RIP The Maniacal Chuck Waseleski

The Allented Mr Ripley

holden
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
Oct 2, 2003
11,553
South Shore, MA
If you grew up reading the Globe sports page in the '80s and '90s, you knew who The Maniacal One was. He was many readers' introduction to advanced baseball statistics, and the Globe tapped him for contributions to its stellar Sunday Notes column, where he often received his own featured box.

Nick Cafardo wrote a nice column in memory of Chuck, who passed away on April 7. He includes some interesting ancedotes:

He befriended Wade Boggs and kept track of his incredible numbers through his huge years in Boston.

He would often give Boggs all of the data. The big thing there was he kept up with foul-ball pop-ups, for which for many years there were none, a sign that Boggs rarely had a bad swing. He kept track of swings and misses, balls hit on the ground, line drives, averages on certain counts and conditions. They were numbers that are certainly in vogue now, but back then he was the guy who kept them.

“Chuck was Bill James before we became addicted to him,’’’ said Gammons. “He would mail me lined sheets of notebook paper telling me how many times Wade Boggs popped up, or who hit The Wall how many times.
I can’t tell you how many agents approached me about how they could get a hold of Waseleski. They all wanted his phone number. Before long, Waseleski started producing files for agents on their players for arbitration cases, for free agent presentations. Waseleski’s numbers became all the rage.
Once cellphones came into being, he would call me in the press box if he saw something that just happened that he had a stat for. This was stuff you couldn’t get from the team that quickly, but Chuck knew the restraints deadline reporters were under and he wanted to make sure the most important number of the night was recorded in the game story.

There was no way to properly repay Chuck for all he did for all us — from Gammons to Shaughnessy to the late Larry Whiteside to Fainaru to me and Edes. We feel the same way. He was often our savior. He allowed us to build stories off his numbers or at least to add something interesting that only he had the knowledge and ability to come up with.

“He was obsessed with numbers,” recalled Fainaru, now an investigative reporter for ESPN. “I remember calling Chuck in real time to get something more esoteric about what was happening. I called him ‘Maniacal’ not only because of his diligence to the numbers but because it reflected how different he was. He helped shape what the sport has evolved into and it shows how influential he was.

“We take for granted a lot of stats that Chuck had back then, but then he was one of a handful of people doing it.”
RIP, Chuck.
 

JimBoSox9

will you be my friend?
SoSH Member
Nov 1, 2005
16,532
Mid-surburbia
If you grew up reading the Globe sports page in the '80s and '90s, you knew who The Maniacal One was. He was many readers' introduction to advanced baseball statistics
Spot on. I'm a little young for Gammon's Globe heyday, but Shaughnessy's Maniacal One tidbits were my primer / gateway drug to sabermetrics, a decade before I ever ever heard the word. I'm surprised to learn from Cafardo's article how active he still was with Boston sportswriters up until recently - you would have thought the internet put him out of business.



To a 10-year old obsessed with both John Valentin and Pentium chips, this picture was the height of cool. He'll never get 1/10 of fame his impact merits. RIP Chuck.
 

David Laurila

Barbara Walters' Illegitimate Son
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
In 2005, Waseleski told me Bill James included some of his data in his 1983 Abstract... and got his name wrong. The following year, James included even more of his data and spelled his name correctly, in all caps, 20 times.

Interesting, and deserving, tribute by Cafardo.
 
Last edited:

Rudi Fingers

Well-Known Member
Silver Supporter
SoSH Member
Jul 18, 2005
1,386
Adianoeta
Spot on. I'm a little young for Gammon's Globe heyday, but Shaughnessy's Maniacal One tidbits were my primer / gateway drug to sabermetrics, a decade before I ever ever heard the word. I'm surprised to learn from Cafardo's article how active he still was with Boston sportswriters up until recently - you would have thought the internet put him out of business.



To a 10-year old obsessed with both John Valentin and Pentium chips, this picture was the height of cool. He'll never get 1/10 of fame his impact merits. RIP Chuck.
Let me pile on - as a kid, I looked forward to the latest "from the files of the maniacal Chuck Waseleski"... the man who got me interested in sabermetrics. That Notes column was the only reason I had the Sunday Globe delivered to me in college.

ps - Is that an Ellis Burks sighting at Exhibition Stadium inside the cathode ray tube? :)
 

TheYaz67

Member
SoSH Member
May 21, 2004
4,712
Justia Omnibus
ps - Is that an Ellis Burks sighting at Exhibition Stadium inside the cathode ray tube? :)
I would wager that yes, that is Ellis, rounding the bases on July 27, 1987 at Exhibition Stadium after clubbing a home run in an 8-10 loss for the Sox.

I would also wager that is a Wade Boggs 1983 Topps rookie card siting on top of the TV....

RIP to Chuck indeed - he will be missed...
 

Dogman2

Yukon Cornelius
Dope
Mar 19, 2004
13,552
Missoula, MT
In 1985, Waseleski told me Bill James included some of his data in his 1983 Abstract... and got his name wrong. The following year, James included even more of his data and spelled his name correctly, in all caps, 20 times.

Interesting, and deserving, tribute by Cafardo.
Yep, the '83 and '84 Abstract info is confirmed.
 

LoweTek

Well-Known Member
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
May 30, 2005
1,454
Central Florida
I would wager that yes, that is Ellis, rounding the bases on July 27, 1987 at Exhibition Stadium after clubbing a home run in an 8-10 loss for the Sox.

I would also wager that is a Wade Boggs 1983 Topps rookie card siting on top of the TV....

RIP to Chuck indeed - he will be missed...
And I think that is an Apple III running VisiCalc!
 

RoDaddy

Well-Known Member
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
Jun 19, 2002
2,179
Albany area, NY
LOOOOVED those old Globe articles from Gammons and CHB! That was pre-Web so all your Boston sports info was packed into those Sunday articles and I couldn't open the Sports section fast enough. And from time to time, they'd include info from Waseleski usually preceded be the phrase "From the maniacal one". RIP Chuck
 

8slim

Well-Known Member
Silver Supporter
SoSH Member
Nov 6, 2001
12,430
Unreal America
I'd always get a charge out of seeing his name referenced in a Sunday Notes column, knowing that what followed would be incredibly fascinating.

61 is far, far too young. Very sad.
 

Norm Siebern

Member
SoSH Member
May 12, 2003
6,371
Western MD
Count me in. His notes in the Sunday columns started me counting pitches, noting if a pitcher was ahead or behind in the count when the ball was in play, swinging strikes vs. called strikes (and what that meant), etc. etc. Waseleski and Gammons were like Trammel and Whitaker, a sweet combination. Condolences to his family, may they somehow know the joy he brought to so many. Godspeed and RIP.