This Week in SABR: September 20, 2013
Welcome to "This Week in SABR!" Here's what we've been up to as of September 20, 2013:
The fifth annual SABR Arizona Fall League Conference will be held October 31-November 2, 2013. The conference will feature four AFL games at three different ballparks. Guests will see all six AFL teams, showcasing every major league team's top prospects. The final game on Saturday night is the Fall Stars Game at Surprise Stadium.
All baseball fans are welcome to attend, so join us next month for the SABR Arizona Fall League Conference!
Hotel: The host hotel is the Holiday Inn Express & Suites in Old Town Scottsdale (3131 N. Scottsdale Rd., Scottsdale, AZ 85251) and the SABR group rate is $104/night plus tax. Call (480) 675-7605 to book your room and be sure to mention the "SABR AFL Conference." The hotel's website is www.hiescottsdalehotel.com (sorry, no discount code is available online.) Reservations must be booked by October 4, 2013.
There is a free airport shuttle which also is available from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. for rides anywhere within a three-mile radius of the hotel.
Schedule: After taking in a game on Thursday afternoon, guests will also be treated to dinner at Don and Charlie's, home to one of the great sports memorabilia collections you will ever see. Friday's schedule includes two AFL games and a pregame ballpark dinner at Talking Stick at Salt River, along with a special guest speaker to go along with your meal.
On Saturday morning, attendees will join members of SABR's Flame Delhi (Arizona) Chapter for their regional fall meeting. Saturday night is always a highlight of the conference as the top prospects from every organization participate in the AFL Fall Stars game. All of this, including transportation, is included in one low registration price.
Registration: Your registration fee of $165 (before October 4; $175 afterward) includes all game tickets; an AFL Media Guide; dinner at Don and Charlie’s; ballpark dinner at Talking Stick at Salt River; and transportation to and from all events. Hotel registration includes breakfast and complementary happy hour each day. Register for the 2013 SABR AFL Conference by clicking here. Questions: Please Contact Rodney Johnson at email@example.com.
The Arizona Fall League (mlbfallball.com) is baseball's premier player development league. In the first four years of the conference, attendees were treated to sneak peeks at Mike Trout, Bryce Harper, Buster Posey, Stephen Strasburg, Nolan Arenado, Gerrit Cole and Billy Hamilton before they hit the big leagues.
A detailed schedule and more information can be found at SABR.org/AFL.
We're pleased to pass along this wonderful profile by Bryan Curtis at Grantland.com on September 18, about SABR member David Block:
In a just world, [David] Block would be an archaeologist hero. What Bill James did for 20th-century baseball, Block is doing for 18th-century baseball. Eight years ago, Block came out with a book called Baseball Before We Knew It. Said Tom Shieber, the senior curator at the Baseball Hall of Fame: "Baseball Before We Knew It and its aftermath is to me probably the single most important baseball research of the last 50 years, if not more."
"He definitely is on a mission," said Block's brother, Philip. "It is a passion. It is everything like those archaeological hunts, looking for whatever holy grail you want to be looking for." Holy grail is the right term, at least in the Dan Brown sense, for with those old books Block is trying to solve a riddle: Who is the father of baseball?
Block has discovered a 245-year-old dictionary and a 258-year-old comic novel and other "interesting things" that point toward the answer. But that afternoon, he left the room and came back with a copy of his newest find: a 264-year-old English newspaper called the Whitehall Evening-Post. The paper has news of inmates attempting a jailbreak from Newgate Prison, and of a chestnut mare that disappeared from a local forest. On Page 3, there is a small item. It reads:
On Tuesday last his Royal Highness the Prince of Wales, and Lord Middlesex, played at Base-Ball, at Walton in Surry; and notwithstanding the Weather was extreme bad, they continued playing for several Hours.
The date of the game was September 12, 1749. That's 90 years earlier than, and 3,500 miles away from, baseball's alleged conception in Cooperstown, New York. The "Base-Ball" player is the heir to the British throne. Block is rewriting the prehistory of the game. He is exposing a century's worth of lies. He has come up with a shocking answer to the riddle of baseball's parentage.
The story also mentions SABR members Tom Shieber, John Thorn, Thomas Altherr and Larry McCray.
Read the full article here: http://www.grantland.com/story/_/id/9681627/baseball-archaeologist-david-block
- To learn more about the early origins of baseball, visit Protoball.org
- All baseball fans are welcome to join the SABR Nineteenth Century Research Committee
- New discovery by David Block confirms baseball played by English royalty in 1749 (June 13, 2013)
Billy Hamilton's first month in the big leagues has electrified fans in Cincinnati and around Major League Baseball. In September 2013, the 23-year-old Reds speedster became the first player since 1921 to steal four bases and score three runs before ever making a plate appearance, drawing comparisons to another famous "pinch runner": Herb Washington, a track and field champion signed by the Oakland A's in 1974. (And in Hamilton's first start on September 18, he stole four more bases.)
But they are not the only famous pinch-runners in baseball history. This story by SABR member Clifford Blau first appeared in the Summer 2009 edition of the Baseball Research Journal:
In 1974, the Oakland Athletics signed track star Herb Washington as a "designated runner," despite his having had very little baseball experience. Keeping on the roster a player whose only purpose was to run was a new idea, but there have been many other real baseball players whose main purpose it was to pinch-run. The first was Wilson Collins in 1913 with the Boston Braves. This article gives the stories of all baseball players who did nothing but pinch-run in at least half of their career major-league games (minimum five appearances). It will attempt to show how they came to be used in that capacity. The players are presented in order of their initial major-league appearance.
Read the full article here: http://sabr.org/latest/leg-men-career-pinch-runners-major-league-baseball
Every baseball fan knows the first All-Star Game was played in Chicago in 1933. But calls for a midseason All-Star contest go back years earlier. For example, check out this article by F.C. Lane from "Baseball Magazine" in the offseason of 1915-16.
We can’t go back in time to change history and replay those lost potential All-Star Games on the field. But with a good game simulator and the recent availability of midseason stats going back to 1916, we can arrive at a good idea of who probably would have played in those All-Star Games and how they might have turned out.
That’s what we’re doing with the Retroactive All-Star Game Project.
We'll use the statistics available at Baseball-Reference.com for the first halves of the 1916 through 1932 seasons, and determine midseason All-Stars for those years. Then using Out of the Park 14, the games will be played.
And as they did in 1933, the fans — meaning you — will get to vote for the All-Star Game starters, including starting pitchers, which is how they did it back then. (Bonus: no designated hitters.)
Starting right now, you can vote for the 1916 All-Star starters and pitchers here:
Voting will be open until 3:00 a.m. EDT on September 27, 2013. At that time, we will count up the votes, put together the rosters, and sim the game.
Then the box score and the game account will be posted, written in 1916-style, on Seamheads.com the following week. While you’re waiting for that to appear, you’ll be able to vote on the 1917 All-Stars (TBA soon.) We’ll rinse and repeat, every two weeks, until we’ve played all the All-Star Games through 1932.
The results and stories will all be compiled at SABR.org/retroactive-all-star-project.
Sound interesting? If you’ve read this far, you must be. So click on this link:
… and vote today, and be on the lookout in early October for the first Retroactive All-Star Game story on Seamheads.com.
This project was created and organized by Chuck Hildebrandt, chair of SABR's Baseball and the Media Research Committee. For more information, contact Chuck.
On September 25, a bronze statue of Hall of Fame outfielder Elmer Flick will be unveiled in his hometown of Bedford, Ohio.
The Flick statue was created by noted local artist Ron Dewey and will be permanently displayed in the Bedford town square. In a 13-year major league career shortened by illness, Flick, the American League batting champ in 1905, compiled offensive numbers well above most of his Deadball Era peers, an achievement recognized by his induction to Cooperstown in 1963. Flick died in Bedford in 1971, two days short of his 95th birthday.
The Flick statue will be located within an infield made of light brown pavers. The Elmer Flick Recognition Committee is offering for sale pavers that can be personalized or inscribed in the memory of a loved one for $100 and $50.
For more information on ordering a paver or regarding the Flick statue dedication ceremony, contact SABR Deadball Era Committee member Jim Wagner at firstname.lastname@example.org or the Flick Recognition Committee via http://www.elmerflick.com.
The National Pastime, SABR's annual convention journal, is now larger than ever — and while all SABR members can download the expanded e-edition for free in PDF, EPUB (iPad/Nook) or Kindle formats, you can now also purchase it in paperback form for $19.95 by clicking on the link below:
The expanded edition, which at 252 pages is more than twice the size of the souvenir print edition offered to SABR 43 attendees in Philadelphia, tells a comprehensive story of baseball in Philadelphia and the Delaware Valley — the site of the 2013 SABR convention. SABR’s Connie Mack Chapter received well over 50 submissions in response to the call for papers, in addition to suggestions for reprints. The full electronic edition is over 160,000 words reflecting the strength and scope of the articles received.
In addition to the e-edition and print edition, you can also read articles from the full TNP online by clicking on the link below:
Starting this year, the print edition of the TNP — which does not include the extra articles in the expanded e-edition — is being offered as a souvenir to SABR members attending the annual convention as part of our expanded Publications program led by editor Cecilia Tan. By publishing larger versions of the TNP online and in e-book format, more SABR members will have a chance to have their work published and SABR members will have the opportunity to read more top-level articles every summer.
Since 2009, The National Pastime has served as SABR's convention-focused publication. Published annually, this research journal provides in-depth articles focused on the respective geographic region where the national convention is taking place in a given year.
For more coverage of SABR 43, visit SABR.org/convention.
Eight new biographies were posted as part of the SABR Baseball Biography Project, which brings us to a total of 2,557 published biographies. Here are the new bios:
- Joe DeMaestri, by Joseph Wancho
- Rick Dempsey, by Nelson "Chip" Greene
- Mike Flanagan, by Mike Huber
- Steamer Flanagan, by Jack Smiles
- Dave Ford, by Gregory H. Wolf
- Von McDaniel, by David E. Skelton
- Hal Rhyne, by Bill Nowlin
- Don Stanhouse, by Maxwell Kates
All new biographies can be found here: http://sabr.org/bioproj/recent
You can find the SABR BioProject at SABR.org/BioProject.
Bios on more than just ballplayers: The ambitious goal of the SABR Baseball Biography Project is to publish a full-life biography of every major league player in history. But SABR members write about a lot more than just ballplayers. In addition, we have pages for Ballparks, Broadcasters, Executives, Managers, Scouts, Spouses, Umpires and a lot more on the BioProject website. You can browse all of these categories at http://sabr.org/bioproj/browse. So if you've ever thought, "Hey, that person (or ballpark) should get the full BioProject treatment" — write the story and we'll publish it!
Check out the Baseball Ballparks Project: The SABR Baseball Biography Project has been accepting/publishing "biographies" of Ballparks for a few years, and we have 39 of them on our website at http://sabr.org/bioproj/parks. However, this thing just got real. Ballparks are now its very own PROJECT — the Baseball Ballparks Project, our first official spin-off. The project leader is Scott Ferkovich, who is now in charge of recruiting ballparks articles and publicizing them. Learn more by clicking here.
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.
We've heard your feedback: Some of you have said you look forward to "This Week in SABR" every Friday, but sometimes there are just too many compelling articles and announcements to read every week. We're not complaining — hey, keep up the great work! — but we know the feeling. So in an effort to make the length of this newsletter more manageable to read, we'll summarize some of the repeating/recurring announcements in a special "In Case You Missed It (ICYMI)" section of "This Week in SABR".
Here are some major headlines from recent weeks that we don't want you to miss:
- Call for papers: 2014 NINE Spring Training Conference
- Sign up now for 2014 baseball tour of Cuba
- Save the date: 2014 SABR Ivor-Campbell 19th Century Conference is April 11-12, 2014
- Watch SABR Panels from 2013 All-Star FanFest online now
- Take a private tour of early baseball graves on October 18 at Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn
- New sabermetric component, SABR Defensive Index, revealed for Rawlings Gold Glove Award
- Full coverage of SABR 43 in Philadelphia at SABR.org/convention
- SABR Digital Library: Inventing Baseball: The 100 Greatest Games of the 19th Century
- Seeking nominations for the 2014 SABR Analytics Conference Research Awards
- All e-books in SABR Digital Library now available for free to members
All previous editions of This Week in SABR can be found here: http://sabr.org/content/this-week-in-sabr-archives.
|John Copeskey||Brandon, MS|
|John Dittrich||Tempe, IL|
|Mark Donald||Toronto, ON|
|Barrett Dunn||Hendersonville, TN|
|Brett Johnson||Bensalem, PA|
|Steven Sherman||Munich, GER|
|Michael Yoder||Fullerton, CA|
There were no new SABR research committee newsletters published this week.
However, the new co-chair for the Oral History Committee is Paul Ringel of Greensboro, North Carolina, not John Ringle as reported in last week's newsletter. We apologize for the error. To learn more about the Oral History Committee, visit SABR.org/research/oral-history-research-committee.
Find all SABR research committee newsletters at SABR.org/research.
Here are the new chapter meeting recaps published this week:
- Bob Broeg St. Louis Chapter meeting recap (September 16; St. Louis, MO)
- Rogers Hornsby Chapter meeting recap (September 19; Austin, TX — including downloadable trivia quiz!)
Visit SABR.org/chapters for more information on SABR regional chapters.
Here is a list of upcoming SABR events:
- September 21: Smoky Joe Wood Chapter breakfast (Hamden, CT)
- September 21: "Color Blind: The Forgotten Team That Broke Baseball's Color Line" with Tom Dunkel (Kansas City, MO)
- September 22-24: John Rosengren: "Hank Greenberg: Hero of Heroes" (Detroit, MI)
- September 25: Elmer Flick statue dedication ceremony (Bedford, OH)
- September 26: "Hallowed Grounds: A History of Rochester's Fields of Dreams" (Rochester, NY)
- September 28: Jack Graney Chapter meeting (Cleveland, OH)
- September 28: Hank Gowdy Columbus Chapter book club (Columbus, OH)
- September 28: South Florida Chapter meeting (Tamarac, FL)
- September 30: Rabbit Maranville Chapter meeting (Springfield, MA)
- October 4: Bergino: Fall Baseball Art Party with Sean Kane (New York, NY)
- October 5: Halsey Hall Chapter book club meeting (Roseville, MN)
- October 5: Rochester vintage baseball championship game (Rochester, NY)
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:
- Save 25% on many baseball books from University of Nebraska Press; use discount code 6BASL3 when you order
- Steven Goldman: Billy Hamilton and the psychology of an all-around offense (Baseball Nation)
- Ben Lindbergh: Can we reasonably expect sustained success from Billy Hamilton? (Baseball Prospectus)
- Erik Malinowski: Why do baseball players still bunt so much? (BuzzFeed)
- Wendy Thurm: Astros players are 'all-in' to organization's rebuilding plan (Sports on Earth)
- Aggressive defensive plan has led to Pirates' turnaround (Pittsburgh Tribune-Review)
- Mark Simon: 2013 'Web Gems' year in review (ESPN.com)
- A view from the writers: Best players not in the Baseball Hall of Fame (FanGraphs)
- Anthony Salazar talks about the Latino impact on baseball in America (San Fernando Valley Sun)
- Colin Wyers: The importance of a living replacement level (Baseball Prospectus)
- John McMurray: Reviewing "The Cracker Jack Collection" of 1914-15 (Sports Collectors Digest)
- Tom Shieber: Buy me some peanuts: Elephants playing baseball (Baseball Researcher)
- Jonah Keri: The dominance of Koji (Grantland.com)
- John Thorn: Did you know slugging percentage is older than batting average but it was tossed aside? Here's why (Our Game)
- Barry Bearak: Matt Harvey's injury shows pitchers have a speed limit (New York Times)
- J.G. Preston: The oldest players to make their MLB debut (J.G. Preston Experience)
- Jeff Zimmerman: Looking at home-field advantage — in just the first inning (FanGraphs)
- Bill Ryczek: The legend of Jim Creighton (The National Pastime Museum)
- Want to get the most out of Baseball-Reference.com player pages? Watch this informative tutorial video (YouTube)
Read these articles and more at SABR.org/latest.
This Week in SABR is compiled by Jacob Pomrenke, and sent out to all SABR members on Fridays. 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 email@example.com.
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This page was last updated September 20, 2013 at 4:01 pm MST.