The National Pastime
In November 1974, a proposal was made for a second SABR publication to be called The National Pastime. This was a short-lived project that should not to be confused with the current Society publication of the same name. Edited by Ben Weiser, only four issues were printed. The first issue, 24 pages long, was mailed in February 1975, carrying a story on Fred Lieb, a Dick Cramer article on Batters Run Average, some Bob Davids “Baseball Briefs,” and a few book reviews. The April 1975 SABR Bulletin ran mixed reviews about it.
Further reading: Click here to read articles from The National Pastime archives
John Thorn was named editor of The National Pastime at the Executive Board meeting of January 9, 1982. He had proposed the concept of this new Society publication to the Executive Board the previous year. In addition to being its editor, Thorn became designer, production staff, publicity staff, and advertising staff.
The premiere edition produced an all-star cast with articles authored by Bob Carroll, Art Ahrens, John Holway, Jim Bankes, David Sanders, Larry Ritter, Bob Broeg, G. H. Fleming, Don Nelson, David Voigt, Mark Rucker, Lew Lipset, Frank Williams, Fred Stein, Stuart Leeds, Harold Seymour, Bob Bluthardt, Pete Palmer, Al Kermisch, Ted DiTullio, and Gerald Tomlinson. Thorn received advice from various senior SABR members and had the outstanding help of Dean Coughenour in typesetting, printing, and distribution. The cost was $5 to non-members. It was mailed in late October and immediately met with rave reviews.
Thorn edited the first nine editions, with Mark Rucker as co-editor of the pictorials. Bob Tiemann edited the tenth edition, John Holway the 11th, and Peter Bjarkman the 12th before Mark Alvarez took over. The National Pastime has encompassed a wide variety of articles and photographs. Pictorial issues were done on the Nineteenth Century, the Deadball Era, and the Big-Bang Era of 1920-45. The eighth edition was a biography of Nap Lajoie by veteran newspaper writer Jim Murphy, a Rhode Islander and boyhood friend of Gabby Hartnett.
In 2009, SABR converted The National Pastime from a literary journal to the national convention publication and began offering the Baseball Research Journal as a bi-annual publication. Published annually, this research journal provides in-depth articles focused on the respective geographic region where the National Convention is taking place in a given year.
In the early 2010s, SABR began making the journals available in PDF format and soon in other e-book formats, as well. Beginning in 2013, all members have the opportunity to download a free expanded e-book edition of The National Pastime; the print edition is offered as a souvenir to members attending the SABR National Convention.
By publishing larger versions of the TNP, more SABR members have a chance to have their work published and SABR members have the opportunity to read more top-level articles every summer.