Donald R. Wright Auditorium in the Pasadena Central Library, 285 E. Walnut Street, Pasadena, California.  As seating is limited, we encourage all attendees to arrive by 1:30 pm when the auditorium doors open; admission is open to the public and free of charge.  The inductees will be Ted Giannoulas, Pete Gray, and Maury Wills.  The keynote address will be delivered by Jean Hastings Ardell.  In addition, the Baseball Reliquary will honor the recipients of the 2011 Hilda Award, Chris Erskine, and the 2011 Tony Salin Memorial Award, Paul Dickson.
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 the occasion.
For further information, contact the Baseball Reliquary by phone at (626) 791-7647 or by e-mail at  The 2011 Induction Day is co-sponsored by the Pasadena Public Library and is made possible, in part, by a grant from the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors through the Los Angeles County Arts Commission.
The following is an overview of the day’s activities: 


             The National Anthem and “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” will be performed by JON LEONOUDAKIS, a hardcore baseball fan, filmmaker, and lead singer and guitarist for two local bands: The Bluez Express and Johnny Octane & The Carburetors.  Leonoudakis is one of the producers of the internationally acclaimed documentary, The Wrecking Crew, about the elite group of Los Angeles studio musicians that helped fuel an ocean of hit records in the 1950s, ‘60s, and early ‘70s.  He produced and directed 5:04 p.m.: A First Person Account of the 1989 World Series Earthquake Game, which the Baseball Reliquary premiered in 2009.  Leonoudakis is currently at work on a new documentary, Not Exactly Cooperstown: A Year in the Life of the Baseball Reliquary, set to premiere in Burbank on September 17, 2011.



            Hatched in 1974, TED GIANNOULAS is one of baseball’s greatest entertainers as The San Diego Chicken (or The Famous Chicken), the most popular and iconic of the mascots that became staples of major league baseball teams in the 1970s.  In 1974, while a student at San Diego State University, Giannoulas took a $2-an-hour job during spring break, wearing a rented chicken suit for local radio station KGB-FM and passing out promotional eggs at the San Diego Zoo.  That gig was so successful that he decided to give the act a try at home games of the San Diego Padres, who were so woeful that they were willing to consider just about anything to boost attendance.  In no time at all, the Chicken was running circles around the Padres’ then-mascot, the pudgy and balding Swinging Friar.  In his book, Big Hair and Plastic Grass: A Funky Ride Through Baseball and America in the Swinging ‘70s, Dan Epstein notes, “It was love at first cluck between the KGB Chicken and Padres fans, who loudly cheered the Chicken’s every pratfall and prank – especially when the latter came at the expense of the umpires and visiting players.”  The Chicken would soon become an entertainment revolution, with people coming to the ballpark to see him as much as to see the game, maybe more.  To many fans, the Chicken became a virtual folk hero, mocking the ceremonious, parodying the powerful, and cavorting with gleeful irreverence.  Even the Federal courts sanctioned the Chicken’s shtick.  In 1999, when the creators of Barney the Dinosaur sued Giannoulas for pummeling a Barney lookalike, the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in the Chicken’s favor, citing “he was engaged in a sophisticated critique of society’s acceptance of this ubiquitous and insipid creature,” thus giving him the legal go-ahead to continue stomping on the annoying purple dinosaur’s head at ballparks from coast to coast.  Giannoulas’s comic and mime abilities, painstaking work ethic, and tolerance for heat stress conditions have earned him the reputation as the “Sir Laurence Olivier of mascots.”  He prides himself in not missing an engagement in over three decades and in developing an extraordinary relationship with the fans; the Chicken is often seen signing autographs at ballparks well past midnight, long after the players have gone home.
Ted Giannoulas will personally accept his induction and will be introduced by ANDY STRASBERG, who worked for 22 years for the San Diego Padres in a variety of advertising, marketing, and promotional capacities.  During his tenure, Strasberg worked closely with Giannoulas for many memorable events and routines.  They promoted a Chicken Season Ticket package, premium giveaway items featuring the Chicken’s likeness, and many TV ad campaigns such as the Padres’ “Go See Cal” parody that included Tony Gwynn as a member of San Diego State’s baseball team.  In addition to the Padres relationship, Strasberg was able to negotiate the Chicken’s appearance on a Donruss baseball card and co-authored a baseball trivia book with him.

            PETE GRAY (1915-2002) remains the lasting symbol of baseball and World War II.  The one-armed outfielder (he lost his right arm in a childhood accident) was a semi-pro star in the coal towns of his native Pennsylvania and with the famed Brooklyn Bushwicks.  Gray entered professional baseball in 1942, garnering national attention in 1944 when he batted .333 for the Memphis Chicks, hit five home runs, tied a league record by stealing 68 bases, and was named the Southern Association’s Most Valuable Player.  This extraordinary season earned Gray a shot with the St. Louis Browns in 1945.  Even with the quality of major league play at an all-time low due to the World War II player shortage, Gray was clearly overmatched at this level, hitting .218 with no home runs in 77 games.  Nonetheless, Gray was a wonder to watch, and was a study in agility and dexterity as an outfielder.  After catching a fly ball, Gray would tuck his glove under his stump, roll the ball across his chest, and throw, all in one nimble and fluid motion.  When baseball returned to full strength in 1946, Gray returned to the minors, and he barnstormed with exhibition teams for several more years until retiring to his hometown of Nanticoke, Pennsylvania.  Gray’s major league career, albeit brief, was an astonishing and inspirational triumph of will, causing Washington Post sports columnist Shirley Povich to remark, “What Gray might have accomplished in the big leagues if blessed with two arms is something for the imagination to play with.  Surely he would have been one of the greatest big leaguers of all time.”
Pete Gray’s induction will be accepted by NELSON GARY JR., who grew up in Los Angeles and, like Gray, lost his right arm as a young boy.  In 1944, at the age of three, Gary flew to Memphis to meet his baseball hero, thus beginning a lifelong friendship with Pete Gray.  Their initial meeting was a highlight of the 1986 made-for-TV movie on the life of Pete Gray, A Winner Never Quits.  Inspired by Gray, Gary went on to play baseball at Van Nuys High School and Occidental College, where he graduated with a degree in political science.  He currently resides in Atlanta and is chairman of Leech Gary Asset Management.

            MAURY WILLS is universally credited with returning the stolen base as an offensive weapon to the National League in the 1960s and setting the table for future speedsters Lou Brock, Tim Raines, and Rickey Henderson.  Born in 1932, the Washington, D.C. native spent nearly ten years in the minor leagues before he got his shot as a rookie with the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1959.  The fleet, switch-hitting shortstop pilfered 50 bases in 1960, the most ever by an NL player since Max Carey in 1923.  The run-starved Dodgers of the 1960s turned Wills loose at every opportunity.  Between 1960 and 1965, Wills led the NL in thefts in six consecutive seasons, including a then-record 104 stolen bases in 1962 on his way to copping the NL’s Most Valuable Player Award.  Wills’s legs led the Dodgers to three World Series appearances in 1963, 1965, and 1966.  He also received many other kudos, including Gold Gloves, All-Star Game nominations, and an All-Star Game MVP.  Wills finished his playing career in 1972 (which also included stints with the Pirates and Expos), winding up with 586 stolen bases to complement a .281 lifetime batting average.  Wills briefly managed the Seattle Mariners in 1980-81, was a baseball analyst for NBC Sports, watched his son Bump mature into a major league infielder, worked as a trainer for numerous MLB teams, and taught the art of base stealing in Osaka, Japan.  Wills currently works with a variety of philanthropic organizations, drug abuse programs, and children’s groups.  Now in his late seventies, life hasn’t slowed down a whit for Maury Wills – he remains a man on the go, go, go.
Maury Wills will personally accept his induction and will be introduced by FRED CLAIRE, who was a member of the Los Angeles Dodgers’ front office from 1969 through 1998 and served the team as its general manager from 1987 until 1998.  He currently is a columnist for and is a member of the board of the Rose Bowl Operating Company, the First Tee program of Pasadena, and the Special Olympics of Southern California.  Claire has taught and lectured for the Annenberg School at the University of Southern California for the past 12 years.


            The keynote address for the 2011 Induction Day will be presented by JEAN HASTINGS ARDELL, who grew up in New York City, the daughter of a mother who loved books and a father who loved the New York Giants.  A freelance writer since 1988, Jean has covered a range of subjects, from domestic violence and Orange County politics to the environment, but she always returns to baseball.
Each March, she co-chairs the Nine Spring Training Conference in Arizona; nearly each June, she speaks at the Cooperstown Symposium on Baseball and American Culture; and each July, she attends the Baseball Reliquary’s Shrine of the Eternals Induction Day.  (In 2003, she introduced pitcher Ila Borders’ induction into the Shrine.)  She co-edited Endless Seasons: Baseball in Southern California, which will be published in July for the 2011 SABR national convention, and is the recipient of the 1999 SABR/USA Today Baseball Weekly Award for Research.
Jean’s baseball writing has appeared in the Los Angeles Times, The Sporting News, Elysian Fields Quarterly, The Cooperstown Symposium on Baseball and American Culture anthology, and Nine: A Journal of Baseball History and Culture.  Her memoir appears in Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend: Women Writers on Baseball (Faber and Faber, 1994).
Her book Breaking into Baseball: Women and the National Pastime was published by Southern Illinois University Press in 2005.  It had a “cup of coffee” – one week – on the Los Angeles Times list of bestsellers, is in more than 600 libraries, and continues to be taught in sports history courses at New York University, Union College, and the University of San Francisco, among others.
Jean lives in Southern California with her husband Dan, who in 1961 played first base for the Los Angeles Angels.  More information on Jean Hastings Ardell can be found at her Web site:


            Established in 2001 in memory of Hilda Chester, the legendary Brooklyn Dodgers fan, the Hilda Award recognizes distinguished service to the game by a baseball fan.  To Baseball Reliquarians, the award is comparable to the Oscar or Emmy: it acknowledges the devotion and passion of baseball fans, and the many ways in which they exhibit their love affair with the national pastime.  The 2011 Hilda recipient, CHRIS ERSKINE, has been both graphics editor and a columnist with the Los Angeles Times since 1998.  Starting as a copy editor on the Times’ national desk in 1990, he advanced to graphics coordinator, assistant graphics editor, and deputy graphics editor before assuming his current position.  He came to Los Angeles from the Times-Picayune in New Orleans, where he spent 11 years on the news desk.  Prior to that, he worked for the Hollywood Sun-Tattler (Hollywood, Florida) and the Des Moines Register.  Erskine received bachelors’ degrees in journalism and political science in 1978 from Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa.
Erskine’s weekly columns in the Los Angeles Times, “Man of the House” and “Fan of the House,” have been widely lauded for their wry insights and (often) tongue-in-cheek celebrations of fatherhood, life in the suburbs, and sports as a way of establishing relationships with children and sharing a distinct sense of belonging with others in his community.  His wide-ranging observations on the national pastime always come from the perspective of a fan, engaging baseball with a warmth and poignancy which allow his readers to reflect on the enduring nature of being a true supporter.  Whether ruminating on the experience of being a volunteer coach for Little League baseball or rhapsodizing about a Chicago-style hot dog at an Angels game, Chris Erskine examines the myriad ways that baseball allows fans to pass time and to connect with their personal histories.

            Chris Erskine will be present to accept the Hilda Award.


            Established in 2002 to recognize individuals for their commitment to the preservation of baseball history, the Tony Salin Memorial Award is named in honor of the baseball historian, researcher, and Reliquarian who passed away in 2001.  The 2011 Salin Award recipient, PAUL DICKSON, is the author of nearly 60 nonfiction books and hundreds of magazine articles.  Although he has written on a variety of subjects from ice cream to kite flying to electronic warfare, he now concentrates on writing about American language, 20th century narrative history, and baseball.  Born in Yonkers, New York, Dickson graduated from Wesleyan University in 1961 and was honored as a Distinguished Alumnae of that institution in 2001.  After graduation, he served in the U.S. Navy and later worked as a reporter for McGraw-Hill Publications.  Since 1968, he has been a full-time freelance writer, contributing articles to various newspapers and magazines, including the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, Smithsonian, Esquire, The Nation, and Town & Country, and has authored numerous books.
His baseball titles include The Hidden Language of Baseball: How Signs and Sign Stealing Have Influenced the Course of Our National Pastime; The Joy of Keeping Score: How Scoring the Game Has Influenced and Enhanced the History of Baseball; Baseball’s Greatest Quotations (which came out in a new and expanded edition in 2007); Baseball: The Presidents’ Game; and The Worth Book of Softball: A Celebration of America’s True National Pastime.  His most recent baseball books are The Unwritten Rules of Baseball: The Etiquette, Conventional Wisdom, and Axiomatic Codes of Our National Pastime and The Dickson Baseball Dictionary: Third Edition, which were both published in 2009, and Baseball Is . . .: Defining the National Pastime, published in 2011.
Originally published in 1989, The Dickson Baseball Dictionary ranks as the author’s most popular book.  The most authoritative and comprehensive guide to baseball terminology ever compiled, The Dickson Baseball Dictionary was awarded the 1989 Macmillan-SABR Award for Baseball Research and has been hailed as “a staggering piece of scholarship” (Wall Street Journal) and “absorbing and enlightening reading” (Sports Illustrated).  An expanded second edition came out in 1999, followed by a third edition in 2009 with more than 10,000 entries and double the size of the original.  Dickson is currently working on his first biography, scheduled for publication in 2012, which is tentatively titled The Life and Good Times of Bill Veeck – The Man Who Changed Baseball.
A resident of Garrett Park, Maryland, Dickson is a founding member and former president of Washington Independent Writers and a member of the National Press Club.  He is a contributing editor at Washingtonian magazine, has served as a consulting editor at Merriam-Webster, and currently is sports editor with Dover Publications.  More information on Paul Dickson can be found at and

Paul Dickson will be present to accept the Tony Salin Memorial Award.


            Free parking is available in the University of Phoenix underground parking structure, which is located just north of the Pasadena Central Library on the corner of Garfield Avenue and Corson Street.  The entrance to the parking structure is on Garfield.
Although the ceremony does not begin until 2:00 pm, we encourage attendees to arrive by 1:30 pm (when the doors to the auditorium open) as seating is limited.  If you arrive when the library opens at 1:00 pm, this will allow you ample time to view the Baseball Reliquary’s exhibition, Patriotic Pitch: The Empire of Baseball (see details below), which is being presented in the display cases in the North Entrance, Business and Humanities Wings, and Centennial Room through July 30.



July 5-July 30, 2011

Pasadena Central Library
285 E. Walnut Street, Pasadena, California

            In conjunction with the 2011 Induction Day ceremony of the Shrine of the Eternals, the Baseball Reliquary presents Patriotic Pitch: The Empire of Baseball, a provocative and eye-opening historical look at how the “national pastime” has been used to sell and export the American dream.  At home, baseball has often promoted patriotism and nationalism, while beyond our shores it has bolstered U.S. foreign and military policies. 
Mixing political analysis and baseball lore, the exhibition is based on Robert Elias’s book, The Empire Strikes Out: How Baseball Sold U.S. Foreign Policy and Promoted the American Way Abroad (The New Press, 2010, ISBN 9781595581952).  The displays utilize photographs, artworks, artifacts, and documents to illustrate key elements of Elias’s original research, from the myth of Abner Doubleday’s invention of baseball to the game’s appearance in America’s long history of wars, interventions, and diplomacy.  Over 20 paintings and prints from artist Ben Sakoguchi’s Orange Crate Label Series: The Unauthorized History of Baseball offer further insight into the exhibition’s narrative, driven by compelling stories, unusual events, and unique individuals.
Patriotic Pitch: The Empire of Baseball will run from July 5 through July 30, 2011 at the Pasadena Central Library, 285 E. Walnut Street, Pasadena, California.  The displays are found in several locations throughout the library, including the cases in the North Entrance, Business and Humanities Wings, and Centennial Room.  Library hours are Monday-Thursday, 9:00 am-9:00 pm; Friday-Saturday, 9:00 am-6:00 pm; and Sunday, 1:00-5:00 pm.
            For further information, contact the Baseball Reliquary by phone at (626) 791-7647 or by e-mail at  The exhibition is made possible, in part, by a grant from the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors through the Los Angeles County Arts Commission. 


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