Here’s what we’ve been up to as of August 10, 2012:
Forty-one years ago today, the Society for American Baseball Research held its first organizational meeting at the National Baseball Hall of Fame Library in Cooperstown, New York. And while this year isn’t a big milestone birthday for us — you can find all of our 40th anniversary coverage from last summer at SABR.org/40years — it’s a good time to remember just how far we’ve come since August 10, 1971.
Thanks to the work of SABR’s 16 founding members — the Cooperstown 16 — and so many others, our knowledge of the game we love has advanced exponentially.
Without all the groundbreaking research by SABR members, we wouldn’t have comprehensive information about every major league home run ever hit since 1876, we might have forgotten about all the players who toiled outside of the spotlight for years in the Negro Leagues and minor leagues, we might never have learned about all the long-forgotten stars from the 19th century who helped baseball become America’s National Pastime, and we wouldn’t have the ability to instantly look up the box score of any game from 1 or 41 or 71 years ago.
It’s hard to believe, but there’s still so much more to learn, too. As SABR President Vince Gennaro noted in his Diamond Report last week, one of our newest initiatives, the SABR Analytics Conference, brought together the top minds in baseball analytics this past March to share their research on innovative technologies such as Pitch F/X, player performance evaluation, defensive efficiency, front office strategies and even fantasy baseball. Next year’s Analytics Conference is shaping up to be even bigger and better, and the baseball community is taking notice.
We couldn’t do any of this without you — so as we say Happy Birthday today to SABR, we also say Thank You to all of our members. As Yogi Berra once said, thank you for making this day necessary!
And if you know someone who loves baseball just as much as we do, please invite them to sign up at SABR.org/join or make a donation, big or small, to help support baseball research at SABR.org/donate.
Speaking of remembering just how far we’ve come, here’s a blast from the past — and the next addition in the SABR Digital Library!
Nineteenth Century Stars: 2012 Edition
Edited by Robert L. Tiemann and Mark Rucker
With a new preface by John Thorn
With almost 150 years of baseball history, the stories of many players from before 1900 were long obscured. SABR first attempted to remedy this in 1989 by publishing a collection of 136 fascinating biographies of talented late-1800s players. Twenty-three years later, Nineteenth Century Stars has been updated with revised stats and re-released in both a new paperback and in e-book form.
Baseball didn’t begin as the strictly professional business it is today. Back in the late 1800s, the game changed rapidly: rules, teams, and even leagues varied wildly from year to year. From that primordial soup of competition, camaraderie, and commerce rose the game as we know it.
Nineteenth Century Stars collects the biographies of 136 men from baseball’s early era, the players and club members who played and shaped the game pre-1900. While some stars of the era have “name recognition” and inclusion in the National Baseball Hall of Fame, most would be unknown to modern baseball fans were it not for this book. Alongside Louis Sockalexis, Dummy Hoy, and Alfred Reach are the tales of Icebox Chamberlain, Lipman Pike, and Toad Ramsey. The photographs may be black and white, but the life stories can be quite colorful. These men were more than just baseball players: some owned businesses, others were doctors, one became an evangelist (and a few even became murderers).
Nineteenth Century Stars is a labor of SABR’s Nineteenth Century Committee. Founded in 1983, the committee first released the book in 1989. Since then, both SABR and the committee have grown more than ten-fold, and interest in baseball’s origins has increased. Many wonderful new books on the era are appearing, but Nineteenth Century Stars remains one of the founding works of the nineteenth century baseball canon, including the works of many writers, including Robert L. Tiemann, Mark Rucker, John Thorn, Joseph M. Overfield, Paul Adomites, Richard Puff and L. Robert Davids.
Buy the book:
- E-book: Click here to purchase the Kindle version of the Nineteenth Century Stars e-book for $9.99 from the SABR Bookstore, powered by Amazon.com. (For the EPUB/iBooks version, click here to purchase from Omnilit. For the Nook version, click here to purchase from Barnes & Noble.)
- Paperback: Get the paperback edition of Nineteenth Century Stars for the retail price of $19.95 (plus shipping) from Createspace.com.
- 50% discount: Click here to get the paperback edition of Nineteenth Century Stars for the special members-only price of $10.00 at Createspace.com.
To view all books in the SABR Digital Library, visit SABR.org/ebooks.
To learn more about SABR Publications, contact Publications Editor Cecilia Tan at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We’re sad to pass along the news that one of SABR’s earliest members, Clarence “Lefty” Blasco, 91, passed away on July 19, 2012, in Van Nuys, California.
Blasco joined SABR as Member No. 23 on August 29, 1971, three weeks after SABR’s first organizational meeting was held at the National Baseball Hall of Fame Library in Cooperstown. He was a dedicated researcher of baseball’s pictorial history, and was acclaimed in national publications such as Sports Illustrated and the Los Angeles Times for his photo collection of every player who ever appeared for his favorite teams, the Chicago Cubs and Cleveland Indians. It took him more than three decades to complete his collection; he finally secured an image of Pete Lamer, an obscure Cubs catcher from 1902, in the late 1980s.
“Lefty spent untold hours digging through newspapers finding photos and other images of obscure ballplayers,” said Bill Hickman, chairman of SABR’s Pictorial History Committee. “He generously shared copies from his collection with the Pictorial History Committee. As the Committee was building its Player Image Index, Lefty was one of its major contributors. Over the years, Lefty also contributed to SABR publications and to the work of his colleagues.”
In his later years, Blasco created the “Cubs and Indians Pix” blog to share stories about some of his favorite photos.
Clarence “Lefty” Blasco was born June 17, 1921, in Erie, Pennsylvania. The son of the late Chester and Paula Blasco, he graduated from Strong Vincent High School in 1941. Two years later, he gave up his deferment as an employee of the American Sterilizer Company (AMSCO), allowing himself to be drafted. He served with the U.S. Army’s 9th Infantry Division from D-Day through the end of World War II. He crossed the Remagen Bridge across the Rhine under fire and was twice wounded, earning the Purple Heart.
After the war, he rejoined AMSCO, where he proudly spent the rest of his career. In 1949, Blasco married Marie Detzel, daughter of Fred and Margaret Detzel of Erie, and she was the love of his life. They had four children.
In retirement, Blasco was recognized in Van Nuys for his determined community service as he led a volunteer task force in the fight against neighborhood graffiti. He was cited as an “Outstanding Community Member” by the Los Angeles Police Department and featured in the Los Angeles Times for his work.
Blasco was preceded in death by his wife, Marie, and his daughter, Laura Barker. He is survived by sons David of Florida and Philip and daughter Anne “Terry” Edwards of California; six grandchildren and five great-grandchildren; as well as nieces and nephews in Erie. He is buried next to Marie at San Fernando Mission Cemetery in Mission Hills, California.
A memorial service will be held from noon to 2 p.m. on Saturday, August 11 at the Platinum Ballroom, 8704 Van Nuys Blvd. in Panorama City, California.
Next week, the DFW Hall-Ruggles Chapter is offering a chance to celebrate the Texas Rangers’ 40 years of Major League Baseball existence and to hear memories first-hand from some of the team’s pioneering ballplayers from the 1970s.
At 7 p.m. on Thursday, August 16, at the Texas Rangers Legends Museum Auditorium at Rangers Ballpark, the DFW Hall-Ruggles Chapter will hold its mid-summer meeting (free to members and the general public) with an all-star array of Rangers exes.
Ken Suarez, Rich Hand, Bill Fahey, and Don “Full Pack” Stanhouse will share some of their personal experiences in playing for a young franchise, which continued to grow through five ownership changes, the new Rangers Ballpark and eventually into back-to-back World Series entries in 2010 and ’11.
A special bonus will be an appearance by 12-year major league veteran and former Texas A&M great Wally Moon, who was Rookie of the Year with the St. Louis Cardinals in 1954 and later helped the Los Angeles Dodgers to 1959 and 1965 World Series crowns over the “Go-Go” Chicago White Sox and the Minnesota Twins respectively. Moon will have available for sale and be autographing his recently published memoir, Moon Shots: Reflections on a Baseball Life.
Chapter president and award-winning author Paul Rogers also will address the group on the 20th annual Howard Green SABR Metroplex College Player of the Year and the inaugural 2012 Carroll Beringer SABR Metroplex College Division Player of the Year. Dallas Baptist’s Boomer Collins earned the Howard Green Award while UT-Dallas’ Chase Brown will receive the Carroll Beringer Award.
Ozzie Guillen, the colorful manager of the Miami Marlins, will speak at the Rocky Mountain SABR Luncheon/Chapter Meeting at 11:30 a.m. on Saturday, August 18. Please join us in hosting Ozzie as our guest at the Denver ChopHouse located at 1735 19th Street in LoDo, near Coors Field in Denver, Colorado.
Cost to attend the event is $15. Because this is a fundraiser for the chapter, lunch is not included with your admission. Lunch options available by the ChopHouse are one’s own additional expense.
It is important to please send in your reservation as soon as possible as the event is likely to sell out. “Day of“ tickets (if available) will be $20 per ticket so please take advantage of our pre-sale and reserve your seat today. The pre-sale deadline is August 14.
Reservations can only be made by mail. Telephone and e-mail cannot be accepted. Your reservation is not secured until payment is received. Mail $15 for each reservation, payable to RMSABR, to:
5803 Orchard Creek Lane
Boulder, CO 80301
Please e-mail any questions to the below address.
The 6:10 p.m. Rockies-Marlins game also is the chapter’s Game of the Month. Cost per ticket for the August 18 game is a group discounted price of $20. If you would like to attend, add $20 per ticket to the amount you send in. You may purchase game tickets without attending the Ozzie Guillen Lunch – but if you miss Ozzie, you’ll miss a rare baseball experience like no other.
IMPORTANT: Please include your name and telephone number with your order. We will acknowledge receipt of your reservation by phone.
- SAVE THE DATE: The 15th Annual RMSABR Banquet will take place Friday, November 9, 2012, at the Denver Athletic Club. The Keynote Speaker will be 1962 NL MVP and breaker of Ty Cobb’s long-standing stolen base record, Maury Wills. Our Featured Speaker will be Roland Hemond, the 2011 recipient of the Baseball Hall of Fame’s Buck O’Neil Lifetime Achievement Award recognizing the profound impact he has had on the game. Please join us for this unique event!
Sincerely yours in baseball,
Matthew Repplinger, RMSABR President
For more information, visit the Rocky Mountain Chapter’s website at RMSABR.org.
Four new biographies were posted as part of the SABR Baseball Biography Project, which brings us to a total of 2,040 published biographies.
Here are the new bios:
- Amy Dunkleberger Jurasinski, by Brian Engelhardt
- Lee Mazzilli, by Jon Springer
- Cal McVey, by Charles Faber
- Tully Sparks, by Bill Nowlin
All new biographies can be found here: http://sabr.org/bioproj/recent
Earlier this year, we relaunched the BioProject at its new home page: SABR.org/BioProject. The new BioProject fully integrates its design with SABR.org and upgrades the back-end platform, making it easier for us to post and edit new bios and eliminating some formatting problems with the original software. All of your old URLs should still work (and if you find one that doesn’t, please contact email@example.com.)
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
- 1957 Braves biographers needed: Editor Gregory H. Wolf is hard at work on a new BioProject team book on the 1957 Milwaukee Braves. But several players still need to be assigned: Dick Cole, Harry Hanebrink, Dave Jolly, Nippy Jones, Taylor Phillips, Mel Roach, Ray Shearer, Bob Trowbridge and coach Bob Keely. The deadline is January 1, 2013. If you’d like to contribute to the 1957 Braves book, please contact Gregory at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Here are the research committee newsletters published this week:
- Baseball Records: August 2012
Find all SABR research committee newsletters at SABR.org/research.
- Peekskill Old Timers Baseball Celebration recap (July 22; Peekskill, NY)
- Honoring Pat McGlothin at Smokies Park (July 31; Knoxville, TN)
- Allan Roth Chapter meeting recap (August 5; Los Angeles, CA)
Visit SABR.org/chapters for more information on SABR regional chapters.
Here is a list of upcoming SABR events:
- August 10-12: Barbara Gregorich book signings (Cleveland, OH)
- August 10: Tim Herlich: “21* – A Tribute to Tom Cheney” (Cooperstown, NY)
- August 11: Talkin’ Baseball: Jim Hawking (Columbia, MD)
- August 11: Northwest Chapter meeting (Vancouver, BC)
- August 16: Gil Hodges event with author Danny Peary (New York, NY)
- August 16: DFW Hall-Ruggles Chapter meeting (Arlington, TX)
- August 18: Rocky Mountain Chapter luncheon with Ozzie Guillen (Denver, CO)
- August 20: Bob Broeg St. Louis Chapter meeting (St. Louis, MO)
- August 21: Bob Davids Chapter Maryland Hot Stove Dinner (Silver Spring, MD)
- August 22: Rocky Mountain Chapter monthly lunch (Denver, CO)
- August 23: Rogers Hornsby Chapter meeting (Austin, TX)
- August 23: Tim Wendel book signing/Baseball Reliquary exhibition (Burbank, CA)
- August 23: Martha Ackmann book signing (Lexington, MA)
- August 25: 18th annual Pacific Coast League reunion (San Leandro, CA)
- August 25: Rio Grande Chapter meeting (Albuquerque, NM)
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 SABR.org/events.
Here are some recent articles published by and about SABR members:
- For SABR’s U.K. chapter, London Olympics is secondary to America’s pastime (ESPN.com)
- Mark Aubrey: 100 years ago, the Olympics featured a fascinating baseball exhibition (Baseball Nuggets)
- Vince Gennaro: The payoff for winning comes from the postseason (Diamond Dollars)
- Uni Watch’s Paul Lukas: The mystery of Mr. Met solved, sort of (ESPN.com)
- Bill Parker: Who is the real Jason Heyward? (Baseball Prospectus)
- Sean Forman: The relationship between WAR and team wins (Baseball-Reference.com)
- Jayson Stark: Should the Nationals shut down Stephen Strasburg? Or let him pitch? (ESPN.com)
- Tom Altherr: Basepaths and baselines, the agricultural and surveying contexts of baseball’s emergence (Our Game)
- David Laurila: Q&A with Andrew McCutchen, the Pirates’ thoughtful superstar (FanGraphs)
- SABR member Barry Bloom catches up with Barry Bonds, who reflects on Aaron chase, Hall chances (MLB.com)
- Gary Herron: Former Giant Johnny Antonelli enjoys life in Santa Fe (Rio Rancho Observer)
- One Freddy Garcia pitch has challenged batters and physics experts alike (New York Times)
- Dave Cameron: What do we really know about attendance? (FanGraphs)
- Bob Hurte: The infamous trade of 1972 (Seamheads)
Read these articles and more at SABR.org/latest.
All previous editions of This Week in SABR can be found here: http://sabr.org/content/this-week-in-sabr-archives. If you would like us to include an upcoming event, article or any other information in “This Week in SABR”, e-mail Jacob Pomrenke at email@example.com.
Find exclusive Members’ Only resources and information here: http://sabr.org/about/members-info
Did you know you can renew your membership at any time? 1- and 3-year SABR memberships are available at http://store.sabr.org. Please also consider a donation to SABR to support baseball research at SABR.org/donate.
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Originally published: August 10, 2012. Last Updated: April 3, 2020.