If you like baseball and baseball history, the Lee Lowenfish book event on Wednesday, March 18 was perfect!
Lowenfish is the author of Branch Rickey, Baseball's Ferocious Gentleman. I started reading the book last month and it is amazing! Lowenfish, a member of SABR, and does an excellent job telling the story of Branch Rickey from his roots in southern Ohio and beyond his days in Brooklyn.
I arrived a few minutes early and was able to talk to him for a good ten minutes before the event began. I talked about my favorite parts of the book and he talked about the Jackie Robinson Foundation dinner he attended a few nights before.
Being a few minutes early also gave me the chance to meet Rick Huhn who wrote books on George Sisler and Eddie Collins. Rick was also at the event to talk to Lee Lowenfish. Rick was very nice and easy to talk to. I'd like to read his books next. I even asked him if he planned on coming in town for an author event. Hopefully next spring the book store will have one with him.
When the event began he read a few pages from his book with some commentary and then answered some audience questions. He followed that pattern again before wrapping up to sign copies for people.
Some of the questions:
Q: Did Rickey bring Jackie Robinson to the majors because he wanted to see the social change or because he thought it would be profitable.
A: Lowenfish thought it was both and gave great examples of why. Even during Rickey's time as an Ohio Wesleyan University coach he could see society's injustices.
Q: What baseball executive is like Rickey today?
A: He didn't think there was one completely, but he thought Billy Beane's eye for talent and ability to trade a player a year early instead of a year late was very similar to Rickey's style. While Lowenfish thought Rickey would have embraced the Internet age, he didn't think he would be the same with stats that Beane is.
Q: Next baseball project?
A: There really isn't one at the moment. He's doing a lot of work with SABR and his Columbia University program.
I also commented that I enjoyed reading the Dizzy Dean and Branch Rickey battles when he was with St. Louis. Lowenfish talked for a while about that subject.
Overall, the event lasted a little about 90 minutes. It would have been over sooner if there weren't so many questions from the audience, but I'm fine with that. Especially since I was the one who asked 5 of the 7 questions! It was really was a great experience.