Spring 2013

Volume 42, Issue 1

  • Baseball and Tammany Hall By Tony Morante

    In the early days of New York City, baseball and politics were often intertwined in schemes to ensure huge financial gains. Highlighted here are some of the personalities and events that played an influential role during these corrupt years and how, rather than permanently tarnishing its image, professional baseball survived and thrived in the only city with three major league teams.

  • Beer Tanks and Barbed Wire: Bill Barnie and Baltimore By Marty Payne

    Billie Barnie was 30 years old when he took the helm of the Baltimore Orioles in 1883. On his arrival Barnie found his new second baseman just released from custody for the attempted murder of his father. It didn't get better from there. This is the story of the "degenerate" Orioles of the American Association.

  • May The Best Man Win: The Black Ball Championships 1866–1923 By Todd Peterson

    African-Americans were prohibited from participation in the major leagues from 1871 to 1946, longer than they have been allowed to participate. For most of that time, top-flight segregated black baseball teams operated independently without the sanction of an official league. Despite the lack of a league structure, these clubs battled annually for regional and national supremacy.

  • 20-Game Loser: Profiles of the 20-Loss Seasons By David E. Skelton

    It has become almost as rare as the major-league Triple Crown, and even more so than its statistical opposite of a pitcher winning 20 games in a single season. Since 1980, there has been only one pitcher who lost 20 games in a single season — and there is no reason to think baseball will see another such season in the foreseeable future.

  • Yankees Catchers During the Miller Huggins Era By Cort Vitty

    Until the emergence of Hall of Famer Bill Dickey, Miller Huggins and the New York Yankees deftly utilized a patchwork of mostly journeyman catchers on very successful teams. His accomplishments ultimately earned him Hall of Fame honors in 1964.

  • Felipe Alou By Mark Armour

    When Felipe Alou arrived in the United States in the spring of 1956, no Dominican had ever played in the major leagues. Over the course of the next five decades, Alou would become and remain one of the most respected figures in baseball, an All-Star player, a team leader, and a successful manager.

  • Society and Baseball Face Rising Income Inequality By Barry Krissoff

    Data clearly show that the United States has been experiencing rising income inequality for over two decades. Professional athletes at the top level of their profession are among the highest paid Americans. Does baseball’s income structure mirror society’s growing inequality?  Do teams with greater income inequality have less success on the baseball field?

  • Truth in the Minor League Class Structure: The Case for the Reclassification of the Minors By John Cronin

    The current minor league class structure was established with the 1963 baseball season. Since then, the practice of grouping the minor leagues into four classes has become confusing to say the least. The four classes are a fallacy; there are really eight classes in existence.

  • “Recorded Games of Frustration”: Win Expectancy and the Boston Red Sox By Michael Mitchell

    Leight Montville once wrote that the Red Sox were never closer to winning a world championship as they were in 1986. Using Win Probability charts, the author tests the accuracy of that claim.

  • Revisiting Nolan Ryan in 1973: The Quest for 400 Strikeouts By Paul Hensler

    Had Nolan Ryan been afforded the same luxury of facing his mound opponents as Sandy Koufax, rather than the American League’s newly introduced designated hitters, how many strikeouts might he have totaled in his record-setting season of 1973?

  • Double X and His Lost Dingers By Robert H. Schaefer

    In the baseball season of 1932, Jimmie Foxx—known then and now as Double X—made a concerted assault on Babe Ruth’s home-run record of 60 in a season. The Philadelphia A’s strong boy came up two short, ending his season with a total of 58. There is a persistent legend that Foxx would have broken Ruth’s record had fate not intervened.

  • Managing the 1947 Dodgers: The “People’s Choice” By Lyle Spatz

    Was Burt Shotton the best person to manage the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947, Jackie Robinson's historic rookie season? The "People's Choice" is one person Branch Rickey may not have considered.

  • Origin of the Modern Pitching Win By Frank Vaccaro

    A recurring question among SABR members in recent years involves the first modern win: When was the first win awarded to a starting pitcher incorporating a league-mandated rule requiring the five-inning minimum standard? The win seems easy to understand and even academic, yet it was the culmination of a long, tortured history since the stat was invented.

  • Batting Out-of-Turn Results in Great Confusion By Mark Pankin

    The batting out-of-turn (BOOT) rule has been a continuing source of confusion to players, managers, and umpires. Even a league president had trouble with it on one occasion after the Detroit Tigers at Philadelphia Athletics game on May 24, 1945.

  • Two Home Runs That Never Were By Ron Selter

    Four well-known and widely respected baseball reference books are in agreement about the number of 1906 National League home runs and all are wrong. The reference books are wrong because, despite what the Official National League statistics show, two of the 126 home runs in that season never happened. The mystery is: How did this error occur and how was it discovered?

  • The Accurate RBI Record of Babe Ruth By Herm Krabbenhoft

    Babe Ruth was one of the most iconic players in baseball, and Runs Batted In are one of the most revered statistics in baseball. Not surprisingly, Ruth was one of the most prominent RBI men in the history of Major League Baseball. He topped the Junior Circuit in ribbies in several seasons. But how many?

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