Appel: “Who’s Who in Baseball” turns 100

From Don Gonyea at NPR’s All Things Considered on March 19, 2015, with SABR member Marty Appel:

NPR’s Don Gonyea talks with baseball historian Marty Appel about the appeal of of “Who’s Who in Baseball,” which celebrates its 100th issue this year.


Every year at this time it pops up on the shelves at the newsstand. It’s in the baseball section, and amid all of the glossy publications listing this year’s hot prospects and Rotisserie league tips and predictions for the World Series sits a little red book – 5 inches by 8 inches, soft cover, no frills. It has survived since early last century by doing one very basic thing – providing complete statistics for every player currently active in the major leagues. It’s called “Who’s Who In Baseball.” And its 100th issue is now on the stands. I got mine this past weekend, as I do every year around spring training, and my next guest is such a fan of the publication he’s collected all 100 issues. Marty Appel, welcome.

MARTY APPEL: Thank you, great to be with you as with baseball season approaches.

GONYEA: Yeah. So you have written the forward to this year’s edition. You’ve also written a forward to a book just out called “100 Years Of Who’s Who In Baseball” that compiles all 100 covers. For those who don’t know why we are so crazy about this little book, explain. What’s the appeal?

APPEL: The appeal is it’s got it all. It’s got every player. It’s got his minor league year-by-year; his major league year-by-year. It’s portable; you can carry it around with you. You can keep it on the coffee table during the season. It just makes you feel like spring.

GONYEA: The first issue actually came out in 1912, and on the cover is not a photo, but a drawing of Ty Cobb. He was the dominant player of that era.

APPEL: He was indeed, and he was the symbol of what we call the Deadball Era.

Read the full article or listen to the interview here:

Originally published: March 19, 2015. Last Updated: March 19, 2015.