Prof Uses Mapping Skills in Sports History Society

By Zuchowski, Dave | Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA), April 1, 2014 | Go to article overview

Prof Uses Mapping Skills in Sports History Society


Zuchowski, Dave, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)


Tom Mueller has been interested in sports all his life. A professor in California University of Pennsylvania's Department of earth sciences, Mr. Mueller, who has a doctorate, said he loves to follow sports and finds that they help him relax. Little did he know that his sports interests would become a link to a new professional relationship.

In December, he'd just finished reading a book on the Negro baseball leagues and decided to search the Internet for related subjects. One link he found connected him to another book titled "Black Ice: The Lost History of the Colored Hockey League of the Maritimes."

The book caught Mr. Mueller's attention and when he tried to get a copy, he began a back-and-forth email correspondence with George Fosty, the book's co-author [along with his brother Darril] and president of the Society of North American Historians and Researchers.

The society was founded in June 2004 in New York City by a group of historians concerned by what they perceived as a failure by traditional historians and educators to recognize the role and importance of globalism and multicultural influences in sports history, Currently made up of sports historians, filmmakers, researchers and journalists in seven countries, the society tries to fill that gap through the dissemination of sports relevant books, films and articles.

Because of his interest in sports and his scholarly focus on geographic information systems, or computer mapping, Mr. Fosty thought Mr. Mueller would be a good addition to the society's executive board, a position made official in January.

Computer mapping allows governments, businesses, organizations and individuals to visualize, question, analyze, interpret and understand data to reveal relationships, patterns and trends. In class, Mr. Mueller has had his students "crime map" for local police departments and create maps of recreational areas for the Hempfield recreation department. At the university, one of his students mapped alumni locations to see where the university might want to organize an alumni chapter.

"I've been doing GIS mapping my entire career," Mr. …

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