DFW SABR Chapter Re-named For Bobby Bragan, Ernie Banks

Ernie Banks and Bobby Bragan, two of the most illustrious players and baseball executives that have called the DFW Metroplex home, now will be honored as namesakes of the DFW Banks-Bragan Chapter of the Society for American Baseball Research.

Banks-Bragan Chapter President Paul Rogers made the announcement after a vote by area SABR members to change the name from the Hall-Ruggles Chapter – the group’s designation from its founding in 1992 until January 2014.

"Naming our DFW chapter after Banks, a Hall of Fame shortstop and career-long Chicago Cub via Dallas' Booker T. Washington High School where he graduated in 1950; and Bragan, a baseball advocate for the Dallas-Fort Worth area for 60-plus years, provides us with increased visibility and the ability to honor two of the giant figures in baseball history with strong Metroplex ties,” Rogers said. “Banks and Bragan represent all that is good about baseball, both on and off the field, and we are excited to be able to permanently honor their baseball legacy in this way."
Flem Hall, longtime sports editor of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram; and Bill Ruggles, an award-winning writer for the Dallas Morning News and baseball historian; originally were the namesakes of the DFW SABR chapter. They were longtime associates of late DFW group founder and baseball devotee Howard Green.

Area chapter and board members more recently decided to make the change to recognize worldwide accomplishments of both Banks and Bragan.

Banks, affectionately known as “Mr. Cub” for his 19 seasons with the Chicago-based squad, still holds virtually every major career and season record for the team. Some of his chief statistical accomplishments have been 512 career home runs (still tied for 21st all-time in Major League Baseball), a .274 all-time batting average, 2,583 hits, 1,636 runs-batted-in, and countless individual honors.

He also has been a 14-time All-Star Game selection from 1955-69, two-time National League Most Valuable Player, two-time NL home run champion in 1958 and 1960, twice NL RBI champ, Gold Glove winner in 1960, the Lou Gehrig Memorial Award for service to baseball in 1967, a Hall of Fame inductee on his first ballot listing in 1977, and had his No. 14 retired and honored with a flag and statue at Wrigley Field.

Bragan, whose 75-year career in baseball spanned states and continents, moved to Fort Worth in 1948 after finishing his major league career as manager of the famed minor league power Fort Worth Cats. The Birmingham, Ala., native later served as manager of the MLB Pittsburgh Pirates, Cleveland Indians, and the inaugural Atlanta Braves franchise during a span of 1957-66 and also was a bench coach with several Major League teams.

He played for the Philadelphia Phillies and Brooklyn Dodgers in the 1940-48 era with time off for World War II service and was part of the historic re-integration of the majors in 1947 with Hall of Fame African American standout Jackie Robinson on the Dodgers. As an executive he was president of the Texas League, the National Association of Professional Baseball Clubs and a special assistant for the Texas Rangers.  He also founded The Bobby Bragan Youth Foundation and worked with dozens of area charities. Bragan passed away Jan. 21, 2010, in Fort Worth at the age of 92.

These two legends in baseball offer a whole new era of possible accomplishments and national notoriety for the DFW SABR Chapter, which hosted the 1995 National SBAR Convention and which has been an active contributor to the SABR organization since 1992 under the steady leadership of Green and Rogers.

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