Nelson: SABR member Jim Yeager keeps spirit alive in ‘the people’s game’

From Rex Nelson at the Northwest Arkansas Democrat Gazette on August 4, 2018, with mention of SABR members Jim Yeager and Mike Dugan:

On Aug. 10, 1971, L. Robert Davis met 15 other baseball researchers at the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y., to discuss their mutual interests. That meeting marked the beginning of the Society for American Baseball Research, commonly known as SABR. A decade after its founding, there were almost 1,500 members. There are now more than 6,000.

Detroit Tigers announcer Ernie Harwell once said, “SABR is the Phi Beta Kappa of baseball, providing scholarship the sport has long needed.”

Arkansas has never had a major league team, but the state boasts one of the most active SABR chapters and some of the country’s best baseball historians. One of those is Jim Yeager of Russellville. I’ve met Yeager on this day at the Old Bank Sports Grill, which is in a masterful restoration of downtown Russellville buildings that once housed a bank and a pharmacy. We’re joined by Hot Springs businessman Mike Dugan, who has done so much through the years to unearth the history of spring training in that city; Little Rock accountant Jim Rasco, who long has served as the historian of the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame; and history professor Tom DeBlack, who recently retired from his teaching gig at Arkansas Tech University.

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Originally published: August 6, 2018. Last Updated: August 6, 2018.