No True Sense of History Without a Sense of Place

From SABR member Jane Leavy at The New York Times on October 22, 2011, with mention of SABR members Alan Nathan, John Thorn, Chris Epting and Morris Eckhouse:

Among the games people play, baseball is distinguished by the preservation of landmark numbers — 56, .367, 2,632, 4,256. But Major League Baseball does precious little to preserve the places where the game once breathed.

Last week, after more than five years of hectoring by the former Washington Senators public-address announcer Charlie Brotman, a sign marking Griffith Stadium — where the tape measure home run was born — was finally erected on Seventh Street NW.


Clark Griffith, the grandson of the scion of woeful Washington baseball, took one look and knew it was wrong.

“I was stunned how off it was,” Griffith said. “That the position was so wrong and the orientation was so wrong.”


For a baseball biographer, documenting the landscape is an essential part of holding myth accountable to history.

Too often, the places at the heart of the game go unmarked, unnoticed and untended.

“Baseball fans are concerned with who and how many,” said John Thorn, baseball’s official historian. “Place matters — that’s where our great ghosts come to life.”

Read the full article here:

Originally published: October 22, 2011. Last Updated: October 22, 2011.