Pioneer Press: A Q&A with Stew Thornley

From Bob Sansevere at the St. Paul Pioneer Press on April 24, 2013, with SABR member Stew Thornley:


Sixteen people started the Society of Baseball Research in 1971. It has grown to more than 6,000 members and spawned the type of statistical and analytical research that has changed the way baseball numbers are viewed.

Featured on the website is this quote from the late Ernie Harwell, the legendary broadcaster for the Detroit Tigers, “SABR is the Phi Beta Kappa of baseball, providing scholarship which the sport has long needed.”

There are [dozens] of local chapters across the nation, including the Minnesota-based Halsey Hall Chapter that began in 1985.

I talked with Stew Thornley, the first president of the Halsey Hall Chapter and a SABR member since 1979. Thornley also has been an official scorer for the Minnesota Twins since 2007.

BS: Do you have to be a stat freak to be a member of SABR?

ST: No, because I’m not one myself. I know a lot of them. I was a stat freak growing up and going into the box scores and all that. My interest is history, ballparks, minor leagues. A big part of our membership is people into statistical analysis.

BS: So I’m guessing you can’t tell me how many runners Babe Ruth left in scoring position during the 1924 season?

ST: I’m not sure anybody can. That brings up something that might have that information. started in the 1990s by trying to factor play-by-play information for games (where that information didn’t readily exist). They started going through newspapers that might have complete play-by-play. They are getting information so that maybe you can know how many runners Babe Ruth left in scoring position during 1924.

Read the full article here:

Related link: To learn more about the Halsey Hall Chapter, visit

Originally published: April 24, 2013. Last Updated: April 24, 2013.