Welcome to the SABR Baseball Games Project!
The SABR Baseball Games Project is a new initiative to research and write articles on major-league and Negro League regular, postseason, and All-Star Games. These game accounts will complement Retrosheet and Baseball-Reference box scores as well as BioProject essays on the players involved.
- Read all published SABR Games Project stories here: SABR.org/GamesProject
The articles are not intended to be mere play-by-play summaries, nor should they be first-person narratives. Rather the goal is to put each game in historical context — whether that history is of a particular player, team, season, or something even broader.
These accounts should draw on quotes from participants, newspaper articles, or other sources to “put the reader in the game.” Articles can cover the range of significance (from Jackie Robinson’s MLB debut to a contest between two teams where nothing of great consequence occurred.) For the most part, the account should not “know” things that did not happen yet. If the game is the 33rd game of Joe DiMaggio’s hitting streak, the account does not have to say what happened next. There are ways to make this work — Henry Aaron’s first game can focus on Hank Aaron even without mentioning what was to come.
Articles should be concise, ranging from 500 words to a top end of 1,500 words. All guidelines currently in use for processing BioProject essays will apply to this initiative. The project is run by SABR's BioProject Committee.
One must be a member of SABR to write an article for this project. (To join SABR, click here.) All articles will be peer-reviewed for style and accuracy. They will be considered works in progress and updated as new points of knowledge are uncovered or errors discovered. All essays on this site will jointly be the property of SABR for perpetual use, and the author.
- Greg Erion: for more information about the project
- Bruce Slutsky: to request an assignment, ensuring you aren't requesting a game that's already been written
- Len Levin: to submit a draft article
Points to Note
Games Project Resources
While centered on how to research players, the BioProject's “Tips for Researchers” written by Mark Armour contains numerous suggestions on how research can be done.
Also, note that game descriptions are available via various online newspaper archives such as Proquest, Newspaper Archive, Chronicling America, Genealogy Bank, etc.
There is also a Wikipedia catalog of online newspapers.
Purpose of the Project
The primary goal of the Baseball Games Project is to provide a deeper understanding of individual games beyond the box score and other statistical records that are often so readily available. While doing so, the project will also encourage quality research and writing, energize SABR's regional chapters, provide SABR with a large, unifying project, and provide tools and procedures to encourage research coordination.
Essays in the Baseball Games Project can be found at SABR.org/GamesProject.
- Games Project FAQs: Frequently asked questions to help you get started or get more involved with the BioProject. [TBD]
- Research Tips: There are no hard and fast rules for how one should approach the research of a game. Different methods may well be required to research a famous game or obscure game.
- Authors' Guidelines: These are guidelines about how to properly submit your essay.
- SABR Style Guide: An A to Z guide for correct usage of most baseball terms when writing for a SABR publication.
- Formatting Your Essay and Source Citations: Here are instructions on how to correctly format your bibliography and end notes.
- Group Projects: The Games Project encourages and supports team- or region-based group projects be they for a specific team or season. A list of game essay projects to be undertaken will be posted on this site.
- Contact the Editors: This is a list of our team of editors for Games Project submissions.
(Note to writers: Please use the following checklist, to make sure you have not overlooked any important details.)
Date of game, teams involved, score, where played and author;
September 4, 1991: Red Sox 2, Angels 0 at Fenway Park, by XXXX (author’s name).
Each game essay should be informative, accurate, and entertaining. It should be evaluative but objective. The essay should cover pertinent aspects of the game, including:
- key points within the game,
- any impact the game has on the team, season or overall history of the game (first night game, integration, scandal, record setting event, unusual occurrences, etc.),
- noteworthy games for an individual player - whatever helps give a full picture of the subject game,
- articles must avoid puffery, play-by-play accounts, and first-person perspective.
Some games are naturally going to focus more on the game action itself. Someone writing about the Red Sox-Yankees playoff game in 1978 will have to focus quite a bit on the game action, even if it isn’t a straight play-by-play account. However, a story about Disco Demolition Night should focus more on what led up to the event and some of craziness that happened before and during the game. On the other hand, a story about Roberto Clemente’s first game probably won’t focus much on the game action, except for what Clemente did, and maybe focus more about Clemente’s background, how he came to the Pirates, etc.
Document within the text:
- the source of every direct quote
- the source of uncommon information
- every interpretation drawn from others. The authority for the subject's vital statistics and major-league stats is Retrosheet. If your research leads you to differ from Retrosheet, explain why in a note accompanying your essay. Assume that box score information as well as a player’s full statistical line is available elsewhere.
- avoid quoting team or player statistics unless interesting in some way, in which case state the significance.
- avoid plagiarism, which includes not only unattributed quotation but also extended paraphrase.
- Follow each essay with a list of the most important sources of information, incorporating standard bibliographical data. The list should include all books, dissertations, theses, chapters, and major articles about the subject, and all other books, articles, etc. which include important treatment of the subject. Brief evaluations of these works may accompany their listing, and are encouraged. Authors may alternatively provide a bibliographical essay rather than a formal listing of sources.
Your writing should conform to standard American English diction and usage, and to the SABR Style Guide.
A short sidebar or note at the end of the essay where personal comments about the game may be offered (my first game, I proposed at this game, etc.) is acceptable.
For more on how to avoid plagiarism, see Fred Ivor-Campbell’s guidelines on the BioProject site.
Frequently Asked Questions
- What is the purpose of the project?
As noted in the opening paragraph, our primary purpose is to research, write, edit and web-publish essays on all major- and Negro League regular-season, postseason, or All-Star Games describing context of the individual game as it may related to the larger perspective of baseball’s history.
- Must I have attended the game?
No. While attendance provides a unique perspective, requiring someone to attend a game would obviously restrict the scope of this project.
- Are doubleheaders to be considered as one entry or separate entries?
While there may be a reason to link both games of a doubleheader (Stan Musial’s five home runs in a doubleheader) each game should be considered a separate entry.
- How long will I have to complete a game essay once assigned to me?
The author will have 90 days from being assigned a game to turning in a draft. Should a viable draft not be received within that time frame, the game will be made available for reassignment.
- Who is eligible to write for the Games Project?
This is a SABR project, and the writers are members of SABR. If you are not a member of SABR, please learn more and then join. You can do both here: SABR.org/join. There are no qualifications for membership other than a love of baseball.
Some of our writers are seasoned pros, but many are first-timers. If you are a novice at writing, we can work with you to help you turn your research into a worthy article. Most authors enjoy the process and come back to write another one.
- How do I join the Games Project committee?
Please send a note to Greg Erion. He will then ask you if you have read the rest of this FAQ.
- What game should I write about?
If you want to write but are not sure which game to write about, consider what kind of research you want to do. Do you want to be able to interview one of the individuals who played in the game? Does this game hold personal memories for you? If so, try to use them as a source.
- Whom do I inform of my chosen subject(s)?
Please send a note to James Forr. This is important — not only does this ensure that your game is available, but it also keeps other people from starting their own game essays on the same game.
NOTE: You can have several game essay assignments at the same time.
- How do I get started on the research?
We hope to expand this answer to include a link to a page, which thoroughly explores research methods and tools. For now, we recommend trying to interview a participant or research newspaper accounts of the game.
- What are the requirements of the finished article?
It should be no longer than 1,500 words in length. They cannot contain excessive play-by-play descriptive or first-person narrative. Anything beyond 1,500 words must be pre-approved by the project leaders.
Questions one might try to explore include how the teams were doing when the game was played whether this game played a pivotal role in either team’s season, or whether this was a particularly noteworthy game for any of the players, coaches, managers, or umpires involved. In short, what was relevant to this game that cannot be discerned from the box score?
- I am finished with my story. What do I do with it?
Please send your finished draft to Chip Greene.
- What happens next?
The article will edited and fact checked. This process is being worked out, but you will approve the final version before it is posted.
It will then be sent to the appropriate person who will post the finished version to the Games Project website.
- Where do editors come from?
From our committee. This is a crucial role, but unglamorous and thankless (though we do try to thank as much as we can). If you have any experience editing, we could really use your help (e-mail Mark Armour for details.) Fact-checkers are also wanted. You could volunteer, for example, to read all game essays from the early 1950s for accuracy.
- Are there opportunities to work with others?
Yes. Under the auspices of Games Project, there will be opportunities for group efforts. They might include articles related to a particular team in a given season (e.g. all games from the 1960 Pirates season). They might cover a franchise’s history (e.g. the 100 greatest games in Toronto Blue Jays history). On a more ambitious level, a project could cover key games in a particular season (e.g. the most important games of the 1977 major league season). Alternatively, they might include a postseason championship series, or block of All-Star Games. This would be similar in nature to Group Projects in the BioProject initiative where groups of 15-20 authors and editors join on a collaborative effort. See also: Inventing Baseball: The 100 Greatest Games of the 19th Century, published by SABR in 2013.
- How do I join one of these projects?
From time to time, there will be announcements of these efforts through various SABR communications asking for interested participants, at which time you can elect to volunteer your services. If you are a member of our committee, you will be informed of these projects as they are starting and along the way.
NOTE: These projects do not only need authors. They need editors and fact-checkers.