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Frostburg State University Hosts "Baseball Forever: Mirror of American Life"

Free Conference to Feature Wide-Ranging Mix of Speakers, Events

Frostburg State University will host "Baseball Forever: Mirror of American Life," a three-and-a-half-day conference on the history of baseball, kicking off Wednesday, Nov. 8, with a keynote address by Frank Deford, senior editor for "Sports Illustrated" and weekly sports commentator for National Public Radio.

Over the following three days, 20 sessions will describe and evaluate the evolution of baseball from its creation in the 1840s to the present day. The speakers will include an unusual mix of distinguished historians, sports journalists, radio announcers, commentators, baseball professionals and informed baseball enthusiasts.

The conference will conclude on Saturday afternoon, Nov. 11, with a description of significant changes in major league baseball over the past half-century. The primary speaker for the conference wrap-up will be Clyde King, who began his 62 years in the majors as a pitcher for the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1944, then subsequently became a pitching coach for the Cincinnati Reds, manager for the San Francisco Giants, and general manager for the New York Yankees.

Frank Deford's talk will begin at 7:30 p.m., Wednesday, Nov. 8, in the Lane University Center. His keynote address will focus on John McGraw and Christy Mathewson, who figure prominently in Deford's recent book, The Old Ball Game.

The first full day of sessions will begin with a talk by former FSU baseball coach Bob Wells about the earliest days of baseball titled "The Creation" at 8:30 a.m. on Thursday, Nov. 9, also in the Lane University Center. Presentations on each of the three days begin at 8:30 a.m. and end at 5:30 p.m.

The conference sessions are free and open to the public, and there will be an opportunity following each session for audience questions.

In keeping with the conference theme, "Baseball Forever: Mirror of American Life," an original drama on baseball will premiere Friday evening, Nov. 10, in the Performing Arts Center Drama Theatre, with an encore the following evening. Titled "The Lone Star League," it describes the dynamics of a contemporary minor league team in Texas. Cumberland playwright Jim Ralston wrote this drama specifically for the conference, and noted director David Press is staging it. Tickets will be available at the conference table in the Lane University Center.

Other special features include a display of baseball art from Allegany County public school art students; memorabilia of the game, including some items from the Babe Ruth Museum in Baltimore; and a wide variety of books on baseball offered for sale in the Lane University Center.

Conference organizer and acknowledged lover of the game Dr. John Wiseman, a professor of history at FSU, wants to tap into the fascination Americans have had with the National Pastime across history.

"There are a lot of people out there who still love the game. They like to talk about it and hear other people talk about it," Wiseman said.

As a historian, he recognizes the transitions in the sport. "Changes in the game grew out of changes in American society," Wiseman said.

This conference was made possible by the President's and Provost's Offices at FSU, Spalding Company and numerous personal contributions. It was also made possible by a grant from the Maryland Humanities Council, through support from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Other sponsors include WalMart, ARAMARK, Hillerich & Bradsby, Co. (makers of the Louisville Slugger), The Orioles, The Capital Grille, Allegany Arts Council and Guiseppe's Restaurant in Frostburg.

For more details, including a list of session presenters and topics, consult the Web site at or contact Wiseman at Advance registration is requested by e-mailing with your name, address and phone number; the number of people in your party; and what days you will be attending.

FSU is committed to making all of its programs, services and activities accessible to persons with disabilities. To request accommodations through the ADA Compliance Office, call (301) 687-4102, TDD (301) 687-7955.

For further information on this release, contact:

Office of News and Media Services
Frostburg State University
101 Braddock Road
Frostburg, MD  21532-2303

Telephone: 301-687-3171
Fax: 301-687-7589