Honoring Bill Shannon

By now, most know of the tragic passing of legendary MLB Official Scorer Bill Shannon this past October. Mr. Shannon was many things, not the least of which was the “father” of modern-day baseball official scoring. He was one of the last Official Scorers to be appointed by the Baseball Writers Association of America (BBWAA), prior to its abdication of overseeing Official Scorers in 1980. For many years he tirelessly assisted that organization in its endeavors, and will fittingly be honored by the BBWAA’s New York Chapter early next year.

Four members of the New York Official Scoring Fraternity pose in 2008 before the final game in the old Yankee Stadium: Jordan Sprechman, Bill Shannon, Howie Karpin, and David Freeman.

Mr. Shannon shared his vast knowledge with anybody and everybody who asked. In regards to official scoring, he mentored countless sportwriters, broadcasters, statisticians, front office staff, players, coaches, moguls, interns, barbers, repairmen – the list is endless. Anyone who has ever asked me a baseball rules or scoring question can be assured that my understanding came from one of my many conversations with him. His expertise was even called upon by Major League Baseball when he was asked to take part in the discussions that led to the last update to the Official Baseball Rules.

Mr. Shannon’s generosity was without boundary. In a world where it can be argued that social networking has destroyed the concept of two-way human interaction, Bill Shannon was unquestionably the Patron Saint of CONVERSATION. He enjoyed speaking AND he enjoyed listening, and wouldn’t let a discussion end until every possible branch of it had been explored by all parties.

In the spirt of two-way conversation, it is my hope is that once the college baseball season starts in the early spring that I will get the opportunity to discuss here the many scoring situations that take place across the collegiate diamonds, and then continue those discussions into the professional baseball seasons. Please accept this open invitation to post comments or ask questions – rules, scoring, statcrew or otherwise.

I ask you – my friends of the world wide web – let’s have a “conversation” about baseball…official scoring.


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