SABR Bibliography Committee
Research Guide No. 12: A Checklist of Leaves From A Fan's Scrapbook in The Sporting News
Editor's note: This guide was first published by the SABR Bibliography Committee in 1989. To download the original in PDF form, click here.
By Bill Hugo
About six months before that marvelous series, DAGUERREOTYPES, began running in The Sporting News as a regular feature, a predecessor column. LEAVES FROM A FAN'S SCRAPBOOK, broke the ground. Similar to DAGUERREOTYPES (see SABR Research Guide No. 11), LEAVES complemented the former as they were the accounts of 126 players who were still active on the diamond. Each "leaf" provided a minimum of 500 words of biography and was supplemented with the player's year-by-year statistical record, both minor and major league. A small photo of the player's face accompanied each article. Indeed, the series proved to be a forerunner to The Baseball Register so far as the year-by-year statistics are concerned.
The first article made its appearance in the May 19, 1932, issue. and offered a biography of Babe Ruth. LEAVES immediately became a regular feature of The Sporting News and appeared weekly, with a few exceptions, during a run of approximately one year. When DAGUERREOTYPES made its entry into the paper in the issue of November 3, 1932, room was made in the baseball paper for both features. Eventually, during the summer of 1933, The Sporting News provided space only for one or the other of the columns, rotating them on an every-other-week basis.
With the beginning of the 1935 baseball season, LEAVES began appearing only once a month. The portrait of Van Lingle Mungo in the issue of
June 25, 1936, however, was to mark the beginning of the end for the delightful series. Only nine more were to appear during the remainder of the decade. After providing none in 1940 and but one in 1941, there seemed to be a resurgence of the old feature, when one each was provided during the last three months of 1943. They were in the new tabloid size of the weekly, with each of the three tending to be longer and longer in material than the earlier articles. By the time Bucky Walters was given space in the issue of December 30, 1943, he was to receive some one thousand words of narrative.
Players selected for the series seemed to be picked with little regard to their lifetime service as big league stars, with players like Lefty O'Doul and Dale Alexander meriting space after a 1932 season which saw them sporting batting averages of .368 and .367. On the contrary, legitimate all-stars of the era, such as Wally Berger, Dizzy Dean, Bill Dickey and Schoolboy Rowe received no ink at all.
It is interesting to note that Joe McCarthy made the list, even though he did not appear in a single major league game as a player. His managerial record won him the honor, so there he is in the issue of September 29, 1932.
Curiously, although 126 players, including Joe McCarthy, embrace this list, the number of entries appearing total 127. That is because pitcher Red Ruffing made the series on two different occasions, once in 1932 and again in 1935. The narratives are different, though, so it isn't something that was just thrown in the paper at the last minute!
To view the checklist of Leaves From A Fan's Scrapbook, click here to download the original PDF file (list begins on page 2):
To go back or view other Bibliography Committee Research Guides, click here.