This Week in SABR: April 20, 2012
Here's what we've been up to as of April 20, 2012:
As Fenway Park celebrates its 100th anniversary today, we have another special excerpt from SABR's upcoming book on the first team to call the iconic Boston ballpark home: The 1912 Red Sox.
Here's a preview by Bill Nowlin on Opening Day on April 20, 1912:
By the time it actually occurred, Opening Day for Fenway Park was perhaps a bit anticlimactic. The opening of the new park was potentially an important enough event to be promoted in the days leading up to the scheduled opening on Thursday April 18. Even the Boston Pilot, the newspaper of the Archdiocese, announced in its April 13 issue that President James McAleer of the Red Sox had presented His Eminence William Cardinal O'Connell with a perpetual gold pass. The cardinal said he was "very glad to approve of any enterprise whose object was the progress of the city of Boston and the advancement of clean, manly sport." But the game was rained out.
Later that day, Red Sox first baseman Hugh Bradley came by the Boston American League headquarters and commented on the weather. Perhaps thinking of the labor unrest in Lawrence and elsewhere that year, Bradley asked team secretary Eddie Riley, "If a brass band went on a strike, would the drum stick?" Bradley's answer: "No, it would beat it."
The April 18 opener was rained out. In its stead, a double bill was planned for the April 19 Patriots Day holiday. The first game was to be called at 10:30 in the morning with a second game at 3:15 in the afternoon. Tickets for the game on the 18th would be honored at any point during the season. Because the Boston Athletic Association marathon was also held on the 19th (rain or shine), Boylston Street would be roped off and all cars to the park would be routed via Huntington and Massachusetts avenues. The 3:15 start time had been pushed back a bit from the usual 3:00 PM start in order to give fans a little more time to get to the park after the Boston Marathon. But the weather still would not cooperate. Neither baseball game could be played, though not ten minutes after the second game had been called and "the big, fine-looking officers from Station 16 had been sent back to quarters the sun broke from behind the rain clouds and remained out most of the afternoon." The grounds really were not in good condition; that the canvas diamond cover groundskeeper Jerome Kelley had ordered (the tarpaulin) had not yet been delivered probably didn't matter much.
Read more special excerpts from the book at the SABR Boston Chapter's website, http://chapters.sabr.org/boston.
- Wendy Thurm looks back at other Fenway Park anniversary games through the years (FanGraphs)
- Was New York's team called the Yankees or Highlanders in 1912? Keith Olbermann and Mark Aubrey have the answer (MLBlogs.com, Baseball Nuggets)
- Cee Angi on Fenway Park and what it means to be 100 years old (The Platoon Advantage)
In his short life, SABR member Greg Spira built one of the most admired private baseball libraries in the world.
John Thorn, Major League Baseball's official historian, told MLB.com in January that Spira's collection of "modern" baseball books could well be unparalleled.
"Greg got everything that came out," Thorn said. "So if you're talking about modern baseball books, say 1990 forward, I don't know who would equal Greg, apart from a library."
Spira, 44, passed away on December 28, 2011, after a long struggle with polycystic kidney disease. A prolific researcher, his library also included the many books he wrote, edited or contributed to, including: Maple Street Mets Annual (2009-11), Big League Ballparks (2009), Meet the Mets (2008), Ultimate Yankees Companion (2008), Ultimate Red Sox Companion (2007), ESPN Pro Football Encyclopedia (2006-07), USA Today Sports Weekly's Best Baseball Writing 2005, ESPN Baseball Encyclopedia (2004-08), Total Basketball (2003), Total Baseball (2001), Sports Illustrated Sports Almanac (2000-01) and Baseball: The Biographical Encyclopedia (2000).
Now, Greg Spira's library of baseball books has a new home. His family has graciously donated the collection to SABR, which has the books on display at its office in Phoenix, Arizona, where a plaque in Spira's honor has been installed. Visitors to the SABR office are welcome to use the Greg Spira Memorial Baseball Library for research or reading. Please call (602) 343-6455 before your visit to check on office hours and availability.
From SABR member Bill Francis at BaseballHall.org on April 20, 2012:
The National Pastime's earliest days were a hot topic of conversation for a group of visitors to Cooperstown on Friday.
The Society for American Baseball Research's Nineteenth Century Committee is holding its fourth annual Frederick Ivor-Campbell Base Ball Conference at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum's Bullpen Theater over two days, beginning today and continuing all day Saturday. For the 55 registered attendees from across the country, it's an opportunity to engage with others that share the same unique passion.
"I was here two years ago and it was the most fun I've ever had at a conference in my life, and I look forward to this year's to be even more fun," said Long Island's David Nemec, an author of more than 30 books involving baseball. "The presentations are spectacular and the people are most enjoyable to be with."
According to Peter Mancuso, the Nineteenth Century Committee Chairman who runs the conference ("actually this conference runs me," he joked), "there's wonderful people that participate in this conference at all levels. Even if they are not a presenter, they are in the audience asking some really profound questions. And of course we have the great talent of all of these researchers and writers – they really breathe life into the conference."
Included among the varied research presentations are "Bridegrooms and Superbas and Dodgers … Oh My!: The Birth of Brooklyn Baseball in the 19th Century," "The Birth of Baseball Statistics," "Abner Graves: The Man Who Brought Baseball to Cooperstown," "'The Great John L.' and the National Game," "A Comparison of Alexander Cartwright and William Wheaton" and "John B. Day, the Metropolitan Exhibition Company and the Re-establishment of Major League Baseball in New York City."
"I learn something from almost everybody I talk to," Nemec said. "They've delved into different types of research than I have. They have a different slant on certain aspects of the 19th century game. To me the 19th century game was a prism of the entire late 19th century, which was a very fluid, fast-moving time. Society and many features of the country changed very quickly, and baseball kept up with it."
Read the full article here: http://community.baseballhall.org/page.aspx?pid=620&storyid1816=268&ncs1816=3
- For more information on the Frederick Ivor-Campbell 19th Century Base Ball Conference, visit SABR.org/ivor-campbell19c
- Who was Frederick Ivor-Campbell? Learn more about the 2003 Bob Davids Award winner here
SABR member Jonathan Frankel writes that he was "plowing his way through the 1888 American Association Cleveland games" when he came across what he believed to be a "missing" major league player from the 19th century:
In a September 5, 1888 game between Louisville and Cleveland, a "Cross" is shown in the box score for Louisville as playing left field and having one at-bat (he struck out). It was assumed that this was Lave Cross, one of Louisville's catchers - in fact ICI shows a Sept 5 entry for Lave. However, in the Sept 6, 1888 Cleveland Plain Dealer, in its "Notes of the Game", it says: "While at bat in the seventh inning, Cook caught a swift pitched ball on the hand and had to retire. Vaughn took his place behind the bat, Ramsey went to left field and Cross of the Graphics, a brother of Lave, a Louisville catcher, took the latter's place in right."
There is a Joe Cross who was a pitcher and occasional outfielder for the Graphics (a semi-pro team in Cleveland) in 1888. He is identified in another citing as Lave's brother (when Amos Cross's death was reported on July 17, 1888). ... However, Lave Cross was injured on September 2, "tore his knee in a fearful way. He quit playing and will not likely play again for some time". ... Lave Cross' next game was on 9/13 at St. Louis.
SABR members John Thorn, Richard Malatzky, Jack Morris and David Nemec helped fill in the gaps on Frankel's discovery of Joe Cross, providing details on his career with Forest City and Altoona, his personal life in Cleveland and even another Cross (Kriz) sibling who played professional baseball.
Read more about their discovery here: http://batterk.blogspot.com/2012/03/new-player-found-joe-cross.html
Many of our members have received their copy of the new Baseball Research Journal in the mail. If you haven't received yours, it should be arriving soon. Meanwhile, you can get started reading the Spring 2012 BRJ (online articles for members only!) at:
That link also offers you a way to download the PDF version of the magazine to read on your computer or e-reader device, as well as a chance to purchase additional copies of the BRJ for any baseball-loving family members or friends at the SABR Bookstore.
In addition to all of the BRJ articles you will find in the print edition, we're also proud to once again present special supplemental material, available exclusively at SABR.org, related to Herm Krabbenhoft's ongoing research of Hank Greenberg's RBI totals.
SABR members, pay attention to the e-mail address that you have on file with SABR; you should have received a message on Thursday, April 5, with a link to vote online in the 2012 SABR Board of Directors election. The poll will close at 12:00 a.m. Mountain Standard Time on Sunday, May 20.
The only way to vote online is through the link you will receive by e-mail. All e-mails will come from the address email@example.com; if you wish to add it to a whitelist in your e-mail client, that may help ensure that you will receive the e-mails. You will receive at least one more voting -email between April 5 and May 20 with an active voting link. If you did not receive a voting e-mail on April 5, you can contact Jacob Pomrenke at firstname.lastname@example.org to send you a custom voting e-mail.
Members who do not have an e-mail address on file with SABR as of April 5, 2012, will receive a paper ballot in the mail. Please do not vote online and send in the paper ballot; if you do, the paper ballot will be discarded, and only the online vote will count.
If you would like to register your e-mail address on file with SABR so you can vote online (and also receive our "This Week in SABR" newsletter on Fridays), please contact Membership Director Deb Jayne at email@example.com.
When you vote, you will find three items on the 2012 Board of Directors ballot: the election of the SABR Vice President, Secretary, and one Director. The candidates are:
For Vice President
- Bill Nowlin (incumbent)
- Chris Dial
- Todd Lebowitz (incumbent)
For Director (open)
- Bill Staples Jr.
- Ty Waterman
You can read candidate biographies, along with full descriptions of the positions and responses the candidates made to a series of questions, in the 2012 SABR Election Guide below.
Download the 2012 SABR Election Guide here: http://sabr.org/about/2012-sabr-board-directors-election
The Team That Forever Changed Baseball and America: The 1947 Brooklyn Dodgers, edited by Lyle Spatz, is the first book in SABR's "Memorable Teams in Baseball History" series with the University of Nebraska Press. Published on April 1, you can order it now at a 25% discount from the UNP website at http://www.nebraskapress.unl.edu/pages/JackieRobinsonSale.aspx. The sale is good through the end of the month.
At SABR.org, read a special excerpt on Jackie Robinson's historic debut, written by Spatz, at http://sabr.org/latest/1947-dodgers-jackie-robinsons-first-game.
The "Memorable Teams in Baseball History" series, written by SABR members as part of the Baseball Biography Project, will focus on iconic teams with an unquestionable legacy in baseball history. Each book will collect essays detailing the players, moments and games that define these teams. For a complete list of biographies included in the 1947 Dodgers book, click here.
- Chris Lamb writes about how a catcher's tears inspired Branch Rickey to integrate baseball (New York Times)
- John Thorn on the real story of Jackie Robinson's historic signing (Our Game)
- Nick Diunte interviews Ralph Branca, whose memories of Jackie Robinson's debut are still sharp in his mind (Examiner.com)
Seven new biographies were posted this week as part of the SABR Baseball Biography Project, bringing us to a total of 1,909 published biographies. Can we reach 2,000 bios before the SABR convention in June? Keep 'em coming! Here are the new bios:
- Jesus Alou, by Mark Armour (completing the Alou brothers' trilogy)
- Tim Crabtree, by Chip Mundy
- Harry Gaspar, by Joan M. Thomas
- Mike "King" Kelly, by Peter Gordon
- Spike Merena, by Bill Nowlin
- Jack Merson, by Bill Nowlin
- Mike Nagy, by Rory Costello
All new biographies can be found here: http://sabr.org/bioproj/recent
We recently relaunched the BioProject at its new home page: SABR.org/BioProject. The new BioProject fully integrates its design with SABR.org and upgrades the back-end platform, making it easier for us to post and edit new bios and eliminating some formatting problems with the original software. All of your old URLs should still work (and if you find one that doesn't, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.)
- Pre-order our 1970 Orioles book: Pitching, Defense, and Three-Run Homers: The 1970 Baltimore Orioles, edited by Mark Armour and Malcolm Allen, is the second book in SABR's "Memorable Teams" series with University of Nebraska Press. It will be published May 1, 2012. To pre-order your copy from UNP, click here.
- 1964 Phillies editors needed: Mel Marmer is looking for a volunteer to serve as a co-editor/fact checker on a work-in-progress SABR BioProject book on the 1964 Philadelphia Phillies. If you are interested, please contact Mel at email@example.com.
We have a great convention coming up in 2012! From June 27-July 1, SABR's 42nd annual convention will be held at the Marriott City Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Halsey Hall Chapter of SABR will be hosting the event and we've been busy for many years planning for a great event. A preliminary schedule can be found at SABR.org/convention. A full schedule and list of speakers will be announced soon.
CLICK HERE TO REGISTER FOR SABR 42: http://sabr.org/convention/sabr42-registration
We're offering two options for registration this year:
1) All-inclusive rate
Special for 2012: We're offering an all-inclusive rate for SABR 42. From now until May 1, SABR members can pay $199 and nonmembers can pay $249 to receive:
- Full registration to SABR 42 in Minneapolis (regular price: $129 for SABR members or $179 for nonmembers)
- 1 ticket to the Awards Banquet (regular price: $45)
- 1 Skyline Deck ticket to the Twins vs. Royals game on Friday, June 29 (regular price: $44)
Please note: Skyline Deck tickets are only available to the first 250 people who select the all-inclusive rate. Those who select the all-inclusive rate after Skyline Deck tickets are sold out will receive a Home Plate View ticket (regular price: $38) instead.
After May 1, the all-inclusive rate will be available at $219 for SABR members and $269 for non-members.
2) Regular rate
SABR members and non-members who wish to purchase registration, banquet tickets and game tickets separately can do so at the following rates:
includes access to all panel discussions, research presentations, committee meetings and other on-site events.
- SABR members: $129
- Non-members: $179
Awards Banquet on Friday, June 29
- Awards Banquet: $45
Meal includes salad, chicken entree and dessert. (If you have special dietary considerations, please contact Deb Jayne at firstname.lastname@example.org.)
Twins vs. Royals game on Friday, June 29
SABR has reserved a block of tickets in the Skyline Deck and Home Plate View sections. (The Skyline Deck section is normally available only to season-ticket holders and special groups.) Click here for a seating chart at TwinsBaseball.com.
- Skyline Deck: $44
- Home Plate View: $38
You will be able to redeem your game ticket at the registration desk using the chit system. If you do not care with whom you sit, you should turn your chit into your game ticket right away at the hotel. But if you want to sit with a friend, wait to turn in your chits at the registration desk at the same time, thereby getting tickets next to one another.
We hope you'll join us in Minneapolis this summer!
CLICK HERE TO REGISTER FOR SABR 42: http://sabr.org/convention/sabr42-registration
Register for Jerry Malloy Negro Leagues Conference
- Jerry Malloy Negro Leagues Conference, July 19-21, Cleveland, Ohio: Registration is now open for the 15th annual Jerry Malloy Negro League Conference at SABR.org/malloy. The Malloy Conference, hosted by SABR's Negro Leagues Committee, promotes activities to enhance scholarly, educational, and literary objectives. For the past 14 years, the event has been the only symposium dedicated exclusively to the examination and promotion of black baseball history. The conference is open to baseball and history fans of all ages. Each year, monies are targeted to donate books to schools or libraries; raise funds for the Grave Marker Project; and award scholarships to high school seniors in a nationwide essay contest and a nationwide art contest. Research presentation abstracts were due by March 19, 2012. A complete information packet with schedule, mail-in registration form and program advertising opportunities can be downloaded here (PDF) or on the website.
SABR member Dr. Michael Hoban is offering a free download of his new book, Defining Greatness: A Hall of Fame Handbook, to all of his fellow members for a limited time only. You can download a PDF copy of the book here:
In Defining Greatness — available in paperback for a retail price of $16.95 at Booklocker.com — Hoban, a retired professor of mathematics who joined SABR since 1998, tries to answer the question of who truly belongs in baseball's Hall of Fame. That is, which players have earned the right to be there? Hoban uses Bill James' Win Shares to come up with a formula that assigns a numerical value to a player's entire career. The system, called the CAWS Career Gauge (Career Assessment/Wins shares), ranks all the great players of the 20th Century according to their career numbers and it establishes career benchmarks for each position — to determine if a player has obvious HOF numbers.
This is Hoban's fifth book dealing with baseball; his Hall of Fame blog appears regularly on Seamheads.com.
You can read a free excerpt from Defining Greatness and order a paperback copy here: http://booklocker.com/books/6117.html
- Houston/Larry Dierker Chapter meeting recap (April 16; Houston, TX)
- Bob Broeg St. Louis Chapter meeting recap (April 16; St. Louis, MO)
Visit SABR.org/chapters for more information on SABR regional chapters.
Here is a list of upcoming SABR events:
- April 20-21: Frederick Ivor-Campbell 19th Century Base Ball Conference (Cooperstown, NY)
- April 20: Tokyo Chapter spring meeting (Tokyo, JP)
- April 20: Gary Caruso book signing (Marietta, OH)
- April 21: Halsey Hall Chapter spring meeting (Minneapolis, MN)
- April 21: "Knuckleball!" film screening (New York, NY)
- April 23: Gary Caruso book signing (Pittsburgh, PA)
- April 24: Paul Dickson book signing (Washington, DC)
- April 24: SABR Board of Directors conference call
- April 24: "A Celebration of Marvin Miller & Baseball Unionism" event (New York, NY)
- April 26-28: New York Mets 50th anniversary conference (Hempstead, NY)
- April 28: Forbes Field Chapter spring meeting (Pittsburgh, PA)
- April 28: Lefty O'Doul/Bay Area Chapter visit to "The Art of Baseball" exhibit (San Francisco, CA)
- April 30: Rabbit Maranville Chapter meeting (Springfield, MA)
All SABR meetings and events are open to the public. Feel free to bring a baseball-loving friend ... and make many new ones! Check out the SABR Events Calendar at SABR.org/events.
Here are some recent articles published by and about SABR members:
- Stacey Gotsulias offers a compelling history of mental illness in baseball (Baseball Past and Present)
- The Titanic, George M. Cohan, a celebrated murder, The Great Gatsby and baseball come together in this story by Tom Shieber (Baseball Researcher)
- Graham Womack and dozens of SABR voters have helped raise $1,500 for charity with the All-Time Dream Project (Baseball Past and Present)
- Andy Strasberg's new book "Fantography" pulls baseball fans into the bigger picture (Los Angeles Times)
- Don Malcolm: Are we really back in 1968? Not yet (Big Bad Baseball)
- Peter C. Bjarkman reports on the 62nd anniversary of Connie Marrero's MLB debut; baseball's oldest living player turns 101 next week (MLBlogs.com)
- Jay Jaffe: On the retirement of Ivan Rodriguez (Baseball Prospectus)
- Graham Womack: In defense of the RBI (High Heat Stats)
- Ebbets Field's original blueprints will soon go on display in Brooklyn (Wall Street Journal)
- John Dewan's Stat of the Week: How meaningful are the first 10 games? (ACTA Sports)
- Larry Granillo shares an emotional story of a former Negro League player's 1928 execution (Baseball Prospectus)
- FanGraphs editor Dave Cameron has learned to beat the odds — and leukemia (MLB.com)
- Stats on the Citi Field scoreboard are getting more sophisticated; Vince Gennaro and Bill Nowlin explain why (ESPN New York)
Read these articles and more at SABR.org/latest.
All previous editions of This Week in SABR can be found here: http://sabr.org/content/this-week-in-sabr-archives. If you would like us to include an upcoming event, article or any other information in "This Week in SABR", e-mail Jacob Pomrenke at email@example.com.
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This page was last updated April 20, 2012 at 3:54 pm MST.