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Fans take to Facebook in bid to get former Watertown resident Tommy John into Baseball …

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If Tommy John is going to be elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame, the current social media effort by fans across the nation just might accomplish what no one else has been able to do.

John, born and raised in Terre Haute, Indiana, and a Watertown resident for more than three years, pitched on both coasts during his major league career, mainly for two of baseball’s most storied franchises, the Los Angeles Dodgers and New York Yankees.

Now, fans from Corona, Calif., to Watertown, N.Y., and everywhere in between, have orchestrated an all-out push, from endorsements by John’s former teammates and famed country singers to letters of petition to the Hall of Fame, that they hope ends with John’s election to the Hall when he becomes eligible again in late 2023.

John, now 78, and recovered from a hospital stay with COVID-19 in December, spent 1995-2009 on the Baseball Writers Association of America ballot with no more than 32 percent of the vote in any year (a player must appear on 75 percent of the ballots for election). The Veterans Committee passed him over in 2011, the Expansion Era Committee in 2014 and the Modern Baseball Era Committee in 2018 and again in 2019.

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All of this despite John, who also pitched for the White Sox, Indians, Angels and A’s, ranking as one of just eight pitchers all-time to make 700 starts and posting the most career victories without reaching the exclusive 300 (288).

“He’s achieved what other players have achieved that are in the Hall and it’s time to fix that,” said Ted Doyle, who grew up a Tommy John fan in California during the 1970s and created the Facebook group “Tommy John Cooperstown” last November. “What we’re doing with the Facebook group, the media campaign, the radio spots … it’s really just saying, ‘OK, Hall of Fame, please take note.’”

John, who lived in Watertown from 2011-15 after meeting his current wife, Watertown native Cheryl Zeldin John, played 26 seasons, more than all but two players, Nolan Ryan and Cap Anson. He pitched until age 46, won six World Series games and was runner-up for the Cy Young Award twice. But he never led the league in strikeouts, victories or earned-run average.

Some Hall evaluators believe that if John’s stats aren’t enough, the revolutionary ligament replacement surgery that he underwent in 1974 and now bears his name should be reason to place him in the Hall, given that it extended his career 13 seasons and also saved the careers of countless pitchers who have undergone the now commonplace operation.

John agreed to what was then an experimental surgery, performed by Dr. Frank Jobe, as the only hope for continuing his career. Jobe himself expected it to fail.

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“My (first) wife (Sally) was pregnant with our first child, which concerned Dr. Jobe,” John said. “He said, ‘If this doesn’t work, and it probably won’t, what do you have lined up to support your family?’” … I said, ‘Well, I have a friend of mine back home who was a car dealer, I can do stuff for him.’”

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After undergoing the surgery on both his left pitching elbow and his right forearm on Sept. 25, 1974, John didn’t pitch at all in 1975, then came back in 1976, starting 31 games for the Dodgers, going 10-10 and winning the National League Comeback Player of the Year Award. A year later, he was a 20-game winner for the first time in his career. He had amazed the baseball world.

Doyle, growing up not far from Los Angeles at the time, was enthralled.

“He was the guy,” said Doyle, 56. “If I had been left-handed, I would’ve emulated him. … I just loved how he approached the game. He was just a workhorse, got in and got it done and he was all about the team.”

Doyle, who lives in Corona, Calif., rekindled his interested in John again in 2020 when he returned to baseball card and memorabilia collecting, a hobby he knew as a boy. Doyle looked up John, who lives in nearby Indio (but is moving to Florida later this month), hoping to get an autograph and thinking he had reached John’s agent. But he had actually contacted Cheryl.

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“She said, ‘Tommy loves to see fans, why don’t you come out?’” Doyle said. “So my wife and I drove out to see them. … They invited us in and here I thought I was going to be in and out, get a signature, hi and bye. We were there for over an hour, it was the coolest experience. I’m sitting across from him, he’s telling baseball stories, he’s listening to me.”

Impressed, Doyle returned home and researched John’s career and couldn’t believe what he saw.

“After that experience I’m just thinking about it and I’m looking at his stats and it’s like, “good god, as a fan, I took it personal, I got angry,” Doyle said. “It was like, how is this guy not in the Hall of Fame?”

Less than a month after meeting John, Doyle created “Tommy John Cooperstown” and the campaign to publicize John’s Hall of Fame merits began on Dec. 3.

The page has grown steadily, to 724 members as of Saturday, and continues an aggressive effort that has included publicity from various Watertown media figures, as well as others with north country ties who are avid John fans.

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Bruce “Mac” Macfarlane lived in Clayton for nearly a dozen years after college and founded the Clayton Country Jam in 2011, which featured headlining country artists and tribute bands at the Clayton Opera House through 2016.

While Macfarlane was promoting the show at country music station Froggy 97 in Watertown in 2011, Tommy John, a country music fan, walked into the studio for a separate interview.

“He came in the door and I haven’t had a lot of people in my life where I get star-struck, but I did then,” Macfarlane, 67, said.

John then attended a Willie Nelson tribute concert in Clayton. Macfarlane, a Yankees fan, became friends with John on Facebook, and Macfarlane, who now lives in Vista, Calif., just visited John at his home last weekend.

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In the nine months of the Tommy John Cooperstown Facebook page, the former pitcher’s support staff has expanded to an eclectic group and features video endorsements of John’s career from country singers Tim McGraw and Toby Keith, former Yankees teammates Bucky Dent and Mickey Rivers, political figures Andrew Giuliani and Roger Williams, even former Happy Days actor Donny Most, who hopes to make a movie about John, and TV personality Kato Kaelin.

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“We’ve got a couple years to build this thing, so by the time it’s said and done, and it’s awesome right now … (it) will grow to geometric proportions,” Macfarlane said.

Doyle has talked to the Hall of Fame director of communications Craig Muder, trying to reach the ears of the Modern Baseball Committee, a 16-member group comprised of Hall of Fame members, executives and media who will vote in December 2023 to again determine John’s fate.

The push also includes a website, tommyjohncooperstown.org, a GoFundMe page to raise money for advertising, and a letter-writing campaign to the Hall’s Historical Overview Committee, urging John’s election.

Doyle, Macfarlane and others hope to generate more interest and Facebook group members this week as former Yankee Derek Jeter is inducted into the Hall of Fame on Wednesday in Cooperstown. John’s eight-year tenure with the Yankees was longer than with any other team.

The question of whether the social-media effort is enough to draw the attention of knowledgeable Hall committee members could be answered by Billy Powell, a Houston resident, who helped Doyle start the Facebook group.

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Powell runs the Facebook page “Baseball Nostalgia and Now,” which boasts 7,600 members, as well as a couple of Indiana basketball pages with thousands more followers. Powell, an Indiana native like Tommy John, has seen what Facebook promotion can do for an athlete.

“I know of seven people who have made it into the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame based on (the Indiana Hoosier) page,” said Powell, who also advocated for John’s induction into the Baseball Hall.

John, for his part, stays away from Hall of Fame talk, shrugging off questions with some advice his father told him 60 years ago.

“When I signed to play baseball at the age of 18 (in) 1961, he said, ‘Tom, no matter what you do in baseball, if you play for 20 years, you play for 20 days, all you’ll be is Tommy John from Terre Haute, Indiana,” said John, whose Hall of Fame bid has now lasted as many years as his entire MLB career. “… I can’t control Hall of Fame voting so I don’t worry about it. If I could control it and I couldn’t get in, then I’d be miserable.”

But John doesn’t hesitate to talk about his pitching ability, which ultimately produced his Hall qualifications. John says Pete Rose named him one of the three toughest pitchers he ever faced. He also tells the story of when he was a broadcaster for the Minnesota Twins in the 1990s and the team was playing in Milwaukee.

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Hank Aaron was in town and the Twins broadcast booth wanted Aaron to visit and answer a few questions. Aaron arrived and John’s broadcasting partner Dick Bremer fired questions at The Hammer, asking him to name the toughest pitcher he ever faced. Was it Gibson, Koufax or Drysdale?

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“And (Aaron) said, ‘you know (Milwaukee broadcaster Bob) Uecker asked me the same question and I’ll tell you the same answer,’” John recounted. “(It’s) that S.O.B sitting next to you.’

“Hank Aaron said I never gave him a pitch that he could pull,” John added.

Whether the Hall Committee listens to those former players or the fans who point out John’s record 188 career no-decisions that kept him from 300 wins, is something that will play out two years from now, when John will be 80.

“We know we’re not the ones that are going to vote here,” Doyle said. “But if we can bring that awareness that, hey Hall of Fame, the fans love Tommy John, it’s time that you fix a wrong here and put him in.”

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TOMMY JOHN STATS

MLB career: 1963-89

Career length: 26 seasons (2nd all-time)

Career starts: 700 (8th all-time)

Career win-loss record: 288-231

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Career strikeouts: 2,245

Career ERA: 3.34

Season highs: 276.1 IP (1979); 22 Wins (1980); 138 SOs (1966/1970); 6 SHO* (1967/1980); 1.98 ERA (1968)

* – led league each year

TOMMY JOHN ON:

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HIS PITCHING REPERTOIRE: “I threw a fastball and a curveball,” he said. “If I threw a 100 pitches in a ballgame and I had good stuff, I threw 85 fastballs at least … I threw in the upper 80s, mid 80s, lower 80s. I went up an down. I wanted movement and I wanted control. … Like Greg Maddux.”

HIS WORKHORSE REPUTATION: “After surgery, I pitched 13 years, never missed a start,” he said, “and I pitched out of the bullpen between starts, so how about that? With a surgically repaired elbow. My god, now, you’ve got 57 pitches, you’re done.”

TODAY’S GAME: “I don’t even watch baseball anymore,” he said. “It’s not the game I played.”

MOST DIFFICULT BATTER TO GET OUT: Ken Griffey Sr.

HIS TEAMMATES: John said the teammates he enjoyed the most were Gary Peters and Joe Horlen (White Sox), Reggie Smith, Dusty Baker and Rick Rhoden (Dodgers) and Don Mattingly, Thurman Munson, Graig Nettles, Willie Randolph and Roy White (Yankees). But he said he considered them co-workers, not friends. “My friends did not play baseball,” he said. “They were neighbors, we went to church with them or had dinner with them and all that.”

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COMING BACK TO WATERTOWN: Tommy John and his wife Cheryl will return to Watertown for an appearance at a fundraising effort by Republican candidate for New York State governor Andrew Giuliani. The event is scheduled for 7 p.m. Sept. 26 at the Elks Club.

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Updating Special Ad Audiences for housing, employment, and credit advertisers

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On June 21, 2022 we announced an important settlement with the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) that will change the way we deliver housing ads to people residing in the US. Specifically, we are building into our ads system a method designed to make sure the audience that ends up seeing a housing ad more closely reflects the eligible targeted audience for that ad.

As part of this agreement, we will also be sunsetting Special Ad Audiences, a tool that lets advertisers expand their audiences for ad sets related to housing. We are choosing to sunset this for employment and credit ads as well. In 2019, in addition to eliminating certain targeting options for housing, employment and credit ads, we introduced Special Ad Audiences as an alternative to Lookalike Audiences. But the field of fairness in machine learning is a dynamic and evolving one, and Special Ad Audiences was an early way to address concerns. Now, our focus will move to new approaches to improve fairness, including the method previously announced.

What’s happening: We’re removing the ability to create Special Ad Audiences via Ads Manager beginning on August 25, 2022.

Beginning October 12th, 2022, we will pause any remaining ad sets that contain Special Ad Audiences. These ad sets may be restarted once advertisers have removed any and all Special Ad Audiences from those ad sets. We are providing a two month window between preventing new Special Ad Audiences and pausing existing Special Ad Audiences to enable advertisers the time to adjust budgets and strategies as needed.

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For more details, please visit our Newsroom post.

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Impact to Advertisers using Marketing API on September 13, 2022

For advertisers and partners using the API listed below, the blocking of new Special Ad Audience creation will present a breaking change on all versions. Beginning August 15, 2022, developers can start to implement the code changes, and will have until September 13, 2022, when the non-versioning change occurs and prior values are deprecated. Refer below to the list of impacted endpoints related to this deprecation:

For reading audience:

  • endpoint gr:get:AdAccount/customaudiences
  • field operation_status

For adset creation:

  • endpoint gr:post:AdAccount/adsets
  • field subtype

For adset editing:

  • endpoint gr:post:AdCampaign
  • field subtype

For custom audience creation:

  • endpoint gr:post:AdAccount/customaudiences
  • field subtype

For custom audience editing:

  • endpoint gr:post:CustomAudience

Please refer to the developer documentation for further details to support code implementation.

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Introducing an Update to the Data Protection Assessment

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Over the coming year, some apps with access to certain types of user data on our platforms will be required to complete the annual Data Protection Assessment. We have made a number of improvements to this process since our launch last year, when we introduced our first iteration of the assessment.

The updated Data Protection Assessment will include a new developer experience that is enhanced through streamlined communications, direct support, and clear status updates. Today, we’re sharing what you can expect from these new updates and how you can best prepare for completing this important privacy requirement if your app is within scope.

If your app is in scope for the Data Protection Assessment, and you’re an app admin, you’ll receive an email and a message in your app’s Alert Inbox when it’s time to complete the annual assessment. You and your team of experts will then have 60 calendar days to complete the assessment. We’ve built a new platform that enhances the user experience of completing the Data Protection Assessment. These updates to the platform are based on learnings over the past year from our partnership with the developer community. When completing the assessment, you can expect:

  • Streamlined communication: All communications and required actions will be through the My Apps page. You’ll be notified of pending communications requiring your response via your Alerts Inbox, email, and notifications in the My Apps page.

    Note: Other programs may still communicate with you through the App Contact Email.

  • Available support: Ability to engage with Meta teams via the Support tool to seek clarification on the questions within the Data Protection Assessment prior to submission and help with any requests for more info, or to resolve violations.

    Note: To access this feature, you will need to add the app and app admins to your Business Manager. Please refer to those links for step-by-step guides.

  • Clear status updates: Easy to understand status and timeline indicators throughout the process in the App Dashboard, App Settings, and My Apps page.
  • Straightforward reviewer follow-ups: Streamlined experience for any follow-ups from our reviewers, all via developers.facebook.com.

We’ve included a brief video that provides a walkthrough of the experience you’ll have with the Data Protection Assessment:

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The Data Protection Assessment elevates the importance of data security and helps gain the trust of the billions of people who use our products and services around the world. That’s why we are committed to providing a seamless experience for our partners as you complete this important privacy requirement.

Here is what you can do now to prepare for the assessment:

  1. Make sure you are reachable: Update your developer or business account contact email and notification settings.
  2. Review the questions in the Data Protection Assessment and engage with your teams on how best to answer these questions. You may have to enlist the help of your legal and information security points of contact to answer some parts of the assessment.
  3. Review Meta Platform Terms and our Developer Policies.

We know that when people choose to share their data, we’re able to work with the developer community to safely deliver rich and relevant experiences that create value for people and businesses. It’s a privilege we share when people grant us access to their data, and it’s imperative that we protect that data in order to maintain and build upon their trust. This is why the Data Protection Assessment focuses on data use, data sharing and data security.

Data privacy is challenging and complex, and we’re dedicated to continuously improving the processes to safeguard user privacy on our platform. Thank you for partnering with us as we continue to build a safer, more sustainable platform.

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Resources for Completing App Store Data Practice Questionnaires for Apps That Include the Facebook or Audience Network SDK

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Updated July 18: Developers and advertising partners may be required to share information on their app’s privacy practices in third party app stores, such as Google Play and the Apple App Store, including the functionality of SDKs provided by Meta. To help make it easier for you to complete these requirements, we have consolidated information that explains our data collection practices for the Facebook and Audience Network SDKs.

Facebook SDK

To provide functionality within the Facebook SDK, we may receive and process certain contact, location, identifier, and device information associated with Facebook users and their use of your application. The information we receive depends on what SDK features 3rd party applications use and we have structured the document below according to these features.

App Ads, Facebook Analytics, & App Events

Facebook App Events allow you to measure the performance of your app using Facebook Analytics, measure conversions associated with Facebook ads, and build audiences to acquire new users as well as re-engage existing users. There are a number of different ways your app can use app events to keep track of when people take specific actions such as installing your app or completing a purchase.

With Facebook SDK, there are app events that are automatically logged (app installs, app launches, and in-app purchases) and collected for Facebook Analytics unless you disable automatic event logging. Developers determine what events to send to Facebook from a list of standard events, or via a custom event.

When developers send Facebook custom events, these events could include data types outside of standard events. Developers control sending these events to Facebook either directly via application code or in Events Manager for codeless app events. Developers can review their code and Events Manager to determine which data types they are sending to Facebook. It’s the developer’s responsibility to ensure this is reflected in their application’s privacy policy.

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Advanced Matching

Developers may also send us additional user contact information in code, or via the Events Manager. Advanced matching functionality may use the following data, if sent:

  • email address, name, phone number, physical address (city, state or province, zip or postal code and country), gender, and date of birth.
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Facebook Login

There are two scenarios for applications that use Facebook Login via the Facebook SDK: Authenticated Sign Up or Sign In, and User Data Access via Permissions. For authentication, a unique, app-specific identifier tied to a user’s Facebook Account enables the user to sign in to your app. For Data Access, a user must explicitly grant your app permission to access data.

Note: Since Facebook Login is part of the Facebook SDK, we may collect other information referenced here when you use Facebook Login, depending on your settings.

Device Information

We may also receive and process the following information if your app is integrated with the Facebook SDK:

  • Device identifiers;
  • Device attributes, such as device model and screen dimensions, CPU core, storage size, SDK version, OS and app versions, and app package name; and
  • Networking information, such as the name of the mobile operator or ISP, language, time zone, and IP address.

Audience Network SDK

We may receive and process the following information when you use the Audience Network SDK to integrate Audience Network ads in your app:

  • Device identifiers;
  • Device attributes, such as device model and screen dimensions, operating system, mediation platform and SDK versions; and
  • Ad performance information, such as impressions, clicks, placement, and viewability.

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