SABR

This Week in SABR: February 24, 2012

Here's what we've been up to as of February 24, 2012:

Announcing new panels for SABR Analytics Conference

We're less than a month away from the inaugural SABR Analytics Conference! Join us March 15-17 at the Hilton Phoenix/East in Mesa, Arizona.

Last week, we announced the General Managers Panel, the Clubhouse Confidential Panel and the Fantasy Baseball Panel (which now includes Craig Glaser of Bloomberg Sports.) A full schedule of the Analytics Conference can be found here: http://sabr.org/analytics/topics.

Here are a few more of the events we have planned:

Welcome/Networking Reception: The reception will be an opportunity for conference attendees to meet some of our panelists, speakers, writers and others working throughout the baseball industry. Scheduled for Thursday, March 15. Featured speaker:

  • Derrick Hall, President/CEO, Arizona Diamondbacks: Derrick was named team president in September 2006 and later added the title of CEO in January 2009. Hall originally joined the Diamondbacks in May 2005 as Senior Vice President, Communications, and served in numerous other capacities until being named president. His leadership in the local community has allowed the Diamondbacks to become the first professional sports team to win the inaugural 2010 United Nations NGO Positive Peace Award.

Changing Face of Baseball Data Panel: Data is the foundation of baseball analytics. New data capture methods are yielding information such as the speed of the ball off the hitters' bat and the route a fielder takes to the ball. Technologies such as doppler radar are now being used to record and measure the events on the field. The net result of this innovation is a new world of baseball analytics, which is overhauling the way MLB teams make decisions. Scheduled for Thursday, March 15.

  • Dave Cameron, FanGraphs: Dave is Managing Editor and a Senior Writer at FanGraphs. He was the co-founder of the U.S.S. Mariner blog and previously worked at Baseball Prospectus.
  • John Dewan, Baseball Info Solutions: John is the owner of Baseball Info Solutions, as well as the author of The Fielding Bible and The Fielding Bible II.
  • Sean Forman, Baseball-Reference.com (moderator): Sean is the founder of Baseball-Reference.com. A recipient of the 2011 Henry Chadwick Award, honoring baseball's greatest researchers, he is also a co-founder of BaseballThinkFactory.org and has authored numerous sabermetric articles.
  • Cory Schwartz, MLB.com: Cory is Vice President of Statistics for MLB.com and co-host of Fantasy 411 on MLB.com and MLB Network. He is also a pioneer of the Pitch f/x system.

Retrospective Look at Baseball Analysis: When SABR was founded in 1971, the analysis of baseball statistics was in its infancy. Mainframe computers were expensive and the Internet didn't exist yet. Since then, technology in the Information Age has allowed millions of fans to access and understand sabermetrics, analyzing data at home and connecting with others across the globe. Leaders of the early days of baseball analysis will discuss the evolution of sabermetrics and where it's headed in the future. Scheduled for Friday, March 16.

  • Dick Cramer, SABR: Dick is an early pioneer in baseball statistical analysis. With Pete Palmer, he founded SABR's groundbreaking Statistical Analysis Committee in the 1970s and helped form STATS, Inc., in 1981. He has written many articles in the Baseball Research Journal.
  • Sean Forman, Baseball-Reference.com (moderator): Sean is the founder of Baseball-Reference.com. A recipient of the 2011 Henry Chadwick Award, honoring baseball's greatest researchers, he is also a co-founder of BaseballThinkFactory.org and has authored numerous sabermetric articles.
  • Gary Gillette, SABR: Gary has been on SABR's Board of Directors since 2009. He is the editor of SABR's annual Emerald Guide and is co-chair of the Ballparks Research Committee. He is also a co-editor of the ESPN Baseball Encyclopedia and executive editor of the ESPN Pro Football Encyclopedia.
  • John Thorn, MLB: John was appointed the Official Historian of Major League Baseball in 2011. A longtime SABR member and a past Bob Davids Award winner, his books include Baseball in the Garden of Eden, Total Baseball, The Hidden Game of Baseball and Treasures of the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Scouting and Analytics Panel: Scouts and stats have often been characterized as being at odds with one another, and at one time that may have been true. In today's game we are seeing not only a co-existence, but the integration of scouting and analytics, including the emergence of new sources of scouting data and information. This panel will discuss the impact of technology and data capture on scouting, as well as the way in which data analyses are blended with scouting information to assist teams in their decision-making. Scheduled for Saturday, March 17.

  • Joe Bohringer, Chicago Cubs: Joe is the Director of Pro Scouting for the Chicago Cubs. Bohringer was previously a major league scout for the Arizona Diamondbacks and the Seattle Mariners. Before embarking on a full-time scouting career, he spent three years as Senior Manager of Player Development for the Los Angeles Dodgers.
  • A.J. Hinch, San Diego Padres: A.J. is Vice President/Assistant General Manager of the San Diego Padres. Prior to joining the Padres as Vice President of Professional Scouting in September 2010, Hinch served as manager for the Arizona Diamondbacks and spent three-plus seasons as the Diamondbacks' Director/VP of Player Development.
  • Dan Migala, PCG (moderator): Dan is the founding partner of Property Consulting Group, a Chicago-based team marketing advisory firm and publisher of The Migala Report, a sports business monthly periodical. He has helped design some of baseball's most innovative revenue-generating concepts. He is a co-owner with Mike Veeck of the Class A Fort Myers Miracle and author of three sports marketing texts.
  • Corrine Vitolo, SmartKage: Corrine is the President/CEO of SmartKage, an innovative analytics tool. Also the founder of Performance Promotions and a Harvard Business School graduate, her business programs and articles have been featured in publications from Newsweek to the New York Times.

Also on our list of speakers: Chicago Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts and Cleveland Indians president Mark Shapiro. More panels and speakers will be announced next week.

In addition, SABR member Sean Forman, president of Sports Reference, LLC, will be holding a Baseball-Reference Open Forum on Friday and Saturday. Sean will be available for two hours each morning to provide tips, suggestions and answer user questions. In addition to a rundown of popular features and tools, Sean will show you how to embed B-R content within your blogs or websites, quickly link from your articles to Baseball-Reference.com player pages, and promote your content directly to Baseball-Reference.com users. Stop by our forum or stop Sean in the hallway and receive a free 15-day trial to the Baseball Reference Play Index!

Check out our website at SABR.org/analytics for the most up-to-date SABR Analytics Conference information.

Sign up now to get the early registration rate for the:

SABR Analytics Conference, presented by Bloomberg Sports and Major League Baseball
When: March 15-17, 2012
Where: Hilton Phoenix East/Mesa, 1011 West Holmes Avenue, Mesa, AZ 85210

Never before have as many of the top minds of the baseball analytic community come under one roof to discuss, debate and share learnings of insightful ways to analyze and examine the great game of baseball. Some of the topics we are planning to cover include: how technology is changing baseball; Managers Panel on how analytics has changed the game; GM Panel on how analytics shape decisions; measuring player performance; technology and in-game strategy, and much more.

The SABR Analytics Conference will begin on Thursday, March 15 and conclude on Saturday, March 17 at the Hilton Phoenix East/Mesa in Arizona. The schedule will consist of a combination of Guest Speakers, Panels and Research Presentations — plus the inaugural SABR Case Competition, in which undergraduate and graduate students will analyze and present a real baseball operations decision, and be judged by MLB front office executives. Participating schools now include New York University; University of Chicago; Northwestern University; University of California-Berkeley; Elon University; University of Portland; University of South Carolina; Siena College; Manhattanville College; Arizona State University; University of Florida; University of Waterloo; and Tufts University.

The early registration rate ($250 for SABR members and students; $350 for non-members) will expire soon. SABR has secured a special hotel rate of $139/night at the Hilton, which includes complimentary wireless high-speed Internet, parking and breakfast buffet for two.

To register for the SABR Analytics Conference, visit SABR.org/analytics.

To sign up for the Case Competition, visit SABR.org/analytics/case or contact SABR President Vince Gennaro.

Renew your SABR membership by Feb. 29 to get the Spring BRJ!

Thanks to all of you who have already renewed your SABR membership for 2012. We wouldn't be here without you, and we appreciate your support.

For those of you who haven't renewed: We must receive your dues by February 29, 2012, in order for you to receive the Spring 2011 edition of the Baseball Research Journal.

You can renew your membership for 1 year or 3 years online at the SABR Store; by phone at (602) 343-6455; or by mailing this downloadable PDF form and your payment to the SABR office at 4455 E. Camelback Road, Ste. D-140, Phoenix, AZ 85018.

Note: If you have already renewed for 2012 or just recently sent in your dues, please disregard this notice ... and thank you again! If you don't know when your membership expires, go to the Members' Info page and click the link that says "See when your membership expires".

We've got a lot of exciting benefits in store for 2012 — including a groundbreaking Analytics Conference and Case Competition during spring training; new titles in our Digital Library book collection; SABR 42 in Minneapolis; many additions to the BioProject; and, of course, three high-quality research publications in the Baseball Research Journal (2 issues) and The National Pastime (1 issue)  — and we're glad you're along for the ride. 

Dues are the same as they have been in recent years: all members in good standing receive two issues of the Baseball Research Journal and one issue of The National Pastime; access to research resources such as Paper of Record (with complete archives of The Sporting News); discounts to SABR conferences such as the national convention (June 27-July 1 in Minneapolis), the spring Analytics Conference and Case Competition (March 15-17 in Phoenix), the summer Jerry Malloy Negro Leagues Conference (July 19-21 in Cleveland) and the Arizona Fall League Conference; access to our SABR-L research listserv and lending library; all 27 research committees, 60+ regional chapters; and more.

We believe SABR has something for everyone, from the active researcher to the passionate baseball fan. When you renew, we hope you'll invite your friends, colleagues and family members to join, too, at http://store.sabr.org.

  • Donate to SABR: If you support SABR and all the groundbreaking research our members have and will produce, please also consider donating online at SABR.org/donate or via mail. No amount is too big or too small, and as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, your donation to SABR is tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law. If you have given in the past, we remain grateful and hope you will consider giving again. If you are a first-time donor, welcome aboard!

SABR welcomes new chapter in East Tennessee

At its winter meeting on February 3-4, 2012, SABR's Board of Directors approved the formation of a new regional chapter in East Tennessee.

The East Tennessee Chapter will serve the region around Knoxville, Tennessee — including the following counties: Anderson, Blount, Bradley, Campbell, Carter, Claiborne, Cocke, Grainger, Greene, Hamblen, Hamilton, Hancock, Hawkins, Jefferson, Johnson, Knox, Loudon, McMinn, Meigs, Monroe, Morgan, Polk, Rhea, Roane, Scott, Sevier, Sullivan, Unicoi, Union and Washington.

To join the chapter and receive e-mail notifications about chapter goings-on, log in to http://sabrnation.sabr.org/groups/profile/view/groupid/12213 and click "Join group". All SABR chapter meetings are open to the public; check out our Events calendar at SABR.org/events for details of all upcoming meetings.

Chapter leader Mark Aubrey says the East Tennessee Chapter plans to publish a quarterly newsletter and hold at least three meetings per year, likely rotating around Knoxville, Chattanooga and the Tri-Cities. "It would be very convenient to attend a minor league game and have a brief meeting beforehand," he said.

SABR members in the area first discussed forming an organized chapter in the summer of 2010 at a Tennessee Smokies game. Aubrey says Skip Nipper, president of the Rice-Russell Nashville Chapter, has been extremely supportive throughout the whole process.

"I'm encouraging the chapter members to do research that is local and then to share that back with the community," Aubrey said. "Currently, I'm researching the 1904 Tennessee-Alabama League, the Knoxville baseball pioneer Frank Moffett, local college and university baseball programs and the black Knoxville Giants team."

There are 59 SABR regional chapters covering 36 U.S. states, Puerto Rico and Washington, D.C.; plus international chapters in Canada (Quebec and Ontario), Japan and the United Kingdom. At the February meeting, the Board of Directors also formally dissolved the inactive Jesse Burkett Chapter in Central Massachusetts.

Access newspaper game accounts from 1897-1912

Attention, Deadball Era scholars! SABR member Jonathan Frankel has set up a Google Docs library with hundreds of newspaper game accounts (play-by-play, game write-ups, game notes, box scores) that he collected and used during his recent research project on batter strikeouts. These newspaper scans cover the years 1897-1912 and include editions from the following cities:

  • Chicago (Daily News)
  • Cincinnati (Commercial Tribune, Enquirer)
  • Cleveland (Leader)
  • Detroit (Times)
  • Louisville (Courier Journal, Times)
  • New York (Evening Telegram, Evening World)
  • Philadelphia (Evening Telegraph, Evening Times)
  • St. Louis (Chronicle, Globe Democrat, Republic, Star)

Most newspaper files are downloadable in PDF, JPG or TIF formats. Note: Not all games are covered for a given paper/year.

Frankel's library can be accessed here: http://bit.ly/FrankelSABR. It has also been added to the SABR Research Resources page.

"I tried not to duplicate scans that already exist on the web, either via free sources like the Library of Congress or Google newspaper archives or paid sites like GeneologyBank.com or Proquest," Frankel said.

Frankel's groundbreaking research on batter strikeouts has filled in the missing statistical record for individual batter strikeouts in the National League from 1897-1909 and the American League from 1901-1912. This new data has been incorporated into Pete Palmer's master statistical database and as a result has been populated into Baseball-Reference.com, as well. Learn more at his blog, http://batterk.blogspot.com.

To help add newspapers to this library, contact Frankel at jlfrankel@comcast.net.

Mets' Ben Baumer is runner-up on "Baseball IQ" trivia game show

SABR member Ben Baumer, a statistical analyst for the New York Mets, finished as the runner-up on MLB Network's "Baseball IQ" trivia game show, which aired the championship round on Thursday night. The winner was Los Angeles Angels assistant equipment manager Shane Demmitt, who earned $45,000 for the Angels Baseball Foundation charity.

Eight SABR members were among the 32 contestants on "Baseball IQ", which premiered in January. Demmitt also ousted SABR members Tony Blengino (Seattle Mariners) in the second round and Craig Muder (Baseball Hall of Fame) in the quarterfinals. Contestants represented the 30 major league teams, plus Muder of the Hall of Fame and SABR member Cory Schwartz (MLB.com).

The final question in the championship round was about pitchers who have thrown no-hitters in the 21st century.

For more on Baseball IQ, visit http://mlb.mlb.com/network/promotions/BBIQ.jsp.

Download your free SABR e-books: "Can He Play?" and "Run, Rabbit, Run"

You still have a couple weeks left to download your free copy of our first two SABR Digital Library (sabr.org/ebooks) selections. Both of our books are being offered as free member downloads through February 29, 2012.

RUN, RABBIT, RUN: The Hilarious and Mostly True Tales of Rabbit Maranville is the unfinished autobiography of Hall of Fame infielder Walter "Rabbit" Maranville — one of baseball's all-time funny characters. He was a star shortstop on the "Miracle" Boston Braves' world championship team of 1914 and, despite his 5-foot-5 stature and weak bat, sometimes served as the team's cleanup hitter in those Deadball Era days. He did compile 2,605 career hits, but it was his stellar defensive play that kept him in the major leagues for 23 colorful seasons with the Braves, Pittsburgh Pirates, St. Louis Cardinals, Brooklyn Dodgers and Chicago Cubs. At the urging of his daughter and sports writer Max Kase, Maranville put down on paper his collection of amusing anecdotes a year before his death in 1954, just weeks before his election to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown. For decades, the stories were virtually unread until Dallas and Ralph Graber discovered the manuscript and brought it to SABR for resurrection. SABR originally published RUN, RABBIT, RUN in 1991 as a benefit for members, with an introduction by baseball historian Dr. Harold Seymour and a biographical essay on Maranville by Bob Carroll. The text and photographs in this newly published edition of RUN, RABBIT, RUN remain unchanged.

CAN HE PLAY? A Look At Baseball Scouts And Their Profession: They dig through tons of coal to find a single diamond. They spend countless hours traveling miles and miles on lonely back roads and way too much time in hotels. Their front offices expect them to constantly provide player reports and updates. So much of their time is spent away from family and friends, missing birthdays, anniversaries, and holidays. Their best friend is Rand McNally. Always asking the question, “CAN HE PLAY?” Such is the life of a professional scout. CAN HE PLAY? collects the contributions of 26 members of the Society for American Baseball Research on the subject of scouts, including biographies and historical essays. The book touches on more than a century of scouts and scouting with a focus on the men (and the occasional woman) who have taken on the task of scouring the world for the best ballplayers available. In CAN HE PLAY? we meet the “King of Weeds,” a Ph.D. we call “Baseball’s Renaissance Man,” a husband-and-wife team, pioneering Latin scouts, and a Japanese-American interned during World War II who became a successful scout—and many, many more.

Kindle users: Having trouble downloading a SABR e-book to your device? Visit http://sabr.org/ebooks/kindle-help for assistance.

To learn more about the SABR Digital Library, visit SABR.org/ebooks. To learn more about all SABR Publications, contact Cecilia Tan at ctan@sabr.org.

In Memoriam

  • Robert Lord Keyes, 60, of Amherst, Massachusetts, a member of the Rabbit Maranville Chapter in Western Massachusetts, passed away suddenly on September 26, 2011. Robert had been a SABR member since 1983. A graduate of the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, he was a published poet and a prolific chronicler of the history of Pelham, Massachusetts. He was the town archivist for the town of Pelham, the History Room coordinator for the Pelham Public Library, an active member of the Pelham Historical Society and a volunteer at the Amherst Survival Center. He is survived by his wife of 35 years, Kathleen; his brother and sister-in-law; five nieces and four nephews; and many great-nieces and great-nephews. Memorial gifts may be made to The Pelham Historical Society, 351 Pelham Road, Pelham, MA 01002; or the Amherst Survival Center, P.O. Box 9629, North Amherst, MA 01059-9629.
  • Edgar Allen Strause, 84, of Columbus, Ohio, a member of the Hank Gowdy Chapter, died on October 14, 2011. Edgar had been a SABR member since 1985. Following graduation from Burlington (Iowa) High School in 1945, he served as a staff sergeant in the United States Army until 1947. In 1950 he graduated from the University of Iowa where he was a member of Beta Theta Pi. He received the Doctor of Jurisprudence from the University of Michigan Law School in 1953 having served as an editor of the University of Michigan Law Review. In the summer of 1953 he joined the Vorys, Sater, Seymour and Pease law firm where he actively practiced for fifty-three years, serving as lead counsel in a number of nationally prominent cases. An avid sports fan with a special passion for baseball, he fervently followed the fates of the Iowa Hawkeyes, the Michigan Wolverines, the Columbus Clippers, the St. Louis Cardinals and the Ohio State Men's Basketball Team. A memorial service was held October 19 at First Community Church in Columbus.

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 jpomrenke@sabr.org.

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. Submit your research presentation abstracts 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.

Chapter meeting recaps

Upcoming SABR events:

Visit SABR.org/events for details on all upcoming SABR events.

In other recent SABR news:

All previous editions of This Week in SABR can be found here: http://sabr.org/content/this-week-in-sabr-archives.

Find more information about SABR at the Members' Info page here: http://sabr.org/about/members-info.

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 jpomrenke@sabr.org.

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This page was last updated February 24, 2012 at 3:43 pm MST.

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