This article was published in the Fall 2013 Baseball Research Journal.
Let this introduction be an actual “introduction.” I’m pleased to present this volume of the Baseball Research Journal for your Hot Stove season reading, so let’s be formal about it. SABR member, interested reader, please meet the top-notch interdisciplinary peer-reviewed journal of any and all inquiries into baseball knowledge, the Baseball Research Journal. I feel the need to re-introduce you, since recent communications with SABR members made me think there is some confusion about what the BRJ is, and isn’t.
SABR’s publications program has had various periodicals over the decades, including not only the BRJ, but also The National Pastime (aka TNP), The SABR Review of Books, and others. I was surprised to hear some members tell me they thought that in the past the BRJ was for novice researchers and TNP was for the seasoned pros. A more common, lingering perception is that The National Pastime was for history and the Baseball Research Journal was for stats.
Even if that dichotomy was once somewhat true, there were always articles that were both history and stats. Which would you consider Herm Krabbenhoft’s articles on correcting the RBI and runs-scored records for Hank Greenberg, Babe Ruth, and Lou Gehrig — of which there is an additional piece in this issue? Or Steve Gietschier’s look into the performance of batters in the potential final out of the World Series in this issue? Or the examination of past 20- and 30-game winners, and their current dearth, by John Daniels and Steve Kuehl?
But regardless how tricky it might be to divide “historical” articles from others, The National Pastime changed its function beginning in 2009. Since then TNP has been devoted annually to baseball history in whatever region the SABR national convention takes place, and has been edited, written, and directed by the local host chapter. When that change took place, the Baseball Research Journal became SABR’s flagship publication, open to submissions of any discipline being researched by SABR members.
Since I took the editorial seat in 2011, the BRJ has included plenty of both history and stats, not to mention physics, economics, psychology, game theory, sociology, and physiology. Historical topics have ranged from the Negro Leagues to international women’s baseball to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, with healthy doses of the minor leagues, college baseball, and nineteenth-century ball served alongside major league history. SABR’s thousands of members are knowledgeable in so many fields, it’s only a matter of time before some architecture, materials science, or meteorology comes across my desk, too.
I would love to see more articles that are as meticulously researched (and footnoted) as the piece on Bill Veeck Sr. by Jack Bales that opens this issue or Bob Ruzzo’s article on the fate of the Federal League, as thought-provoking as Leonard Newman’s contribution from the world of psychology to the clutch-hitting debate, as germinal as Justine Siegal’s survey of current female baseball players and David Ogden et al.’s research into minor league attendance factors, as foundational as Alan Cohen’s history of the Hearst Sandlot Classic.
In other words, get to it. There’s a long winter ahead while the big leagues lie dormant. Now’s a perfect time to work on an article for publication in a future issue, don’t you think?
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CECILIA M. TAN is SABR's Publications Editor. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.