The third annual Rochester Baseball Historical Society (RBHS) Hot Stove Dinner on Saturday, January 30th was one for the organization’s history books. It featured John Thorn, Official Historian for Major League Baseball, as the keynote speaker. Mr. Thorn’s speech included topics ranging from abolitionist Frederick Douglass’ son Charles’ baseball playing in Rochester with the Unexpected Base Ball Club, following the Civil War, to Thorn’s personal story of being a young Jewish immigrant following World War II and the role baseball played in offering him inclusion into American society.
John’s talk reminded baseball historian and RBHS board member Priscilla Astifan that you don’t have to play baseball to become a significant part of it. She said, “John’s story is also my story. I was not good at playing the game but have become a significant part of it by writing about its history. Everyone can somehow contribute to the game.”
Founding RBHS member and award winning author Scott Pitoniak served as the evening’s emcee. Scott kicked off the evening by welcoming guests and then he was followed by RBHS president, Joe Territo who delivered his opening remarks. The event was co-sponsored by the Luke Easter Chapter of the Society for American Baseball Research as they were also celebrating SABR Day, a day in which such events take place all over the country. Chapter President, Ryan Brecker, took to the podium to welcome the SABR members in attendance.
For the second year in a row, Club 3000 at Frontier Field offered the perfect venue to celebrate Rochester’s baseball history on a chilly January evening. The view of the field offered guests a much needed vision of hope for the upcoming baseball season.
Following John Thorn’s speech, Scott Pitoniak moderated a question and answer segment with the guest of honor. Guests had filled out question cards during dinner and John graciously answered them, often with great humor. The evening concluded with the organization presenting Mr. Thorn with a framed honorary lifetime membership card.
The 2016 Hot Stove Dinner sold out fast so it is recommended that you RSVP quickly to next year’s event when it’s announced.