This Week in SABR: April 6, 2012
Look for your copy of the Spring 2012 Baseball Research Journal in the mail next week! Another fine edition was just completed by editor Cecilia Tan and it should be on its way soon. Here's what we've been up to as of April 6, 2012:
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 firstname.lastname@example.org; 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 Thursday, you can contact Jacob Pomrenke at email@example.com 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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
There are 161 games left after Opening Day, but some players have performances that get remembered all season — and long afterward. As we celebrate the start of a new season, we've put together a few selected stories and clips from the SABR archives of players with memorable exploits on Opening Day:
- Lefty Grove and Mickey Cochrane, 1925
Two Hall of Famers made their debuts in the same game for Connie Mack's Philadelphia A's. Grove walked four and struck out one batter, and was knocked out in the fourth inning by the Boston Red Sox. Cochrane contributed a single in two at-bats. Read Bill Loughman's article from the 1977 Baseball Research Journal on the Opening Day games of April 14, 1925.
- Walter Johnson, 1926
The Hall of Fame right-hander still holds the record for the highest Bill James Game Score on Opening Day, recording an impressive 111 with his 15-inning shutout of the powerful Philadelphia A's — who had two future Hall of Famers in the lineup — on April 13, 1926. It was the 38th (and final) 1-0 victory of Johnson's career, a mark no one has come close to surpassing. Read our SABR BioProject biography of "The Big Train" written by Charles Carey.
- Jackie Robinson, 1947
Jack Roosevelt Robinson, the Brooklyn Dodgers' rookie first baseman, had an unspectacular debut on April 15, 1947, going 0-for-3 and scoring a run in a 5-3 win over the Boston Braves at Ebbets Field. But it was the most important Opening Day in baseball history: For the first time in the modern era, an African-American ballplayer took the field in a major league game. Robinson went on to a Hall of Fame career, earning Rookie of the Year honors in '47 and later an MVP award in 1949. Read a special excerpt on Robinson's major league debut written by Lyle Spatz from The Team That Forever Changed Baseball and America: The 1947 Brooklyn Dodgers, the first book in SABR's "Memorable Teams in Baseball History" series with University of Nebraska Press. Order the book today at the SABR Bookstore.
- Phil Niekro, 1970
"Knucksie" won 318 games in his Hall of Fame career — but none in nine Opening Day starts between 1970 and 1985. His best performance was in 1979, when he allowed three hits in eight innings against the Houston Astros, but was outpitched by J.R. Richard and Joaquin Andujar in a 2-1 loss. His brother Joe, a two-time 20-game winner, didn't fare much better, losing all four of his Opening Day starts. Read "The Opening Day Woes of the Niekro Brothers," by Lyle Spatz in the 1998 Baseball Research Journal.
- Fernando Valenzuela, 1981
The Dodgers' rookie southpaw was just 20 years old when he became a national phenomenon on Opening Day 1981. Valenzuela was moved up to pitch the opener due to an injury to Jerry Reuss. His five-hit shutout of the defending NL West champion Houston Astros caught everybody’s attention. Read Vic Wilson's profile of "Fernandomania" in the 2011 edition of The National Pastime, Endless Seasons: Baseball in Southern California.
Want to find Opening Day rosters for every team in every season since 1918? Check out Baseball-Reference.com's Opening Day lists here.
Happy baseball season, everyone!
As Fenway Park prepares to celebrate its 100th anniversary, check out a 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 Michael Foster on spring training in Hot Springs, Arkansas:
Guests from across the globe basked in the luxury of one of America’s finest hotels, [the Eastman Hotel, known as the "Monarch on the Glen"], but to Jake Stahl and other major league managers the arrival of March meant baseball and baseball meant business.
The 1,200 foot hills surrounding Hot Springs had been providing American ballplayers with a natural gymnasium for hiking and climbing dating all the way back to 1886, when Cap Anson brought his Chicago White Stockings to town to “boil out the alcoholic microbes” in area spas. True, the advent of modern science had long since rendered obsolete many of those old training practices, and yet, lo all these years later, these old hills stood as a vivid reminder of what was still the best way of whipping any flabby ballplayer into shape. ...
Red Sox president John I. Taylor had spared no expense on the construction of the new Red Sox ball grounds in the Fenway, but the same could hardly be said of the team’s spring training grounds, humble Majestic Park. Built in the offseason before spring training in 1909, the bare-bone field featured a modest grandstand capable of holding a few hundred fans, with a lone screen installed behind home plate to keep passed balls from skirting off onto adjacent Carson and Belding Streets. Majestic was nothing fancy, but the playing surface was “as level as the stereotyped billiard table” and the freshly planted grass had grown in almost completely. Best of all, the Red Sox would have exclusive use of Majestic through the entire run of spring training, and that was more than good enough for Jake Stahl. “This is the best playing field in the South,” he commended as he walked around the untouched grounds. “Look at the infield; it couldn’t be better. Let the steam roller take one trip over the sod and I wouldn’t swap my field with that old one at Whittington Park.”
Read more of this special excerpt, plus a chapter by 2011 Bob Davids Award winner Bill Nowlin, at the SABR Boston Chapter's website, http://chapters.sabr.org/boston.
- Related link: Glenn Stout, Ron Selter and John McMurray are quoted in this Boston Globe story about Fenway Park's first year
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 (no fooling!), 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.
Four new biographies were posted this week as part of the SABR Baseball Biography Project, bringing us to a total of 1,862 published biographies:
- Eddie McGah, by Bill Nowlin
- Art McGovern, by Bill Nowlin
- Tony Oliva, by Peter C. Bjarkman
- Charlie Spikes, by Joseph Wancho
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 email@example.com.)
The upgraded BioProject also gives you the ability to search the full text of any biography we've published. Use the search bar that appears atop every biography to find any name or phrase that appears in the BioProject. And just click the words “SABR Baseball Biography Project” in the search bar to get back to the home page.
- 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.
At BaseballHall.org, SABR member Craig Muder reports:
Bowie Kuhn served as the Commissioner of Baseball during a 16-season period that saw massive changes to the National Pastime. Now, thanks to Kuhn's historic donation to the Hall of Fame's A. Bartlett Giamatti Research Center, the record of those changes will be available to researchers in Cooperstown.
Kuhn, who served as commissioner from 1969-84, donated his papers from his four decades of work with Major League Baseball to the Hall ofFame in 1997 – asking only that the archives be made public no sooner than five years after his death. Kuhn, baseball's fifth commissioner, passed away on March 15, 2007.
He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 2008.
"He was a man with a deep love for the game," said Hall of Fame director of research [and SABR member] Tim Wiles, who helped organize the collection when it was first donated, spending nearly a month with Kuhn at the Hall of Fame. "That comes through in his papers and just being around him."
Researchers who would like to make an appointment to see Bowie Kuhn's files can call the Hall of Fame Research Center at (607) 547-0330.
The Emerald Guide to Baseball 2012, edited by Gary Gillette and Pete Palmer with Rod Nelson and Ted Turocy, is the most comprehensive record of the 2012 baseball season.
Historically, the primary purpose of annual baseball guides has been the publication of the official league standings plus the official team and individual statistics for both Major League Baseball and Minor League Baseball. Our new Emerald Guide follows faithfully in that tradition, containing the official batting, pitching, and fielding statistics for every team and every player in the Major Leagues plus extensive lists of league leaders.
The Emerald Guide to Baseball is our attempt to fill the gap in the historical record created by the recent demise of The Sporting News Baseball Guide. First published in 1942, The Sporting News Guide was truly the annual book of record for our National Pastime. It is our great privilege to document for posterity a slice of recent baseball history in our new book.
The 2012 edition of the Emerald Guide runs nearly 600 pages and covers the 2011 season; it also includes a 2012 directory of Major League Baseball. The Emerald Guide is available in both a printed version and in a downloadable PDF format.
A softcover print edition will be available for purchase soon.
- Download the PDF: SABR members can download the Emerald Guide on the Research Resources page. All others can download it http://sabr.org/latest/download-your-free-copy-2012-emerald-guide-baseball.
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 Malloy Negro Leagues Conference, Ivor-Campbell 19th Century Conference
- Frederick Ivor-Campbell 19th Century Base Ball Conference, April 20-21, Cooperstown, New York: Registration is now open for the Frederick Ivor-Campbell 19th Century Base Ball Conference at SABR.org/ivor-campbell19c. Conference registration is open to all SABR members and up to two non-SABR family members or friends (18 years or older). There are also “Welcoming Dinner”, “Luncheon Only” and “Post Conference Gathering” registration options. Registration will continue until April 10, 2012, or space is filled, whichever comes first. Click here to download a Registration Form in the Nineteenth Century Committee's Winter 2012 newsletter. Registrations can be accepted by mail only. Research presentation abstracts were due by February 15, 2012. Conference attendees who are baseball authors will have an opportunity to submit their books when registering so that the Hall of Fame bookstore can stock their book for purchase and for signing.
- 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.
Last week, SABR members were given exclusive first access to BaseballMemoryLab.com, a collaboration of MLB’s Origins Committee and MLB.com. Focusing on the intersection of personal history and baseball, BaseballMemoryLab.com initially will spotlight two aspects of the game’s history — the origins and evolution of baseball and fan-submitted memories and recollections.
Stemming from the MLB Origins Committee’s work, which began in March 2011, BaseballMemoryLab.com will publish content regarding the origins of the game. The first major feature, Early Baseball Milestones, will tell the story of major events across baseball’s historic timeline, dating as far back as 2500 B.C. The works are used, with permission, from Protoball’s Working Chronology of Early Ball Play and have been edited by Larry McCray and John Thorn.
The broadest focus of BaseballMemoryLab.com’s mission will be to build a community in context with baseball’s history through its collection of memories and collaborative discussions. Fans will be able to share their personal reflections and photos, tagging them by favorite game, player, team, ballpark, and/or region, ultimately creating the most comprehensive portal housing baseball memories. We plan to extend the surrounding content for each submission to be tied to relevant boxscores, play by play, photos and videos, as applicable. Each fan’s submission (after review) will become a permanent exhibit on BaseballMemoryLab.com.
What You Can Do
Please share a memory of yours (or several) to test the platform and help record the first collections for BaseballMemoryLab.com. If you have any comments, questions or feedback, send an e-mail to BaseballMemoryLab@mlb.com. We look forward to your submissions and thank you for your participation.
- Daniel John Heidel, 71, of Alexandria, Virginia, and Surprise, Arizona, passed away on March 19, 2012, in Arlington, Virginia. He was a SABR member since 2007. Born in New York City, he was a graduate of Cardinal Hayes High School and City College of New York. He was retired from Air Products and Chemicals, Inc., in Allentown, Pennsylvania. During his career, Heidel also worked for National Lead, U.S. Steel and Citibank. Besides his family, his great passion was sports, especially the old Brooklyn Dodgers, New York Mets and New York Football Giants, having been a season ticket holder most of his life. In retirement, he became known as "Dodger Dan" to his friends in Arizona and got great joy in taking part in the Jackie Robinson Program at George Washington University in Washington, D.C. He is survived by his wife of 45 years, Margaret (Peggy) Golby Heidel; two daughters; three grandchildren; a sister; and many nieces and nephews. A funeral service was held March 31 in Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania.
- John Spalding, 81, of San Jose, California, passed away on March 14, 2012. He was a SABR member since 1980. Born in Oakland in 1930, he and his future wife, Barbara, were classmates at San Leandro High School, from which they graduated in 1948. John attended Santa Rosa Junior College and City College of San Francisco before enlisting in the Navy in December 1950. He served four years as an enlisted man aboard the patrol frigates USS Hoquiam (PF-5) and USS Everett (PF-8) and the destroyer escort USS Alvin C. Cockrell (DE-366) in the Pacific during the Korean War. After his honorable discharge in 1954, he graduated from San Jose State with a journalism degree in 1957 and went to work for the San Jose News as a general assignment reporter two days later. John covered City Hall from 1959 to 1970, when he became the city's first administrative assistant to the mayor. He returned to the Mercury News in 1975, where he was a reporter, rewrite man and editor until his retirement in 1991. Retirement gave him the chance to pursue his interests in history and sports. John wrote and self-published five books, four about minor league baseball in the 19th century California League (Always on Sunday) and the 20th century Pacific Coast League (Pacific Coast Stars, Vols. 1 and 2, and Sacramento Senators and Solons), along with A History of Sports in Santa Clara County, 1900-1999. As one of the country's major collectors of pre-1942 sports cards and memorabilia, John was a regular columnist from the 1970s into the late 1990s for numerous sports collector publications, including Sports Collectors Digest, the hobby's most influential publication. From 1995 to 2005, John was a member of the San Jose Hall of Fame Selection Committee and later its Board of Directors. He was a member of the Pacific Coast League Hall of Fame Selection Committee. In 2000, he became historian for the California Interscholastic Federation's Central Coast Section; the results of his work can be seen on the CCS website's history section. His continuing interest in high school sports led John to spend many of his free hours since 2000 as the chief researcher for the Bay Area Sports Stars website, a 35,000-name database that lists the achievements of outstanding coaches, high school athletes and other sports figures who attended any of the the more than 300 high schools that exist in the San Francisco Bay Area's nine counties. His other major pastime was watching basketball at all levels. A self-described "hoops junkie," John was a spectator at more than 9,000 high school, junior college, college and professional games in the 60-plus years between 1945 and his death. For 10 years in the 1970s and early 1980s, John operated the 24-second shot clock at half of the Golden State Warriors' home games. He also was a referee for the Warriors' Girls League during the two years it's four teams played preliminary and half-time exhibition contests at the pro team's home games. He is survived by his wife of nearly 60 years, Barbara; a son and two daughters; and three grandchildren. No services will be held and the Neptune Society will scatter his ashes.
We send our condolences to their families and friends.
All "In Memoriam" notices are posted in the SABR Bulletin group here: http://sabrnation.sabr.org/groups2/discussion/list/groupid/1960. Please send notices to Jacob Pomrenke at email@example.com.
Here are the SABR research committee newsletters published this week:
- Origins: April 2012
Find all SABR research committee newsletters at SABR.org/research.
Here is a list of upcoming SABR events:
- April 6-7: "Rare Baseball Films: The Newsreels" film festival (Columbus, OH)
- April 7: Halsey Hall Chapter book club meeting (Roseville, MN)
- April 10: Hanlan's Point Chapter meeting (Toronto, ON)
- April 10: "Baseball: America's Game" panel (Minneapolis, MN)
- April 12: Herb Crehan talk: “Professional Baseball in Boston, 1871-2011” (Sherborn, MA)
- April 14: Talkin' Baseball: Bob Savitt (Columbia, MD)
- April 14: Mike Luery book signing (Walnut Creek, CA)
- April 14: Smoky Joe Wood Chapter meeting (Hamden, CT)
- April 14: Tim Wendel book signing (Washington, DC)
- April 16: Bob Broeg St. Louis Chapter meeting (St. Louis, MO)
- April 16: Houston/Larry Dierker Chapter meeting (Houston, TX)
- April 17: Bob Davids Chapter Maryland Hot Stove Dinner (Silver Spring, MD)
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:
- We enjoyed this wonderful profile of Retrosheet founder David W. Smith after he was named as a 2012 Henry Chadwick Award recipient (University of Delaware Daily)
- San Diego's SABR library collection is a major league hit (UT San Diego)
- Football-loving Nebraska nurtures baseball books with its connection to SABR (New York Times)
- John Dewan's Stat of the Week: Who are this year's potential breakout players? (ACTA Sports)
- Uni Watch's Paul Lukas reports that Bobby Thomson's 1951 New York Giants playoff hat is for sale at auction (ESPN.com)
- Author Jane Leavy talks about the history of tape-measure home runs and baseball's biggest hits (NPR)
- Dave Studeman: Can you name the "tensest" series of all-time? (Baseball Prospectus)
- Rick Schabowski looks back at major league baseball's return to Milwaukee four decades ago (Third Coast Digest)
- Listen to an interview with Northwestern professor Bill Savage on "Our National Pastime" (Northwestern.edu)
- Bill Young: Let's allow the spirit of The Kid to guide us (Montreal Gazette)
- Colin Wyers argues that long-term extensions for major league players may be a short-sighted trend (Baseball Prospectus)
- Bill Lucey takes a look at a compelling new book on Bill Veeck by Paul Dickson (The Morning Delivery)
- Joan Thomas tells the story of baseball's first lady, one-time St. Louis Cardinals owner Helene Britton (YouTube)
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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This page was last updated April 6, 2012 at 4:42 pm MST.