Here are detailed summaries for the research presentations to be delivered at the SABR 41 convention on Friday, July 8.
Friday, July 8
10-10:25 a.m., Catalina Room
RP13: John McGraw Fights His Way Through Early Prohibition, by Dan Levitt
The pennant-contending Giants had just lost to the Chicago Cubs on Saturday, August 7, 1920, and John McGraw decided to drink his way across Manhattan, although Prohibition had recently become the law of the land. McGraw ended up at the Lambs Club and started a massive brawl. Over the remainder of the summer, much of McGraw’s energy was spent trying to worm his way out of this mess and stay out of jail. Levitt takes a fresh look at this scandal, so central to the season and New York’s 1920’s zeitgeist, and offers an entertaining and thought-provoking look at a chapter in the life of one of baseball’s greatest managers.
Dan Levitt <email@example.com> is the author of Ed Barrow: The Bulldog Who Built the Yankees' First Dynasty (University of Nebraska, 2010) and the co-author (with Mark Armour) of the Sporting News-SABR Baseball Research Award-winning Paths to Glory: How Great Baseball Teams Got That Way (2003). Dan has also published numerous baseball related articles and short biographies.
10-10:25 a.m., Pacific Room
RP14: Baseball Brothers: Kenichi Zenimura and Nisei-Negro Leagues Competition in California, by Bill Staples Jr.
Babe Ruth’s 1935 barnstorming tour in Japan is legendary, but it was far from the only contact between Japanese and American baseball clubs. Illuminating a chapter of his 2011 biography of Japanese pioneer Kenichi Zenimura, Bill Staples Jr. recounts encounters between Zenimura-led teams and Negro Leaguers piloted by Lon Goodwin ... almost a decade before the Babe crossed the Pacific. That 1927 tour by the all-black Philadelphia Royal Giants, little known here in the U.S., has been credited by Japanese sources as an important inspiration leading to the creation of professional leagues in their nation.
Bill Staples Jr. <firstname.lastname@example.org> has a passion for researching and telling the untold stories of the national pastime. His areas of expertise include Japanese American and Negro Leagues baseball history as a context for exploring the themes of civil rights, cross-cultural relations and globalization. A board member of the Nisei Baseball Research Project (niseibaseball.com), he has made numerous scholarly research presentations. Funded by a SABR-Yoseloff Baseball Research Grant, his book Kenichi Zenimura, Japanese American Baseball Pioneer, was recently published by McFarland (2011). Staples holds an MBA from Arizona State University and serves as the Director of Marketing & Communications for the National Academy of Sports Medicine (nasm.org), the global leader in personal fitness and sports performance training.
10:30-10:55 a.m., Catalina Room
RP15: Getting No Satisfaction: The San Francisco Giants of 1965, by Steve Treder
11-11:25 a.m., Catalina Room
RP17: “But for the Tense Situation Locally"…: The Los Angeles Dodgers and Summer of 1965, by Anthony Giacalone
During the summer of 1965, the Los Angeles Dodgers and the San Francisco Giants engaged in perhaps their most dramatic pennant race. More than just a tale of games won and lost, it played out against dramatic off-field context. In this dual, combined presentation, Giacalone and Treder discuss the Giants’ unique blend of African-American and Latino stars and the emotionally charged atmosphere of 1965 — a summer that featured the beatings of civil rights activists; Los Angeles race riots; the passage of the Civil Rights Act; and the U.S. invasion of the Dominican Republic — that exacerbated racial tensions within and between these teams. Giacalone and Treder describe how the 1965 National League pennant race was influenced by the spirit of the times.
Steve Treder <SteveT@wmgnet.com> has written a weekly column on baseball history for The Hardball Times since 2004, and is a co-author of many Hardball Times books. He has presented papers to the NINE Spring Training Conference on the Historical and Sociological Impact of Baseball, to the Cooperstown Symposium on Baseball and American Culture, and at the SABR Convention. His articles have been published in NINE: A Journal of Baseball History and Culture, as well as in The National Pastime. A lifelong San Francisco Giants fan, he is Vice President for Strategic Development for Western Management Group, a compensation consulting firm headquartered in Los Gatos, California. Anthony Giacalone <email@example.com> is an independent historian and baseball writer, with particular interest in the cultural history of baseball, race and the media in the 1960s and 1970s. A longtime contributor to Baseball Think Factory, he has previously delivered eight research presentations at SABR conventions. When he attended his first baseball game at Comiskey Park in 1972, relief pitcher Dave Lemonds gave him a baseball.
10:30-10:55 a.m., Pacific Room
RP16: Ken Williams: From Oregon to the St. Louis Browns, by Steve Krevisky
Ken Williams, star outfielder of the St. Louis Browns was, in 1922, the first major leaguer to hit 30+ homers and steal 30+ bases in one season and the first AL player to hit 3 HR in one game. He led the AL in homers and RBIs that year in leading the Browns to a near-miss of the AL pennant. Krevisky examines his late-blooming career and his teammates, and puts his statistical profile into historical context. Williams was also part of a distinguished group of rookies who debuted in 1915 that Krevisky will discuss.
Steve Krevisky <firstname.lastname@example.org> is Professor of Math at Middlesex Community College since 1985, and often uses baseball in his math classes. He is a frequent presenter at national and regional SABR conferences, as well as at national and international math and stats conferences, re math and baseball. Steve is the President of the Smoky Joe Wood Chapter in Connecticut and a 4-time member of teams that won the national trivia championship. He has published articles in both The National Pastime and the Baseball Research Journal.
11-11:25 a.m., Pacific Room
RP18: Not All No-decisions Are Created Equal: Evaluating a Little-examined Pseudo Statistic, by Gilbert Martinez
2011 Hall of Fame Inductee Bert Blyleven holds the record for most no-decisions in a season with 20, after a 12-5 record in 37 starts with the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1979. Martinez discusses his analysis of the nature of no-decisions and which pitchers were “lucky” or not when piling up these starts that seem to fall into a dead zone in popular attitudes towards starting pitching. He argues that showing the number of positive, negative, and neutral no-decisions sheds new light on pitcher effectiveness.
Gilbert D. Martinez <email@example.com> is an assistant professor in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Texas State University–San Marcos. As a former newspaper reporter with a law degree, he teaches Mass Communication Law and researches reporter’s privilege issues. His baseball research interests include the 3,000 Hit Club, players with 200-hit seasons and leadoff hitters. A lifelong Houston Astros fan, he counts Craig Biggio and Ichiro Suzuki among his favorite players. A SABR member since October 2006 and active in the Rogers Hornsby Chapter, he lives in Austin, Texas.
11:30-11:55 a.m., Catalina Room
RP19: Baseball’s 7 Deadly Myths, by John Holway
For what is history but a myth agreed upon? Thus sayeth Napoleon. Holway discusses seven of baseball’s biggest myths, explaining why they're wrong — and why we love to believe them anyway. From Babe Ruth saving baseball after the Black Sox to the deification of Branch Rickey as baseball’s Abe Lincoln, he argues that many of these myths are clung to because they’re better than the truth. Holway will discuss memorable figures such as Johnny Pesky, Lou Boudreau, Ted Williams, Satchel Paige and Joe DiMaggio along the way.
John Holway <firstname.lastname@example.org> saw his first game in Yankee Stadium in 1940, sitting over the Red Sox dugout to see Foxx and Grove. A year later he saw Ted hit .400 and Joe during his streak (#33). His first Negro League game was in 1945 -- Paige vs Gibson. His biggest thrill, he says, was York's homer to win the '46 World Series opener. John saw his first Japanese game in 1949, his last in 2001. Has anyone seen ballgames in more MLB parks than the 60 he counts? He notes that not many folks have seen Bonds, Aaron, Gibson, and Oh ... and even Ruth and Cobb in '45.
11:30-11:55 a.m., Pacific Room
RP20: The Quest for Baseball's Missing Treasures, by David Stephan and Trent McCotter
Hitting streaks and similar baseball feats are always interesting; consider the excitement whenever a player gets halfway to DiMaggio’s record. In nearly all cases, the search for such phenomena has involved blunt force — poring through the league day-by-day sheets by eyeball and checkmark. With the availability of Retrosheet (and other) databases and statistical software, the task has simultaneously become much less time-consuming, much less error-prone, and much more flexible. We could, for example, count up hitting streaks in a particular ballpark or consecutive times on base in road games. Stephan and McCotter, two of the principal researchers of such topics, present their collaborative research project. What sorts of hidden gem performances have they unearthed?
David Stephan <Stephanx2@aol.com> resides in Culver City, California. A dogged researcher, he has contributed numerous studies to the baseball literature, particularly on the topic of streaks and performance over specific timeframes. He is a retired mathematician. Trent McCotter <email@example.com> recently earned his J.D. at the University of North Carolina. He is studying for the bar this summer, then clerking for Judge R. Lanier Anderson III on the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Georgia. Eight of his articles have appeared in Baseball Research Journal, including "Hitting Streaks Don't Obey Your Rules," reprinted in Chance (an American Statistical Association journal) and presented at a stats conference at the University of Michigan in February 2011. He won the Jack Kavanagh Memorial Youth Baseball Research Award every year from 2005 through 2008, and his research has appeared often in The New York Times, as well as in MLB media notes and in Jayson Stark's columns on ESPN.com.