SABR BioProject: Winter 2015-2016 newsletter

SABR BioProject Newsletter – Winter 2015-2016

The Newsletter of the BioProject Committee
Society for American Baseball Research (SABR)


Winter 2015-2016, Volume 1, Number 1

Stew Thornley

This is the newsletter of the Society for American Baseball Research Biography Project (BioProject) Committee. I’m told there have been a few newsletters in the past, but I can’t remember what any consisted of. I suppose that’s good and bad, but I’ll focus on the good side of not having any template to be hung up on.

This is Volume 1, Number 1, and all I can say is the next will be Volume 1, Number 2,; I have no idea what the date will be for it—could be December 2015 or Summer 2016. My thought right now is a quarterly organ, but if lots and lots and lots of stuff presents itself for publication, it could be more frequent.

Some thoughts. First, how ‘bout a name for our newsletter? Send me some suggestions.

What else? Updates on the project itself, milestones, special projects, new initiatives, etc.

Profiles of our members. See below for one example.

Research and other advice and tips. How to use genealogy records, websites such as Ancestry. How to get members of your SABR chapter fired up about contributing. What you need to know to take on a team project, including how do you get the dang thing published. How to contact former players. (Note: I was surprised to find out that not everyone knew of Jack Smalling’s address book. It’s fabulous. I first got it in 1973 just for writing for autographs, and it was great for that. Forty years later, I still use it for contacting players for research. Jack just came out with a new edition. It’s about 20 bucks plus a little for shipping (more if you want it delivered by a drone). Go to Smalling Family Autographs, R.J. “Jack” Smalling, 2308 Van Buren Avenue, Ames, Iowa 50010-4598, The Smalling Family Autographs,

Guest columns—that should be self-explanatory. Let me know if you’d like to be a guest writer. A link for my email address is above.

Any other news people would like to contribute.

As for current news, you’re probably up on everything since you assiduously read This Week in SABR and devour the messages from Mark Armour. So, at the risk of being redundant:

  • The recently posted biographies of Gordy Coleman by Charles F. Faber, Waite Hoyt by Gregory H. Wolf, Alex Skellner and Walt Kellner by David E. Skelton, and Mike Hopkins by Chris Rainey bring a total of 3,477 published biographies. And, as you all know, dividing 3,477 by 13,022 will get you Tsuyoshi Nishioka’s lifetime on-base percentage in the American League.
  • Emily Hawks is leading the way to get biographies of players on the 2016 Hall of Fame ballot. These are among those needed: Jason Kendall, Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa, Jim Edmonds, and Jeff Kent. Contact Emily if you are interesting in writing one or more. (Her info is below.)
  • A Pennant for the Twin Cities: The 1965 Minnesota Twins, edited by Gregory H. Wolf, has been published and is available for purchase or download from the SABR website. The book contains biographies on all players, coaches, and announcers, along with a recap of every game. Members can buy the book off the SABR website or download a free electronic copy: SABR Digital Library: A Pennant for the Twin Cities: The 1965 Minnesota Twins.
  • Mark Armour asks biographers to use the hyperlink function in Microsoft Word to provide a link to more information for other people mentioned in the link. (Go to Insert and then click on Hyperlink, which is under Links on the Insert ribbon.) Mark would also like a volunteer to edit HTML and, as an added bonus but not a deal-breaker, is familiar with Drupal (which is not a condition that can be helped by a product endorsed by Rafael Palmeiro). Contact Mark if you can help.

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Project Profile: Warren “Big Stick” Corbett
Warren Corbett has written more than 40 biographies and is the chief fact checker for the BioProject. A native of Tennessee (where he was a batting champion for the Bearden Little League) who spent most of his adult life in the Washington, D. C., area. He is a retired news reporter and editor who covered the federal government, including Congress and is also the author of The Wizard of Waxahachie: Paul Richards and the End of Baseball as We Knew It, which was published in 2009 by Southern Methodist University Press.

Warren has a son, Alex, who is a family doctor in western New York, one granddaughter, and one “monster in training.”

In 1963, while he was in college, Warren was hired to broadcast the Nashville Vols at Sulphur Dell, although the job lasted only about 30 games before the sponsor canceled for lack of interest. The Vols, then a Class A team, left Nashville at the end of the season. “Not my fault, I swear.”

Warren’s favorite bio he has written is of George Crowe, “a man who, more than most, deserves to be remembered.”

On his involvement in the BioProject, Warren says, “I sometimes say I am writing my way through my baseball card collection from the 1950s. (I no longer have many of the cards because my mother . . . You know the rest.) I generally write about players who had significant careers. I look for a hook—something that makes the player interesting beyond his statistics. But I believe every man who played major league ball deserves to be remembered. For me, that’s the BioProject’s mission.”

As for words of wisdom, Warren writes, “The old sports editor Stanley Woodward advised his writers to ‘stop godding up the ballplayers’ Besides, rascals are more interesting. My favorite SABR bio is Roy Evans, by Brian McKenna. Now there’s a rascal. (Roy, not Brian.)”

Warren shares his June 9 birthday with Dave Parker, Bill Virdon, Irish Meusel, Frank McCormick, Scarborough Green, Randy Winn, Julio Gotay, Roy Smalley, Dude Esterbrook, Johnny Depp, Michael J. Fox, Dick Vitale, Jackie Mason, Les Paul, Cole Porter, and Happy Rockfeller. Warren’s dad’s birthday is three days before Stan Musial’s.

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Project Poobahs
Mark Armour (Director)
Rory Costello (Chief Editor)
Jan Finkel (Senior Editor, Emeritus)
Len Levin (Senior Editor)
Warren Corbett (Chief Fact Checker)
Bill Nowlin (Team Projects)
Lyle Spatz (Assignments)
Emily Hawks (Modern Initiative – 1980s/1990s)
Scott Ferkovich (Ballparks Project)
Gregory H. Wolf

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