This Week in SABR: October 5, 2012
Here's what we've been up to as of October 5, 2012:
The Diamond Report is a series of monthly messages, written by SABR President Vince Gennaro and Executive Director Marc Appleman, to keep SABR members better informed about the Society's direction and progress. The Diamond Report archives are collected at SABR.org/diamondreport. Here is the Diamond Report for October 2012, written by Vince Gennaro:
In recent months, SABR leadership has placed a focus on stabilizing our financial base, so that we can thrive as the premier baseball research organization for generations to come. While many important and necessary issues were being addressed, we would also like to emphasize how much great research is going on today within SABR. As we forge relationships to better connect SABR to the broader baseball community and mount a donation drive to truly capitalize on our status as a nonprofit organization, we must always remember why we do these initiatives — to give us the resources so that we can excel at being a research organization.
That doesn't mean all of SABR's 6,000+ members are researchers. Many of our members simply want the best access to the stimulating and thought-provoking analysis, insights and historical documentation of baseball produced by our core researchers. But it does mean that without the efforts of these core researchers who put the "R" in SABR, we would be a very different organization.
I believe we are in the midst of the Golden Era of baseball research today. First, the Internet has increased the velocity at which information is shared. This means more access to data and historical accounts to produce research, as well as a greater opportunity to efficiently reach more people who consume our research. This is evident in the proliferation of websites and blogs that focus on baseball — its history and analysis. When you couple these realities with the popularity of the game today, I believe there has never been a better time to be a baseball researcher or SABR member.
I'd like to highlight just a few of the many great research efforts taking place within SABR today — work that is sure to have an enduring and lasting effect on baseball. Many of these projects are looking for more SABR members' participation, which is a great way to become involved in a research project or collaborate with fellow members:
- SABR's Asian Baseball Committee, under the leadership of Bill Staples Jr. and Daigo Fujiwara, helped launch the Japanese American Baseball Player Registry with the Nisei Baseball Research Project. The registry documents those who played in the Japanese American baseball leagues, pre- and post-war, and also inside U.S. internment camps during World War II.
- The BioProject Committee, led by Mark Armour, Bill Nowlin, Jan Finkel, Lyle Spatz, Warren Corbett and Trey Strecker, celebrated its 10th year in 2012, along with the publication of its 2,000th biography this summer. The BioProject continues to publish peer-reviewed, full-life biographies of major league players, along with encyclopedic articles on other baseball topics such as ballparks and events. The BioProject, which can be found at SABR.org/BioProject, is always seeking new submissions and it's a great way to get involved with SABR.
- The Business of Baseball Committee, under Steve Weingarden, is making progress on its "History of the Winter Meetings" book project, which chronicles significant events occurring at each year's winter meetings. This research will fill an important gap in the knowledge of baseball history.
- The Deadball Era Committee, under the leadership of John McMurray, is hard at work on a pictorial book that will chronicle each World Series from 1903 to 1919. Steve Steinberg is collecting all of the photos he can find from each Series, and Tom Simon is heading up the text, which will be in the style of G.H. Fleming's books chronicling each series in the words of the reporters who covered them.
- The Negro Leagues Committee, co-chaired by Larry Lester and Richard Clark and supported by Leslie Heaphy, organizes the annual Jerry Malloy Negro League Conference, the only conference devoted exclusively to the study of black baseball. The Negro Leagues Baseball Grave Marker Project, led by Jeremy Krock, continues to raise funds to purchase headstones for unmarked graves of Negro Leaguers, a project that has drawn the attention of NBC, ESPN and other major media outlets.
- The Nineteenth Century Committee, headed by Peter Mancuso, will soon publish its "100 Greatest Games of the 19th Century" book, which promises to unveil more about compelling contests that have long been forgotten.
- The Origins Committee has been contributing to the "Spread of Baseball Project" at the SABR Encyclopedia, which tracks the diffusion of the New York Game across the United States and around the world. This project will form the basis of a special report to be delivered to MLB Commissioner Bud Selig.
- The Bibliography Committee, headed by former SABR President Andy McCue, is seeking volunteers to help upgrade the Baseball Index software and to add new listings to The Baseball Index database. Now in its 10th year, TBI contains more than 240,000 citations of baseball books, articles, videos, art, audio and other research materials.
- Finally, the Scouts Committee, co-chaired by Rod Nelson and Jim Sandoval, recently published the first book in SABR's new Digital Library, Can He Play: A Look at Baseball Scouts And Their Profession, edited by Sandoval and Bill Nowlin, which examines the critical role of the scout in professional baseball.
This is just a sampling of some of the diverse research initiatives and projects within SABR today.
— Vince Gennaro
SABR's Board of Directors approved its 27th research committee during last week's conference call.
The new Educational Resources Committee, led by chair Andy Andres and vice-chair Bill Nowlin, is designed to help educators develop and expand courses using baseball as a teaching tool, assisting educators in using baseball to better understand subjects such as physics, history, literature, the arts and/or culture.
The Educational Resources Committee will gather information to build baseball teaching resources and present these to the public. The committee's scope will embrace both classroom and online courses ranging from elementary school through high school and college, to lifelong learning programs.
To sign up for announcements from the Educational Resources, click the "Join Group" button here: http://profile.sabr.org/members/group.asp?id=106621
The final week of the 2012 MLB season was filled with compelling stories — from the Oakland A's overcoming a 13-game deficit to win the AL West in Game 162 to Adam Greenberg's first at-bat after seven years away from the major leagues. But it was Miguel Cabrera's chase for the Triple Crown that held our attention most and had us rooting for the Detroit Tigers slugger to become the first player to lead the league in batting average, home runs and RBI since Carl Yastrzemski turned the trick in 1967.
Now that Cabrera has ended the 45-year Triple Crown drought, it's time to reflect on how his season stacks up.
Back in 2002, Vince Gennaro created the Triple Crown Index in an article for the Baseball Research Journal, ranking the 13 Triple Crown winners of the 20th century by how dominant their seasons were. Who had the most dominant Triple Crown season? Cobb? Foxx? Mantle? Read Vince's article here: http://sabr.org/latest/gennaro-most-dominant-triple-crown-winner
Over at Baseball Nation, Rob Neyer dives into the 2012 American League MVP debate between Cabrera and Mike Trout, the Los Angeles Angels' 21-year-old phenom. Neyer notes that a Triple Crown didn't help Ted Williams, Chuck Klein or Lou Gehrig win the MVP award in past years, but should a Triple Crown automatically make that player the MVP? Read Rob's article here: http://mlb.sbnation.com/2012/10/4/3452862/miguel-cabrera-triple-crown-mvp-mike-trout-debate
SABR member David B. Wilkerson at MarketWatch also reports on the "rather bitter" tone of the arguments between Cabrera's supporters, who often favor the historically traditional stats that make up the Triple Crown, and Trout supporters, who are focusing on advanced metrics that reward Trout's all-around play. But is there really a wrong answer when it comes to two extremely deserving MVP candidates? Read David's article here: http://www.marketwatch.com/story/miguel-cabrera-the-triple-crown-and-the-mvp-issue-2012-10-03
OK, enough of the rancor. Here's another question: Why did it take this long to break the Triple Crown drought, especially after Frank Robinson and Yastrzemski did it back-to-back in 1966 and '67? Frederick E. Taylor examined the reasons in his article, "Whatever Happened to the Triple Crown?" in the Spring 2012 Baseball Research Journal. (Who knew Cabrera would end the drought this year?) Read Frederick's article here: http://sabr.org/research/whatever-happened-triple-crown
Finally, we note that the two Triple Crown winners from the 19th century — Paul Hines and James "Tip" O'Neill — along with Hall of Famer Rogers Hornsby are still in need of SABR biographies. (Bill Staples Jr. also informs us that Hines was the first player to pull off an unassisted triple play!) If you're interested in writing a SABR biography on these players or any others, please visit our BioProject Resources page or read the FAQs section to get started. You can read all published SABR bios of Triple Crown winners here: http://sabr.org/category/achievements/triple-crown-winners
We hope you'll join us for the fourth annual SABR Arizona Fall League Conference, November 1-3, 2012, in Scottsdale, Arizona. Registration is now open at SABR.org/AFL.
The conference will feature four AFL games, each at a different ballpark. Guests will see all six AFL teams, showcasing every major league team's top prospects. The final game on Saturday night is the Rising Stars Game at Talking Stick at Salt River, the crown jewel of Arizona's Cactus League parks.
But if you can't take in the whole conference that weekend, why don't you stop by for one night of baseball fun with your SABR friends? We've just added special a la carte registration rates for dinner at Don and Charlie's on Thursday night, the ballpark cookout on Friday night, and the Rising Stars Game on Saturday night. Sign up to attend any of these events at SABR.org/AFL.
Also, on Saturday morning, November 3, SABR's Flame Delhi (Arizona) Chapter will hold its regional fall meeting. Admission is free for the chapter meeting.
The full registration price, of course, gets you in to all of these events plus transportation and an AFL Media Guide.
The Arizona Fall League (mlbfallball.com) is baseball's premier player development league. In the first three years of the conference, attendees were treated to sneak peeks at Mike Trout, Bryce Harper, Buster Posey, Starlin Castro and Stephen Strasburg before they hit the big leagues.
All baseball fans are welcome to attend, so join us in November for the SABR Arizona Fall League Conference! Here are the details:
- Host hotel: Holiday Inn Express & Suites, Old Town Scottsdale, 3131 N. Scottsdale Rd., Scottsdale, AZ 85251. The conference rate is $99/night + tax. Book your room online at http://www.hiescottsdalehotel.com or call the hotel at (480) 675-7665 and mention the "SABR AFL Conference."
- Registration: $160. To register for the conference online, click here. Your registration fee includes one ticket to all four games; an AFL Media Guide; dinner at Don and Charlie’s on Thursday night; ballpark cookout at Scottsdale Stadium on Friday night; and transportation to and from all events. A la carte registration rates are also available to certain events.
- Schedule: A detailed schedule can be found at SABR.org/AFL.
- Information: Please contact Rodney Johnson at email@example.com.
If you like to watch no-frills, high-quality baseball with future major league stars, the Arizona Fall League Conference is for you. We hope to see you in November!
SABR President Vince Gennaro is partnering with the Preston Robert Tisch Center for Hospitality, Tourism, and Sports Management of the NYU School of Continuing and Professional Studies (NYU-SCPS) to offer a case competition for undergraduate and graduate students from area colleges and universities.
The NYU-SCPS Tisch Center will host the one-day event on November 2.
The Diamond Dollars Baseball Case Competition will be centered around a case developed by Gennaro and will reflect the types of complex decisions faced by MLB general managers, such as a free agent signing, a key roster move or a trade decision. The judging panel for the event will consist of MLB team executives and members of the media. Student teams will be provided with the case several days in advance of the judging.
"I successfully launched the Case Competition at the SABR Analytics Conference last March," said Gennaro, consultant to MLB teams and author of Diamond Dollars: The Economics of Winning in Baseball. "Students viewed it as an opportunity to demonstrate their skills, their business acumen, and their level of passion for the game, to big-league executives. Teams viewed it as a scouting expedition for future analytical talent."
"The NYU-SCPS Preston Robert Tisch Center for Hospitality, Tourism, and Sports Management is proud to be working with Vince Gennaro on such an innovative initiative–one that will serve as an opportunity to showcase exceptional work by an elite group of aspiring baseball scholars," said SABR member Wayne McDonnell, a clinical associate professor of Sports Management at the NYU-SCPS Tisch Center and NYU’s Business of Baseball professor.
Colleges and universities that are interested in entering a student team in the event should contact Vince Gennaro at firstname.lastname@example.org or register online at http://www.vincegennaro.com/nyucasecompetition.html.
The second annual SABR Analytics Conference will be held March 7-9, 2013, in Phoenix, Arizona. Details and registration will be available soon at SABR.org/analytics.
Bobby Valentine is gone, so the future must be looking brighter for Red Sox fans, right? But a half-century ago, Red Sox fans suffered through some bad seasons just like this — learn more about them in our newest book in the SABR Digital Library:
Red Sox Baseball in the Days of Ike and Elvis: The Red Sox of the 1950s
Edited by Mark Armour and Bill Nowlin
with Maurice Bouchard and Len Levin
E-book price: $9.99
Ebook ISBN: 978-1-933599-34-2
Paperback price: $19.95
Paperback ISBN: 978-1-933599-24-3
8.5" x 11", 376 pages
Americans in the 1950s found new ways of enjoying themselves, from the rapid proliferation of television sets into every home, to the dawn of a new age of popular music, rock and roll, symbolized by a charismatic crooner named Elvis Presley. Baseball’s place in American culture was still paramount, though the competition was gaining.
In Boston, the baseball landscape changed dramatically in 1953 when the Braves moved to Milwaukee. Despite having the city to themselves, the Red Sox steadily lost attendance throughout the decade, due mainly to a series of teams that failed to contend. But because of television, fans of the region were able to “watch” Red Sox baseball for the first time without setting foot in Fenway Park. With its lagging fortunes of the team on the field, the club retained its hold on the hearts of the region throughout this period.
The 1950s Red Sox were teeming with huge stories. You might know about Ted Williams, of course, but consider his teammates: Harry Agganis, a legendary local athlete whose tragic death is remembered by millions in the region; or Jimmy Piersall, whose illness and breakdown led to a book and two movies; or Jackie Jensen, a famous collegiate football star who forged a great career with the Red Sox. The Red Sox are famous for failing to integrate until 1959, the last team to do so. Depicted here are the people mostly blamed for this oversight (Tom Yawkey, Joe Cronin, and Mike Higgins), as well as the man who finally broke the color line (Pumpsie Green).
Thanks to the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR), you can read the stories of 46 of these men, including all of of the aforementioned and one of the greatest announcers ever, Curt Gowdy. But along with many of the people you might remember, there are still plenty of lesser-known players that you can discover for the first time. All of these men made it the major leagues and played well enough to stick around for at least a few years. We think all of them are worth learning about, and hope you enjoy doing so.
SABR members get a 50% discount! Here's how:
- E-book: Click here to purchase the e-book version of Red Sox Baseball in the Days of Ike and Elvis for the members-only price of $4.99 from the SABR Store.
- Paperback: SABR members, click here to get the paperback edition of Red Sox Baseball in the Days of Ike and Elvis for the members-only price of $10.00 at Createspace.com.
Four new biographies were posted as part of the SABR Baseball Biography Project, which brings us to a total of 2,081 published biographies.
Here are the new bios:
- Tom Doran, by Bill Nowlin
- Cy Morgan, by Bill Nowlin
- Bert Niehoff, by Bill Lamb
- Jack O'Brien, by Bill Nowlin
All new biographies can be found here: http://sabr.org/bioproj/recent
You can find the SABR BioProject at its new home page: SABR.org/BioProject.
Bios on more than just ballplayers: Many of us have researched a ballplayer's life outside of baseball and found their spouses' lives to be equally compelling. Their stories deserve to be told, too. So in addition to Broadcasters, Executives, Managers, Scouts, etc., we've now added a new Spouses category to the BioProject website. You can browse all of these categories, and more, at http://sabr.org/bioproj/browse. So if you've ever thought, "Hey, that ballplayer's wife should get the full BioProject treatment herself" — write the story and we'll publish it!
Get involved! If you'd like to help contribute to the SABR BioProject, visit our BioProject Resources page or read the FAQs section to get started. We're also looking to expand the BioProject to include all "encyclopedic" articles on baseball-related subjects from past SABR publications or committee newsletters. If you come across an article you think should be included in the SABR "baseball repository" at the BioProject, send a copy or link to email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Unlike many nonprofit organizations that hold monthly donation pledge drives and continually solicit donations, SABR has never been proactive about asking for donations. However, like all other nonprofit 501(c)3 organizations, SABR relies heavily on generous donations to supplement its membership dues and help the organization survive and prosper. We appreciate those members who have given in the past and continue to donate to SABR. As SABR continues to serve its members and move forward with exciting new member opportunities, we are going to become more proactive by asking our passionate and knowledgeable members to support their very special organization.
All donations to SABR are tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law. We thank you for supporting SABR and baseball research in all its forms.
To make a donation to support SABR, visit SABR.org/donate.
— Marc Appleman, SABR Executive Director
Our 43rd annual convention will be highlighted by a Phillies home game at Citizens Bank Park. The San Francisco Giants are in town from July 30-August 1 and the Atlanta Braves will be in Philly for the weekend series on August 2-4.
The SABR Board of Directors awarded the 2013 national convention to Philadelphia's Connie Mack Chapter during the 2011 annual business meeting at SABR 41. If you'd like to get involved with planning and organizing for the 2013 Philadelphia convention, please contact Seamus Kearney.
A call for papers for the 2013 issue of The National Pastime, our Philadelphia convention journal, can be found here.
The 2013 convention will be SABR's 43rd annual gathering; the organization's founding in Cooperstown in 1971 is counted as the first. SABR last held its national convention in Philadelphia in 1974 — our fourth annual meeting. Legendary sports writer Fred Lieb, one of the earliest SABR members, was the featured speaker. Other guest speakers included Phillies and Reds announcer Gene Kelley and former Negro Leagues player Ted Page.
For a multimedia history of all 42 past SABR conventions, including complete coverage of SABR 42 this summer in Minneapolis, click here.
Here is a list of new members:
|Sean Barrett||Arlington, VA||Steve Hermanos||Sausalito, CA|
|Ryan Barwick||Greensboro, NC||Christen Karniski||Lanham, MD|
|Chris Bazar||Findlay, OH||Richard Kelley||Duxbury, MA|
|Robert N. Coleman||New Hudson, MI||Tim Layden||Simsbury, CT|
|Ray Danner||Cleveland Heights, OH||Larry Lefebvre||Valrico, FL|
|Bob Eres||Chandler, AZ||Keith R. Lewis||Ralston, NE|
|Alan Feinberg||Columbia, MD||Wayne Patterson||Washington, DC|
|Harry Lee Funk||Pittsburgh, PA||Seth Turner||Collingswood, NJ|
|Michael Grahek||Fairbanks, AK||Bill Wagner||Redding, CA|
|Jeff Hauer||Belleair, FL|
Here are the research committee newsletters published this week:
Find all SABR research committee newsletters at SABR.org/research.
- There were no chapter meeting recaps submitted this week.
Visit SABR.org/chapters for more information on SABR regional chapters.
Here is a list of upcoming SABR events:
- October 6: Halsey Hall Chapter meeting (Minneapolis, MN)
- October 8: Houston/Larry Dierker Chapter meeting (Houston, TX)
- October 10: Bob Davids Chapter Monthly Hot Stove Dinner (Arlington, VA)
- October 13: Halsey Hall Chapter book club meeting (Roseville, MN)
- October 13: South Florida Chapter meeting (Tamarac, FL)
- October 13: Auker-Seminick Chapter meeting (St. Cloud, FL)
- October 13: Talkin' Baseball: Timothy Gay (Columbia, MD)
- October 13: Gardner-Waterman (Vermont) Chapter fall meeting (Burlington, VT)
- October 13: Robinson-Kell Chapter meeting (Little Rock, AR)
- October 14: Hanlan's Point Chapter meeting (Toronto, ON)
- October 16: Bob Davids Chapter Maryland Hot Stove Dinner (Silver Spring, MD)
- October 17: Rocky Mountain Chapter monthly lunch (Denver, CO)
- October 18: James Creighton sesquicentennial memorial ceremony (Brooklyn, NY)
- October 18: Katya Cengel book signing (Los Angeles, CA)
- October 20: Monarchs Chapter meeting (Kansas City, MO)
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:
- Wendy Thurm looks at MLB attendance winners and losers in 2012 (FanGraphs)
- Rob Neyer: Adam Greenberg's one at-bat was the latest in baseball's long history of storied stunts (Baseball Nation)
- Hudson Belinsky: A new international focus on prospects (Baseball Prospectus)
- Mark Simon: Here's why hitters are struggling to hit Kris Medlen's changeup (ESPN.com)
- A quick look back and forward at the Mets' memorable season (New York Post)
- John Dewan's Stat of the Week: Fielding Bible Gold Glove contenders, part 2 (ACTA Sports)
- Russell Carleton: Explaining WAR for people who didn't like math class (Baseball Prospectus)
- Bill Parker: What we mean by 'worthless' stats (Baseball Prospectus)
- John Holway: Thinking of Bryce Harper and remembering the great Tony C. (Our Game)
- Dennis Pajot: 100 years ago, the Milwaukee Brewers lost a Hall of Fame manager in an unusual way (Seamheads)
- Daniel R. Levitt talks about the 1914-15 Federal League in this TV interview (Beyond the Game)
- John Bennett on Hall of Famer Jimmie Foxx: A 'Beast' in Galesburg (The Knox Student)
- Robert Gorman talks about fan deaths at the ballpark in the wake of the latest incident (Raleigh News & Observer)
- Don Drooker: When errors aren't in the box score (MastersBall)
- Jim Hartley talks about the Nationals' "supreme" decision on Stephen Strasburg (Time)
- Marty Davis recalls the days of long-gone K.C. Athletics in this profile by Gary Herron (Rio Rancho Observer)
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.
Find exclusive Members' Only resources and information here: http://members.sabr.org
Did you know you can renew your membership at any time? 1- and 3-year SABR memberships are available by clicking "Renew" at http://members.sabr.org. Please also consider a donation to SABR to support baseball research at SABR.org/donate.
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This page was last updated October 5, 2012 at 1:52 pm MST.