From SABR member Bruce Markusen at The Hardball Times on March 25:
Earlier this month, longtime baseball historian [and SABR member] John Thorn raised a ruckus on the Internet when he suggested that too much of today’s baseball writing focuses on statistics and sabermetrics and not enough concentrates on the colorful stories of the game’s past.
“For a whole generation of fans and fantasy players,” Thorn writes, “stats have begun to outstrip story and that seems to me a sad thing. Even the unverifiable hogwash that passed for fact or informed opinion in baseball circles not so long ago seems today wistfully enticing, for its energy if nothing else.” As one of the leading statistical researchers of the last three decades, Thorn takes some of the blame himself, so it’s not as if he’s just pointing the fingers at others.
There are a few people writing about baseball history from a standpoint other than “statistical evaluation”—and I guess I’m one of those people, along with our own Steve Treder—but they are generally outnumbered by those who specialize in sabermetric analysis. Now maybe it’s just the law of supply and demand at work here, and that’s fine, but as someone who loves baseball history, I personally appreciate those articles that mix a heavy helping of colorful stories with smaller dashes of statistical insight.
So let’s get started. And let’s use [SABR member Mark] Armour’s excellent suggestion as our starting point: the career of Bobby Grich.
Read the full article here: http://www.hardballtimes.com/main/article/cooperstown-confidential-stories-of-bobby-grich/
Originally published: March 27, 2011. Last Updated: March 27, 2011.