Editor’s note: The Diamond Report is a series of monthly messages, written by SABR President Vince Gennaro and Executive Director Marc Appleman, to keep SABR members better informed about the Society’s direction and progress. The Diamond Report archives are collected at SABR.org/diamondreport. To learn more about becoming a SABR member, visit SABR.org/join.
October 1, 2012
By Vince Gennaro
In recent months, SABR leadership has placed a focus on stabilizing our financial base, so that we can thrive as the premier baseball research organization for generations to come. While many important and necessary issues were being addressed, we would also like to emphasize how much great research is going on today within SABR. As we forge relationships to better connect SABR to the broader baseball community and mount a donation drive to truly capitalize on our status as a nonprofit organization, we must always remember why we do these initiatives — to give us the resources so that we can excel at being a research organization.
That doesn’t mean all of SABR’s 6,000+ members are researchers. Many of our members simply want the best access to the stimulating and thought-provoking analysis, insights and historical documentation of baseball produced by our core researchers. But it does mean that without the efforts of these core researchers who put the “R” in SABR, we would be a very different organization.
I believe we are in the midst of the Golden Era of baseball research today. First, the Internet has increased the velocity at which information is shared. This means more access to data and historical accounts to produce research, as well as a greater opportunity to efficiently reach more people who consume our research. This is evident in the proliferation of websites and blogs that focus on baseball — its history and analysis. When you couple these realities with the popularity of the game today, I believe there has never been a better time to be a baseball researcher or SABR member.
I’d like to highlight just a few of the many great research efforts taking place within SABR today — work that is sure to have an enduring and lasting effect on baseball. Many of these projects are looking for more SABR members’ participation, which is a great way to become involved in a research project or collaborate with fellow members:
- SABR’s Asian Baseball Committee, under the leadership of Bill Staples Jr. and Daigo Fujiwara, helped launch the Japanese American Baseball Player Registry with the Nisei Baseball Research Project. The registry documents those who played in the Japanese American baseball leagues, pre- and post-war, and also inside U.S. internment camps during World War II.
- The BioProject Committee, led by Mark Armour, Bill Nowlin, Jan Finkel, Lyle Spatz, Warren Corbett and Trey Strecker, celebrated its 10th year in 2012, along with the publication of its 2,000th biography this summer. The BioProject continues to publish peer-reviewed, full-life biographies of major league players, along with encyclopedic articles on other baseball topics such as ballparks and events. The BioProject, which can be found at SABR.org/BioProject, is always seeking new submissions and it’s a great way to get involved with SABR.
- The Business of Baseball Committee, under Steve Weingarden, is making progress on its “History of the Winter Meetings” book project, which chronicles significant events occurring at each year’s winter meetings. This research will fill an important gap in the knowledge of baseball history.
- The Deadball Era Committee, under the leadership of John McMurray, is hard at work on a pictorial book that will chronicle each World Series from 1903 to 1919. Steve Steinberg is collecting all of the photos he can find from each Series, and Tom Simon is heading up the text, which will be in the style of G.H. Fleming’s books chronicling each series in the words of the reporters who covered them.
- The Negro Leagues Committee, co-chaired by Larry Lester and Richard Clark and supported by Leslie Heaphy, organizes the annual Jerry Malloy Negro League Conference, the only conference devoted exclusively to the study of black baseball. The Negro Leagues Baseball Grave Marker Project, led by Jeremy Krock, continues to raise funds to purchase headstones for unmarked graves of Negro Leaguers, a project that has drawn the attention of NBC, ESPN and other major media outlets.
- The Nineteenth Century Committee, headed by Peter Mancuso, will soon publish its “100 Greatest Games of the 19th Century” book, which promises to unveil more about compelling contests that have long been forgotten.
- The Origins Committee has been contributing to the “Spread of Baseball Project” at the SABR Encyclopedia, which tracks the diffusion of the New York Game across the United States and around the world. This project will form the basis of a special report to be delivered to MLB Commissioner Bud Selig.
- The Bibliography Committee, headed by former SABR President Andy McCue, is seeking volunteers to help upgrade the Baseball Index software and to add new listings to The Baseball Index database. Now in its 10th year, TBI contains more than 240,000 citations of baseball books, articles, videos, art, audio and other research materials.
- Finally, the Scouts Committee, co-chaired by Rod Nelson and Jim Sandoval, recently published the first book in SABR’s new Digital Library, Can He Play: A Look at Baseball Scouts And Their Profession, edited by Sandoval and Bill Nowlin, which examines the critical role of the scout in professional baseball.
This is just a sampling of some of the diverse research initiatives and projects within SABR today.
Vince Gennaro was elected as SABR’s President in 2011. He is also the author of “Diamond Dollars: The Economics of Winning in Baseball”, a consultant to Major League teams, and appears regularly on MLB Network. Read his blog, “Diamond Dollars”, at vincegennaro.mlblogs.com.
Originally published: September 30, 2012. Last Updated: September 30, 2012.