Sports Analytics Blog: Interview with former SABR President Cappy Gagnon

From Sports Analytics Blog on April 15, 2013, with former SABR President Cappy Gagnon:

Cappy Gagnon served as President of the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR) in 1984 and 1985 and served on its board of directors from 1987-1990.  Cappy has been featured in several publications and is considered an expert in the baseball industry.  Bill James has footnoted or credited him in four of his books, Allan Roth (the first Major League Baseball team statistician) consulted with him on his final book, and Hall of Famer Hank Greenberg wrote “they couldn’t find a better man for the job” when Cappy was elected President of SABR.

How did you get interested and first involved in SABR? 

Like most of you guys, I was the perfect guy to join SABR, but not knowing that something like this existed.  I was then a regular reader of THE SPORTING NEWS (called The Baseball Bible).  When I moved to Washington D.C., in early 1977, I read a blurb in TSN describing SABR and its founder, who lived in D.C.  I called him and joined the next day.  But, from the time I was a little kid (9-10), I was SABR-esque.  For example, I had a large baseball card collection and memorized the backs of them.  I kept a large file of newspaper clippings about various baseball topics.  I played a lot of two baseball table games (Ethan Allen’s All Star Baseball and APBA).  A kid I played baseball with invented a baseball game that he and I played.  My dad would introduce me to the big baseball fans he worked with and tell them “Ask Cap any question and see if you can stump him”.  I was an idiot savant.

What was your time as SABR President like? 

It was wonderful being able to meet so many people in the game of baseball because of my position and also to have a closer relationship with some SABR legends, like Bob Davids, Bill James, Pete Palmer, and John Thorn.

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Originally published: April 15, 2013. Last Updated: April 15, 2013.