SABR was started in August 1971 in Cooperstown, NY with 15 baseball researchers. The original purpose of the Society was to gather together baseball historians, statisticians and researchers although it is not necessary to be a researcher to become a member.
Membership consists of former players, baseball officials from both Major and Minor leagues,
broadcaster, writers and "just plain fans" like me. Current membership of over 6000.
I joined SABR in 1999 and have been an active member of since 1999. When I started research on Cobb I became more active in SABR and took advantage of its resources insofar as Cobb was concerned, that is the purpose of SABR. They introduced me to about ten Cobb historians but the member I settled on was Wesley Fricks of Tampa Bay, Florida, the worlds foremost authority on Ty Cobb. Wesley became my mentor and guided through the life of Cobb.
When I became aware of the convention, I contacted the SABR office in Cleveland, Ohio, John Zack, President. He was unenthusiastic about my performing at the convention but put me in touch with Terry Sloope, the speaker chair. I told him about my show and desire to perform Cobb at the convention.
On October 7th, 2009, Terry wrote: "We are sure the Atlanta convention is going to be August 5-8. The budget is tight and based on past experiences, SABR is reluctant to allocate convention budget for performance artists. What is the minimum financial requirement to bring you to Atlanta?" Terry asked.
"Nothing personal" he wrote. SABR has a strong preference to save its discretionary convention budget for baseball personalities and research panel needs" he declared.
|SABR/Aiken, SC show poster|
However, he told Terry the SABR audience knows everything there is know about Ty Cobb and there is nothing I could say in my speech the researchers and historians do not already know about Ty Cobb.
Terry advised John that Coleman does not speak about Cobb, but as an actor, he channels him and brings him to life for the audience. Zack gave his approval for my appearance.
Clay and I left San Francisco early on August 5th arriving in hot, humid Atlanta mid-afternoon. We checked into our suite at the Sheraton/Atlanta Hotel, had dinner and relaxed in the olympic size pool.
We met with Terry on the 6th, and he introduced Clay to the audio-specialist at the hotel. Clay worked on the large audio board he was provided and we approved of the professional sound system in the room. We rehearsed and were confident the show would be a success.
On the evening of Friday, August 6th, Terry took a large group of us to Turner Field to watch the Giants battle the Braves. It was a stormy evening, with a rain delay of over an hour.
Aging Tom Glavine had his number retired in a ceremony prior to the game. The Giants won in 11 innings, Brian Wilson saved the game for the Giants.
|Fri. Aug. 6 Giants 3 Braves 2|
"Your performance was outstanding and everyone in attendance appeared to enjoy it very much. I was pleased at the way you portrayed Cobb's Southern heritage without turning him into a caricature of the Southern "good ol'boy".
"Your performance points to the fact that his life and accomplishments cannot be wrapped into a nice neat package. There is much food for thought emanating from your performance."
Chair SABR 40
Chair, Atlanta, Chapter, SABR
Immediately following our performance, Clay and I were driven to Aiken, South Carolina
to perform at The Aiken Historical Museum. Story in next chapter.