This Week in SABR: August 17, 2012

Here’s what we’ve been up to as of August 17, 2012:

New membership profile system coming soon!

First, we wanted to give you all a heads-up about some exciting news on the way: We’re almost ready to unveil SABR’s new membership profile system.

Our new back-end system will make it easier for you to edit your SABR membership information, sign up for e-mail notifications from one of our regional chapters or research committees, search for any member in the SABR Directory (including by research interests and subject-matter expertise!), register for an event like the SABR Convention or Analytics Conference, add a new baseball book to your personal library at the SABR Bookstore, join or renew your membership, and donate to SABR to support future baseball research.

With this system, you’ll also start receiving announcements again from your chapter and committee leaders — who have helped us beta-test this system over the past few weeks — reliably and immediately.

We’ll send out another e-mail soon with details on what’s changing and how it affects you. Thanks for your patience as we get set to launch the new system.

2012 The National Pastime articles are now online

We had a blast in Minneapolis for SABR 42 last month, and the convention has piqued our interest to learn more about baseball in the North Star State. Luckily for us, editor Daniel R. Levitt brought together a talented group of writers to contribute to this year’s convention journal, The National Pastime: Short But Wondrous Summers, which features articles on the Twins, Millers, Saints and great figures and teams in Minnesota’s baseball history. Now you can read the 2012 TNP online at:

That link also offers you a way to download the PDF version of the magazine to read on your computer or e-reader device, as well as a chance to purchase additional copies of the BRJ for any baseball-loving family members or friends at the SABR Bookstore.

Here’s a note from Levitt about the issue:

Summers in Minnesota are short but wonderfully pleasant. During the short season Minnesotans spend much of their time outside, and baseball has long been an important part of their summer schedule. Even before the inception of statehood in 1858, Minnesota’s residents played and watched baseball. In this volume of The National Pastime you will find the story of baseball in Minnesota: from the town of Nininger organizing a team in August 1857 to the Twins under general manager Terry Ryan.

Organized professional baseball leagues first came to Minnesota in the mid-1870s. Various professional leagues then struggled to gain a permanent foothold until the American Association—one step below the majors—was organized in the early 1900s. The  Minneapolis Millers and St. Paul Saints captured the interest of Twin Cities baseball fans for nearly 60 years, and their streetcar-connected holiday twin bills—a game in the morning in one city and the afternoon in the other—highlighted the rivalry between the two cities and their teams. Finally, in 1961 the state had only one team to root for at the highest level when the Washington Senators moved to the Twin Cities and became the Minnesota Twins. Popular and successful throughout the 1960s, the team finally rewarded its fans with World Championships in 1987 and 1991.

Of course, there was much more to baseball in Minnesota than the majors and top minor leagues. The Northern League generated a strong following in several of Minnesota’s outstate cities. The University of Minnesota can boast a terrific baseball tradition, as can a number of smaller public and private colleges. For many years black players struggled for opportunities to play, occasionally working their way onto some integrated teams outside of Organized Baseball. Women, also, found opportunities to play the game. Inside, you’ll find these stories, too.

One of the pleasures of working on this book was getting to work with some of area’s foremost baseball historians, as the authors of the articles were universally timely, courteous, and helpful. In many ways this publication is a product of the Halsey Hall chapter, one of SABR’s most active and involved—although I may be a bit biased. Bob Tholkes, Minnesota’s expert on early baseball, reviewed a number of articles and otherwise helped edit and improve this volume. Another nineteenth and early twentieth century historian who knows more about baseball in Northern Minnesota than anyone else I know, Rich Arpi, reviewed several articles. Twins blogger and noted authority John Bonnes reviewed several, as did Mark Armour, chair of SABR’s biography project and a terrific writer and historian, even if not from Minnesota. Lastly, I need to thank Stew Thornley, Minnesota’s preeminent baseball historian, for taking the time to review the vast majority of the articles in this volume and offer his insights and support.

Along with a terrific lineup of articles, you will find a great assortment of interesting and unique images and photographs. Foremost thanks go to the Minnesota Twins, the Minnesota Historical Society, and the Star Tribune for letting us dig through their archives and allowing us to use their photos. Others who helped with images and photos include Fred Buckland, who graciously allowed us to use some of his postcards, Joel Rippel, the National Baseball Hall of Fame, several of the colleges and universities mentioned in the book, and many of the authors who contributed photographs for their articles. In addition, Dave Jensen was a big help in finding photos and tracking down permissions.

From the national SABR team, Cecilia Tan was a great help, letting me bounce my many questions off her and offering guidance and support. Fact-checker Cliff Blau proved tremendously valuable; his ability to rapidly turn around articles and correct errors on every subject was truly astounding.

The book you are holding tells the story of baseball in Minnesota, from the grand scope to the fascinating vignette. Turn the page and dig.

Click here to read more articles from The National Pastime 

Save the date! Arizona Fall League Conference is November 1-3, 2012, in Phoenix

The Arizona Fall League ( is baseball’s premier player development league, and for the past three years, SABR members have been treated to sneak peeks at Bryce Harper, Mike Trout, Stephen Strasburg, Buster Posey and more at the annual SABR Arizona Fall League Conference.

Our fourth annual AFL Conference will be held November 1-3, 2012, in the Phoenix area. We’ll have hotel and registration information available soon at

We’ll take in multiple AFL games during the conference — including the nationally televised Rising Stars Game on Saturday, November 3 at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick — and all conference attendees are invited to attend the Flame Delhi Chapter meeting led by chapter president Rodney Johnson.

For more information, visit or contact Rodney Johnson.

In Memoriam: Johnny Pesky

We were saddened to hear of the death of Red Sox legend Johnny Pesky on Monday at the age of 92. One of Pesky’s last public appearances was during the 100th anniversary celebration of Fenway Park back in April, and his emotional entrance with teammate and friend Bobby Doerr highlighted the ceremony.

As SABR Vice President Bill Nowlin wrote in Pesky’s SABR biography, which you can read at

Johnny Pesky’s career got off to an unparalleled start, and could have propelled him into the Hall of Fame had World War II not pulled three prime years out. Pesky set a rookie record with 205 hits his freshman year (1942) but then served in the Navy for the next three years. When he came back, he twice more produced over 200 hits, in the Red Sox pennant-winning year of 1946 and in 1947. Had he managed over 200 hits for each of his three missing years, there is every possibility this lifetime .307 hitter could have made the Hall.

Nowlin spent many hours conversing with Pesky as they worked on the book Mr. Red Sox: The Johnny Pesky Story, published by Rounder Books in 2004.

We invite you to read Nowlin’s biography of Johnny Pesky and listen to SABR’s two-part Oral History interview with Pesky from January 31, 1992. Part 1 is at, Part 2 is at The interview was conducted by Pete Everett.

Related links:

SABR Digital Library: Nineteenth Century Stars

In case you missed it last week, here’s a blast from the past — and the next book 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:

SABR members:

To view all books in the SABR Digital Library, visit

To learn more about SABR Publications, contact Publications Editor Cecilia Tan at

5 new biographies published by the SABR BioProject

Five new biographies were posted as part of the SABR Baseball Biography Project, which brings us to a total of 2,045 published biographies.

Here are the new bios:

All new biographies can be found here:

Earlier this year, we relaunched the BioProject at its new home page: The new BioProject fully integrates its design with 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

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

  • 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

Research committee newsletters

  • No committee newsletters were published this week.

Find all SABR research committee newsletters at

Chapter meeting recaps

  • No chapter meeting recaps were submitted 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

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Originally published: August 17, 2012. Last Updated: April 3, 2020.