This article was published in the Fall 2012 Baseball Research Journal.
The way publishing works, I have to write this “Note from the Editor” before October begins, but by the time it lands in the mailboxes of SABR members, October will be over. As I write this, the Orioles are still in it, the Oakland A’s are making a charge… will this be another September stretch run to the postseason like last year’s? Last year’s was epic. One might even say historic, in the hyperbolic usage of the word. By the time you read this, the winners and losers of the 2012 major league season will be decided.
In my role as gatekeeper for the Baseball Research Journal, I am up to my elbows in baseball history on a daily basis. So here I am, already thinking about games that haven’t been played and championships that are yet to be won as if they are history. But even outside the slow-moving world of traditional printed-on-paper publishing, we don’t get to time-travel. Even in the lightning-fast world of the Internet, where Twitter explodes with eyewitness accounts at-the-moment, whether from Oriole Park or Zuccotti Park, Kenmore Square or Tahrir Square, we can’t learn it any faster than it actually happens.
Or can we? Not everyone who looks into history is doing it for the purpose of looking back. Many in our community are continually searching for the predictive value of the past, seeking the ability to foresee what is yet to come.
This issue of the BRJ, as usual, mixes together pieces that look back, look forward, and I daresay sometimes even look sideways at the game. New perspectives are always welcome. Without them we live in a world of lore, not fact. Herm Krabbenhoft’s investigation into every RBI recorded (or mis-recorded, as the case may be) by Lou Gehrig in his entire big-league career is now complete and in these pages. Trent McCotter examines a Cal Ripken streak that is lesser-trumpeted and lesser-known than the consecutive games streak—the record for consecutive innings played.
The minor leagues are represented, too, in Brock Helander’s overview of Organized Baseball in Altoona, Pennsylvania, while Sam Zygner focuses on a single historic night in the Florida State League. Mets fans, congratulations on enjoying your first franchise no-hitter this past season. Someday, someone will undoubtedly reference that event in SABR’s publications. For now, here are two articles that might interest you: Scott Schleifstein’s piece regarding two epic pitching duels between Tom Seaver and journeyman hurler Dave Roberts, and Chuck Rosciam’s exhaustive dissection of Mike Piazza’s home-run numbers.
And there’s more, of course. By the time you read this, the baseball season will be over. I hope the Baseball Research Journal makes a good wintertime companion. Before you know it, spring, and a whole new chapter in baseball history, will be upon us.
CECILIA M. TAN is SABR's Publications Editor. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.