Baseball for the Thinking Fan

Login | Register | Feedback

btf_logo
You are here > Home > Baseball Newsstand > Baseball Primer Newsblog > Discussion
Baseball Primer Newsblog
— The Best News Links from the Baseball Newsstand

Monday, January 13, 2014

SoE: Graham Womack: Race Against Time

Graham explains…“A couple years ago, a longtime minor league statistician named Bill Weiss died with a house full of priceless historic baseball artifacts. A fellow I know through SABR spent two years going through the collection so that it could be preserved and donated.”

At first glance, the thing that jumps out about the questionnaire is the neatness and precision of penmanship. In ornate cursive, on a legal-sized sheet dated July 18, 1977, about a month after the San Diego Padres drafted him, Ozzie Smith details his amateur career and life to this point. Asked for his most exciting moment, Smith mentions winning Most Valuable Player in a tournament in Taiwan the year before. He talks of being two quarters shy of completing his bachelors degree at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. Asked about other clubs he’s played for, Smith writes of his summer of 1976 with the semi-pro Clarinda Iowa A’s; he’ll reference Clarinda again in his Hall of Fame speech 25 years later.

Every time a player joined a team in a minor league Bill Weiss worked with, Weiss would have him fill out such a survey within 10 days. Think of a noteworthy player who debuted in the minors between the late 1940s and 2006, and there’s a good chance Weiss got a handwritten questionnaire from him. Through two visits to Weiss’s home after his death, this author located questionnaires for Smith, Wade Boggs, Dennis Eckersley, Rickey Henderson, Paul Molitor and many other players. Toward the end of his life, Weiss would occasionally sell an original questionnaire, such as Jose Canseco, though he always kept a photocopy. By the time of Weiss’s death, it’s estimated he had questionnaires for more than 100,000 players.

The questionnaires are but a small part of Weiss’s collection. He also kept official stats, player files and draft records. He kept correspondence from players, managers and league officials who would write to complain about his scoring decisions. He kept records on high school and college baseball. He kept material from a circuit he helped found and run for 25 years, the Peninsula Winter League that featured the likes of Willie Stargell and Joe Morgan. Weiss’s personal library of baseball books would eventually fill more than 125 banana boxes with selections dating to the 1860s. That’s just the stuff the executor of Weiss’s estate Mark Macrae said was fit for donation, about 26,000 pounds of material.

Repoz Posted: January 13, 2014 at 04:27 PM | 1 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: history

Reader Comments and Retorts

Go to end of page

Statements posted here are those of our readers and do not represent the BaseballThinkFactory. Names are provided by the poster and are not verified. We ask that posters follow our submission policy. Please report any inappropriate comments.

   1. Elvis Posted: January 14, 2014 at 10:38 PM (#4639192)
This is a wonderful article about a guy who not every baseball fans knows but that they probably should. Bill was a great guy, his passion was incredible and he was kind to everyone who was a fan of baseball.

You must be Registered and Logged In to post comments.

 

 

<< Back to main

BBTF Partner

Support BBTF

donate

Thanks to
Empathy, I Promise You (SBB)
for his generous support.

Bookmarks

You must be logged in to view your Bookmarks.

Hot Topics

NewsblogJeff Francoeur is Still Employed by a Major League Team
(22 - 11:01pm, Aug 26)
Last: ReggieThomasLives

NewsblogOTP 2016 August 22: Baseball has much to teach us about politics
(895 - 11:00pm, Aug 26)
Last: Jick

NewsblogOMNICHATTER 8-25-16
(138 - 10:59pm, Aug 26)
Last: ReggieThomasLives

NewsblogBaseball’s minor leaguers pursue their dreams below the poverty line - The Washington Post
(6 - 10:55pm, Aug 26)
Last: cardsfanboy

NewsblogWhy the Baltimore Orioles' outstanding closer should not win the Cy Young | FOX Sports
(17 - 10:50pm, Aug 26)
Last: ReggieThomasLives

NewsblogOT - College Football offseason thread (February - August 2016)
(36 - 10:44pm, Aug 26)
Last: Lance Reddick! Lance him!

NewsblogVotto ‘reaches out’ to Mays, Musial, Jeter
(10 - 10:12pm, Aug 26)
Last: TomH

NewsblogThe Kansas City Royals will miss the MLB playoffs; they have too much ground to make up | The Kansas City Star
(49 - 10:08pm, Aug 26)
Last: RoyalsRetro (AG#1F)

Newsblog2016 New York City Softball Game
(440 - 10:03pm, Aug 26)
Last: Howie Menckel

Sox TherapyIt Gets Easier...But Not Easy
(6 - 9:35pm, Aug 26)
Last: Chip

NewsblogRangers pitcher Jeremy Jeffress arrested, records show
(26 - 8:25pm, Aug 26)
Last: Tin Angel

NewsblogDodgers land Ruiz from Phillies | dodgers.com
(42 - 7:40pm, Aug 26)
Last: Gold Star - just Gold Star

NewsblogShelby Miller’s demotion likely to delay free agency
(10 - 7:12pm, Aug 26)
Last: shoewizard

NewsblogWhite Sox GM Rick Hahn says talk of trade-deadline discord 'simply untrue'
(18 - 7:09pm, Aug 26)
Last: McCoy

NewsblogPrimer Dugout (and link of the day) 8-26-2016
(6 - 6:28pm, Aug 26)
Last: Batman

Page rendered in 0.1615 seconds
47 querie(s) executed