Welcome to “This Week in SABR!” Here’s what we’ve been up to as of May 10, 2013:
Last weekend, our friends at the National Baseball Hall of Fame opened its new Diamond Mines exhibit dedicated to the scouting profession. With close to 100 members of this unsung profession — representing 20 big league clubs — in attendance for the festivities, visitors on Saturday morning also had the rare opportunity to hear first-hand from some of those veterans who have searched far and wide for the game’s next star.
SABR members Pat Gillick, a Hall of Fame executive, and Roland Hemond, the 2011 Buck O’Neil Lifetime Achievement Award recipient, were on hand for the unveiling of Diamond Mines, as well as Roberta Mazur, director of the Scout of the Year Program which funded Diamond Mines for its initial two-year run at the Hall of Fame. They participated in a Voices of the Game roundtable discussion in the Hall of Fame’s Grandstand Theater on Saturday.
Diamond Mines features three-dimensional artifacts such as radar guns and stopwatches that have served as scouts’ tools of the trade for decades. The exhibit will provide an insider’s view of the essential link between the amateur game and professional baseball and will also recognize Scout of the Year Award winners, an honor given by the Scout of the Year Program since 1984.
The exhibit also features a searchable database of scouting reports at scouts.baseballhall.org.
SABR’s Scouts Research Committee provided data for the exhibit from its groundbreaking “Who-Signed-Whom” database linking more than 11,000 current and former major leaguers, with the names of their signing or recommending scout, the first time this information has been available for the general public. The Scouts Committee’s relational database includes a registry of more than 7,000 professional baseball scouts, with information compiled over the past decade by a dedicated team of volunteer researchers led by Rod Nelson and the late Jim Sandoval, assisted by database specialists Ted Turocy and Sean Lahman and committee co-chair Joe Hamrahi.
“There’s absolutely no way that a general manager can get out and see every professional and every amateur player, so he has to have scouts that he can trust, that he has confidence in,” Gillick told SABR member Bill Francis at BaseballHall.org. “They are vital to an organization because they are a lifeline that feeds the talent from the high school level or the collegiate level to the major leagues.
“You go and see a play on Broadway and you see the entertainment that is provided and never see the people that really are behind the scenes – the producers, the directors, and the people that make these things happen. And that’s the same thing with the scouts. The scouts are the behind-the-scenes guys, sometimes they are the forgotten people.”
To learn more about the SABR Scouts Research Committee, click here.
- To download our one-of-a-kind book on baseball scouts, Can He Play? A Look At Baseball Scouts And Their Profession, visit SABR.org/ebooks
- Click here to read Marc Appleman’s Diamond Report for May 2013 on the Diamond Mines exhibit
- Scroll down to “Around the Web” for SABR members’ impressions of the new online database
The 2013 winners of the McFarland-SABR Baseball Research Award, which honors the best articles on baseball history or biography completed during the preceding calendar year, are:
- Bruce Allardice, for “The Inauguration of This Noble and Manly Game Among Us: The Spread of Baseball in the South Prior to 1870,” Base Ball: A Journal of the Early Game, Fall 2012, McFarland & Co.
- Ken Fenster, for “Earl Mann Beats the Klan: Jackie Robinson and the First Integrated Games in Atlanta,” to be published in a 2013 edition of NINE: A Journal of Baseball History and Culture.
- Mitchell Nathanson, for “Who Exempted Baseball Anyway? The Curious Development of the Antitrust Exemption That Never Was,” to be published in the Spring 2013 edition of the Harvard Journal of Sports and Entertainment Law.
All three are SABR members. This is Allardice’s first McFarland-SABR award; you can listen to his SABR 42 research presentation on the same subject by clicking here.
Nathanson won the award in 2007 for “The Irrelevance of Baseball’s Antitrust Exemption: A Historical Review,” published in the Rutgers Law Review.
Fenster won in 2005 for “Earl Mann, Nat Peeples and the Failed Attempt of Integration in the Southern Association,” published in NINE: A Journal of Baseball History and Culture.
“The caliber of entries, 21 in all, was exceptionally high,” said Len Levin, selection committee chair for the McFarland-SABR Award.
The McFarland-SABR Baseball Research Award honors the author(s) of the best articles or papers, published or unpublished, on baseball history or biography completed during the preceding calendar year. Eligible works include magazine and journal articles, previously unpublished chapters or articles in anthologies or other books with multiple authors, and unpublished research papers and written versions of oral presentations. Each winner will receive a plaque and a cash prize of $200.
The awards will be presented at the 43rd annual SABR convention, July 31-August 4, 2013, at the Philadelphia Marriott Downtown in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
The selection committee consists of: Len Levin (chair), Phil Bergen, Jan Finkel, Chuck Hilty and Bill Humber. To submit a nomination for the 2014 awards, please send the work’s title, author and publisher information (if applicable) to Len Levin.
For a complete list of winners of the McFarland-SABR Baseball Research Award, click here.
Several years ago, SABR member Mark Armour performed a research project to numerically define the spread of integration in major league baseball in the years following Jackie Robinson’s 1947 debut. This research was presented at the 2007 SABR convention in St. Louis, and then in the Fall 2007 Baseball Research Journal. The primary task of the project was to identify players from 1947 to 1986 (a 40-year period) who would not have been allowed to play before Robinson broke the color line. These players included both African-Americans and Afro-Latinos, though he also recorded the player’s country of birth, providing an approximation for distinguishing the two groups. Although his research was conducted independently, he was able to confirm his findings with several other people who had traveled down the same road, most notably Steve Treder, Rick Swaine, Thomas A. Timmerman and Jules Tygiel.
In recent years, attention has increasingly focused on the obvious decline of African-Americans in the major leagues. Although Mark’s period of study ended in 1986 (at which point the decline had not begun), many published accounts have reported African-American player percentages from the 1970s that seemed too high based on his study. In April 2013, Mark was contacted by a number of media outlets who wanted to understand the discrepancy, and he shared my research on the subject.
As Mark writes:
I was asked one question more than any other: Why did you stop at 1986? My honest response was that the questions I was trying to answer in 2007 were satisfactorily addressed. I was studying the rise, not the decline. Nonetheless, the increased interest in the subject suggested that I needed to completely redo the study to make it up-to-date, and also to more deliberately separate the Latino players.
For the present study, Dan Levitt did the work to determine the 10,240 players who have played since 1947, which players played in which seasons, their primary positions and other demographic or statistical information. For each of these players, I divided them into four demographic categories: African-American, Latino, Asian, and White. We understand this is not an exact science. Many players are of mixed-race, from Roy Campanella to Derek Jeter. To some people, race is mostly about self-identification, others believe it to be cultural, and still others believe it is solely about skin color.
For the purposes of this article, skin color was necessarily the determining factor, principally because this is how Organized Baseball itself defined the issue prior to Robinson (and even for many years thereafter.) As there are more than 10,000 players, disagreements on a few of them are not going to change our conclusions.
Now that we have the data, there are many questions we can answer.
We are proud to publish this updated study by Mark Armour and Dan Levitt at SABR.org:
Click the link above to read their new article, “Baseball Demographics, 1947 to 2012.”
We want to offer a special thanks to all of our vendors at SABR 43 for their support. We invite you to visit our digital Vendors Room at SABR.org/convention/sabr43-vendors and check out these groups, both online and at the convention in Philadelphia this summer:
- McFarland & Co.
- University of Nebraska Press
- Baseball America
- The Topps Company (Bowman)
- Scarecrow Press
- Sports History Magazine
- National Museum of American Jewish History
- The National Pastime Museum
- The Life and Times of Hank Greenberg (film)
There’s just one week left to apply for a Yoseloff Scholarship to attend SABR 43 in Philadelphia this summer! The deadline to apply is Wednesday, May 15, 2013.
With generous funding from The Anthony A. Yoseloff Foundation, Inc., SABR will award up to four scholarships to college students who wish to attend SABR 43 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on July 31-August 4, 2013. This scholarship will pay for registration, transportation and lodging 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.
- Download an application form: Click here to apply for a Yoseloff Scholarship to attend SABR 43 in Philadelphia
All applications must be postmarked or e-mailed to Jeff Schatzki at firstname.lastname@example.org no later than May 15, 2013.
For more information about the SABR convention, visit SABR.org/convention.
This summer’s SABR 43 convention in Philadelphia, July 31-August 4 at the Philadelphia Marriott Downtown, promises to be spectacular. Seamus Kearney, Dick Rosen, Peter Mancuso and the rest of the Connie Mack Chapter are working hard to line up guest speakers and panelists for the convention, and we hope you’ll join us in Philly for the 43rd annual convention. Register today at SABR.org/convention.
As we noted last week, SABR’s group block at the Philadelphia Marriott Downtown is going quickly — if you want a room at the Marriott for the SABR convention, you should book your room now. (Don’t forget to register for the convention, too!) If and when our room block sells out, we’ll set up an overflow hotel nearby and post more information at SABR.org/convention.
SABR has secured an exclusive group rate of $139/night (plus tax) at the Marriott for SABR 43. This is a very low rate for a major hotel in downtown Philadelphia during that time of year. The Philadelphia Marriott Downtown is at 1201 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19107, just blocks from City Hall , Independence Hall and many other Philadelphia landmarks. Click here to book your room online or call (877) 212-5752. The hotel’s website is www.marriott.com/hotels/travel/phldt-philadelphia-marriott-downtown. Please note that our block of rooms is only available for the nights of July 30 to August 4, 2013.
For more information on SABR 43, visit SABR.org/convention.
SABR members, you should have received several e-mails since April 1 with a link to vote online in the 2013 SABR Board of Directors election. The poll will close at 12:00 a.m. Mountain Standard Time on Wednesday, May 15, 2013.
All e-mails will come from the address email@example.com; 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. You will receive at least one more voting email between now and May 15 with active voting links.
The only way to vote online is through the link you will receive by e-mail. If you would like to have your voting e-mail resent, please contact Jacob Pomrenke at firstname.lastname@example.org.
SABR members will vote for President and two Director positions this year, along with three proposed amendment changes to the By-Laws. Details on the By-Laws changes and candidate statements can be found in the 2013 Election Guide, which is available for download here: http://sabr.org/about/2013-sabr-board-directors-election.
We’re pleased to pass on this note from SABR member Terry Cannon, founder of the Baseball Reliquary:
The Board of Directors of the Baseball Reliquary, Inc., a Southern California-based nonprofit organization dedicated to fostering an appreciation of American art and culture through the context of baseball history, is pleased to announce the fifteenth class of electees to the Shrine of the Eternals. The Shrine of the Eternals is the national organization’s equivalent to the Baseball Hall of Fame.
Manny Mota, Lefty O’Doul, and Eddie Feigner were elected upon receiving the highest number of votes in balloting conducted during the month of April 2013 by the membership of the Baseball Reliquary. The three electees will be formally inducted into the Shrine of the Eternals in a public ceremony on Sunday, July 21, 2013 at the Donald R. Wright Auditorium in the Pasadena Central Library, Pasadena, California.
Of the fifty eligible candidates on the 2013 ballot, Manny Mota received the highest voting percentage, being named on 37% of the ballots returned. Following Mota were Lefty O’Doul with 35% and Eddie Feigner with 33.3%. Runners-up in this year’s election included Bo Jackson (32.6%), Don Zimmer (32.6%), Dizzy Dean (31%), Glenn Burke (29%), Sy Berger (28%), Steve Bilko (27%), Rocky Colavito (24%), and Charlie Finley (24%). Voting percentages for all fifty candidates appear at the end of this announcement.
Elected to the Shrine of the Eternals in his sixth year on the ballot, Manny Mota ranks as one of the greatest pinch hitters of all time. Successful pinch hitters are rare, as it takes a special player to sit on the bench and wait for the chance – just the chance, by no means a certainty – to come to bat with the game on the line. Mota had the talent and the psychological makeup to weather the pressure of this responsibility. In fact, as a tribute to his exceptional skills as a pinch hitter, it was said that Mota could wake up on Christmas morning, step into the box, and rip a single to right.
Elected to the Shrine of the Eternals in only his second year on the ballot, Francis “Lefty” O’Doul (1897-1969) was born and raised in San Francisco, and became one of the greatest sports legends in that city’s history, his fame eclipsed only by Joe DiMaggio, and that just by a smidge. Lionized as one of the greatest managers in minor league history, and recognized as a key figure in the development of professional baseball in Japan, O’Doul was comfortable wearing many hats, but always favored green suits.
Elected to the Shrine of the Eternals in his thirteenth year on the ballot, Eddie Feigner (1925-2007) was born an abandoned baby in Walla Walla, Washington, and grew up to become the single greatest ambassador the sports world has ever known. “The King” was not only the most legendary softball player who ever lived, but he also possessed the greatest right arm in sports history. For 60 years, Feigner’s four-man barnstorming team, “The King and His Court,” annually toured 400 towns and cities across the nation, competing against the best full nine and ten-man squads that could be assembled. Feigner’s lifetime stats are a testament to a pitching arm that was a wonder of anatomical science: he recorded 140,000 strikeouts, while amassing 9,700 wins, 930 no-hitters, and 238 perfect games.
For more information on the Baseball Reliquary, visit BaseballReliquary.org.
Nine new biographies were posted as part of the SABR Baseball Biography Project, which brings us to a total of 2,428 published biographies. Can we reach 2,500 before the SABR 43 convention in Philadelphia? Here are the new bios:
- Art Bader, by Bill Lamb
- Paul “Shorty” Des Jardien, by Chris Rainey
- Jim Kelly (aka Robert Taggert), by Bill Lamb
- Fausto Miranda, by Rory Costello
- Frank Oberlin, by Bill Nowlin
- Red Shannon, by Bill Nowlin
- Paddy Smith, by Bill Nowlin
- Tom Tresh, by Joseph Wancho
- Buck Washer, by Charlie Weatherby
All new biographies can be found here: http://sabr.org/bioproj/recent
You can find the SABR BioProject at SABR.org/BioProject.
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 http://sabr.org/bioproj/browse. 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!
Check out the new Baseball Ballparks Project: The SABR Baseball Biography Project has been accepting/publishing “biographies” of Ballparks for a few years, and we have 39 of them on our website at http://sabr.org/bioproj/parks. However, this thing just got real. Ballparks are now its very own PROJECT — the Baseball Ballparks Project, our first official spin-off. The project leader is Scott Ferkovich, who is now in charge of recruiting ballparks articles and publicizing them. Learn more by clicking here.
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 email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Drama and Pride in the Gateway City: The 1964 St. Louis Cardinals, edited by John Harry Stahl and Bill Nowlin, is the fourth book in SABR’s “Memorable Teams in Baseball History” series with the University of Nebraska Press (published April 1, 2013.)
You can order the 1964 Cardinals book from the University of Nebraska Press website or from the SABR Bookstore, powered by Amazon.com. The Memorable Teams in Baseball History series, written by SABR members as part of the Baseball Biography Project, will focus on iconic teams with an unquestionable legacy in baseball history. Each book will collect essays detailing the players, moments and games that define these teams. For a complete list of biographies included in the 1964 Cardinals book, click here.
Click the link below to read a special excerpt from the book, on Cardinals catcher turned national TV broadcaster Tim McCarver, written by Dave Williams:
- Read an excerpt from our 1947 Yankees book: Check out this special excerpt from Bridging Two Dynasties: The 1947 New York Yankees, edited by Lyle Spatz, from University of Nebraska Press
- SABR Oral History Collection: Listen to SABR member Gabriel Schechter’s Oral History interview with Tim McCarver from August 11, 1992 (13.6 MB; 14:54)
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:
- Check out the list of featured panelists at SABR 43
- Click here to read Marc Appleman’s Diamond Report for May 2013
- Dan Levitt’s The Battle That Forged Modern Baseball wins 2013 Larry Ritter Book Award
- SABR member Trent McCotter wins inaugural Greg Spira Baseball Research Award
- Read the Spring 2013 Baseball Research Journal articles online
- Check out the SABR Bookshelf listings for Spring 2013
- All e-books in SABR Digital Library now available for free to members
- Join SABR’s newest research committee: Baseball and the Media
- Get 25% discount on a new MLB.TV subscription for entire 2013 season
- Register for Jerry Malloy Negro League Conference, June 13-15 in Newark, NJ
- Register for SABR 43, July 31-August 4 in Philadelphia, PA
All previous editions of This Week in SABR can be found here: http://sabr.org/content/this-week-in-sabr-archives.
|Harry Adams||Bensalem, PA||John Lentz||Corinth, TX|
|William Bartleson||Swedesboro, NJ||Richard Martinez||Bronx, NY|
|Sarah Forcheski||Ridgefield, CT||Brian Michael||Philadelphia, PA|
|Heather Gould||New York, NY||Preston Miller||Evergreen, CO|
|Morris Greenberg||Brookline, MA||Kelly Park||Benton, KY|
|Jeremy Hochstedler||Fort Wayne, IN||Richard Scheckman||Hollis, NY|
|Shirl Kennedy||Rockville, MD||Takumi Takata||Somerville, MA|
|Steven Kirby||Elmhurst, IL||Richard Thelin||Akron, OH|
Here are the new SABR research committee newsletters published this week:
- Biographical Research Committee: March/April 2013
Find all SABR research committee newsletters at SABR.org/research.
Here are the new chapter meeting recaps published this week:
- Larry Dierker/Houston Chapter meeting (May 4; Sugar Land, TX)
Visit SABR.org/chapters for more information on SABR regional chapters.
Here is a list of upcoming SABR events:
- May 11: Hank Gowdy Columbus Chapter book club (Columbus, OH)
- May 11: Dayton Chapter meeting (Dayton, OH)
- May 11: Hanlan’s Point Chapter meeting (Toronto, ON)
- May 11: Jack Graney Chapter meeting (Cleveland, OH)
- May 11: East Tennessee Chapter meeting (Chattanooga, TN)
- May 11: Smoky Joe Wood Chapter breakfast (Hamden, CT)
- May 11: Oklahoma Chapter meeting (Tulsa, OK)
- May 13: “Baseball – Kosher Style” with Larry Ruttman, Bob Tufts, Alan Dershowitz and Jeffrey Lyons (New York, NY)
- May 15: Rocky Mountain Chapter monthly lunch (Denver, CO)
- May 16: Bergino: “The Bird: The Life and Legacy of Mark Fidrych” with Doug Wilson (New York, NY)
- May 16: Rogers Hornsby Chapter meeting (Austin, TX)
- May 18: South Florida Chapter meeting (Tamarac, FL)
- May 18: Covington Blue Sox/Federal League celebration (Covington, KY)
- May 18: Houston Babies vintage base ball game (Galveston, TX)
- May 19: Field of Dreams Chapter meeting (Davenport, IA)
- May 21: Bob Davids Chapter Maryland Hot Stove Dinner (Silver Spring, MD)
- May 21: Bob Broeg St. Louis Chapter meeting (St. Louis, MO)
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:
- Zachary Levine: Diamond Mining with the scouts database (Baseball Prospectus)
- Michael Clair: The otherworldly gems of the Hall of Fame’s scouting database (The Platoon Advantage)
- Dave Cameron: The incredible Hall of Fame scouting database (FanGraphs)
- Lee Lowenfish: Baseball Hall of Fame opens arms to honor scouting (BookTrib)
- David Laurila: Q&A with Glen Perkins, a Twin, his FIP and math (FanGraphs)
- Ross Carey talks the business of baseball with FanGraphs writer Wendy Thurm (Replacement Level Podcast)
- A look at baseball’s most ejected managers with David Vincent (Forbes.com)
- Steve Krah: Baseball author David Anderson gives Deadball Era umpires their due (Elkhart Truth)
- David Eskenazi: The one and only Bill Schuster, Pacific Coast League legend (Sportspress Northwest)
- Mark Simon: Mapping defensive value — and the wizardry of Andrelton Simmons (ESPN.com)
- John Thorn: On Tim Murnane, heart of the game (Our Game)
- Jack Moore: A brief history of spitball accusations (FanGraphs)
- Jay Jaffe: J.A. Happ brings to mind other scary pitching injuries (SI’s The Strike Zone)
- Keith Olbermann: Should pitchers wear helmets? The 1950s Pittsburgh Pirates already did (Baseball Nerd)
- Chris Jaffe notes the 40th anniversary of Willie Stargell’s homer out of Dodger Stadium (The Hardball Times)
- Rob Neyer: Was Jackie Robinson good for business? (Baseball Nation)
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://members.sabr.org
Did you know you can renew your membership at any time? 1- and 3-year SABR memberships are available by clicking “Renew” at http://members.sabr.org. Please also consider a donation to SABR to support baseball research at SABR.org/donate.
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Originally published: May 10, 2013. Last Updated: April 3, 2020.