Around the Tiers: "Tales from the Shrine"

By Conor Mooney

May 21, 2014 Updated May 21, 2014 at 7:02 PM EDT

(WBNG Binghamton) How many players who have played in the greater Binghamton area who have moved on to the major leagues? What was the name of the first minor league team in Binghamton? Jim Maggiore, and Mike McCann stopped by to talk about a new book that answers those questions and more.

A description about "Tales from the Shrine," is listed below.

2014 marks the 100th year of minor league baseball in the Greater Binghamton area. This trend started in 1877 with the Binghamton Bingos, continued with the Crickets, spanned a long stretch with the Triplets, and of course, now continues with the B-Mets. In all, over 740 players that have played in our area have played in the major leagues.

The B-Mets Booster Club has published a book about the history of minor league ball in our community, "Celebrating 100 Years of Baseball in Greater Binghamton: Tales from the Binghamton Baseball Shrine." All proceeds from the book go directly to the Binghamton Mets Baseball Booster Club, as the authors, Mike McCann and Jim Maggiore, donated all their work on the book. The only cost involved was the printing cost, which is being done by a local printer.

The "Tales from the Shrine" book profiles the 61 members of Binghamton's Shrine, including stories on such legends as Whitey Ford, Thurman Munson, Lefty Gomez, "Wild Bill" Hallahan, Ron Luciano, and George F. Johnson; modern day players profiled include Edgardo Alfonzo and David Wright. The book also discusses the history of baseball in the Binghamton area and also documents the region's influence on New York City baseball, as the Binghamton area sent many of the great Yankee players of the '50's and '60's to the big leagues and has now sent approximately 250 players to the New York Mets since 1992!

The stories in the book are both humorous and somber, reflecting life's vicissitudes. Readers will learn about Luciano's self-deprecating humor, as he referred to his work as a national baseball broadcaster by saying he had a "Face made for radio and a voice made for mime." Another story that will bring smiles to people's faces is Ralph Terry's story about sitting down to a baseball conversation with baseball legend Cy Young in Cooperstown, New York. And finally, readers will also learn about the time Lefty Gomez had one of the scares of his life, when his fiancé at the time, Broadway musical comedy star June O'Dea, threw his engagement down the toilet and flushed!

The Booster club was formed in September of 2012 as a non-profit organization. Its first goal is to support the players, staff and owners that make this 100th anniversary possible; second, it strives to increase community support for the team and the sport. The club has developed a number of strategies from stadium promotions to player food packages on away games, to community articles and meetings. A byproduct of this work is to foster community pride; one of the themes of this season is "Our Team, Our Town, Our Pride."