WHEELING - As part of a 25th anniversary celebration, the Edgar Martin Classic Beast of the East co-directors Bo McConnaughy and B.A. Crawford plan to honor a man who helped bring the massive event into the 21st century.
Ronn Andrusco, a longtime Beast of the East statistician who passed away in December, 2011, will be feted posthumously for his work of straightening out a decades-long problem with tiebreakers as they were determining who finished where in a given division.
''He was instrumental in creating the system that we use now, a computerized system of determining who is in first and who is in second,'' McConnaughy said. ''He was very key in straightening out that part of our Beast of the East. It's really good now.''
So what exactly did he do?
''He wrote a program where we can see the standings, accurately, every two hours,'' Crawford said. ''His program worked out to seven tie-breakers. And he was a great guy who loved baseball.''
Those tie-breakers seemed to annually cause problems during the pre-Andrusco Beasts.
Confusion often occurred, particularly when rain caused havoc at the tournament and some teams lost games to the weather and others didn't. Lost games are not made up in the Beast of the East.
Andrusco explained a bit of this in a 2006 interview with The Intelligencer.
''If two teams are tied, the first tie-breaker we use is if they played each other,'' he said. ''If they played each other, the winner gets the higher seed. If three teams are tied, we look at the games between those three only. If they are all 1-and-1, it goes to number of runs allowed in at-bats.''
In other words, if two teams finish unbeaten but one is 6-0 and the other 4-0, the team that played more games would have the advantage.
''For years we did that by hand, and then had our meetings on Saturday and sometimes there were shouting matches because guys wanted to know how they finished here when they thought they should have been there,'' McConnaughy said. ''With his system, there's no doubt.''
Andrusco, a Canadian, was introduced to the Beast after his son played for a travel team (the Wheeling Reds) coached by Kenny Campanizzi, who at that time doubled as an assistant coach at West Liberty State College under McConnaughy.
Andrusco kept the statistics for that team and found something of a second home in the Ohio Valley.
''He got involved with us (at West Liberty),'' McConnaughy said. ''He would travel down 7-8 hours on a Friday to stay for a doubleheader on Saturday, then turn around and go home on Sunday. He was dedicated to the game.
''He would come down here every year.''
McConnaughy and Crawford always offered to put Ronn and his wife, Velma, who will be on hand for the dedication, in a hotel room, but they always politely declined.
''He and her always came down, worked the tournament,'' McConnaughy said. ''They did whatever was asked of them. And they would stay and camp out in Dallas Pike. They didn't want a hotel. We volunteered to put them up in a hotel. They didn't want that. They camped out and did their own thing.''
Today, another longtime contributor and potential successor to Crawford as co-director of the tourney, John Pastorius, does the scoring and standings, along with his son Justin, and daughter Lindsay, using Andrusco's program.