Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Improved Faber exhibit in Cascade taking shape

Volunteers are working feverishly to finish the building renovation and displays for the new Red Faber exhibit at the Tri-County Historical Society's museum in Cascade, Iowa.

If all goes as planned, the exhibit will open on Independence Day.

Lee Simon is heading the project, which moves the Faber exhibit to the ground floor of the museum, 608 Second Ave. SW. It will feature more photographs, more Faber memorabilia and even a simulated radio play-by-play of the final half-inning of the 1917 World Series, where Faber shut down the New York Giants to secure the championship for the Chicago White Sox. The play-by-play is provided by sportscaster Gary Dolphin, a Cascade native and Voice of the Iowa Hawkeyes.

The historical society has invited me, as Faber's biographer, to take part in the re-opening the morning of July 4 by autographing copies of the book. With pleasure!

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Faber to be topic at symposium

Folks interested in Iowa history and in baseball might want to check out a two-day symposium at the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library Aug. 17-18 in West Branch, Iowa.

"Farm Team: Iowa's Contributions to Baseball," will open at 1 p.m. Friday, August 17 with a panel discussion entitled, "Hard Ball: Memories of Life in the Major Leagues," featuring former catchers Bruce Kimm and Bob Oldis, umpire Don Denkinger and former Negro Leagues player Art Pennington.

I'm honored to be part of the lineup. I've been asked to discuss the Hall of Fame career of Dubuque County native Red Faber. at 10 a.m. Saturday, August 18.

Other programs include the Rise of the Midwest League and fall of the Three-I League (of which Dubuque was once a member), African-Americans' influence on baseball, Rudy Laskowski and the Keokuk Kernels of 1952-53, Ozzie Smith and the Clarinda Cardinals, development of the baseball cartoon, Ray Doan (the P.T. Barnum of Baseball), Iowa's historic ballfields, 19th century lithographs and photos, barnstorming teams, the Iowa state baseball championship of 1870, an all-time, all-Iowa team, Cal McVey, Iowa's first pro baseball player, and a look at the recent making of the movie, "The Final Season."

For more information about the seminar, contact the Herbert Hoover Museum 319-643-5301. Registration is required and the cost is $25.

Monday, June 18, 2007

This Moe no Stooge

Red Faber (left), Moe Berg and Chuck Comiskey

I was in Carnegie-Stout Library over my lunch hour today, working on some baseball research (for the Tri-County Historical Museum) when another patron, a man in his mid-20s to early 30s, spied baseball photos spread on the desk in front of me.

He mentioned that he had just finished reading a book about Moe Berg. He asked if I had heard of Moe Berg.

Indeed I had. Berg is one of the most interesting, intelligent and complex men to have ever worn the uniform. Just a backup catcher for the Chicago White Sox and some other major league teams over 15 seasons, Berg was a genius and a spy for the U.S. Government. He is the subject of at least two biographies.

Berg and Red Faber, the subject of my biography, were teammates on the White Sox from 1927 through 1930.

A player of modest abilities, it was said of Moe Berg, "He could speak seven languages -- but couldn't hit in any of 'em." That wasn't exactly true. He knew 12 languages.

(Photo courtesy of the Tri-County Historical Society, Cascade, Iowa)