Prof. Humber’s Class is in Session


 * Bill Humber, shown here at an earlier session with Blue Jays president Paul Beeston, has his 37th annual Spring Training for Fans underway at Seneca College each Saturday. ….

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By Danny Gallagher
It’s that time of year again.

In fact, this is the 37th annual edition of Bill Humber‘s special interest class at Seneca College called Spring Training For Fans that runs for six weeks on Saturdays.

Provided through the college’s continuing education department and with plenty of support from Toronto’s Hanlan’s Point Society for American Baseball Research (SABR) group, the popular class began Jan. 24 and helps get people through that stretch that runs from football season to spring training. The stretch of classes will be broken up by an off day Family Day Saturday Feb. 14.

The roster of participants includes Blue Jays representatives, writers and historians:

_ Opening Day began with a SABR day with new discoveries about baseball’s origins, including what transpired in Beachville, Ont. in the 1800s.

_ This Saturday Brian Marshall will be on hand to talk about the 1927 powerhouse New York Yankees.

_ On Feb. 7, I will be chatting about the 374-page book I co-authored with Bill Young called Ecstasy to Agony: the 1994 Montreal Expos. That same day, Paul Patskou will anchor a video anthology of early ballparks, including Toronto’s Maple Leaf Stadium. As Humber says in a release, “it will be a walk in the park.’’

_ On the menu for Feb. 21 are the duo of ex-Jays PR specialist Howie Starkman and Toronto’s own Dr. Ron Taylor, a superb relief pitcher, who will talk about one of his teams, the 1969 Miracle Mets, who upset the Baltimore Orioles to win the World Series. You probably also know that Taylor pitched a number of seasons for the St. Louis Cardinals.

_ Looking ahead to Feb. 28, a number of speakers are on deck. Writer and author Brian (Chip) Martin of London, Ont. will let you know about the famous London Tecumsehs and he will be selling his book Baseball’s Creation Myth: Adam Ford, Abner Graves and the Cooperstown Story. Also speaking that day will be Harvey Sahker (Cuban baseball), along with two Intercounty Baseball League reps: commissioner John Kastner and Burlington Bandits owner Scott Robinson.

_ Rounding out the slate of classes on March 7 will be Prom Day with Stephen Brooks, the Jays’ vice-president of business.

Want to get in on the action? Cost is $72 plus HST. Each class takes place from 10:30 a.m.-1 p.m. in Classroom A4504 at Seneca’s Newnham campus at 1750 Finch Ave. E.

For more information, please call Humber at 416-491-5050, ext. 22500 or email him at

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