The inaugural George Michael SABR Pictorial History Award, which was established by SABR’s Pictorial History Research Committee to honor significant contributions to the knowledge and understanding of historical baseball imagery, has been awarded to baseball historian Marc Okkonen, a retired public relations consultant, freelance artist and writer who lives in Muskegon, Michigan.
The SABR Pictorial History Research Committee has released the following statement:
No one has published a body of historical image related research for baseball that comes close to that of Marc Okkonen. His unique masterworks, Baseball Memories 1900–1909 and Baseball Uniforms of the 20th Century, as well as his subsequent publications, The Federal League of 1914-1915 and 2,000 Cups of Coffee, represent simply amazing research efforts.
What makes this unparalleled body of work even more astounding is that so much of it was done before the advent of the internet as we now know it. This work exemplifies incredible dogged digging for details and a supreme effort to get things right. This should be what people think of when they think of SABR.
Most importantly, this work has proven to be highly useful to other researchers who try to identify baseball personalities, teams, stadiums, and dates in early baseball related photos. His uniforms work has led to a permanent online database maintained by HoF.
It should be added that Minor League Baseball Towns of Michigan and the later Baseball Memories books are also excellent. While publishers did not always appreciate the importance of Marc’s work, SABR members who value serious research do understand its significance. Therefore, we hereby present the first George Michael SABR Pictorial History Committee Award to Marc Okkonen.
Okkonen was also the recipient of SABR’s Henry Chadwick Award in 2014. He is a retired public relations consultant, freelance artist and writer who lives in Muskegon, Michigan.
To learn more about the George Michael SABR Pictorial History Award, click here.
Originally published: April 8, 2014. Last Updated: April 24, 2020.