President and CEO Lisa Anderson has been directing the Mesa Historical Museum for over 10 years. In addition, Lisa has a distinguished career as a museum professional spanning 25 years. Lisa currently serves as the Immediate Past President of the Museum Association of Arizona, and serves on the National Awards Committee of the Association for State and Local History (AASLH). Since becoming President and CEO of the Mesa Historical Museum, the organization has been recognized with a national Award of Merit for organizational excellence and a national Award of Merit for Excellence in programming and exhibitions for Play Ball from AASLH. The Museum has also been honored with two Awards of Excellence from the Museum Association of Arizona. Lisa was also awarded the City of Mesa’s Preservation award. She was named by the Arizona Republic as one of the ten most influential people in Mesa.
Mesa Historical Museum Member and Project Board Liaison Robert Johnson shares a passion for the game of baseball that dates back some 35 years when he would carry an AM/FM radio around his family’s farm in rural Missouri listening to each and every Kansas City Royals game. As a teenager, he worked two seasons in the radio booth at Cleveland Indians spring training games in Tucson, timing commercial breaks and making sure the equipment worked for Indians pitching icon turned broadcaster Herb Score. Robert helped plan news coverage of Governor Rose Mofford’s effort to save the Cactus League in 1988 and then provided public relations guidance to the committee looking to create a new funding stream for Cactus League ballparks in 2000. In 2001, he went to work with officials in Surprise, Az. to build the first new spring training complex with funds from the new law for his hometown favorite Kansas City Royals and Texas Rangers, and continues to support political efforts to protect and expand the League. In 2010, Robert was the campaign manager for the successful Proposition 420 campaign to keep the Chicago Cubs in Mesa for at least another 30 years.
Project Research Coordinator Rodney Johnson saw his first Cactus League game in 1978 when he was a student at Arizona State University. He hasn’t missed a spring training season since then. Rodney served for five years on the board of directors for the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR) and is now the Arizona Chapter President. For the past 10 years he has worked for both MLB.com and as an official scorer at Arizona Diamondbacks games. Rodney has become the foremost expert on the rich and colorful history of the Cactus League. He is committed to creating a complete and accurate record of spring training in Arizona and looks forward to the growth and expansion of the Play Ball project.
Author, traveler, historian, and baseball fan, when Charlie first discovered Major League Baseball in Arizona, his junior high school attendance suffered. Thirty years later, he still takes a month-long hiatus from his life in Baltimore, MD to make an annual pilgrimage to Arizona for Cactus League spring training. A former 20-year resident of Arizona, Charlie is a constant contributor to many of the Cactus League teams’ spring training programs as well as other Arizona tourism and travel periodicals. His previews and travel stories appear annually in U.S. Airways and Key Magazine. He is a regular contributor to many Baltimore and D.C. area publications as well the Los Angeles Times travel section.
The dean of Cactus League Public Address Announcers and unofficial “Voice of Spring”; in 2011 Tim will be announcing his 28th season as the Chicago Cubs voice of Hohokam Stadium. Outside his announcing duties, he has extensively photographed and videotaped the Cactus League over the past 25 seasons. Having also worked for several local Phoenix TV stations Tim’s media talents are on display at the Play Ball Exhibit producing two exciting video presentations; Cubs legend Harry Caray singing “Take Me Out To The Ball Game” and a short historical film with Cactus League Hall of Famers Ty Cobb, Ted Williams, and Ernie Banks.
An expert on the Cactus League and Cubs spring training, every February and March Tim promotes and talks about Arizona spring training on numerous radio programs across the country as well as writing articles on the subject. With a passion for history and baseball he continues to use his extensive archives and expertise to expand the Play Ball project and advocate for a permanent Cactus League Museum. Some of Tim’s spring photos, videos, and writing can also be seen on the website – Boys of Spring.
Freelance writer Susie Steckner is the author of Cactus League: Spring Training, published in 2012 as part of the popular Images of America series. The 128-page book features more than 200 unique photos that take readers on a historic journey starting with the state’s exhibition games in the 1900s and ending with the modern day 15-team Cactus League. The book, written in conjunction with the Mesa Historical Museum, is in its fourth printing and sold more than 2,000 copies in its first year. A portion of sales benefit the museum.
Steckner joined the museum’s board of directors in 2012 and also serves on the Play Ball advisory board. She is assisting the museum in securing items for the Play Ball collection as well as doing research to help preserve the league’s history. Steckner’s love of spring training comes from her late father, Bob Steckner, a lifelong New York and San Francisco Giants fan who took his three young children to their first spring training baseball game at Phoenix Municipal Stadium in the 1970s. Steckner and her husband now take their own sons to games each spring.
Steckner writes for local magazines, newspapers and nonprofits. She worked as a newspaper reporter in Texas, Wisconsin and Arizona for 20 years. She is an Arizona native.