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Following McAuliffe's presentation, Joan Thomas read statements from descendants of Terrier stars who were unable to attend. They included St. Louis physician, Dr. Timothy Brady, grandson of outfielder John Tobin, who led the league in hitting in 1915; Cindy Thomson, first cousin to Mordecai Brown; Sherian Groce, Fielder Jones descendant; and Eddie Plank, III, great grandson to Eddie Plank.
Finally, Thomas directed the official unveiling of the plaque expected to last long beyond the lifetimes of everyone present. Kohl Handlan and the two Groom sisters removed the baseball motif cloth, revealing the shiny new plaque.
The marker gives basic information about Federal League
Park, and recognizes its other known names, Handlan Park and Steininger Field. It also lists the two Terrier Hall-of-Famers, Mordecai Brown and Eddie Plank, in addition to Fielder Jones, who managed the club during both years of its existence.
Honored guests at the event included Nancy Barfield, whose granfather was a first cousin to Mordecai Brown; Kohl Handlan, a direct descendant of the Handlan whose name is still connected with Federal League Park; Ed Mickelson, a former American League Brownie and author of Out of The Park - Memoir of a Minor League Baseball All Star; accomplished author Catherine Groom Petroski and her sister Mary Ellen Groom Prine, granddaughters of Terrier pitcher Bob Groom.
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On Wednesday, October 17, 2007, a gathering
of baseball history enthusiasts dedicated a free-
standing plaque commemorating Federal League
Park of St. Louis and the team that played there,
the Federal League Terriers of 1914 - 1915.
The event took place at the site of that park.
Present-day Saint Louis University's Marchetti
Towers, a student housing complex, now occupies
much of the space where the 15,000 seating capacity
grandstand and pavilion once served St. Louis
ball fans during the two years that the city supported
three big league clubs and parks.
Though the unveiling of the newly-installed weather resistant metal marker was the primary reason for the assembly, the event's planners used it as an opportunity to celebrate the 1915 achievement of Terrier pitcher Eddie Plank. Realizing that he earned his 300th major league victory on September 11 that year, they held a mini-celebration, and provided Plank buttons to everyone in attendance.
As the ceremony commenced, the entire Saint Louis University Baseball club with its coach, Darin Hendrickson, formed a semi-circle around the veiled marker and faced the crowd. Their black jerseys emblazoned with white SAINT LOUIS BASEBALL simulated uniforms of many early ball clubs, lending a sense of historical reality.
Committee Project Coordinator Joan M. Thomas introduced the speakers, beginning with SABR (Society for American Baseball Research) Bob Broeg Chapter President, Norm Richards, who explained the organization's purpose. Then, Coach Hendrickson delivered a modern baseball perspective, and Committee Chairperson Barbara Sheinbein talked about the Federal League and the Terriers first home game of April 16, 1914.
Special guest speaker Emmett McAuliffe delivered a fascinating address on ball players of the early 20th century and dubbed Federal League Park a "Field of Dreams." A St. Louis Communications Attorney and Browns Historical Society official, McAuliffe hosts a weekly radio show, "Friday Night Fracas" on KMOX radio. Giving little-known details about early St. Louis ballplayers, he talked about a "young writer on the Terriers beat," J Roy Stockton. But before that speech, he led the crowd in a belated cheer honoring Eddie Plank's 300th win.
From that point on, photo shooting, awed inspection of the marker and congenial chattering made it clear that this was indeed a special occasion. Though rain earlier that day threatened to spoil the event, the SABR chapter's media guy, Jim Rygelski, promised that it would clear in time for the group to set up. He must hold special favors with he who commands the weather, as it did. Which perhaps proves what we've suspected all along: God is a baseball fan.
SABR Chapter Dedicates A Plaque Commemorating the Federal League Park of St. Louis - And A Mini-Celebration Recognizes Eddie Plank's 300th Major League Win While Playing for the Terriers
by Joan M. Thomas