It all started with our Dad, Virgil Nipper.
I have heard baseball stories from him all my life. He played high school and amateur baseball, had two short stints in the minor leagues, and loved the game. I can still see him telling baseball stories around the breakfast table, in the grandstand at the ballpark, and even on the bench in the dugout.
He took my brother Jim and me to the ballpark every chance he got. He taught us to play, and even though dad passed away in 2016, my brother and I often share memories of throwing with him in the back yard and about learning to enjoy baseball. My book Baseball in Nashville (Arcadia Publishing) was published in 2007 and I dedicated it to dad.
I continue this legacy as a board member of the Nashville Old Timers Baseball Association, a member of SABR (Society of American Baseball Research – sabr.org), and SABR’s Grantland Rice-Fred Russell (Nashville) chapter. These organizations have allowed me to roam within the circles of “baseball people”.
Being a contributing author to SABR’s Biography Project has been one of my satisfying passions. An ongoing effort by the organization to research and write comprehensive biographical articles on people who played or managed in the major leagues, or otherwise made a significant contribution to the sport, is a daunting task and I am happy to have played a small part.
I have made presentations at the Southern Association and Negro Southern League conferences at Rickwood Field in Birmingham, Alabama, on numerous occasions. It has been a pleasure to have become teammates with historians from these gatherings, especially those who are Friends of Rickwood board members.
Participation in several panel discussions about Nashville’s baseball past at the Metro Nashville/Davidson County library and Archives has been enjoyable, as well as opportunities to tell Nashville’s baseball history at meetings of the Downtown Lions Club, Nashville Sertoma Club, Belmont United Methodist Seniors, Calvary United Methodist Seniors, West End Alumni, Cumberland Chapter of DAR, Rutland Place Senior Living, Mount Juliet and Lebanon Breakfast Rotary Clubs and other organizations.
Two engagements were especially meaningful to me: as keynote speaker at the 2014 Baseball in Literature and Culture Conference at Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, and as a presenter at the SABR 40 convention in Atlanta, Georgia in 2010 when the subject was Southern ballparks and my presentation was on Sulphur Dell, Nashville’s baseball home for many years.
My knowledge of local baseball history was gladly given in assisting the Nashville Sounds to correctly identify images and descriptions placed throughout First Tennessee Park.
My wife Sheila and I reside in Mt. Juliet, Tennessee with our dog Ellie and cat Stell. Together we have seven children and 17 grandchildren. They all love baseball.
Baseball in Nashville (2007, Arcadia Publishing)
“Sam Narron”, published in Sweet ’60: The 1960 Pittsburgh Pirates (SABR, 2013)
“Hank Schenz”, published in The Team That Time Won’t Forget: The 1951 New York Giants (SABR, 2015)
“John Mitchell”, published in The 1986 New York Mets: There Was More Than Game Six (SABR, 2016)
“R. A. Dickey”, published in Overcoming Adversity: The Tony Conigliaro Award (SABR, 2017),
“Jack Scott”, in 20 Game Losers (SABR, 2017)
“Bill ‘Willie’ Pope” in Bittersweet Goodbye: The Black Barons, the Grays, and the 1948 Negro World Series (SABR, 2017)
“Oscar Givens” in 1946 Newark Eagles (SABR, 2019)
“Babe Ruth’s First Grand Slam, May 20, 1919: Boston Red Sox 6, St. Louis Browns 4, at Sportsman’s Park, St. Louis” in The Babe (SABR, 2019)
Would you like for me to visit your club or organization? I would be happy to ! Email me: [email protected]