SABR 41: Research Presentations for Thursday, July 7

Here are detailed summaries for the research presentations to be delivered at the SABR 41 convention on Thursday, July 7.

Related: Friday research presentations, Saturday research presentations

For a complete schedule of SABR 41 events, click here. For registration, hotel and all other information, click here to go back to the SABR 41 home page.


Thursday, July 7

12:30-12:55 p.m., Catalina Room

RP1: Most Runs Batted In: By an Individual Player — During a Single Season — In the American League, by Herm Krabbenhoft and Trent McCotter

According to official baseball records, Lou Gehrig holds the record for the most RBIs by an individual lefty during a single season in the AL, with 184 in 1931. Hank Greenberg of the 1937 Detroit Tigers holds the right-handed record with 183. Using cross-checked newspaper accounts, Krabbenhoft and McCotter discovered a number of errors involving Gehrig in 1931 and Greenberg in 1937 (along with other players). They will discuss their comprehensive and in-depth research that now allows us to know with 100 percent accuracy the record for the most RBIs by an individual player for a single season in the American League.

Herm Krabbenhoft <>, a SABR member since 1981, is a retired chemist with numerous patents and scientific publications. In baseball, he has conducted comprehensive studies on many topics, including leadoff batters, triple plays (with Jim Smith and Steve Boren), ultimate grand slam home runs, consecutive games performance streaks, and Detroit uniform numbers. Herm's research has been published in Baseball Research Journal, The National Pastime, and Baseball Quarterly Reviews, as well as weeklies and newspapers. His research earned the Macmillan-SABR Baseball Research Award in 1989 and 1995. Herm's first baseball book, Leadoff Batters of Major League Baseball — Complete Statistics, 1900-2005 was published by McFarland (2006).

Trent McCotter <> recently earned his J.D. at the University of North Carolina. He is studying for the bar this summer, then clerking for Judge R. Lanier Anderson III on the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Georgia. Currently Vice Chairman of the Baseball Records Committee, Trent's primary baseball interests are hitting streaks and correcting errors in the historical record. Eight of his articles have appeared in the Baseball Research Journal, including "Hitting Streaks Don't Obey Your Rules," reprinted in Chance (an American Statistical Association journal) and presented at the University of Michigan in February 2011. He won the Jack Kavanagh Memorial Youth Baseball Research Award every year from 2005 through 2008, and his research has appeared often in the New York Times, as well as in MLB media notes and in Jayson Stark's columns on

12:30-12:55 p.m., Pacific Room

RP2: The Wonder Team in the White City: U.V.M. at the Intercollegiate Base Ball Tournament of 1893, by Tom Simon

Not presently viewed as a hotbed of collegiate baseball, the University of Vermont fielded a remarkably successful nine in the last decade of the 19th century. UVM chronicler Tom Simon recounts the exploits of that club, including its appearance at what might be thought of as the first College World Series — the Intercollegiate Base Ball Tournament, held at the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago. That event, organized by Amos Alonzo Stagg, also demonstrates that the problem of amateurism vs. professionalism wasn't limited to Stagg's principal sport, football.

Tom Simon <> is the founder of SABR’s Gardner-Waterman (Vermont) Chapter and Deadball Era Committee. He lives with his wife, Carolyn, and children, Nolan and Calista, in Burlington, Vermont — walking distance from the UVM campus and biking distance from the former site of Athletic Park. He edited Green Mountain Boys of Summer: Vermonters in the Major Leagues, 1882-1993 (New England Press), winner of The Sporting News/SABR Baseball Research Award in 2000.

1-1:25 p.m., Catalina Room

RP3: Organized Baseball Circles the Wagons and Silences the Whistle-Blower, 1912, by Steve Steinberg

How might the history of the game turned had the powers-that-be in professional baseball listened to Horace Fogel? We might not know the term "Black Sox", Joe Jackson would be in the Hall of Fame, and who knows who might have been the first Commissioner. Fogel was an insider – owner of the Phillies, former scout and major league manager – and he'd also been an important newspaper editor. Yet when he began bringing up the insidious influence of gambling and other potential problems in league meetings, he was soon banished from the ownership fraternity. And both the leagues and the press tried to keep him quiet even after he'd been kicked out. With his trademark persistence and attention to detail, Steinberg illuminates a forgotten episode from a century ago.

Steve Steinberg <> is the co-author with Lyle Spatz of 1921: The Yankees, the Giants, and the Battle for Baseball Supremacy in New York, which was awarded the Seymour Medal for the best book of baseball history or biography of 2010. Steve has made presentations at SABR conventions and has published many articles in SABR publications, all revolving around early 20th century baseball.

1-1:25 p.m., Pacific Room

RP4: Fielder Jones, the Offensive Efficiency Paradox of His Hitless Wonders, and How They Stunned the Cubs in the 1906 World Series By Playing Against Type, by  Bryan Soderholm-Difatte

It was the first one-city World Series, and it featured the winningest club in big-league history. Yet the high-and-mighty Cubs ended up losing in six games to player-manager Fielder Jones and his White Sox mates, immortalized as the “Hitless Wonders”. How did that happen? What did the South Siders do in the World Series that enabled them to carry home the title? Bryan Soderholm-Difatte has intensively examined the 1906 White Sox for this presentation, studying the characteristics of their offense, to ascertain the answer to that question.

Bryan Soderholm-Difatte <> lives in Arlington, Virginia. He is an analyst in the interagency National Counterterrorism Center. His baseball interests focus on the history of the game, with particularly emphasis on teams and players.

2:30-2:55 p.m., Catalina Room

RP5: The Joe Morgan Trade, by Mark Armour

As SABR was being founded in 1971, the Cincinnati Reds had fallen hopelessly out of the race in the National League West. That November, the Reds moved a right-handed slugger (Lee May) and a Gold Glove infielder (Tommy Helms) to the Astros for an outfield prospect (Cesar Geronimo), a solid starting pitcher (Jack Billingham) and a left-handed hitting infielder with speed (Joe Morgan). The Reds became the best team in baseball for the next five seasons. Armour explores what each team’s leadership was thinking, contemporaneous reactions to the trade and why Morgan evolved from a very good, though unappreciated, player into a top-flight star.

Mark Armour <> researches and writes baseball from his home in Corvallis, Oregon. Founder and chairman of the BioProject, he received SABR's highest honor, the Bob Davids Award, at SABR 38 in Cleveland. Mark's most recent book, Joe Cronin: A Life in Baseball, was published by the University of Nebraska Press in 2010.

2:30-2:55 p.m., Pacific Room

RP6: Integration in Cleveland – The Indians, the Negro Leagues, and Local Media Involvement, by Stephanie Liscio

During the 1940s, writers at the Cleveland Call and Post, the city’s weekly African-American newspaper, advocated for the integration of baseball in Cleveland. Liscio tells how baseball became much more than a sport to the writers at the Call and Post. In their minds, the integration of baseball was just the first of many dominoes to fall and prove that integration was beneficial in all aspects of society. The writers also believed that integrated teams would have more success on the field than their segregated counterparts; a thesis supported by the Dodgers’ 1947 World Series appearance and the Indians’ 1948 World Series victory.

Stephanie Liscio <> is a Ph.D. student in history at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland. She received her bachelor’s in English writing and history from the University of Pittsburgh and a master’s in applied history from Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania. Stephanie is the author of Integrating Cleveland Baseball: Media Activism, the Integration of the Indians and the Demise of the Negro League Buckeyes (McFarland), a project that initially began as her master’s thesis. A SABR member since 2006, she is the president of the Jack Graney Chapter and a board member on the Negro League Committee.

3-3:25 p.m., Catalina Room

RP7: Toolson's Secrets: A Close Call for the Baseball Antitrust Exemption, by Ross Davies

A lot of ink has been spilled over two of the Supreme Court’s big three baseball antitrust exemption cases – Federal Baseball Club of Baltimore v. National League of Professional Baseball Clubs (1922) and Flood v. Kuhn (1972). The third SCOTUS decision, Toolson v. New York Yankees (1953) has received far less attention. Davies discusses two documents he discovered, revealing that Chief Justices Earl Warren and William Rehnquist were critical players in Toolson, even though neither one ever wrote a published opinion in a baseball antitrust case. He will describe how this enlarges and clarifies their roles in antitrust policy and its relationship to baseball.

Ross Davies <> is a professor of law at the George Mason University School of Law in Arlington, Virginia, and editor-in-chief of the Green Bag, An Entertaining Journal of Law (, which recently published what he believes to be the first law-and-baseball themed almanac. He is a lifelong follower of the Cleveland Indians.

3-3:25 p.m., Pacific Room

RP8: Larry Doby: The Forgotten Pioneer, by John Burbridge and John Harris

Eleven weeks after the Brooklyn Dodgers signed Jackie Robinson as the first African-American major league baseball player, Bill Veeck and the Cleveland Indians signed Larry Doby as the first black ballplayer in the American League. While professional baseball has gone to considerable lengths to honor the life and legacy of Jackie Robinson, Doby endured the same experiences as Robinson but has almost been forgotten. Burbridge and Harris discuss Doby’s first years in the majors and his career as the second black manager in the majors, detailing some of the issues he faced and offering insight into his views on the game.

John Burbridge <> is professor of operations and supply chain management in the Martha and Spencer Love School of Business at Elon University. Prior to joining the faculty, he served as dean of the Love School of Business. John has also been a member of the faculty at Loyola College in Maryland, Rutgers University, and Lehigh University. He earned a Ph.D. in industrial engineering from Lehigh and has worked in industry as an operations research analyst and as a distribution executive. He currently resides in North Carolina with his wife, Mary. A SABR member since the 1970s, John is a native of Jersey City and a San Francisco Giants fan. Burbridge's co-author, John R. Harris, is also at Elon University.

3:30-3:55 p.m., Catalina Room

RP9: Scouting the Americas for Latino Giants: Alex Pompez and a “Latino” Approach to Talent Acquisition, by Adrian Burgos Jr.

Often placed in the shadow of the more familiar story of Joe Cambria and the Washington Senators’ acquisition of Cuban talent starting in 1934, no other figure had a more significant impact on the incorporation of Latino talent into U.S. professional baseball than Alex Pompez. Drawn from research for his biography of Alex Pompez, Cuban Star: How One Negro League Owner Changed the Face of Baseball, Burgos discusses what shaped the baseball worldview of Pompez, who envisioned the Americas as a broad interconnected professional circuit. Indeed, Pompez would be the one Negro League team owner to successfully transition into organized baseball.

Adrian Burgos Jr. <> is an Associate Professor of History at the University of Illinois, specializing in U.S. Latino history, urban history, and sport history. In May, Hill & Wang published his biography of Alex Pompez, Cuban Star: How One Negro League Owner Changed the Face of Baseball. His 2007 book, Playing America’s Game(s): Baseball, Latinos, and the Color Line received the inaugural Latino/a Book Award from the Latin American Studies Association and was also named a Seymour Medal finalist. His published works have also appeared in the Journal of American Ethnic History, Journal of Sport and Social Issues, and Social Text, among other academic and popular venues.

3:30-3:55 p.m., Pacific Room

RP10: Integrating the Pacific Coast League: A Social History of Integration, by Amy Essington

Most histories of the PCL focus on the players, teams, and statistics of the league. Essington focuses on the social context in which the PCL integrated. The only league in the Far West, the development of the PCL was different because of its different social customs, practices, and racial history. They were by no means a haven of racial equality, but the Pacific Coast states did create a different racial reality, one that was more diverse and more fluid. By examining the social and cultural aspects of the teams and their communities during this process, Essington provides insight into to the process of integration and the larger American society.

Amy Essington <> is a doctoral candidate in American History at Claremont Graduate University and a lecturer at California State University, Long Beach, and California State University, Fullerton. Her dissertation is titled “Segregation, Race, and Baseball: The Integration of the Pacific Coast League.” She has published an article on the integration of the PCL in the Journal of the West, a chapter about Effa Manley in Cooperstown Symposium on Baseball and American Culture (2001), and numerous book reviews and encyclopedia entries on various baseball topics.

4-4:25 p.m., Catalina Room

RP11: Mexican American Baseball in Los Angeles: A Pictorial History of Baseball from East LA to Dodger Stadium, by Francisco Balderrama and Richard Santillan

The presenters offer a photo-documentary chronicling baseball and its social and cultural impact on Mexican Los Angeles primarily from 1900, with the establishment of the Mexican immigrant community, to the rise of Fernandomania in the 1980s. They will focus on the era of segregation, emphasizing the celebration of ethnic identity and community pride, especially in East Los Angeles. They will discuss the Chorizeros, who were frequently proclaimed the Yankees of East L.A., and the Dodgers’ outreach to Mexican fans upon moving into Chavez Ravine (and controversially displacing the largely Mexican community there).

Francisco E. Balderrama <> is Professor of Chicana/o Studies and History at California State University, Los Angeles. Co-author Richard A. Santillan is Professor Emeritus of Ethnic and Women Studies at California Polytechnic University, Pomona. They wrote “Los Chorizeros: The New York Yankees of East Los Angeles and the Reclaiming of Mexican American Baseball” for The National Pastime: The Endless Season: Baseball in Southern California, SABR 41's convention publication.

4-4:25 p.m., Pacific Room

RP12: The Curse of the Lack of Blackness: How Opposition to Integration Hurt the Short and Long-term Success of Baseball Franchises, by Daryl Grigsby

Using the example of the Washington Senators from 1937-61, the Philadelphia Phillies from 1943-1961, Pittsburgh Pirates from 1943-57, and the Boston Red Sox from 1959 to 1967, Grigsby shows how their reluctance to sign black players resulted in short- and long-term negative consequences for their franchises. His research not only confirms what many already know about the deleterious short-term effects of segregation; it asserts long-term negative impacts to those same franchises. This also has present-day implications as teams work to increase the current 8- to 10-percent figure of black major leaguers on their rosters.

Daryl Grigsby <> is the Public Works Director of Pomona, California. He is the author of several books, the most recent of which is Celebrating Ourselves: African-Americans and the Promise of Baseball, published in 2010.