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This article was published in The National Pastime: Steel City Stories (Pittsburgh, 2018)
A note from the editor of The National Pastime.SABRen, welcome to “The Burgh,” home to some truly significant episodes in baseball history, being not only the home to the great Negro Leagues teams the Homestead Grays and Pittsburgh Crawfords, but to a major-league team who came by their name honestly — no pun intended — for what others called the “piratical” practice of poaching players.
The articles in this volume are arranged roughly chronologically, starting from the opening of Forbes Field in 1909 and carrying through to the annual ritual that takes place every October at the section of the Forbes Field outfield wall that still stands today. Fans re-live the magic of Game Seven of the 1960 World Series on the very spot where Bill Mazeroski’s home run flew like David’s stone into the head of Goliath. Sounds like nearly as much fun as the annual ritual known as the SABR National Convention, which brings us to a different city every year, and thus a different theme for The National Pastime.
The greats are here of course: Honus Wagner, Josh Gibson, Roberto Clemente, Wille Stargell, but as usual for a SABR publication we look for the angles and storylines in history that aren’t in Baseball History 101. So we’ll look at Honus Wagner’s election bid for sheriff, pitcher Mudcat Grant’s singing career in the time of Jim Crow, and the exploits of a Guy named Bush. It wouldn’t be SABR without a little number-crunching, so enjoy the retroactive analysis of Honus Wagner as a “five-tool player” and the conclusion that the Cubs’ greatest rivals are none other than the Pirates. If you’re at the SABR 48 convention, you may get to debate that point with the author, perhaps over libations. If you’re not at the convention, it’s not too late to join SABR (anyone may join) and be a part of the fun next year!
— Cecilia M. Tan, Publications Director