SABR 42: Fitts, Andres win convention presentation awards

Rob Fitts, an award-winning author and founder of the SABR Asian Baseball Research Committee, has won the 2012 Doug Pappas Award for the best oral research presentation and Andy Andres, a professor at Boston University and Tufts University, won the USA Today Sports Weekly Award for the best poster presentation at SABR 42 in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Fitts, the author of Remembering Japanese Baseball: An Oral History of the Game and other books, won for a presentation called Murderers, Spies, and Ballplayers: The Untold Story of the 1934 All American Tour of Asia,” which he delivered Thursday during SABR 42 at the Marriott City Center. His abstract is posted below:

Of all the great barnstorming tours in baseball history, few are more legendary than the 1934 All American tour of Asia. For six weeks, more than half-million fans across Japan, China, the Philippines and Hawaii paid to watch one of the greatest teams ever assembled that included Ruth, Gehrig, and many other future Hall of Famers. Fitts will examine the intrigue surrounding the 1934 tour using sources unexamined by baseball historians, including tour participant Moe Berg’s possible foray into espionage, the attempted assassination of tour organizer Matsutaro Shoriki, and the plot to topple Japanese democracy.

The Doug Pappas Award — originally established as the USA Today Sports Weekly Award in 1992 and renamed in 2004 to honor the late baseball researcher — includes a $250 cash prize with a matching amount donated to SABR.

Andres, with James Tetler, won the award for their poster presentation Release Point and Ulnar Collateral Ligament Injuries. Their abstract is posted below:

The arrival and dissemination of the Pitch F/X tracking database has opened up many new avenues for baseball researchers. In this poster, Tetler and Andres hypothesize that it might be possible to recognize the development of a potentially serious arm injury by examining patterns and trends in a pitcher’s release point. If there is something to this hypothesis, it might be possible to treat UCL injuries earlier and with less surgical trauma, preserving careers and saving valuable medical dollars. Modeling release point from the horizontal and vertical coordinates in Pitch F/X with pitchers known to have suffered UCL damage, they evaluate the evidence for and against their biomechanical hypothesis.

The USA Today Sports Weekly Award — first presented in 1990 as the John W. Cox Award — includes a $125 cash prize with a matching donation to SABR.

Honorable mentions for the oral presentation were:

  • Bruce Allardice, “‘The inauguration of this noble and manly game among us’ – The Spread of Baseball in the South prior to 1870”
  • Bob Buege and Paul Haas, “How Warren Spahn Almost Ruined SABR”
  • Alan Nathan, “What Have We Learned from a Decade of Bat Research?”

Honorable mention for the poster presentation was Stew Thornley’s “Baseball Graves.”

For more coverage of SABR 42, visit

Originally published: June 30, 2012. Last Updated: July 27, 2020.