On July 19, 1995, the SABR-L listserv went public, when around 600 SABR members with email addresses were added to the SABR-L list and welcomed by John Gregory, the first chair of the Internet Committee. SABR-L was begun in order for SABR members not only to have a forum for the exchange of research information, but for the discussion of everything baseball.
In 1999, SABR.org became the Society’s new address in the cyber world.
In early February 2002, members with valid e-mail addresses began receiving invitations to participate in the SABR online community, MySABR. At MySABR, it was possible to check on the personal membership information SABR had on file, change your username and password, and set your choice of what information will be shared with other SABR members. This was a first step in SABR’s commitment to use the World Wide Web to enhance the value of SABR membership. In the following months, it was possible to access members-only areas, with SABR’s Membership Directory, research presentations and papers, reference guides to past publications, and the first glimmerings of cooperative work areas. Also, for the first time, it was possible to make purchases online through SABR’s secure storefront.
In June 2002, the online version of The Baseball Index (TBI) was made available not just to SABR members, but to the general public, as well. TBI, a project of the Bibliography Committee contains references to more than 250,000 index records (citations) to books, articles, yearbooks, advertisements, media guides, and more. It is by far the most extensive index/bibliography to baseball literature.
On December 18, 2002, SABR launched its new online Membership Directory, the first feature of the new members-only website. The Board continued to invest in upgrades to the SABR website, with the goal of making all membership information available online (to members only) by January. The Tattersall-McConnell Home Run Log was the next large piece of content to be added to the site, followed by other databases such as the “Who-Signed-Whom” Scout database and the Biographical Research Committee database.
In 2003, several interesting additions to the SABR website were posted. Rod Nelson posted a spreadsheet he has compiled with assistance from Rick Obrand and others of high schools attended by major league players. It listed the High School Attended for more than 3,400 major league ballplayers. This project developed as an adjunct to the Scouts Committee Who-Signed-Whom database, adding to the known data recorded for those players selected out of high school in the amateur draft. Ron Henry added two spreadsheets available for download. One was a list of major league players who are veterans of the Civil War, Spanish-American War(s), Boxer Rebellion, World War I, World War II, Korean War, Viet Nam War, Gulf War(s) or who served in the military during peacetime. This file was a compilation of data from Walter Kephart, Gary Bedingfield, John Heer, Dave Finoli, Rod Nelson, and others. The other spreadsheet Ron added was a list of major and minor league franchises, containing years of operation, team nicknames, and notes as to where the franchises came from and what became of them.
Led by Jacob Pomrenke, SABR launched a new website in the spring of 2011 that has received very favorable reviews from SABR members and raised awareness of SABR and our mission across the baseball community, the media, and potential new members, particularly younger members. We’ve also seen a tremendous increase in SABR members’ participation on Facebook and Twitter.
Recognizing that the Internet had achieved a position in daily life and that it had led to significant changes in SABR’s operations, most especially in terms of staffing, the necessity of a volunteer-led committee to explore, expand and maintain SABR’s internet presence was eventually deemed not to be necessary. To that end, the formal Internet Research Committee was discontinued, effective January 1, 2010.
In the 21st century, SABR.org has played a key role in increasing the exposure of the Society’s new initiatives, including the SABR Analytics Conference and the SABR Digital Library publishing program. In addition, live online multimedia coverage from the Analytics Conference, the SABR Convention, and other major events, along with increased daily visibility on multiple social media platforms, and our BioProject referral partnership with Baseball-Reference.com, have driven our web traffic to record-breaking numbers.
In 2013, we surpassed 1 million annual visitors to the SABR website for the first time, with more than 2.2 million pageviews. SABR.org enjoyed another year of record traffic in 2014; in July, during the run-up to the SABR 44 convention in Houston and increased attention from All-Star Game festivities, we surpassed 100,000 unique visitors in a month for the first time.
In 2016, SABR.org dramatically increased its share of mobile and tablet visitors after a responsive redesign of the entire site was unveiled in January. For the first time, more than 40 percent of all visitors to SABR.org came via portable mobile devices rather than desktop computers.
SABR.org enjoyed another record-setting year in 2019, reaching new heights with 3.9 million pageviews and 2.5 million total visitors and our share of mobile/tablet traffic surpassed 60 percent.