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Sunday, December 30, 2012

Murray Chass: LIVING AMONG THE DEAD

Frank Russo is a baseball collector who doesn’t collect bats, balls, uniforms or autographs.

A 53-year-old resident of East Brunswick, N.J., Russo collects obituaries and death certificates of major league baseball players. He keeps track of their causes of death, and when he can find them, he takes pictures of their gravesites.

And if all of that is not unusual enough, he is a member of the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR for short) who does not consider himself a sabermetrician and has no use for sabermetrics or whatever the new-age metrics are called, you know, the ones I have no use for (the SABR guys despise me, Russo said, which is ok with me).

Russo has written a book, “Bury My Heart at Cooperstown,” subtitled “Salacious, Sad and Surreal Deaths in the History of Baseball,” and he maintains a Web site, TheDeadBallEra.com, “where every player is safe at home” and which he dedicates to “deceased major league ball players.”

The site has fascinating stuff, which you can’t get anywhere else.It has sections on murders, suicides, beer drinkers and hell raisers, accidents, obituary listings, necrology by location, grave site listings, grave photo archives and death certificates. Those headings make their sections obvious. But how about “bad to the bone?” What might be found there?

Four lists of owners, managers and players:

Headhunters: Don Drysdale, Burleigh Grimes, Sal Maglie, Carl Mays, Van Lingle Mungo, Whit Wyatt, Early Wynn

Hotheads and Bad Asses: Johnny Allen, The Cleveland Spiders, Ty Cobb, Lefty Grove, Joe Medwick, John McGraw, The Old Orioles

Cheapskates: Ed Barrow, Charles Comiskey, Charlie Ebbets, Chrlie Finley, Clark Griffith,Connie Mack, Frank Navin, Branch Rickey, George Weiss

Notorious: Cap Anson, The Black Sox, Hal Chase, Jim Devlin, Andrew Freedman, Chick Gandil, Chris Von Der Ahe

bobm Posted: December 30, 2012 at 01:26 PM | 16 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: pinata, zombies

Reader Comments and Retorts

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   1. beer on a stick Posted: December 30, 2012 at 05:41 PM (#4334742)
Hmmm...can't figure on the SABR people hating him, seeing as he's paying dues and all...Says on the main page of his site that he's a "Proud Member."

Really can't see the SABR folks hating anyone, 'cept maybe Murray.
   2. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: December 30, 2012 at 05:50 PM (#4334752)
The description of what he's doing is right up SABR's alley.


Reading the excerpt again I think Chass is saying that Russo said the SABR guys hate Chass. The "me" in question is Chass, not Russo I think.

Is the kind of ambiguous writing you get from these bloggers though.
   3. vortex of dissipation Posted: December 30, 2012 at 05:55 PM (#4334753)
Reading the excerpt again I think Chass is saying that Russo said the SABR guys hate Chass. The "me" in question is Chass, not Russo I think.


I think you're correct.
   4. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: December 30, 2012 at 06:15 PM (#4334763)
Is clarity one of those new-age metrics?
   5. beer on a stick Posted: December 30, 2012 at 06:25 PM (#4334768)
Reading the excerpt again I think Chass is saying that Russo said the SABR guys hate Chass. The "me" in question is Chass, not Russo I think.


I think you're tight. The phrasing threw me. The way I read it was that 'ol Murray was trying to show the world he wasn't the only one who was the object of SABR's uh, whatever it is that SABR feels for Murrray. I assume its something more like pity than hatred, but not quite.

The site is kinda cool, if a little primitive. I'm trying to track down gravesites in my area. Figure they might be worth a drive and a look on a boring Sunday afternoon. Beats hell out of watching football.
   6. Mike Webber Posted: December 30, 2012 at 06:33 PM (#4334775)
MLB players buried in Kansas MAP

One of our local members is working on this, and I think it is cool. There is a flag for every player and their cemetery, the green flags have a picture of the actual grave site.
My prediction is within 10 years SABR will have done this for pretty much every MLB grave (and other important figures connected to baseball).

   7. beer on a stick Posted: December 30, 2012 at 06:47 PM (#4334789)
Well if I find any in South Texas, I'll take some pics and let you know.
   8. cardsfanboy Posted: December 30, 2012 at 07:56 PM (#4334831)
My prediction is within 10 years SABR will have done this for pretty much every MLB grave (and other important figures connected to baseball).


Morbid and cool at the same time. The great thing about the internet(other than easy access to porn of course) is that there are so many fringe/niche projects that can get created and built through the power of numbers that would have been nearly impossible to do previously.
   9. Lassus Posted: December 30, 2012 at 08:36 PM (#4334856)
(the SABR guys despise me, Russo said, which is ok with me)

The guys who have done more research on, know more about, and have almost certainly been on average to more games than you think you're a dope, Murray. I'd really think you might consider caring a little more about that.
   10. Cblau Posted: December 30, 2012 at 09:30 PM (#4334903)
And if all of that is not unusual enough, he is a member of the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR for short) who does not consider himself a sabermetrician...


Once again, Murray Chass flaunts his ignorance.
   11. cardsfanboy Posted: December 30, 2012 at 09:40 PM (#4334909)
Once again, Murray Chass flaunts his ignorance.


Oh come on now, with a name like Society for American Baseball Research, is clearly an organization who's goal is to infect America's past time with evilness like science.
   12. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: December 30, 2012 at 09:48 PM (#4334920)
The Society for American Baseball Research, or SMERSH.
   13. Fancy Pants Handles lap changes with class Posted: December 31, 2012 at 02:30 AM (#4335114)
I think you're tight. The phrasing threw me. The way I read it was that 'ol Murray was trying to show the world he wasn't the only one who was the object of SABR's uh, whatever it is that SABR feels for Murrray. I assume its something more like pity than hatred, but not quite.

Schadenfreude.
   14. PreservedFish Posted: December 31, 2012 at 03:22 AM (#4335129)
While walking through the beautiful Mountain View Cemetery in Piedmont, CA, I came across the grave of a man or woman that was apparently under the sway of some sort of cult. It starts off this way:

"HOPE! Dear Saints: Eve's Zerah came as our deliverer against this evil eon." It ends: "We have our new bodies. We shall reign forever. God has wiped away our tears. Ahraynay forever, oh saints of faith! Ahraynay!"

I googled "ahraynay," and after Google asked if I might have meant "shanaynay," I found that the word "Ahraynay" had exactly ONE LEGITIMATE HIT IN THE ENTIRE INTERNET. This page will now be the second. That one hit was ... somebody else that stumbled across the tombstone and was wondering what it was. My conclusion is that this fellow (no name on the tombstone - is there a body?) was not a member of a cult, he was just insane.

LINK

Baseball content: this website has taught me that Ernie Lombardi is buried in the same cemetery.
   15. AndrewJ Posted: December 31, 2012 at 06:05 AM (#4335153)
And in the time it took me to read post #14, Ernie Lombardi would have run from home to first.

Happy 2013, everybody.
   16. RMc is a fine piece of cheese Posted: December 31, 2012 at 06:32 AM (#4335160)
Chass: SABR IS NOT A BIG SWORD, MR. PRESIDENT

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