2014 SABR Convention: SABR 44 in Houston

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Couldn't make it to Houston for SABR 44? Check out complete coverage of our 44th annual convention in the Lone Star State!

The Society for American Baseball Research held its 44th annual convention on July 30-August 3, 2014, at the Royal Sonesta Houston, in the heart of the Galleria, just minutes from downtown and Minute Maid Park.

Check out stories, photos, and multimedia clips from the SABR 44 convention in Houston below:


Wednesday, July 30

Thursday, July 31

Friday, August 1

Saturday, August 2

Around the Web


About SABR 44

The featured speakers at SABR 44 included Reid Ryan, President of Business Operations for the Houston Astros; and Larry Dierker, former Astros pitcher, broadcaster, and manager who is also the namesake of the local Houston SABR chapter.

In addition, we had several exciting panel discussions, including:

  • College Baseball Panel with Roger Clemens, seven-time Cy Young Award winner and University of Texas legend, coach Jim Gilligan of Lamar University, Mike Gustafson of the College Baseball Hall of Fame, and moderator Mike Vance
  • Decision Sciences Panel led by Astros GM Jeff Luhnow and executives Sig Mejdal and David Stearns
  • Astros Player Panel with Art Howe, Alan Ashby, Larry Dierker, and moderator Bill Brown
  • From Playing Field to Front Office with former American League president Dr. Bobby Brown , former Astros player and GM Bob Watson, former All-Star first baseman and GM Eddie Robinson, and moderator C. Paul Rogers III
  • Houston Colt .45s Panel with Jimmy “Toy Cannon” Wynn, Bob Aspromonte, Hal Smith, Carl Warwick, sportswriter Mickey Herskowitz, and moderator Greg Lucas
  • 1980 Houston Astros Panel with Enos Cabell, Jose Cruz, coach Deacon Jones, GM Tal Smith, and moderator Kenny Hand
  • Media Panel with Astros broadcaster Bill Brown, Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle, Alyson Footer of MLB.com, Toronto Blue Jays broadcaster Buck Martinez, and moderator Brett Dolan
  • Women in Baseball Panel with  Jana Howser of the College Baseball Hall of Fame, All-American Girls Professional Baseball League alumnus Marie “Red” Mahoney, Leila Rahimi of Comcast SportsNet Houston, Alyson Footer of MLB.com, and moderator Leslie Heaphy

On Saturday, August 2, SABR convention attendees had the opportunity to visit Minute Maid Park for an exclusive pregame ballpark session with Houston Astros executives and players. Before the Astros' 6:05 p.m. game against the Toronto Blue Jays, two SABR 44 panel discussions took place inside Minute Maid Park.

We also visited Constellation Field, home of the Atlantic League's Sugar Land Skeeters, for a game against the Bridgeport Bluefish on Thursday, July 31. Before the game, former Houston Astros president and SABR member Tal Smith, a special advisor to the president of the Skeeters, welcomed SABR 44 attendees, along with Ira Liebman, voice of the Skeeters and also a SABR member.

There were 32 groundbreaking presentations of baseball research — including a study of the Astrodome and its place in popular culture; facial hair and the 1972 World Series; the Retroactive All-Star Game Project; an examination of MLB managers and leadership qualities; an insider's look at Cuban baseball defectors; an in-depth study of team chemistry in baseball; and the Negro League Houston Eagles.

The Awards Luncheon included keynote speaker Larry Dierker, along with the presentation of the Bob Davids Award, SABR's highest honor, to Leslie Heaphy. As always, there was the highly competitive and entertaining SABR 44 Trivia Contest finals on Friday night.

For more coverage, visit SABR.org/convention.


Houston Baseball: The Early Years 1861-1961

All SABR 44 convention attendees also received a free copy of Houston Baseball: The Early Years 1861-1961, edited by Mike Vance and produced by SABR's Larry Dierker Chapter, as part of their registration goody bag.

The story of Houston's transition from the minors to a Major League city is one that includes all manner of politics, personalities and back room deals that feature some of the biggest names in the sport. Houston Baseball: The Early Years 1861-1961 also has chapters on the black baseball teams in Houston that ran on a parallel course in the days of segregation. It has amateur, women's and youth baseball, high school and college teams and even covers the media that covered baseball. There is an amazing collection of stories on the days when Houston was a Spring Training site and on the numerous exhibitions that brought the cream of the big league crop through town. 

Richly illustrated and expertly told, Houston Baseball: The Early Years 1861-1961 is a story for all fans of Houston baseball and Houston history. Learn more about the book at http://www.houstonbaseball.org.

  • Souvenir edition of The National Pastime: SABR 44 attendees also received a souvenir print edition of The National Pastime: Baseball in the Space Age, our annual convention journal, focusing on baseball teams, players and events in the Houston area. All SABR members, whether you attend the convention or not, can download the expanded e-book edition of The National Pastime or read any article online at SABR.org/research/2014-national-pastime.


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