The 2020 SABR Baseball Research Awards, which honor outstanding research projects completed during the preceding calendar year that have significantly expanded our knowledge or understanding of baseball, have been awarded to:
- César Brioso, Last Seasons in Havana: The Castro Revolution and the End of Professional Baseball in Cuba (University of Nebraska Press)
- Roberta J. Newman, Here’s the Pitch: The Amazing, True, New, and Improved Story of Baseball and Advertising (University of Nebraska Press)
- Christopher Phillips, Scouting and Scoring: How We Know What We Know about Baseball (Princeton University Press)
The selection committee of Bill Felber (chair), Tara Krieger, and Larry Levine released the following statements about the winning books:
- On Brioso’s Last Seasons in Havana: “Brioso successfully inter-links the development of the Cuban revolution with baseball. He displays a firm grasp of both elements of the story independently, and he knows how to demonstrate the impact of the revolution on the game …as well as on every-day life.”
- On Newman’s Here’s the Pitch: “From tobacco cards to sexual performance drugs, this book is a well-written and fairly thorough look at the development of advertising/promotion as it inter-related to baseball.”
- On Phillips’s Scouting and Scoring: “Phillips combined solid research with excellent writing and talked to a wide variety of sources, who were the right people to talk to. The reader will learn things about research into scouting that he or she didn’t previously know. Especially enlightening are the detailed conversations with and reports from baseball scouts. Who knew Mike Scioscia was only a 55?”
Brioso is a digital producer and former baseball editor for USA Today Sports. He has also written for the Miami Herald and the South Florida Sun-Sentinel and he is the author of Havana Hardball: Spring Training, Jackie Robinson, and the Cuban League.
Newman is a clinical professor in the Liberal Studies Program at New York University. She is the coauthor of Black Baseball, Black Business: Race Enterprise and the Fate of the Segregated Dollar.
Phillips is an associate professor of history at Carnegie Mellon University. He is the author of The New Math: A Political History. His work has appeared in such publications as the New York Times, Science, and Nature.
The SABR Baseball Research Award is designed to honor projects that do not fit the criteria for the Seymour Medal or the McFarland-SABR Baseball Research Award.
To see a complete list of SABR Baseball Research Award winners, click here.
Originally published: April 13, 2020. Last Updated: May 29, 2020.