By Jim Leefers
On Saturday, August 22, 2015, SABR’s Bob Broeg St. Louis Chapter hosted its inaugural Research Conference at the Sachs Branch of the St. Louis County Library in Chesterfield, Missouri. There were 21 observers as five speakers presented a diverse group of subjects as they vied for the first Jim Rygelski Research Award bestowed by the local chapter.
The award is named for the chapter’s late past president, who had a great passion and love for the research portion of our organization. “It is part of the organization’s name,” he would say, insisting that one or two research presentations be given at the monthly chapter meetings.
Chapter president Brian Flaspohler welcomed everyone and thanked the presenters, who were each awarded with a certificate of merit for their participation.
The first presenter was Allison Levin, who has also done presentations at the SABR Analytics Conference and the recent SABR 45 convention in Chicago. Her subject was titled “The Leadership Game: The Role Billy Beane Played in Changing Baseball.” She spoke about how Beane was pretty much in the forefront of using statistical analysis to assemble an efficient and winning ballclub. She interspersed her presentation with a couple of clips from the recent movie Moneyball.
Next up was former Bob Davids Award recipient Robert Tiemann. The title of his presentation was “Babe Ruth, 1915 Rookie of the Year.” Tiemann chronicled Ruth’s year in a game-by-game account, highlighting his pitching prowess with an occasional “Did I mention he could hit, too?” With a mound record of 18-8 combined with a .315 batting average and four home runs, Tiemann presented his case that had the award existed the Babe could have easily been the Rookie of the Year.
Celeste Czarnecki was the third presenter. A former Financial Systems Analyst for Anheuser-Busch, her topic was “4BaseScore – A Data Visualized View of the Traditional Scorecard.” It is an idea whose origin came back in June 2013 when she was watching a game and wondered at that point “Who is my team’s MVP?” She has come up with a new and unique scorecard system that measures a player’s in-game contribution. You can visit www.4basescore.com to see this innovative idea.
Batting clean-up for the afternoon was Dwayne Isgrig with his presentation, “The History of the Integration of the St. Louis Browns in the Summer of 1947.” The Browns were the second American League team to integrate (following the Cleveland Indians with Larry Doby) adding Negro League players Hank Thompson and Willard Brown to the roster in July. Thompson was also the first player to integrate the New York Giants in 1949.
The final presentation of the afternoon was by former SABR Director Steve Gietschier, who also chaired the 2007 SABR 37 national convention in St. Louis. His topic was “Uncle Sam Needs Only to Call: Baseball and the United States’ Peacetime Military Draft, 1940-1941.” World War II had broken out in Europe in 1939 and the United States was reluctant to enter into the war with an under-staffed and under-budgeted military. In September of 1940, President Roosevelt signed the Selective Training and Service Act, otherwise known as the draft. Gietschier spoke of the various reactions from both players and owners on the draft.
The panel of judges chose Celeste Czarnecki as the recipient of the first Jim Rygelski Research Award. Celeste received a monetary award of $200 and will receive the Rygelski Award at the chapter’s annual Hot Stove Luncheon in January. Steve Gietschier received the second-place award of $100 and Robert Tiemann won $50 for third place.
The next regular monthly chapter meeting will be Tuesday, September 15 at The Original Crusoe’s Restaurant in south St. Louis. All baseball fans are welcome to attend. For more information, click here.
View a photo gallery below, courtesy of Wayne Hebden:
Originally published: August 28, 2015. Last Updated: August 28, 2015.