After a concise historic overview by Rickwood’s Executive Director David Brewer, we scattered to run the base paths, visit the dugouts and locker rooms, explore the press box, and roam the outfield, taking as many photos as possible of this one-of-a-kind ballpark. Meanwhile, the local media interviewed former KC Monarch Sam Allen for some TV face time on the 10 o’clock news. Photographs of America’s oldest baseball park will be uploaded to our FaceBook account at a later date.
Saturday was also fun-filled, as author Timothy Gay started us off with barnstorming tales of Satchel Paige, Dizzy Dean and Bob Feller during the days of Jim Crow. Gay was followed by Todd Peterson, a conference veteran who spoke on the Birmingham Giants, the
champions of the South from 1904 to 1909. Check out Peterson’s new book in the Dugout Reading section of this newsletter.
“The Rickwood Field tour was the highlight of the weekend,” claimed Wes Singletary from Tallahassee (FL).
“Rickwood Rocks!” shouted Dick Raymo from Wilmington (VT).
“Historic, legendary Rickwood Field was off-the-charts in terms of a ballpark and a living museum. You could feel the presence of the great ones in that magnificent venue,” added Tom Tuttle.
Raymo also shared, “I stayed through Sunday and attended the 16th Street Baptist Church service, and then spent the entire afternoon at the Civil Rights Institute and then took in the park where Bull Connor did his dishonor to our nation and the city of Birmingham. It was a day that I am most grateful to have experienced.”
After the Rickwood tour, we boarded the buses to watch the Barons beat up on the West Tennessee Jaxx at Hoover Stadium. Before the game, Negro League players were introduced on the field. From left to right are Birmingham Sam Brison, Sam Allen, Ray Haggins, Willie Lee and Rendon “the Bull” Marbury.
Elizabeth “Zann” Nelson provided some insight on researching the genealogy of Hall of Famer, J. Preston “Pete” Hill. More information about re- discovery of Pete Hill can be found elsewhere in this newsletter.
Returning from lunch, we had a surprise guest from Decatur, Alabama: former Indianapolis Clown Billy Vaughn, courtesy of Lucky Smith and Louis Manley from Detroit, Michigan. The diminutive Mr. Vaughn provided some insight on his days as a player and fun maker for the Clowns in the early 1960’s.
Afterwards, Trey Strecker tackled the controversial 1887 challenge by the Cuban Giants to play the St. Louis Browns. Did the Browns refuse to play because of pride or cowardice? Only the Malloy attendees know the answer.
No conference is complete without some statistical study, which was provided by economic professor Michael Haupert’s presentation in analyzing the impact of racial integration using a five-year model.
After the seventh-inning stretch, we re-convened for the Authors’ Panel, moderated by noted bibliophile Dick Clark. Authors Brian Carroll (When to Stop the Cheering?), Martha Ackmann (Curveball) and Tim Gay (Satch, Dizzy and Rapid Robert) engaged in some lively banter and provided their insights on how to do research and get published.
The weather was perfect as we enjoyed the food and festivities under the Frank “Big Hurt” Thomas Tent.
Overseers of the [John] Donaldson Network Peter Gorton and Sam Sinke provided a multi-media presentation using stunning visual displays of research techniques. Some of their work can be found at: http://johndonaldson.bravehost.com/