Infield Chatter: October 2022

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October 18, 2022

Dear SABR members:

Scott BushAs baseball fans, there are very few things we look forward to more than October baseball. This year, MLB has expanded the playoffs which—while controversial to some—will give us even more October baseball drama to enjoy. As is custom, we will cling to the last vestiges of the season and hope they keep us warm through the winter.

Since my last annual update, SABR has once again been able to hold in-person events, with more than 500 of our friends joining us for SABR 50 in Baltimore. This group included more than 175 first-time convention attendees, underlining the importance of face-to-face baseball fellowship and a harbinger for the future of the organization.

At SABR 50, the Board of Directors and I shared insights about SABR’s strategic plan which is guiding our efforts to fulfill our vision to become the essential community for the world of baseball. Because of the dedication and generosity of members like you, we get closer to achieving that vision every day. I am excited to share highlights from the past year with you and take a look at what 2023 will have in store for SABR.

Then, I will invite you to join SABR’s Bring It Home Campaign, a collective effort to continue to support SABR’s core programming, fund new initiatives, and help us maintain affordable membership rates.

Donate today to help SABR Bring it Home in 2022!

First, here are some highlights from an exciting, successful year:

  • SABR now has more members than at any other time in our history, as we boast nearly 7,300 members. Because of support like yours, membership dues have remained static for more than a decade! In addition, we now have a combined total of 123 chapters, research committees, and chartered communities. This continued growth is thanks to the tireless efforts of our membership ambassadors, chapter leaders, and other volunteers. Volunteers are at the heart of SABR’s success and an estimated 900 members volunteer in some way. It is incredibly exciting to see how many people are energized by the opportunities available within SABR!
  • SABR events continue to provide great connections between members and the broader baseball community. Event highlights from this year include:
    • Nearly 1,000 students attended the SABR Virtual Analytics Conference and 20 student teams participated in the Diamond Dollars Case Competition.
    • The Jerry Malloy Negro League Conference returned in person to Birmingham, Alabama, where attendees visited Rickwood Field, the Negro Southern League Museum, and the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute.
    • SABR 50 included talks from the staff of the Baltimore Orioles, Babe Ruth Birthplace and Museum, as well as Judy Pace Flood, Boog Powell, Tim Kurkjian, and many more.
    • February marked the launch of Ballpark Figures with Shakeia Taylor. This members-only interview series is a joyful look at contemporary and historical baseball topics. Guests have included Mina Kimes, Randy Wilkins, and Todd Radom.

      Your support ensures the growth and future of these events and several others—including the Women in Baseball Conference and 19th Century Conference—which showcase the breadth and depth of our members’ interests and their expertise.

  • In January we launched our SABR Analytics Certification program which is designed to provide learning opportunities to assist with a career in baseball. Aspiring writers, broadcasters, scouts, and front office personnel will benefit from these courses. Nearly 350 people have already taken the entry-level course and we will be launching our second course later this year.
  • The SABR Local Grants program is funding seven new projects in 2022. This program provides an opportunity for chapters, research committees, and chartered communities to apply for funding for their projects under SABR’s Four Pillars: Research, Scholarship, Preservation, and Future of the Game. The 2022 projects are:
    • Kelly Field Historical Marker (Central Florida Chapter)
    • Glovers Park Museum Display (Cliff Kachline Chapter)
    • Three Rivers Stadium Second Base Marker (Forbes Field Chapter)
    • Minnesota History Day Award (Halsey Hall Chapter)
    • Capturing and Visiting Baseball’s History (Jack Graney Chapter)
    • Rickwood Field Wall Repainting (Rickwood Field Chapter)
    • Southern Michigan Baseball Passport (Southern Michigan Chapter)

      This program will continue to grow in future years and will provide our chapters and research committees with the funds they need to make an impact at the local level.

  • Through our SABR Digital Library, we are on pace to publish 10 original baseball books this year. We have also continued to publish our flagship Baseball Research Journal, The National Pastime convention journal, and hundreds of new articles on the SABR website through the BioProject and Games Project.
  • The Century Committee also led the effort to publish a pair of in-depth features on The first covered Jackie Robinson on the 75th anniversary of his debut and the second focused on baseball and the Supreme Court. These projects were great collaborations with other research committees and a tremendous resource for anyone interested in either subject.

None of these accomplishments would have been possible without your generosity — which is why I hope you will renew or even increase your support today.

We will continue to introduce new initiatives and projects in 2023 and I’m excited to share a few of them with you today.

  • SABR has received files from the office of Minor League Baseball, formerly the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues. These files include president’s bulletins and player contracts from throughout the collective history of these organizations. We will work to make the files accessible for members and researchers.
  • The third course in the Analytics Certification program will launch in 2023, with the second course slated to be released later this year.
  • We also have a plan for the Rucker Archive of historical baseball photographs that should be exciting for everyone. We will share details about that effort in early 2023.

As you can see, we have been plenty busy in the last year at SABR HQ and will continue to pour our energy into exciting projects in 2023.

Members like you are helping us turn our shared vision into a reality. As 2022 draws to a close, I hope you will renew and, if your means allow, even increase your support for SABR’s mission.

You can support SABR’s Bring It Home campaign by making an online gift of $150 or more. We will use your best gift of $150, $300, $500, $1,000, or whatever your means allow to support core programming like the Jerry Malloy Negro League Conference; to support new initiatives like the Local Grants program; and to maintain affordable membership access.

Donate today to help SABR Bring it Home in 2022!

All donors supporting the Bring It Home campaign with a $150 gift or more will receive a paperback copy of the forthcoming SABR book on Giants legend Willie Mays (Spring 2023).

Donors providing a gift of $300 or more will receive the Willie Mays book as well as a SABR paperback book of your choice.

Donors supporting SABR with a gift of $500 or more will also receive a SABR polo shirt. Pretty cool, right?

Baseball makes the world better! Thank you so much for believing that, and for joining us in this endeavor.

Yours in baseball,

Scott Bush

P.S. Please do not hesitate to contact our office if you have questions or would like to contribute an idea. We love to hear from our members. Thank you again for all your support this year!

Originally published: October 18, 2022. Last Updated: November 7, 2022.