SABR announces 2015 Henry Chadwick Award recipients

The Society for American Baseball Research is pleased to announce the 2015 recipients of the Henry Chadwick Award, established to honor the game’s great researchers—historians, statisticians, annalists, and archivists—for their invaluable contributions to making baseball the game that links America’s present with its past.

The 2015 recipients of the Henry Chadwick Award are:

  • David Block (1944 – ): Before David Block, historians had snatched baseball’s paternity away from Abner Doubleday. Questions were arising about Alexander Cartwright’s rights to fatherhood. Block went further, beyond even Robert Henderson, to determine that baseball was, in fact, fatherless. It was Darwinian. It had evolved. In 2005, his early research was published as Baseball Before We Knew It, the 2006 Seymour Medal winner. It was a study of references to games called some variant of Base Ball which were published long before Cartwright and the Knickerbocker rules. His research continued, using dictionaries, novels and diaries that contained references to the game from 18th- and early 19th-century England. Block’s thoroughly documented work has given new definition and impetus to research on baseball’s origins. It has pushed the research back across the Atlantic, where Block has been happily collecting further references and polishing his earlier ideas. David lives in San Francisco with his wife, Barbara.
  • Dick Cramer (1942 – ): Cramer has been doing sabermetrics for just about as long as anyone alive. He started analyzing baseball statistics in the middle 1960s, not long after graduating from Harvard, and by 1969 Cramer had discovered (or re-invented) a worthy metric now known as OPS. In 1971, Cramer discovered SABR via a squib in The Sporting News; in short order, Bob Davids introduced him to Pete Palmer. In the ‘70s, Cramer served SABR in various positions and published a great deal of research, including work on clutch hitting that remains a touchstone 40 years later. In 1980, Cramer co-founded STATS Inc. and remained involved with that company until 1994. After a decade-long hiatus, Cramer returned to baseball in 2004, doing important work with Dave Smith and Retrosheet since then.
  • Bill Deane (1957 – ): Deane served as the Senior Research Associate at the National Baseball Hall of Fame Library from 1986 to 1994, where he helped earn the library in Cooperstown an international reputation for timely and accurate service to baseball fans, scholars, and media personnel. Bill’s personal research interests delve into both the game’s numbers and its history. They include an ongoing list of players who homered in their final major league at bats; an ongoing list of major leaguers who were murdered, committed suicide, or died accidental deaths; the documenting successful executions of the hidden-ball trick; and the debunking and disproving of baseball myths. His compilation of the voting breakdowns for every MVP, Cy Young, and Rookie of the Year Award election since 1911 formed the basis of his “Awards and Honors” chapter in Total Baseball and his book, Award Voting, won the SABR-Macmillan Baseball Research Award in 1989. Bill was somewhat of a “boy wonder” (by SABR standards) when he was recognized with a SABR salute in 2001 at the tender age of 44.
  • Jerry Malloy (1946-2000): Malloy was a pioneer researcher who has been honored by the creation of an annual Negro League Conference named for him, as well as a book prize. His first great contribution to baseball history was “Out at Home: Baseball Draws the Color Line, 1887.” This monumentally important essay, published in The National Pastime in 1983, transformed our understanding of black baseball and won commendation from C. Vann Woodward, the preeminent historian of American race relations. Malloy’s subsequent work included a contextual republication of Sol White’s History of Colored Baseball with Other Documents on the Early Black Game, 1886–1936. The late Jules Tygiel, also a Chadwick Award recipient, said of him, “His articles for SABR were pathbreaking and exceptional and rank among the very best this organization has ever published. Even more so, I doubt that the best among us have ever been as generous with their research and support as was Jerry.”
  • David Nemec (1938 –  ): A past recipient of the SABR Baseball Research Award, Nemec is best known for his work in the field of 19th-century baseball history. A college ballplayer at Ohio State before he settled in California’s Bay Area, Nemec got started writing baseball trivia books in the 1970s. He moved on to writing a history of the game’s rules before delivering his signature contributions in the ’90s: The Beer and Whisky League: The Illustrated History of the American Association—Baseball’s Renegade Major League (1995) and The Great Encyclopedia of Nineteenth Century Major League Baseball (1997), still cited as the definitive treatment of the subject even before it was expanded and republished in 2006. In recent years, he has also compiled and edited a comprehensive trilogy of biographies for 19th-century baseball figures, culminating in The Rank and File of 19th Century Major League Baseball: Biographies of 1,084 Players, Owners, Managers and Umpires (2012). However, his contributions to research of the game far transcend a single category, more regularly aiming at entertaining baseball fans of any era. Nemec’s interests have also ranged far beyond baseball, as he’s a playwright who also has eight novels and true crime nonfiction titles to his credit.

By honoring individuals for the length and breadth of their contribution to the study and enjoyment of baseball, the Chadwick Award will educate the baseball community about sometimes little known but vastly important contributions from the game’s past and thus encourage the next generation of researchers.

The criteria for the award reads in part: The contributions of nominees must have had public impact. This may be demonstrated by publication of research in any of a variety of formats: books, magazine articles, websites, etc. The compilation of a significant database or archive that has facilitated the published research of others will also be considered in the realm of public impact.

For a complete list of Chadwick Award winners, click here.

Originally published: February 3, 2015. Last Updated: February 3, 2015.