Preservation of Baseball Research Material
In 2007, the SABR Board of Directors recommended, and the membership concurred, that the Society’s by-laws be modified to recognize that one of the groups objectives should be “To encourage the preservation of baseball research materials.” This was simply a reaffirmation of some of the past actions of the Society, and a recognition that we needed to be mindful of opportunities to preserve research resources that might otherwise disappear.
Friends of SABR: To learn more about SABR’s donor program in order to help support and preserve invaluable baseball research material, visit SABR.org/donate.
From SABR’s inception, there was interest in preserving research material, as reflected in the group’s purchase of the John Tattersall Home Run Log and related research data from his estate. In 1983, SABR partnered with the Baseball Hall of Fame and the New York Public Library to microfilm some of the priceless items in the Library’s collection, most notably the Harry Wright and Henry Chadwick notebooks. Copies of this microfilm are available for use at the Hall of Fame Library.
In 2006, SABR and the Amateur Athletic Federation of Los Angeles (now known as the LA84 Foundation) reached an agreement to move forward with a multiyear project to digitize the only remaining physical set of Sporting Life, a weekly periodical that covered baseball between 1883 and 1917. The National Baseball Hall of Fame Library holdings of SL were scanned and then processed to create a searchable text index for each issue. The project is now complete and is available for public use on the la84.org website.
In 2019, SABR and LA84 unveiled the Sporting News Baseball Player Contract Card Collection, an important primary source for information about the lives and careers of nearly 180,000 professional baseball players.
SABR continues to seek out opportunities to preserve baseball research material, in order to make those resources available to the public.
Check the Research Resources page for a comprehensive list of resources available to SABR members online.