SABR 50: Research Presentations
Join us this summer in Baltimore to celebrate a special occasion this summer: SABR’s 50th annual convention, scheduled for August 17-21, 2022, at the Hyatt Regency Inner Harbor!
Conference and hotel registration for SABR 50 is now available at SABR.org/convention. Or click here to register for SABR 50. All baseball fans are welcome to attend.
Learn more about our research presentations, including full abstracts and speaker biographies, on this page.
Friday, August 19
8:00 a.m.-8:25 a.m. (Constellation A/B Ballroom)
RP01: Angel on His Shoulder: The Life and Times of Moe Drabowsky
To Orioles fans, Moe Drabowsky is a hero. But as time marches forward, he’s in danger of being forgotten by younger generations. Krell examines a pitcher, the son of immigrants who barely escaped Poland in the summer of 1939, who didn’t have a Hall of Fame career but had a Hall of Fame day that’s part of Baltimore’s baseball history, tradition, and lore. Drabowsky relieved Dave McNally in the third inning of Game One in the 1966 World Series, pitched the rest of the game, and kept the Dodgers’ bats quiet with 11 strikeouts in a 5-2 victory. A seemingly typical journeyman, what made Drabowsky special was being mischievous without being mean. Known for practical jokes like putting goldfish in the opposing team’s water cooler, Drabowsky was part of a generation that took the game seriously but didn’t take themselves seriously.
David Krell <email@example.com> is the author of the upcoming book presently titled Do You Believe in Magic? The Incredible Story of Baseball and America in 1966. It’s scheduled to be published next year by Rowman & Littlefield.
8:00 a.m.-8:25 a.m. (Constellation C Ballroom)
RP02: Baltimore’s Baby Birds: Their Impact and Legacy
Steve Krevisky and Elliott Hines
In 1960, four young pitchers debuted with the Baltimore Orioles: Chuck Estrada, Milt Pappas, Steve Barber, and Jack Fisher. They helped the O’s improve substantially from 1959 to 1960, and their impact included moving Hoyt Wilhelm to the bullpen. Krevisky and Hines focus on how the Baby Birds fared in their 1960 debut, how their careers unfolded thereafter, and how the team did as well. In the long run, the trade of Milt Pappas to the Reds, after the 1965 season, yielded Frank Robinson, thereby ushering in a great era for the franchise. Milt Pappas wrote a book about his life and career, and they will analyze why he had the best career of the four. Krevisky and Hines will look in depth at their statistics, relative to the league and the team, their longevity, or lack thereof, and apply various sabermetric techniques.
Steve Krevisky <Skrevisky@mxcc.commnet.edu> is President of the Connecticut SABR Smoky Joe Wood chapter. A frequent presenter at national and regional SABR conventions, Steve has been the member of seven team trivia contest winners at SABR conventions. He is a Professor of Math and Statistics at Middlesex Community College since 1985, who uses baseball in his math classes. Steve is a frequent presenter on baseball and sports statistics at national and international math and statistics conferences. An avid Yankee fan, he has a Yankees rug in his office.
Elliot Hines is a member of the New York City Casey Stengel SABR chapter, where he has presented at their SABR chapter meetings, and also ran their trivia contests. Elliot presented a poster at the 2017 national SABR convention in New York with Steve Krevisky. Also an avid Yankee fan, Elliot presented at the Lajoie-Start Southern New England chapter meeting on a Mantle-Mays comparison. Elliot is often known as The Big E.
8:30 a.m.-8:55 a.m. (Constellation A/B Ballroom)
RP03: Roland Hemond, My Mentor, My Friend
Vascellero first made the acquaintance of the late great legendary “Baseball Man” Roland Hemond, for whom SABR’s Roland Hemond Award is named, when he became the first front office hire of the Arizona Diamondbacks in 1996. It was upon Hemond’s recommendation that Vascellero was hired as the PR director for the Baltimore Orioles Maryland Baseball minor league affiliates. Vascellero reminisces on how he joined the Hemond family on a whirlwind “this is your life and career” tour that took them from Cooperstown to Fenway Park to McCoy Stadium in Pawtucket, Rhode Island and Hemond’s childhood Central Falls home. He also discusses ghost hunting with Hemond at the Sports Legends Museum in Baltimore for a story he was writing for the local Press Box magazine, and the ensuing video.
Baltimore-based Charlie Vascellaro <firstname.lastname@example.org> is a frequent speaker on the academic baseball conference circuit and the author of a biography of Hall of Fame slugger Hank Aaron. His writing has appeared in the Washington Post, the Baltimore Sun, the Los Angeles Times, the Chicago Tribune, and The Village Voice.
8:30 a.m.-8:55 a.m. (Constellation C Ballroom)
RP04: Baltimore Orioles’ 17-Year Minor League Highs and Lows: 1966-1982
Zygner provides a nostalgic look back at some of the unique events and great players that made their mark as part of the Orioles’ minor league baseball affiliation with Miami, including iconic O’s Hall of Famers Cal Ripken Jr., Jim Palmer, Eddie Murray and other stars and lesser known players. Professional baseball’s triumphant return, following the 1965 demise of the original Miami Marlins of the International League after a one-year hiatus that resulted from a rocky relationship between the Marlins and Phillies’ ownership, lasted until conditions at Miami Stadium deteriorated. Shootings and murder at the stadium were factors in the Orioles decision to leave Miami after 1982. Zygner will shed light on minor league baseball and how the Baby Orioles/Marlins helped pave the way for the arrival of major league baseball in Florida. He discusses the 1969-1972 seasons, when manager Woody Smith led the Marlins/Orioles to four consecutive league championships but was released following the ’72 season. He shares former Orioles’ executive Don Pries’ perspective on the dismissal of Woody, and for the first time, the Smith family shares their reasoning for the firing.
Sam Zygner <email@example.com> is the author of The Forgotten Marlins, Baseball Under the Palms: History of Miami Minor League Baseball The Early Years 1892-1960, and the newly-released Baseball Under the Palms: The Later Years 1962-1991. He has served as chair for the South Florida SABR chapter since 2006 and has been a member since 1997. His articles have appeared in various SABR publications, and Nine: A Journal of Baseball History and Culture, among others. Sam received his MBA from Saint Leo University. He is a lifelong Pittsburgh Pirates fan.
9:00 a.m.-9:25 a.m. (Constellation A/B Ballroom)
RP05: Pitching Against Alzheimer’s: A Study of Baseball Reminiscence Programs
Barry Mednick and Jeff Hubbard
Reminiscence, recalling pleasant memories of the past, has become a popular intervention aimed at improving the wellbeing of people living with dementia. In the past fifteen years, sports reminiscence programs have gained in popularity. SABR, through its Baseball Memories chartered community, has become the leading advocate for baseball reminiscence programs in the United States. Mednick and Hubbard discuss a “pilot” study of the effectiveness of the baseball reminiscence programs. It accumulated quantitative data on respondents’ quality-of-life, as well as both quantitative and qualitative data on their views of the programs, using measurement tools that are minimally intrusive. The pilot evaluated the effectiveness of existing baseball reminiscence programs through quantitative and qualitative data from current participants, care partners, and volunteers. The study results demonstrate that baseball is a strong topic for reminiscence that is especially meaningful for the current generation of participants and their care partners. Other forms of reminiscence involving music and culture have also indicated promise. SABR recently created a Baseball Memories Chartered Community to help enable and advocate for expansion of baseball reminiscence programs.
Barry Mednick <firstname.lastname@example.org>, president of the Los Angeles SABR chapter and a graduate of Columbia University, has written several baseball related articles. He works in high-tech and lives in Yorba Linda with his wife Leslee, a family law attorney.
Jeffrey Hubbard, Ed. D. <email@example.com> is a retired educator with an MA from the University of Redlands and a doctorate from USC. He and his wife Lupe enjoy travel, photography, California native plant gardening, and attending baseball games and spending time with their children and grandchildren. He lost his baseball loving father to Alzheimer’s in 2004 which stimulated his passion for Baseball Reminiscence Programs.
9:00 a.m.-9:25 a.m. (Constellation C Ballroom)
RP06: The Forgotten Man: Harry Dalton, The Best Team in Baseball, and the Oriole Way
Lee C. Kluck
To many, the Baltimore Orioles of the late sixties and early 1970s are one of the greatest dynasties in baseball history. They would average 105 wins and capture three American League Pennants and one World Series Title between 1969-1971. At the heart of their success was a somewhat amorphous concept known as “The Oriole Way.” What the Oriole Way encompassed, and the architect is a hotly debated topic. While current scholarship puts much of the onus of creating the Oriole Way on Paul Richards and Jim McLaughlin, and journalists often call Earl Weaver the father of the Oriole Way, Kluck examines the often overlooked role played by Harry Dalton in shaping the Oriole organization. He discusses Dalton’s journey from being an assistant to Jim McLaughlin in 1954, through his time as farm director to his ascension to the GM role starting with the 1966 season. Dalton reshaped the organization through trades while building a team culture and investing in his people personally and professionally. He formed bonds with players, coaches, and scouts that strengthened the Orioles through some of the most tumultuous times in American history.
Lee Kluck <firstname.lastname@example.org> is a baseball historian from Stevens Point, Wisconsin. He has presented at various conferences throughout the country and has published widely with SABR. He is currently writing a biography of Harry Dalton entitled Leave While the Party’s Good: The Life, Times, and Legacy of Harry Dalton. It will be published in 2023/4 by the University of Nebraska Press.
9:30 a.m.-9:55 a.m. (Constellation A/B Ballroom)
RP07: Bambino, Shmambino! The 1918 American League Pennant Race and the Curse of the Three-Penny Mayor
1918 was a tumultuous year for America, and for baseball. U.S. entry into The Great War the previous year culminated in a “Work or Fight ” order that curtailed the planned 154-game schedule played by each league to determine pennant winners and World Series combatants. The arbitrary decision by an obscure former mayor of a major city altered the A.L. pennant race in particular, the career trajectory of Baltimore’s favorite son, and the lore of The National Pastime for the duration of the 20th Century. Drawing on contemporary research and newspaper archives, Herlich describes the tenuous 1918 season and its impact on the game’s history.
Tim Herlich <email@example.com> has been a SABR member since 1995. He has written several biographies for the BioProject and presented at previous SABR conventions. He was honored to receive the Doug Pappas Award for best research presentation in 2009.
9:30 a.m.-9:55 a.m. (Constellation C Ballroom)
RP08: The Real Strength of the Famous 1971 Orioles
Famous for being part of a classic trivia question: “name the last team to have four 20-game winning pitchers,” Hanrahan examines which players contributed the most to the success of the AL Champion 1971 Orioles, who finished the season with a record of 101-57. On the surface, that club seems to be a team of four great pitchers, along with a fine supporting cast. No Baltimore batter drove in or scored 100 runs. No one finished in the top 10 in total bases. As a team, their hitters did not lead the league in the traditional categories of highest batting average or most home runs. But looks can be very deceiving. Hanrahan uses both Bill James’s Win Shares and baseball-reference.com’s bWAR to discuss how the Orioles were a great team.
For 40 years, Tom Hanrahan <firstname.lastname@example.org> has been a St. Mary’s County, Maryland resident; an employee of the US Navy; and a dedicated husband to his wife Jan. He has been a servant to others in his local church for almost that long as well. But those credentials pale in comparison to his 55 years of being a baseball fan.
1:00 p.m.-1:25 p.m. (Constellation A/B Ballroom)
RP09: Salaries, Skinflints, and Scandals: The Cost of the Black Sox Scandal
The story of the infamous Chicago Black Sox is well known, but not particularly well understood. Groundbreaking research over the past several years has largely debunked many of the myths surrounding the incident. Despite the vast quantity of documents and research, the financial side of the story still remains murky in its details. Research has shown that Comiskey paid his players at least as well as most owners. But how well did any owners pay their players? Was Comiskey any tighter with a dollar than today’s owners? Haupert focuses on team revenues, salaries, and player performances, and what part they each played in the decision of players to threaten to boycott the 1918 World Series and then conspire to throw one the following year. A look at the degree to which players were exploited, and how that compared across teams, time, and other occupations, sheds light on the decision to accept bribes and the longer run impact on the financial performance of the White Sox, and the treatment of all players in the wake of the scandal.
Michael Haupert <email@example.com> is Professor of Economics at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, Executive Director of the Economic History Association, and has been Co-chair of SABR’s Business of Baseball Committee since 2012. He has presented and published numerous papers on the business of baseball. He was awarded the Doug Pappas Award for the best presentation at the 2014 SABR national conference, and in 2020 he received SABR’s Henry Chadwick Award for lifetime contributions to baseball research.
1:00 p.m.-1:25 p.m. (Constellation C Ballroom)
RP10: Richard Stoll (Dick) Armstrong: Orioles Public Relations Pioneer and the Original Mr. Oriole
Golon discusses Dick Armstrong’s creation and introduction of baseball’s first performing mascot, Mr. Oriole, as well his ground-breaking, well-acclaimed fan-survey. Through personal interviews with Armstrong and other research, he examines Armstrong’s pioneering work as the first public relations director of the Orioles in 1954, and even earlier, as the first PR director of Connie Mack’s Philadelphia A’s, from 1950 through 1952. Armstrong became known for his innovative promotions for the otherwise downtrodden A’s. In Baltimore, he embraced the challenge of selling major league baseball to his hometown. Armstrong turned Mr. Oriole into baseball’s first stylized, in-stadium performing mascot – a forerunner of the mascots popular in major and minor league stadiums today. Armstrong also understood that the long-term viability of the Orioles franchise depended on a thorough knowledge of the fan base, and performed what appears to be the first fan survey ever taken at the major league level utilizing scientific polling methods. The findings and techniques of the survey were published throughout Major League Baseball and resulted in Armstrong receiving recognition from a national audience.
Bob Golon <firstname.lastname@example.org> is a SABR member and retired manuscript librarian and archivist, Princeton Theological Seminary Library, Princeton, New Jersey.
1:30 p.m.-1:55 p.m. (Constellation A/B Ballroom)
RP11: Even The Grounds: Cheating the Very Dimensions of the Game
By now it should come as no surprise that baseball players cheat. Pitchers and hitters, on the field and off. They take drugs, they cork their bat, they put sticky stuff on the ball. Or at least some of them do. They did in 1935, and in 1985, and today. Less known, or at least less commented on, is the amount of rules-breaking that has gone on surrounding the field of play. The basepaths, the mound, the batter’s box, the catcher’s box. The coaching boxes. Heck, even the on-deck circle. Sometimes these stories are funny, but in many cases the malfeasance has affected games and pennant races. Why is one form of cheating the subject of humorous anecdotes, while another might make someone a pariah in the sport? If you think it has something to do with how much the outcome of the game might be affected, think again. Armour examines this history, highlighting some of the more interesting cases while providing insight into how prevalent the behavior might be.
Mark Armour <email@example.com> is President of SABR’s Board of Directors and co-author (with Dan Levitt) of Intentional Balk: Baseball’s Thin Line Between Innovation and Cheating. He is an experienced researcher and writer, whose work has appeared in many SABR publications. He has spoken at 10 previous SABR national conventions.
1:30 p.m.-1:55 p.m. (Constellation C Ballroom)
RP12: The 1966 Hall of Fame Class and Its Balloting
Ted Williams and Casey Stengel comprised the 1966 National Baseball Hall of Fame class. These two 1966 elections and the Induction Ceremony still have an impact on the BBWAA and Era Committee elections. Glassman discusses the 1936-1965 Hall Fame Breakdowns and 1966 BBWAA and Veterans Committee elections in greater detail. He examines the screening process leading up to the BBWAA election, the issues that followed it and the impact this election had on future writer’s elections. He also addresses Casey Stengel’s retirement and how it impacted his Veterans Committee and future election. Finally, he talks about Ted Williams’ Induction Speech and its effects.
Steven Glassman <firstname.lastname@example.org> has been a SABR member since 1994 and regularly makes presentations for the Connie Mack-Dick Allen Chapter. This is his 14th convention. Prior to this convention, Steven has done nine poster and two oral presentations. The Temple University graduate in Sport and Recreation Management is currently the Manor College Director of Sports Information in Jenkintown, Pennsylvania. He is also a Phanstormer for the Philadelphia Phillies and Statistics Crew Member for the Trenton Thunder. Steven was also certified in Microsoft Office Word 2016. He has attended Phillies games since the 1970s. Steven serves as first base coach/scorekeeper for his summer league softball team. He currently resides in Warminster, Pennsylvania.
2:00 p.m.-2:25 p.m. (Constellation A/B Ballroom)
RP13: Sign Stealing Before the Astros: The Tangled Web of What Was Legal
It took only five years after the introduction of modern binoculars in 1894 for a baseball team to use them to steal signs. The Phillies set up an elaborate system to intercept, decode, and relay the catcher’s signals. The team’s owner dismissed the complaints. The other owners disagreed and tried to censure the Phillies at the NL meetings. New York Giants manager John McGraw articulated the unofficial consensus that soon developed. “According to all the best ethics of baseball,” McGraw wrote in 1913, “any signal which can be grabbed through a quick eye and smooth intelligence may be fairly used to the advantage of the grabber. But the unfair method of getting signs is to employ artificial means, such as field glasses and buzzers and other devices that have broken into baseball from time to time.” Levitt looks at sign stealing during the 120 years from binoculars to trash cans and the bizarre, ambiguous responses from baseball’s hierarchy. Was it or was it not “cheating?”
Daniel Levitt <email@example.com> is the author of several award-winning baseball books and numerous essays. His most recent book (with Mark Armour) is Intentional Balk: Baseball’s Thin Line Between Innovation and Cheating. He is the Treasurer of SABR and co-chair of SABR’s Business of Baseball committee. Dan is a recipient of the Bob Davids Award and the Henry Chadwick Award.
2:00 p.m.-2:25 p.m. (Constellation C Ballroom)
RP14: From Reggie to Camden Yards: Baltimore’s Small-Market Success in the Post-Messersmith Era
Among the first major class of free agents was Reggie Jackson, acquired by the Baltimore Orioles. The following year, Reggie signed with the New York Yankees, while Oriole Bobby Grich and ex-Oriole Don Baylor inked contracts with the California Angels, stoking fears that rich clubs in big cities might dominate by attracting the best free agents. The Orioles faced the challenge by capitalizing on players produced by their farm system and those acquired in shrewd trades. Led by Earl Weaver, the team remained competitive into the mid 1980s, clinching the World Series in 1983 under skipper Joe Altobelli. Hensler discusses how owner Edward Bennett Williams’s marketing played an important role in maintaining fan interest as the team bottomed out in the late eighties. In 1992 the team moved to Oriole Park at Camden Yards, ushering in a new era of modern baseball courtesy of the ballpark’s pioneering “retro” architecture, and average attendance surged well beyond three million through the end of the century. Hensler describes the club’s business savvy in making Camden Yards a centerpiece of the city’s Inner Harbor revival, having a symbiotic effect on the city of Baltimore’s economic development.
Paul Hensler <firstname.lastname@example.org> is a long-time SABR member and the author of five books, four of them on the national pastime. A frequent contributor to the Cooperstown Symposium on Baseball and American Culture, Paul’s essays and book reviews have been published in the Baseball Research Journal as well as NINE: A Journal of Baseball History and Culture.
2:30 p.m.-2:55 p.m. (Constellation A/B Ballroom)
RP15: A Fresh Scent of Scandal: The O’Connell-Dolan Affair
Robert F. Garratt
The 1924 National League pennant race was settled on September 27th, when the Giants won their unprecedented fourth straight NL pennant by beating the Phillies while Brooklyn lost to the Boston Braves. Giants owner Charles Stoneham had little time to celebrate, however. Only a few hours later, a messy bribery scandal broke. Prior to the game, Phillies shortstop Heinie Sand was approached by a young Giants bench player, Jimmy O’Connell, who said it would be worth something to Sand if the Phillies “didn’t bear down too hard on us today.” Under questioning by Commissioner Landis, O’Connell admitted that he approached Sand and that he was told to do so by Giants bench coach Cozy Dolan. Stoneham and Giants manager John McGraw found themselves in the midst of another baseball hearing with the Commissioner, raising questions, yet again, about the integrity of the game and their role in the scandal. Garratt discusses the connection the scandal raises with previous Giants corruption and the light it sheds on Stoneham, renewing concerns among owners and baseball writers about his reputation as a shady businessman with legal difficulties.
Robert Garratt <email@example.com> is an Emeritus Professor of English at the University of Puget Sound and has been a member of SABR for the past 15 years. Robert’s research has been focused on New York and San Francisco Giants history. His book Home Team: the Turbulent History of the San Francisco Giants considered the Giants’ move from New York in 1957 and their subsequent history in California. His biography on New York Giants owner Charles A. Stoneham (1876-1936) is forthcoming with the University of Nebraska Press. Garratt has contributed to both the SABR BioProject and the Team Ownership History Project.
2:30 p.m.-2:55 p.m. (Constellation C Ballroom)
RP16: A Hard Road to the Top: The Ups and Downs of Major Leaguers in the 1970s
The ongoing lure of baseball centers on the players and their unique achievements. In the 1970s, due to the circumstances surrounding the Vietnam War and the cutbacks in scouting departments that were a byproduct of declining revenues among major league teams, numerous players reached the game’s highest level in some of the most unusual ways. Ballew discusses how the amateur draft (which was still in its infancy), the introduction of the designated hitter, and the advent of free agency had an impact on the game along with some of the unusual promotional events and their effects on the players, using research from his new book, Major League Baseball Players of the 1970s: A Biographical Dictionary from Aase to Zisk, which consists of 1,312 profiles of players who made their big league debut between the start of the 1970 regular season and the conclusion of the 1979 campaign.
A SABR member since the late 1980s, Bill Ballew <firstname.lastname@example.org> is a freelance baseball writer and the author of nine books, including the recently released Major League Baseball Players of the 1970s: A Biographical Dictionary from Aase to Zisk (McFarland, 2022). He also was the Atlanta correspondent for Baseball America for more than 25 years and spent nearly two decades working with the Class A Asheville Tourists.
3:00 p.m.-3:25 p.m. (Constellation A/B Ballroom)
RP17: Jackie Robinson Comes to Baltimore
John Burbridge Jr.
Jackie Robinson signed to play in the Brooklyn Dodgers organization on November 1, 1945 after his famous meeting with Branch Rickey in August. Rickey assigned Jackie to the Dodgers AAA farm team, the Montreal Royals of the International League, which in 1946 also included the Baltimore Orioles. Baltimore, the only city in the league below the Mason-Dixon line, practiced segregationist policies. Rickey was adamant that Jackie play in Baltimore, realizing that he had to be exposed to such hostility if the great experiment was to work. Burbridge describes how Baltimore didn’t disappoint as Jackie was exposed to racial taunts during the four games that ended with the two teams splitting the series. Robinson returned to Baltimore for two additional series in 1946, during which the vicious taunting continued along with fans storming the field during and after games in both series. The hatred of the fans during these subsequent visits led to teammates having to protect Robinson. Burbridge details Robinson’s experience in Baltimore, emphasizing his performance and the tensions associated with these visits. His 1946 time in the minor leagues may be even more disturbing than his 1947 season with the Dodgers.
John J. Burbridge Jr. <email@example.com> is currently professor emeritus at Elon University where he was also a dean and professor. At Elon he introduced the course Baseball and Statistics. He is a lifelong New York Giants fan. The greatest game he ever saw was a 1956 1-0 Giants victory over the Dodgers in Jersey City.
3:00 p.m.-3:25 p.m. (Constellation C Ballroom)
RP18: The Klein Chocolate Company Baseball Team’s Remarkable 1919 Season
In 1918, chocolatier William Klein Sr. of Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania had a problem. Klein was looking to expand to a national market for his “Lunch Bar,” a three-cent candy bar that was in direct competition with the chocolate bars produced by Milton Hershey at his factory just ten miles away. The Klein Lunch Bar would be familiar to soldiers returning from Europe, because Klein, like Hershey, had wrangled a contract with the armed services to include his Lunch Bars in rations distributed to soldiers overseas. To build on this familiarity and make the Lunch Bar a staple of the American home, in 1919 the Kleins fielded an independent team with many former and future major leaguers that won more than 80 percent of its games, and went 7-4 against major league competition. These exhibition games drew huge crowds in central Pennsylvania. Walsh discusses the formation of the team and highlights of games against major league teams and barnstorming African American clubs. He examines the impact of the Klein baseball team on the history of industrial team baseball.
Russ Walsh <firstname.lastname@example.org> is a retired teacher, diehard Phillies fan, and student of the history of baseball with a special interest in the odd, quirky, and once in a lifetime events that happen on the baseball field. He writes and fact-checks for both the SABR BioProject and the SABR Games Project and maintains his own blog, The Faith of a Phillies Fan. Russ lives in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, with his wife, Cynthia Mershon, his two cocker spaniels, Isabella and Maxwell, and his collection of Robin Roberts memorabilia. You can reach Russ on Twitter @faithofaphilli1.
3:30 p.m.-3:55 p.m. (Constellation A/B Ballroom)
RP19: Dawn of the Long Night: The Origin of Baseball’s Color Barrier
The tangled origin of the color barrier in Organized Baseball has been resistant to historical study since the publication of the foundational text in our subject, Baseball: The Early Years, by Harold Seymour and Dorothy Seymour. There exist the arguments of the “Gentlemen’s Agreement” and individual players willing the barrier into existence; the historiography of the subject is fractured and incomplete. Sundermeyer examines the origin of the color barrier in Organized Baseball. He argues that the barrier originated from, and carried direct ties to, business and cultural precedent from Reconstruction-era America, and will show how the color barrier was born of far more precedent and intention than has previously been acknowledged. He studies the careers of pioneering African-American players of the era, who played on organized teams for years before the barrier emerged, through this lens of intention and precedent in the barrier’s origin.
Sam Sundermeyer <email@example.com > lives with his wife Ann and three sons, Ford, Winston, and Ernest in St. Louis Park, Minnesota. He is currently a graduate student at Norwich University, pursuing a Master of Arts in History. He is studying 19th century baseball and the evolution of the game from an amateur pastime to a professional enterprise. Sam works for the Minnesota Twins as an usher at Target Field.
3:30 p.m.-3:55 p.m. (Constellation C Ballroom)
RP20: Cardboard Birds
After World War II, the urban centers of the West Coast, Texas and Midwest saw tremendous population growth. Los Angeles, San Francisco, Houston, Dallas, Minneapolis and Kansas City all set their sights on becoming “big league” sports markets. However, the American League decided to forgo these potential markets and moved the financially strapped St. Louis Browns to Baltimore, prior to the 1954 season. The Browns’ transfer to Baltimore coincided with the explosion in the sales and distribution of baseball cards. The two leading card producers of the 1950s-Topps and Bowman-vied for the youth market by producing competing sets of cards. Jenkins examines how Topps and Bowman dealt with producing Baltimore Orioles cards without foreknowledge of the team’s uniform and logo design. Also, a new team enviable produces many “firsts,” which Jenkins examines in the trading card context. Finally, he touches upon the connection of cards to fandom.
Tim Jenkins <firstname.lastname@example.org> is a retired teacher living in Seattle. Tim has a wide range of baseball interests and an extensive baseball card and memorabilia collection. He is active with the SABR Baseball Card Committee, contributing multiple posts on the SABR Baseball Committee blog, and he generates a “Card of the Day” post. Pacific Northwest baseball history is a passion. The Seattle Pilots and Rainiers are a focus of his interest and memorabilia collecting.
Saturday, August 20
8:00 a.m.-8:25 a.m. (Constellation A/B Ballroom)
RP21: When Big Data was Small: A Story Told By the Pioneers of Sabermetrics
In 2022, SABR’s Oral History Research Committee conducted recorded interviews with some of the pioneers behind the evolution of baseball data, modeling and computing, and how this began to change (and inspire) sources of information and ways of thinking we take for granted today. This project is the first sabermetric-focused work done by the Committee to expand its collection of recorded interviews beyond players/managers. The initial set of sabermetricians interviewed were Dick Cramer, John Dewan, Sean Forman, Gary Gillette, Bill James, Steve Mann, David Neft, Pete Palmer, and David W. Smith.
Brian Hall <email@example.com> is an adjunct instructor in the NYU Tisch Institute for Global Sport, focusing on artificial intelligence, machine learning and their application to the sports world. At NYU, he teaches “Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning,” an on-demand course that is open to both professionals and sports fans alike. Prior to joining the NYU faculty, Brian served as Vice-President at Two Sigma Investments, a New York City-based hedge fund primarily known for its use of artificial intelligence, machine learning, and distributed computing trading strategies.
8:00 a.m.-8:25 a.m. (Constellation C Ballroom)
RP22: The State of the Union: The Life and Death of Union Park, Baltimore’s First Mythical Stadium
Arnold discusses the history of Union Park, the ballpark that was home to the “old” Baltimore Orioles of the National League from 1891-1899. The stadium has a rich and unique history despite being in use for only nine seasons (and subsequently torn down in 1906). It saw the birth of the legendary Baltimore Orioles, then of the National League. Led by heralded skipper Ned Hanlon, who pioneered what has been called “inside baseball.” Part of the strategy involved weaponizing the stadium to provide a real home team advantage. Another interesting aspect of Union Park is the number of records that were set there, many of which still stand today. Arnold illustrates the rich history of a lost but storied Baltimore stadium that was built nearly a century before Oriole Park at Camden Yards.
Teddie Arnold <firstname.lastname@example.org> is a government contracts partner at Seyfarth Shaw LLP in Washington, DC. He is a lifelong Orioles fan having spent his formative baseball years at Memorial Stadium (including attending the final game) and worshiping Cal Ripken Jr. He and his family reside in Federal Hill, where they have a great view of Camden Yards from their roofdeck.
8:30 a.m.-8:55 a.m. (Constellation A/B Ballroom)
RP23: Meta Pitch Tracking: How The Changes In Pitch Tracking Technologies Should Change How We Look At The Data They Collect
Baseball analytics have been reinvigorated in the past decade with the introduction of Statcast. The metrics give the impression of precision, but how precise are they really? Going from Trackman to Hawk-Eye sheds light on the problem and highlights potential adjustments. If the population of pitchers’ release point variances has not changed much over the past decade, changes in these metrics should reflect changes in ball tracking precision. Preliminary research shows significant upticks in accuracy in the 2016-2017 and 2019-2020 offseasons, corresponding to the change from pitch f/x to Trackman and then to Hawk-Eye.
John Asel <email@example.com> is a rising senior at Syracuse University studying Sport Analytics and Economics. He is a Nationals fan, presented at Washington’s SABR Day 2019, and plans to work for a Major League front office upon graduation.
8:30 a.m.-8:55 a.m. (Constellation C Ballroom)
RP24: The Afterlife of a Baseball Stadium: Braves Field and the Creation of Boston University’s West Campus
Tucked away in Boston University’s West Campus is a unique piece of American history. What is now Nickerson Field, home to BU’s soccer and lacrosse teams, was once Braves Field. When the Braves left Boston in 1953, the school purchased the stadium and undertook an adaptive reuse, transforming the old ballpark into a bustling campus center, optimizing the playing surface for other sports, and building dormitories and additional athletics facilities on the lot. BU retained key pieces of the historic structure, while paying homage to and informing visitors about what parts were removed.
David Lewis <firstname.lastname@example.org> is a graduate student at Boston University in the Preservation Studies M.A. program, finishing in December 2022. His research interests include the history and evolution of ballparks, the intersection of baseball and major themes in American History, and using adaptive reuse to repurpose historic buildings. He recently finished an internship at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, and has worked for SABR, the National Park Service, and the Massachusetts Historical Commission.
9:00 a.m.-9:25 a.m. (Constellation A/B Ballroom)
RP25: Time for Expansion Baseball
From 1961 to 1998, Major League Baseball nearly doubled in size, expanding from 16 to 30 teams. Each team’s initial roster was created by virtue of an expansion draft. Of the 14 expansion teams, whose draft was the most successful? Using statistical analyses, “Time for Expansion Baseball” will answer that question. Metrics used in the analysis include the win-loss record for the first decade of each expansion team, the longevity of the expansion players, and how effectively they played based on wins above replacement. In the end, the 14 expansion drafts will be ranked for their effectiveness.
Maxwell Kates <email@example.com> is a chartered accountant who lives and works in Toronto. He has worked in commercial radio and later wrote a monthly column for the Houston-based Pecan Park Eagle. A SABR member since 2001, he served as Director of Marketing for the Hanlan’s Point Chapter for twelve years. Previous speaking engagements include the University of Toronto, the Limmud Conference, and SABR meetings and conventions in Seattle, Montreal, and Houston. In 2018, he and Bill Nowlin co-edited Time for Expansion Baseball, a publication whose lead essay was the basis for this presentation.
9:00 a.m.-9:25 a.m. (Constellation C Ballroom)
RP26: Beyond the Gates: The Future of Baseball Stadium Development
With all but six MLB venues opened since 1989, the wave of development beginning with Camden Yards is nearing its end. Recent closures of two 1990s stadiums lead to questions around long-term viability of this generation. While Truist Park and Globe Life Field are smaller than their predecessors, each offers lucrative opportunities beyond the stadium gates. With team-led development featuring prominently in proposals around Angels Stadium and potential new construction in Tampa and Oakland, this presentation examines team-led development around stadiums in San Diego, St. Louis, Boston, Chicago and Atlanta, assesses the opportunities and risks of such development, and discusses its implications for existing and future stadiums.
Dr. Michael Friedman <firstname.lastname@example.org> is an Instructor in the Department of Kinesiology at the University of Maryland. His research focuses on the relationship between public policy, urban design, and professional sports. Dr. Friedman’s first book, Mallparks: Producing Cathedrals of Baseball Consumption, is forthcoming from Cornell University Press. He has published several academic articles on sports venues and events, including in the Journal of Urban Affairs, Sociology of Sport Journal, International Review for the Sociology of Sport, City, Culture and Society, and the International Journal of Sport Management and Marketing. He has attended Major League Baseball games in 49 stadiums.
9:30 a.m.-9:55 a.m. (Constellation A/B Ballroom)
RP27: Going Downtown with a Golden Sombrero (1891-2019)
The mythical “Golden Sombrero” is awarded to batters who strike out at least four times in a game. Offsetting that feat with at least one home run has been dubbed a “Downtown Golden Sombrero” by Herm Krabbenhoft. In his meticulous manner, Krabbenhoft documents every DGS in the majors since 1891, describing their increasing frequency in recent years, identifying hitters with multiple DGS, calculating the winning percentage of clubs with DGS performers, and much more.
Herm Krabbenhoft <email@example.com> is a retired research chemist who has been a SABR member since 1981. Among his numerous baseball research accomplishments are: (a) Restoring the 1912 NL Triple Crown to Heinie Zimmerman; (b) Establishing, in collaboration with Keith Carlson, David Newman, and Dixie Tourangeau, the accurate ML record for most runs scored in a single season by an individual player — Billy Hamilton, 196 runs for Philadelphia in 1894; (c) Determining the longest consecutive games on base safely streak in ML history — 84 games by Ted Williams in 1949. Herm is the author of “Leadoff Batters” published by McFarland in 2001. Krabbenhoft has been the recipient of three SABR Baseball Research Awards (1992, 1996, 2013).
9:30 a.m.-9:55 a.m. (Constellation C Ballroom)
RP28: The First Ball Four Saga: The Seattle Pilots’ Journey to Bankruptcy
The on-the-field adventures of the 1969 Seattle Pilots have been well chronicled in Jim Bouton’s Ball Four and elsewhere. What’s been missed is that off the field it was managed even worse. The Pilots were in bankruptcy court before their second season, and in the hands of a Milwaukee car dealer and his partners soon thereafter. The debacle in Seattle stretched back to the late 1950s, when the American League let National League franchises snap up the two prime markets on the West Coast.
This presentation is drawn from Andy McCue’s <firstname.lastname@example.org> Stumbling Around the Bases: The American League’s Mis-management in the Expansion Eras, published this spring. McCue, a former president of SABR, won the Seymour Medal for Mover and Shaker: Walter O’Malley, the Dodgers, and Baseball’s Westward Expansion. He is also the author of Baseball by the Books: A History and Complete Bibliography of Baseball Fiction.
10:00 a.m.-10:25 a.m. (Constellation A/B Ballroom)
RP29: A Look at Success in MLB Playoffs: Updated Methods and What Works
Edward Wong and Andy Andres
With the expansion of Major League Baseball’s playoffs, the degree of difficulty has increased. We investigate what enables a team to succeed during a playoff run. Previous research relied on older statistical data, which does not include Statcast data. We have updated and optimized Nate Silver’s point system from Baseball Between the Numbers. Using this optimized point system, we determine which metrics, traditional and modern, help teams most in the postseason. Multiple regression models and clustering techniques are used.
Edward “E.J.” Wong <email@example.com> is a Junior Undergraduate student at Boston University from Orange County, California, majoring in data science and minoring in statistics. His research interests are in baseball sabermetrics and in US elections. He is a member of the Boston University Club Baseball Team and has worked with Dr. Andy Andres on various research projects. He hopes to continue his work as a data scientist in the front office of a professional sports team post-graduation.
Andy Andres <Andy.Andres@Post.Harvard.edu> is on the faculty of Boston University where he teaches various natural sciences courses and data science. He also initiated, designed, and taught the highly popular BU MOOC “Sabermetrics 101: Introduction to Baseball Analytics” on the edx.org platform to more than 60,000 registered students. His former students occupy front offices in the NBA, MLS, and MLB, where one was recently named General Manager. In addition to consulting with industry and professional sports teams, Andres is also an MLB datacaster at Fenway Park, a Data Analyst for BaseballHQ.com, and former Head Coach/Lead instructor for the MIT Science of Baseball Program. These pursuits allow the lifelong fan and athlete to synthesize his twin loves: baseball and scientific inquiry. Andres has been a member of SABR since 2003.
10:00 a.m.-10:25 a.m. (Constellation C Ballroom)
RP30: Show It to Me: Strategies for Growing the MLB Fan Base
Allison R. Levin
When baseball returned after the pandemic, an unexpected outcome was the rise of young fans tuning into the game. ESPN was way up with viewers in the prized 18–34 and 18–49 demographics. One of MLB’s goals for 2021, then, was to aggressively court young fans on Instagram and TikTok. In this project, the author performed a content analysis of all posts made by popular sports Instagram accounts and two accounts run by MLB for the entirety of the 2021 playoffs. Simultaneously, the author performed a content analysis of the corresponding TikTok accounts.
Allison R. Levin (MA, JD) <firstname.lastname@example.org> is a Professor of Sports Communication at Webster University. whose research centers around social/cultural issues of sports fandom, particularly baseball. She is a SABR Board Member and is Vice President of the St. Louis Bob Broeg Chapter.
10:30 a.m.-10:55 a.m. (Constellation A/B Ballroom)
RP31: Longer Game Lengths … How Much are Foul Balls to Blame?
Since 2018, several SABR researchers have delved into the reasons for the increasing length of major league games, pinpointing pitches per PA and increasing strikeouts in the “Three True Outcomes” era as possible explanations. In this presentation, the focus turns to the number of foul balls. Firstman uses Statcast data from 2008-2021 to study whether the number of fouls has risen recently and whether the percentage of total pitches resulting in foul balls has increased. Deeper analysis looks at ball-strike counts, pitch types and velocities, and other factors that may result in longer ballgames.
David Firstman <email@example.com> is a Data Analyst for the City of New York. He has been a member of SABR off and on since the late 1980s. Besides his own baseball blog (Value Over Replacement Grit), his work has appeared at ESPN, Bronx Banter, Baseball Prospectus, The Hardball Times, and in The Village Voice. His work on the history and impact of “Three True Outcomes” won the best poster presentation at SABR 48, and was included in SABR’s “50 at 50” anthology. He is the author of Hall of Name, a book profiling 100 of the most memorable monikers in baseball history.
10:30 a.m.-10:55 a.m. (Constellation C Ballroom)
RP32: The Business of Overseas Baseball: How KBO Teams Work to Sign Foreign Players
Sung Min Kim
The Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) allows its teams to sign foreign-born baseball players to bolster their lineups and pitching staffs. For ballplayers that head to Korea, the opportunity represents not only a financial boon, but also a chance to get regular playing time. Under current league rules, the first year KBO foreign players are allowed a maximum contract of $1 million; if they stay longer they are able to make more. In this presentation, a former KBO staffer discusses the considerations that go into recruiting and signing foreign-born players.
Sung Min Kim <firstname.lastname@example.org> is a graduate student studying for a Master’s in Sports Business degree at New York University. He previously worked as an associate for the Research & Development department at the Lotte Giants of the Korea Baseball Organization. Prior to that, he wrote for various publications such as FanGraphs, The Athletic, Sporting News and VICE.
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