This article was published in the Spring 2012 Baseball Research Journal.
Happy baseball season, everyone.
Herewith, a new baseball season and a new issue of the Baseball Research Journal. In SABR, there really is no offseason. Our offices are as busy as any general manager’s in the winter, as we’ve got year-round work with publications, conference planning, membership services, website updates, award announcements, and more. SABR Day, the annual mid-winter occasion on which SABR chapters around the globe all hold events, tallied 34 meetings and outings. The Seymour Medal went to Glenn Stout. The first ever SABR Analytics Conference was held in Arizona in March, sponsored by MLB and Bloomberg Sports and featuring talks and presentations by front office execs of no fewer than six big league teams and scores of our community’s top analysts and writers. It was a busy winter.
Many SABR members, too, do not hibernate, but buckle down on their research while the ritual of following live games is not eating up three or more hours of their time every day, as it may in mid-summer. The fruits of their labor, and that of the editor(s), peer reviewers, interns, proofreaders, designers, and fact-checkers who work on the BRJ team, are presented here. We often think of research as a solitary pursuit—with a perhaps romanticized view of the library sleuth or number-crunching analyst—but as the thanks and acknowledgments in these papers so often prove, it is a team effort.
Some of the papers presented here are the culmination of years of painstaking investigations, like Herm Krabbenhoft’s efforts to present full and correct data on RBI totals for Hank Greenberg, while others are preliminary studies that one hopes will spur further research, like Christoph Kreinbucher’s study of differences in strike-zone recognition ability between players and umpires. I have been surprised to see relatively little dialogue between the field of game theory and baseball strategy, and I hope William Spaniel’s game-theoretical investigation of a well-known game situation might contribute to that conversation. Some writers shine a light on well-known topics like Steve Ames on Sparky Anderson and Sol Gittleman on the Joe Gordon-Allie Reynolds trade, while others reach the less visited corners of the baseball world, like Kane, Pennsylvania and even our recent, but less heralded past, as in Jennifer Ring’s account of the 2010 Women’s World Cup in Venezuela. And these are just some of the articles in this issue.
It’s all baseball. Major leagues, minor leagues, international, amateur, professional, college—just as players have something to learn at every level, I believe researchers do, too. Each league or era or region we focus on gives us a different angle from which to see the same thing: baseball. The more perspectives, the better our understanding. That goes for authors and researchers, as well. Every SABR member can submit a paper for consideration, and I urge you to do so if you haven’t before. The more eyes look at the game, the better we can all see it. Contributors to this volume range from school age to retired, from college professors to amateur hobbyists. All share a passion for this game.