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This article was published in the Fall 2019 Baseball Research Journal
A note from the editor of the Baseball Research Journal.A chill is in the New England air as I type this. The seasons are turning, as they always do, and I find myself looking simultaneously forward and back. In the coming year, 2020, SABR will host its 50th national convention and kick off a 50th anniversary year that we’ll celebrate in myriad ways.
One will be with the publication of a SABR “greatest hits” book, SABR 50 at 50, by University of Nebraska Press, which compiles 50 articles spread over SABR’s history. I spent some time prepping the articles for the publisher, giving myself a refresher course in SABR’s own history in the process. But that’s not the only reason SABR history has been on my mind.
A member wrote me last week to ask if I had a copy of a SABR publication I had never seen, Texas is Baseball Country. I could not locate a copy, even through Amazon or Alibris, and the main office did not have one. (If you have a copy, please let me know. In the age of the ebook I can rescue any previously “lost” book from obscurity and make it available again.) SABR’s publication history is vast, and it’s growing faster than ever right now.
I’m also feeling the urge to make indelible records because we lost some well-known SABR researchers in the past year. Rob Edelman, film historian and frequent BRJ contributor, passed away unexpectedly in May. Then there was Cuban baseball expert Peter Bjarkman, whom we lost this time last year. I came across his picture serendipitously: Mark Rucker’s photo essay in this issue ironically entitled “Baseball Archeology” had been overlooked in the move of the SABR office from Cleveland to Phoenix, shipped to me on CD-ROM, and then unwittingly buried in my home office. I’m happy to be able to give it the light of day at last, in Peter’s memory.
Another article excavated at the same time was a manual typescript from one of the longest contributing members to SABR publications, Art Ahrens. That piece on pitcher Carl Lundgren runs in this issue, but the earliest publication I could find that contained an article by Art was the second issue of the Baseball Research Journal, dated 1973. Also in that issue? Pete Palmer’s original “On Base Average” article, a topic he revisits somewhat in this issue’s “Why OPS Works.”
SABR. We predict; we chronicle; we look both forward and back. I’m honored to be a part of it and I hope you are, too.
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CECILIA M. TAN is SABR’s Publications Editor. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.