This Week in SABR: April 3, 2015

Welcome to “This Week in SABR!” Here’s what we’ve been up to as of April 3, 2015:

SABR 45: Hotel room block at Palmer House Hilton almost sold out

Are you planning to come to SABR 45 this summer in Chicago? Our hotel room block at the Palmer House Hilton is almost sold out, so book your room today.

Join us June 24-28, 2015, at the Palmer House Hilton for a full week of baseball fun at SABR 45. Click here to book your room at the Palmer House Hilton online. The deadline to book your room at the SABR group rate of $189/night (plus tax) is 11:59 p.m. MST Friday, May 15, 2015, or until our room block is full.

The Palmer House Hilton is at 17 East Monroe Street, Chicago, IL 60603, in the heart of the downtown Loop, near two CTA stops — from O’Hare Airport, take the Blue Line to Monroe/Dearborn stop and then walk two blocks east on Monroe; from Midway Airport, take the Orange Line to the Adams/Wabash stop. If you have any questions about your reservation, please call the hotel at (312) 726-7500.

For more information on SABR 45, visit

  • Note: If you have already reserved your hotel room but have NOT registered to attend SABR 45, please go ahead and do that soon so we can get a more accurate count of our room block capacity. Early registration is available until May 15. Click here to register for SABR 45.

Read the Spring 2015 Baseball Research Journal online

SABR members, you can now read articles from the Spring 2015 edition of the Baseball Research Journal online at

Those of you who receive the print edition should find your BRJ arriving in the next two to three weeks. For digital subscribers, the e-book edition was delivered to your inboxes on Thursday.

Here’s a note from Publications Editor Cecilia Tan about the Spring 2015 BRJ:

Spring is here! I don’t care if I still have six-foot high snow mounds in front of my house. If baseball season is here, it is officially spring, and winter can go stuff it. Migratory birds are onto something, leaving town and then coming back just in time for Opening Day and baseball season. I’m ready for a new season to unspool into history.

Every season has its twists and surprises. To be prepared for some of what’s to come, I just peeked at’s “milestones” tracker. I see it predicts that if Alex Rodriguez returns to the field (as is currently expected) and stays healthy, he’ll pass the 3,000-hit milestone by mid-June. In fact, he’s poised to climb several of the all-time records lists; hits, runs scored, home runs, RBIs, games played, and a few other choice stats-ladders could see him moving up several rungs. But Rodriguez has demonstrated an uncanny knack for eliciting criticism in the face of success which will add intrigue to the numbers. If he passes Joe Morgan (34th) on the games-played list, or Stan Musial (8th) on the runs-scored list, comparisons beyond mere numbers will be inevitable. Can “character” be quantified?

I don’t mean that as a rhetorical question. I believe in the future we will see “intangibles” made tangible, “team chemistry” formulas, and psychological “makeup” measured in a useful way. Any major league team that believes they’ll find value and competitive advantage in it will be studying it. Scott Boras, when addressing the SABR convention in 2011, spoke at length about Harvey Dorfman, a pioneer in the mental aspect of baseball training. An article in this issue discusses Dorfman’s life and works.

The difference between a team’s Decision Sciences experts and many of us in SABR is this: their job is to look forward, our job is to look back. But ultimately the goal is the same: understand this game. We are still probing for ways to account for comparisons across eras, not only deadball/live ball but PED/non-PED. Our search for understanding requires cleaning the dataset, as Herm Krabbenhoft is doing with pre-1920 RBI records, and imagining what might have happened if things had been different, as Chuck Hildebrandt (with the help of thousands of SABR voters) did with simulations of All-Star Games that never were. We look at the rules and how they’ve changed, from Richard Hershberger’s discussion of the origin of the “dropped third strike” rule to Gil Imber’s analysis of the oh-so-recent introduction of video instant replay to MLB.

Stats show us unlikely is not the same as impossible, and that our idea of “usual” may be unusual. A “typical” issue of the Baseball Research Journal contains 15–20 articles which are “usually” between 2,500 and 6,500 words long. That is like saying the typical big-league inning has five batters who see five pitches each. (I’m making those numbers up, by the way: I’m certain someone has determined the actual means and medians.) But what is memorable is often what is atypical or unusual. This issue of the BRJ is atypical in that it contains fewer articles than usual, but several are longer than usual, which balances out. Like we always say, you have to play the games.

Play ball!

To learn more about contributing to a future SABR publication, click here.

We hope you enjoy reading the Spring 2015 Baseball Research Journal!

2015 SABR Election Guide now available online

SABR members, the 2015 Board of Directors election beginning on April 15 will include four ballot items: the election of the SABR  President, Secretary, one Director’s position, and one By-Laws amendment change.

The candidates up for election are:

For President

  • Vince Gennaro (incumbent)

For Secretary

  • Todd Lebowitz (incumbent)

For Director

  • George R. Skornickel
  • Ty Waterman (incumbent)

You can read the proposed By-Laws changes, candidate biographies, along with full descriptions of the positions and responses the candidates made to a series of questions, in the 2015 SABR Election Guide below:

All members with an e-mail address on file as of April 1, 2015, will receive an e-mail on Wednesday, April 15 with a link to vote online in the 2015 SABR Board of Directors election. The poll will close at 11:59 p.m. Mountain Standard Time on Wednesday, April 29, 2015. The only way to vote online is through the link you will receive by e-mail. All e-mails will come from the address; if you wish to add it to a whitelist in your e-mail client, that may help ensure that you will receive the e-mails.

For more information on the 2015 SABR election, click here.

SABR 45: Early registration, all-inclusive discounts close on May 15

Early registration for the SABR 45 convention, June 24-28, 2015, in Chicago, is now available at Just a reminder that our ticket block for the Cubs-Dodgers game on Thursday, June 25 at Wrigley Field is limited and the game is expected to sell out. Game tickets in the SABR block will not be available after early registration ends on May 15 and will not be sold on-site during the convention.

Click here for complete information on SABR 45 registration rates, all-inclusive packages, and optional sessions. Or click here to register for SABR 45. More details on guest speakers, panelists, and presenters will be announced soon.

  • Conference registration: Click here for complete information on SABR 45 registration rates. Once again, we’re offering a discounted all-inclusive package for the annual SABR convention. For a savings of $44 off the regular rate, SABR members can get:

         — 1 full conference registration (regular rate: $199)
         — Choose: 1 Upper Deck Box ticket to the Cubs game on Thursday, June 25 (regular: $48) OR 1 Terrace Reserved ticket (regular: $38)
         — 1 round-trip ticket on the CTA Red Line train to and from Wrigley Field (regular: $6)
         — 1 ticket to the Awards Luncheon on Friday, June 26 (regular: $50)

    The all-inclusive package is available to SABR members for $259 with an Upper Deck Box ticket or $249 with a Terrace Reserved ticket to the Cubs game instead, plus all of the above amenities. Please note: The all-inclusive packages are only available until May 15, 2015. Click here to register for SABR 45.

  • Cubs ballgame: At SABR 45, we’ll be attending the Cubs-Dodgers game on Thursday afternoon, June 25, at Wrigley Field. The SABR block of tickets is available in two sections when you register: Upper Deck Box-Outfield ($48) or Terrace Reserved-Outfield ($38). This game is expected to sell out and our ticket block is only available on a first-come, first-serve basis through Friday, May 15, 2015. Game tickets in the SABR block will NOT be available for purchase on-site at the convention. Please note: Your purchase of a SABR 45 all-inclusive package includes round-trip transportation to and from Wrigley Field on the CTA Red Line train. (Purchasing a game ticket as part of regular/a la carte registration does NOT include transportation.) Click here for more details on SABR 45 registration.
  • The Baseball Project concert: On Thursday evening, June 25, SABR 45 attendees will have a special opportunity to see The Baseball Project in concert in the Grand Ballroom at the Palmer House Hilton. Advance presale tickets are available for $25 members/$40 non-members when you register for SABR 45 before May 15, 2015. Tickets will be $40 online after May 15 or until the concert venue reaches capacity. Click here for more details.

Please note: The SABR 45 all-inclusive package includes 1 full conference registration; 1 ticket to the Cubs game on Thursday, June 25; 1 round-trip ticket on the CTA Red Line train; and 1 ticket to the Awards Luncheon on Friday, June 26. It does NOT include any other optional events such as the Downtown Baseball Walking Tour on Wednesday, June 24, The Baseball Project concert on Thursday, June 25, or the Historical Ballpark Sites Bus Tour on Sunday, June 28. Those tickets must be purchased separately.

All SABR 45 attendees will also receive a souvenir print edition of The National Pastime, our annual convention journal, focusing on baseball teams, players and events in the Chicago area. All SABR members, whether you attend the convention or not, will receive the expanded e-book edition of The National Pastime in their inboxes later this summer. Click here to register for SABR 45.

For more information on SABR 45, visit

SABR 45: Join us for a special concert with The Baseball Project

Attendees at the SABR 45 convention this summer in Chicago will have a special opportunity to see The Baseball Project in concert on Thursday, June 25, 2015, in the Grand Ballroom at the Palmer House Hilton.

Advance presale tickets for The Baseball Project at SABR 45 are available for an early-bird price of $25 members/$40 non-members when you register for the SABR convention online at before May 15, 2015. Tickets will be $40 online after May 15 or until the concert venue reaches capacity.

Formed in 2007 by Scott McCaughey (Young Fresh Fellows, The Minus 5, R.E.M.) and Steve Wynn (The Dream Syndicate, Steve Wynn and the Miracle 3, Gutterball), The Baseball Project began as a way for a couple of fans to pay musical tribute to our national pastime. But The Baseball Project has since blossomed into a full-fledged, much-loved band in its own right, one which includes drummer Linda Pitmon (Steve Wynn and the Miracle 3, Zuzu’s Petals), and Peter Buck and Mike Mills, founding members of R.E.M., one of the best-selling alternative rock bands of all time.

Their mutual love of baseball inspired them to record their first album, Volume 1: Frozen Ropes and Dying Quails, in 2008. It includes baseball-themed songs such as “Gratitude (For Curt Flood),” “The Yankee Flipper,” and “The Death of Big Ed Delahanty.” They followed up with Volume 2: High and Inside in 2011, which features the San Francisco Giants World Series-themed hit “Panda and the Freak” along with “Tony (Boston’s Chosen Son)” and “The Straw that Stirs the Drink.” Their third album, 3rd, was released in 2014.

To learn more about The Baseball Project, visit their website at or their YouTube channel at

(Note: For those interested, The Baseball Project concert will not conflict with the SABR 45 Trivia Contest preliminaries on the schedule.)

Registration for SABR 45 is now available at

Students: Apply for a Yoseloff Scholarship to attend SABR 45 in Chicago

With generous funding from The Anthony A. Yoseloff Foundation, Inc., SABR will award up to four scholarships to high school or college students to attend SABR 45 on June 24-28, 2015, in Chicago, Illinois. This scholarship will pay for registration, transportation and lodging (double occupancy) up to a total value of $1,250.

The objective of this scholarship fund is to encourage high school and college-level student engagement with baseball research and to engender an active interest in baseball and SABR. The Yoseloff scholarship is to assist young researchers who want to attend SABR’s annual convention and to introduce them to fellow SABR members. Through this fund, SABR hopes to inspire future baseball research, expose students to high-quality research and build the research capability of interested students.

All applications must be postmarked or e-mailed to Jeff Schatzki at no later than FRIDAY, APRIL 24, 2015.

For complete details and criteria, click here.

Listen to Behind the Numbers: Baseball SABR Style on SiriusXM

We invite you to listen to Behind the Numbers: Baseball SABR Style on SiriusXM, a new radio show hosted by SABR President Vince Gennaro, on Sunday nights on MLB Network Radio.

Baseball SABR Style focuses on examining and interpreting the statistical analysis that plays a critical role in baseball today. It will air weekly throughout the year on MLB Network Radio, available to subscribers nationwide on XM channel 89, Sirius channel 209, and on the SiriusXM Internet Radio App. (Recent shows are available afterward in the “on-demand” section of the SiriusXM app or website.)

For more information, click here.

Get a 20% discount off MLB.TV Premium Monthly subscriptions in 2015

With Opening Day right around the corner, you now have the opportunity to take advantage of a special offer from MLB Advanced Media for the 2015 season.

All SABR members can get a 20% discount off a MLB.TV Premium Monthly subscription. This discount is valid for each month of the 2015 season, so you can use it all year long:

With MLB.TV, you can watch every 2015 Regular Season out-of-market game LIVE or on-demand in HD Quality. Choose home or away broadcasts. MLB.TV is on your favorite devices, including iPhone, iPad, Android phones, Xbox 360, Sony PlayStation and more. Watch up to four games at once with Mosaic. DVR functionality lets you pause or rewind live games. PLUS, watch select 2015 Spring Training games LIVE online.

For any questions about your subscription, please contact MLB.TV Customer Service.

Womack: Catching up with Pete Palmer

From SABR member Graham Womack at Baseball Past and Present this week:

In researching recently for Veterans Committee ballots, I emailed official MLB historian and longtime baseball author John Thorn to see if he might know anything. Thorn replied, “Pete Palmer would know if anyone would” and put me in contact with him.

For more than 40 years, Palmer has been the person to go to for baseball questions even other researchers might not know. He is the researchers’ researcher,  one of the wise old men of the Society for American Baseball Research, which he joined a month after its founding in 1971. Tom Tango, one of the co-authors of the influential 2007 work on sabermetrics, The Book, told me via Twitter, “Pete Palmer was our Yoda.”

At 77, Palmer remains active in baseball research and is father to three school-aged children, as he remarried after being widowed.

Truth be told, I’ve long wanted to talk to Palmer, and shortly after we began emailing about Hall of Fame voting, I asked if he’d be up for a phone interview. He was. Highlights of our hour and 40 minute conversation from Monday can be found here:

SABR Digital Library: Who’s on First: Replacement Players in World War II

Add a book about baseball’s true “replacement players” to your collection with the newest title from the SABR Digital Library:

Who’s on First: Replacement Players in World War II
Edited by Marc Z. Aaron and Bill Nowlin
Associate editors: James Forr and Len Levin
ISBN (paperback): 978-1-933599-91-5
ISBN (e-book): 978-1-933599-90-8

418 pages

During the four seasons the U.S. was at war in World War II (1942-1945), 533 players made their major-league debuts. There were 67 first-time major leaguers under the age of 21 (Joe Nuxhall the youngest at 15 in 1944). More than 60 percent of the players in the 1941 Opening Day lineups departed for the service. The 1944 Dodgers had only Dixie Walker and Mickey Owen as the two regulars from their 1941 pennant-winning team.

The owners brought in not only first-timers but also many oldsters. Hod Lisenbee pitched 80 innings for the Reds in 1945 at the age of 46. He had last pitched in the major leagues in 1936. War veteran and former POW Bert Shepard, with an artificial leg, pitched in one game for the 1945 Senators, and one-armed outfielder Pete Gray played for the St. Louis Browns.

The war years featured firsts and lasts. The St. Louis Browns won their first (and last) pennant in 1944 — a feat made more amazing by the fact that they had not finished in the first division since 1929. The 1944 team featured 13 players classified as 4-F. The Chicago Cubs appeared in the 1945 World Series but have not made it back since.

More than 50 members of the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR) have contributed to this volume. We invite you to sit back and relax as you learn Who’s on First.

This book includes contributions from: Marc Z. Aaron, Thomas Ayers, Peter C. Bjarkman, Rich Bogovich, Bob Brady, Ashlie Christian, Alan Cohen, Rory Costello, Richard Cuicchi, Sidney Davis, Greg Erion, Charles Faber, Merrie A. Fidler, David Finoli, Duke Goldman, Rex Hamann, Rachel Hamelers, Tom Hawthorn, Leslie Heaphy, Lou Hernández, Michael Huber, Joanne Hulbert, Jay Hurd, David M. Jordan, Seamus Kearney, Marc Lancaster, Walter LeConte, Bob LeMoine, Barb Mantegani, Jeff Marlett, Mel Marmer, Bob Mayer, Mike McClary, Richard Moraski, Bill Nowlin, Jeff Obermeyer, Gregg Omoth, Armand Peterson, J.G. Preston, David W. Pugh, David Raglin, Chris Rainey, John Shannahan, James D. Smith III, Steve Smith, Lyle Spatz, Mark S. Sternman, Jim Sweetman, Cort Vitty, Charlie Weatherby, Bob Webster, Gregory H. Wolf, and Don Zminda.

SABR members, get this e-book for FREE!

8 new biographies published by the SABR BioProject

Eight new biographies were posted as part of the SABR Baseball Biography Project, which brings us to a total of 3,138 published biographies. Here are the new bios:

All new biographies can be found here:

You can find the SABR BioProject at

Bios on more than just ballplayers: The ambitious goal of the SABR Baseball Biography Project is to publish a full-life biography of every major league player in history. But SABR members write about a lot more than just ballplayers. In addition, we have pages for Ballparks, Broadcasters, Executives, Managers, Scouts, Spouses, Umpires and a lot more on the BioProject website. You can browse all of these categories at So if you’ve ever thought, “Hey, that person (or ballpark) should get the full BioProject treatment” — write the story and we’ll publish it!

Get involved! If you’d like to help contribute to the SABR BioProject, visit our BioProject Resources page or read the FAQs section to get started. We’re also looking to expand the BioProject to include all “encyclopedic” articles on baseball-related subjects from past SABR publications or committee newsletters. If you come across an article you think should be included in the SABR “baseball repository” at the BioProject, send a copy or link to or

Registration now open for 2015 Jerry Malloy Negro League Conference

The 18th annual Jerry Malloy Negro League Conference will be held August 6-8, 2015, at the Wyndham Grand Pittsburgh Downtown in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The conference is open to all baseball, history and sports fans of all ages.

  • Register today! Click here to register online at the SABR Store. Or click here to download a registration form (PDF); please mail your check or money order before July 31 to SABR Malloy Conference, 4455 E. Camelback Rd., Suite D-140, Phoenix, AZ 85018. Early registration is available until May 18, 2015.

    Early-bird registration is $155 for an adult rate (includes all activities) or $110 for a student rate. Single-day registration for Friday or Saturday is $90. The rate for the Thursday education forum only is $15. Optional sessions are also available.

The 2015 Jerry Malloy Negro League Conference will celebrate the rich history of black baseball in Pittsburgh. We welcome proposals for oral and poster presentations from all research fields. Previous presenters have included college faculty, public school teachers, graduate students, and independent scholars. Presentations may focus on any topic related to the theme, “Baseball’s Best: the Grays and the Crawfords,” or other Negro Leagues issues. Some possibilities include: Josh Gibson, Pittsburgh Crawfords, Gus Greenlee, Cum Posey, Vic Harris, Cool Papa Bell, the Crawford Grill, and many others.

Visit for information on the 2015 Call for Papers, Essay Contest, Art Contest, and Library Grant Program.

2015 SABR Frederick Ivor-Campbell 19th Century Conference is now sold out

Registration is now closed for the seventh annual Frederick Ivor-Campbell 19th Century Base Ball Conference, which will be held April 17-18, 2015, at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown, New York.

Anyone wishing to be placed on a waiting list in the event of cancellations should contact Peter Mancuso at The conference is open to all SABR members and up to two non-SABR family members or friends (ages 18 or over.)

The 2015 conference will be highlighted by a keynote address from baseball historian Jerrold Casway, along with a panel discussion, “Sporting News: Baseball in the 19th Century Press” with Jim Overmyer, Bob Tholkes, George Thompson, and John Thorn; a special presentation by James Brunson III (“Black Baseball: 1858-1900”); a Member Spotlight interview of Bob Bailey by Tom Simon; plus book signings, more research presentations, a welcome dinner, and more.

For more information, visit or contact Peter Mancuso at

Unpublished Averages list now available for 2015

SABR member Carlos Bauer has compiled an updated “Unpublished Averages List” through the 2014 professional baseball season. This file includes a yearly listing of statistics that never appeared in the various baseball guides, or in some cases, revised the poor stats that were published. Started by the late founding SABR member Bob McConnell and continued by Bauer ever since, the list includes compiled averages of minor league — including non-Organized Baseball leagues — and additional stats done for a league, and any new statistics in other sources (e.g., a newspaper).

The Unpublished Averages list can be found on SABR’s Research Resources page or by clicking here to download the list in .xls format (Microsoft Excel). If anyone would like to add to this list, which is made available each spring, please e-mail

Call for SABR award nominations

Please note: Only ONE entry per nomination will be considered (do not submit multiple nominations for the same award). For more information on SABR Awards, click here.

In Memoriam

  • SABR member Steven C. Lawrence, 80, of Greenville, Rhode Island, died March 22, 2015 at his home surrounded by his family. He joined SABR in 1980 and was active in the Lajoie-Start Southern New England Chapter. He was employed for 32 years in the investment department of Rhode Island Hospital Trust National Bank, retiring in 1990 as Vice President and Senior Portfolio Manager. He was the husband of Maryellen (Kittle) Lawrence, and they had been married for 46 years. Besides his wife, he is also survived by four children, eight grandchildren, and a sister. A Mass of Christian Burial was held Wednesday, April 1 at St. Philip Church in Smithfield, with burial at North Burial Ground in Providence. In lieu of flowers, donations in his memory may be made to Bowdoin College, 255 Maine Street, Brunswick, ME 04011. Click here to read the full obituary .

ICYMI: Highlights from last week’s This Week in SABR

We’ve heard your feedback: Some of you have said you look forward to “This Week in SABR” every Friday, but sometimes there are just too many compelling articles and announcements to read every week. We’re not complaining — hey, keep up the great work! — but we know the feeling. So in an effort to make the length of this newsletter more manageable to read, we’ll summarize some of the repeating/recurring announcements in a special “In Case You Missed It (ICYMI)” section of “This Week in SABR”.

Here are some major headlines from recent weeks that we don’t want you to miss:

All previous editions of This Week in SABR can be found here:

Welcome, new members!

We’d like to welcome all of our new SABR members who have joined this week. You can find all Members-Only resources at and the New Member Handbook can be downloaded here.

Please give these new members a warm welcome and help them make the most of their membership by giving them the opportunity to get involved in their local chapter or a research committee.

You can find contact information for any SABR member in the online membership directory (

Name Hometown     Name Hometown
Joe Beck Atlanta, GA     Kevin McIntyre Lubbock, TX
Timothy Bolda Memphis, TN     Christopher Moyer Colorado Springs, CO
Ben Bouma Lincoln, NE     Lucie Paulucci Brandon, FL
Steve Cardella Sacramento, CA     Joseph Perez Branchburg, NJ
Kyle Gamming n/a     Hiroto Seki Ichikawa, JP
Kenneth Ganniing Newton, NJ     Mike Tanchevski New Albany, OH
Mike Goldman Jacksonville, FL     Seth Tannenbaum Philadelphia, PA
Sarah Hackney Astoria, NY     Douglas Voss Naples, FL
Marshall Johnson South Lyon, MI     Michael Westacott Lees Summit, MO
Ken Jorgensen Cotati, CA     Richard Williamson Greeley, CO
Jim LaFrance Farmington, CT     David Wilson San Jose, CA


Research Committee news

Here are the new SABR research committee newsletters published this week:

Find all SABR research committee newsletters at

Regional Chapter news

There were no new regional chapter updates published this week.

Visit for more information on SABR regional chapters.

SABR Events Calendar

Here is a list of upcoming SABR events:

All SABR meetings and events are open to the public. Feel free to bring a baseball-loving friend … and make many new ones! Check out the SABR Events Calendar at

Around the Web

Here are some recent articles published by and about SABR members:

Read these articles and more at

This Week in SABR is compiled by Jacob Pomrenke. If you would like us to include an upcoming event, article or any other information in “This Week in SABR,” e-mail

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Originally published: April 3, 2015. Last Updated: April 3, 2020.