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 05:27 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 11:38 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
BFFB
for his generous support.

Bookmarks

You must be logged in to view your Bookmarks.

Hot Topics

NewsblogOT: NBC.news: Valve isn’t making one gaming console, but multiple ‘Steam machines’
(1177 - 7:07pm, Nov 27)
Last: JJ1986

NewsblogOTP Politics November 2014: Mets Deny Bias in Ticket Official’s Firing
(5046 - 6:47pm, Nov 27)
Last: Rickey! trades in sheep and threats

Newsblog2015 Potential Hall of Fame Ballot | Baseball-Reference.com
(33 - 6:45pm, Nov 27)
Last: shoewizard

NewsblogSandy Alderson says Mets can move quickly if a shortstop becomes available - NY Daily News
(35 - 6:33pm, Nov 27)
Last: Lassus

NewsblogBoston Red Sox prove (once again) that competitive balance in baseball will never exist | cleveland.com
(37 - 6:31pm, Nov 27)
Last: caprules

NewsblogDave Cameron: A proposed three-way swap for Red Sox, Mariners, Nationals
(46 - 6:22pm, Nov 27)
Last: cardsfanboy

NewsblogOT: NFL/NHL thread
(8715 - 6:00pm, Nov 27)
Last: Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip

Newsblog[Cricketer NOT baseball player] Phil Hughes dies after “pitch” to the head
(11 - 5:56pm, Nov 27)
Last: the Hugh Jorgan returns

NewsblogOT:  Soccer (the Round, True Football), November 2014
(547 - 5:26pm, Nov 27)
Last: Ron J2

NewsblogSource: Tomas agrees to six-year deal with D-backs | MLB.com
(22 - 4:49pm, Nov 27)
Last: McCoy

NewsblogOT: Wrestling Thread November 2014
(85 - 4:43pm, Nov 27)
Last: Tubbs & Minnie Miñoso don't fear Sid Monge

NewsblogJon Lester has plenty of options in addition to Red Sox - Sports - The Boston Globe
(9 - 3:56pm, Nov 27)
Last: Digit

NewsblogNotable Players Available In The Rule 5 Draft - BaseballAmerica.com
(10 - 1:34pm, Nov 27)
Last: Dock Ellis on Acid

NewsblogWhat's cooking? MLB shares Turkey Day recipes | MLB.com
(3 - 1:20pm, Nov 27)
Last: Mike Webber

Hall of Merit2015 Hall of Merit Ballot Discussion
(56 - 11:56am, Nov 27)
Last: Patrick W

Page rendered in 0.0977 seconds
52 querie(s) executed