This Week in SABR: May 29, 2015

Welcome to “This Week in SABR!” Click here to view this week’s newsletter on the web. Here’s what we’ve been up to as of May 29, 2015:

SABR 45: One month left to register for Chicago convention

The SABR 45 convention is less than a month away and we hope you’ll join us June 24-28, 2015, at the Palmer House Hilton in Chicago. Click here for complete information on SABR 45 registration rates. Or click here to register for SABR 45.

Click the link below to find the full convention schedule online:


SABR 45 will include top featured speakers from around the baseball world — front office executives, players, managers, scouts, writers, and analysts — plus innovative panel discussions on the Cubs, White Sox, the Negro Leagues, women in baseball, baseball broadcasting, and more. See below for details on our featured panels:

  • Ernie Banks/Minnie Minoso Tribute: The SABR 45 Awards Banquet will include a special tribute to Chicago baseball icons Ernie Banks and Minnie Minoso, presented by national columnist Phil Rogers. Click here for more details.
  • White Sox Players Panel: Panelists include two-time AL All-Star Carlos May; 1983 AL Rookie of the Year Ron Kittle; and former White Sox outfielder Mike Huff, and moderator Dan Migala. Click here for more details.
  • Curveballs: Pitching Prodigies, Real and Imagined: Panelists include two of the most colorful characters in baseball during the 1980s: Joe Berton, who played the role of Sidd Finch in Sports Illustrated’s classic hoax “The Curious Case of Sidd Finch;” Steve Trout, a former MLB first-round draft pick who starred for the Cubs and White Sox in real life; and moderator Barry M. Bloom. Click here for more details.
  • Broadcasters Panel: Panelists include Chicago Cubs announcers Len Kasper, Jim Deshaies, and Ron Coomer, and moderator Curt Smith. Click here for more details.
  • Negro Leagues Panel: Panelists include former Negro Leagues pitchers Al Spearman and Ernie Westfield, and moderator Larry Lester. Click here for more details.
  • Women in Baseball Panel: Panelists include Cubs executive Caroline Phillips, White Sox executive and author Martha Jo Black, author and historian John Kovach, and South Bend Blue Sox player Christie Spisak, along with moderator Leslie Heaphy, SABR’s Women in Baseball Committee co-chair. Click here for more details.
  • More panels to be announced soon!

Here are some more highlights and information about SABR 45 in Chicago:

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: Ernie Banks/Minnie Minoso Tribute, presented by Phil Rogers

The SABR 45 Awards Banquet on Friday, June 26 at the Palmer House Hilton will include a special tribute to Chicago baseball icons Ernie Banks and Minnie Minoso, presented by national columnist Phil Rogers.

Banks — the Hall of Fame shortstop known as “Mr. Cub” — and Minoso — who broke the color barrier for Chicago’s baseball teams when he debuted with the White Sox — both died this past offseason. They were revered in the Windy City and around baseball for their prodigious talent on the field and their honored service as ambassadors of the game off the field.

Tickets to the SABR 45 Awards Banquet are sold out, but regular registration to the annual convention is still available at or on-site during the convention. All baseball fans are welcome to attend.

Phil Rogers is a national columnist for He has covered baseball for more than three decades, including as a reporter and columnist for the Chicago Tribune from 1997 to 2013. He has written three books on baseball, Ernie Banks: Mr. Cub and the Summer of ’69 (2011), Say It’s So: The Chicago White Sox’s Magical Season (2006), and The Impossible Takes a Little Longer: The Texas Rangers From Pretenders to Contenders (1990). He spent 13 years as a reporter for his hometown Dallas Times Herald and Dallas Morning News. Previously, he worked for the Shreveport Journal, Albuquerque Journal, and Florida Times-Union.

Awards presented or announced at the SABR convention luncheon include the Roland Hemond Award, the SABR Baseball Research Awards, the McFarland-SABR Baseball Research Awards, and the Henry Chadwick Awards. The Awards portion of the luncheon concludes with the awarding of the Bob Davids Award, SABR’s highest honor.

For more information on SABR 45, including a full schedule of events, visit

SABR 45: Curveballs: Pitching Prodigies, Real and Imagined

We are pleased to announce one of the featured panels at the upcoming SABR 45 convention in Chicago: Curveballs: Pitching Prodigies, Real and Imagined.

This fun and fanciful panel — scheduled for 9:00 a.m. on Friday, June 26 at the Palmer House Hilton — will feature two of the most colorful characters in baseball during the 1980s. One was a first-round draft pick who starred for the Cubs and White Sox in real life; the other “pitching phenom” played a key role in one of baseball’s enduring legends.

The Curveballs panel is expected to include:

  • Joe Berton, who played the role of the mysterious rookie phenom Sidd Finch — a former Tibetan monk who could throw a baseball 168 mph — in Sports Illustrated’s classic hoax, “The Curious Case of Sidd Finch.”
  • Steve Trout, a first-round draft pick in 1976, and son of Dizzy Trout, who spent 12 seasons as a major-league pitcher from 1978-89, including five years apiece with the Chicago Cubs and the White Sox. He won 13 games for the Cubs to help lead them to the 1984 NL East Division championship.
  • Moderator: Barry M. Bloom, national columnist who has covered sports for more than 35 years.

Please note: All guest speakers are subject to change depending on availability.

For more information on SABR 45, visit

SABR 45: Ron Kittle added to White Sox Players Panel

We are excited to welcome South Side fan favorite Ron Kittle to the SABR 45 White Sox Players Panel at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday, June 27 at the Palmer House Hilton in Chicago.

Kittle hit 176 home runs in a 10-year major-league career. A native of nearby Gary, Indiana, he overcame a spinal injury in the minors to become the American League’s Rookie of the Year in 1983, when the White Sox won the AL West. He hit 35 home runs and was named to the AL All-Star team. Later, he played for the Yankees, Indians, and Orioles, before finishing his career on the South Side in 1991.

The White Sox Players Panel is also expected to include former White Sox outfielders Carlos May and Mike Huff, along with moderator Dan Migala of Property Consulting Group.

Please note: All speakers are subject to change depending on availability.

To register for SABR 45, or for more information, visit

SABR 45: Two pregame spots left for on-field opportunity at Wrigley

We just wanted to remind you about a special SABR donation package that will be offered for SABR 45 in Chicago. Only two pregame spots are left, so reserve your place today.

Thanks to the generosity of the Chicago Cubs, anyone who makes a donation of $1,500 or more to the SABR General Fund between May 1 and June 15, 2015, will have the opportunity to go on the field before or after the Cubs-Dodgers game on Thursday, June 25 during SABR 45.

This special opportunity is only available to eight SABR donors — four people before the game and four after the game. Donors will be able to go on to the field and take photographs during batting practice before the game or walk the field and take photographs after the game. Each one-time donation is good for one on-field ticket. Choice of before/after the game is first-come, first-serve (please contact Marc Appleman to express preference.)

In addition to the on-field opportunity at Wrigley Field, the SABR 45 donation package also includes four tickets to the SABR 45 Baseball Project concert at the Palmer House Hilton, two tickets to the SABR 45 Donors Breakfast, a special SABR 45 glass commemorative baseball, and a one-year membership to SABR.

SABR is a 501(c)(3) organization and all donations are tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law.

  • If you are interested in the SABR 45 donation package, please contact Executive Director Marc Appleman at

SABR 45: Get your tickets now for The Baseball Project concert

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 tickets for The Baseball Project at SABR 45 are now available for $40 when you register for the SABR convention online at Tickets will be $60 on-site during the convention 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.

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

SABR 45: Single-day rates will be available on-site at Palmer House Hilton

Single-day registration for SABR 45 can be purchased on-site during convention registration hours.

The single-day rate of $99 — which is available for Friday, June 26 and/or Saturday, June 27 — includes admission to all convention panels, research presentations, and committee meetings at the Palmer House Hilton. It can be purchased on-site via cash, check, or credit card (sorry, no American Express accepted.)

Please note: Admission to the SABR 45 Awards Banquet and the Donors Breakfast is not included.

Click here for complete information on SABR 45 registration.

SABR 45: Last call for overflow hotel

Just a reminder that rooms under the SABR block at the ACME Hotel are only available until MONDAY, JUNE 1.

For those who were unable to book a room at the Palmer House Hilton, we’ve reserved a small block of rooms at the nearby ACME Hotel, 15 E. Ohio Street, less than a mile north of the Palmer House Hilton and one block away from a CTA Red Line station (at Grand Avenue) that takes you straight to the convention hotel.

Click here to book a room at the ACME Hotel for a special SABR rate of $189/night (plus tax). Or call the hotel at (312) 894-0800 to book your room; be sure to mention the SABR convention.

SABR 45: Schedule changes and updates

Here are some updates to the SABR 45 convention schedule:

  • Mark Armour will replace Mark Conrad in the RP02 presentation timeslot at 8:00-8:25 a.m. on Friday, June 26 in the State Ballroom on the fourth floor. Mark Armour will deliver a presentation on “Mike Burke and Lee MacPhail: Their Six Years Trying to Resurrect the Yankees.” Click here for a detailed abstract and presenter bio.
  • The Baseball and the Media Committee is excited to welcome baseball editor Christina Kahrl as the scheduled guest speaker for its meeting at 6:30 p.m. on Friday, June 26 in the State Ballroom on the fourth floor. Committee chair Chuck Hildebrandt will conduct a live “Working the Game” interview with Kahrl during the meeting, an installment of his new series on All registered convention-goers are invited to attend. 
  • The Ballparks Committee meeting, with architect Stan Meradith of DLR Group as its scheduled guest speaker, will move to 6:30 p.m. on Friday, June 26 in the Salon 12 Room on the third floor. The Black Sox Scandal Committee meeting, with scheduled guest speaker Peter Alter of the Chicago History Museum, will now be in the Salon 3 room at the same time.
  • On Wednesday, June 24, the Minor Leagues Committee meeting (6:00-7:00 p.m.) and the Science and Baseball Committee meeting (7:00-8:00 p.m.) will be held in the State Ballroom on the fourth floor instead of the Wabash Room.
  • We are pleased to welcome Sports Management Worldwide to the Vendors Room at SABR 45. Click here to learn more about the Vendors Room. Please stop by the fourth-floor Exhibit Hall any time during the convention and purchase an item to remind you of your experience at the 2015 SABR convention.

The updated SABR 45 schedule can be found online by clicking here.

SABR Digital Library: Calling the Game: Baseball Broadcasting from 1920 to the Present

Add a special book on baseball broadcasters from the SABR Digital Library to your collection:

Calling the Game: Baseball Broadcasting from 1920 to the Present
By Stuart Shea
ISBN (paperback): 978-1-933599-40-3, $24.95
ISBN (ebook): 978-1-933599-41-0, $9.99
414 pages; 8.5″ x 11″
Foreword by Pat Hughes; Afterword by Jacques Doucet

Calling the Game: Baseball Broadcasting from 1920 to the Present is an exhaustive, meticulously researched history of bringing the national pastime out of the ballparks and into living rooms via the airwaves.

Every play-by-play announcer, color commentator, and ex-ballplayer who has presented a Major League Baseball game to the public is included here. So is every broadcast deal, radio station, and TV network. In addition to chapters for each of the game’s thirty franchises, a history of national broadcasting and a look at some of the game’s most memorable national broadcast moments are included, as are a foreword by “Voice of the Chicago Cubs” Pat Hughes, and an afterword by Jacques Doucet, the “Voice of the Montreal Expos, 1972-2004.” 

Each team chapter presents a chronological look from how and when the team began broadcasting (since all of the original sixteen major-league franchises predate radio) through the 2014 season. Author Stuart Shea details the history and strategies that shaped each club’s broadcast crews, including the highlights and scandals, the hirings and firings, the sponsorships and corporate maneuverings. From the leap to Brooklyn from the radio booth of the Atlanta Crackers by young Ernie Harwell, to the dismissal of Mel Allen by the Yankees, from the tutelage of the now-legendary Vin Scully under the wing of the already legendary Red Barber, to the ascendance of the great Jack Buck to the number one chair in St. Louis upon the ouster of Harry Caray, the stories of the personalities who connect us to the game are all here. 

Calling the Game is a groundbreaking and illuminating look at the people and the story behind the soundtrack of summer for millions of baseball fans.

About the Author: Stuart Shea has been writing professionally about baseball for more than 20 years and has authored or co-authored nine books about the game, including Wrigley Field: The Long Life and Contentious Times of the Friendly Confines (University of Chicago Press). He served as editor of Fantasy Baseball Index for four years, worked as an game reporter for a decade, and co-created the successful FAQ series of music and entertainment titles for Backbeat Books. A proud SABR member, he lives in Chicago.

SABR members, get this e-book for FREE!

Having trouble downloading our e-books? To view PDF files on your computer, click here to download the free Adobe Reader software. Having trouble downloading e-books to your Kindle, Nook, Sony Reader or iPad? Click here for additional help.

SABR members will get discounted rates for all Digital Library publications, including many for free. Learn more at

McMurray: An interview with Fay Vincent on baseball oral history

This article first appeared in the SABR Oral History Committee’s Spring 2015 newsletter. To learn more about the Oral History Committee or for a list of interviews in the SABR Oral History Collection, click here.

When conducting oral history interviews with former major league players, which became the basis of three books that he published during the past decade, former baseball commissioner and longtime SABR member Fay Vincent would begin with the same question:

“I always started at the beginning and said to each player, ‘What got you interested in baseball?’” Vincent said. “What’s your first baseball memory? Was it your father, your mother, your uncle, your older brother, somebody down the street?’ 

“I would ask that question, then the next question wouldn’t come up until ten minutes later, because that first question would generate ten minutes of really great material about how this ballplayer was introduced to baseball, sometimes by a father, sometimes by a neighbor, sometimes by a sibling. But once I did that and got them talking about their days as a child in baseball, everything really flowed.”

Long after his tenure as Commissioner of Major League Baseball had ended, Vincent continued being actively involved with baseball by conducting videotaped interviews with scores of prominent former major leaguers, which are now at the Hall of Fame. His interviews now make up three books: The Only Game in Town: Baseball Stars of the 1930s and 1940s Talk About the Game They Loved (Simon and Schuster, 2006); We Would Have Played for Nothing: Baseball Stars of the 1950s and 1960s Talk About the Game They Loved (Simon and Schuster, 2009); and It’s What’s Inside the Lines That Counts: Baseball Stars from the 1970s and 1980s Talk About the Game They Loved (Simon and Schuster, 2010).

In these books, Vincent, who served as commissioner between 1989 and 1992, paints a complete picture of each respective era by examining particular events in great detail.

Click here to read the full article at

— John McMurray

Register now for 2015 Jerry Malloy Negro League Conference in Pittsburgh

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, Cronkite School at ASU, 555 N. Central Ave. #416, Phoenix, AZ 85004.

    Regular registration is $175 for an adult rate (includes all activities) or $125 for a student rate. Single-day registration for Friday or Saturday is $100. The rate for the Thursday education forum only is $20. 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.

SABR BioProject reaches 3,200 published biographies

Nine new biographies were posted as part of the SABR Baseball Biography Project this week, which brings us to a total of 3,203 published biographies. Here are the new bios:

All new biographies can be found here: /bioproj/recent

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 /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!

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

3 new stories published by the SABR Games Project

Three new game stories were posted this week as part of the SABR Games Project. Here are the new game stories:

The SABR Baseball Games Project was launched in 2014 to research and write articles on major-league and Negro League regular, postseason, and All-Star Games. These game accounts will complement Retrosheet and Baseball-Reference box scores as well as BioProject essays on the players involved.

The articles are not intended to be mere play-by-play summaries, nor should they be first-person narratives. Rather the goal is to put each game in historical context — whether that history is of a particular player, team, season, or something even broader.

Visit the Games Project website at

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.

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: /content/this-week-in-sabr-archives.

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
David Brown Toronto, ON     Michael Mangasarian Brooklyn, NY
Randy Carlino Seattle, WA     Philip Marks Newtown, PA
Bruce Einhorn West Hills, CA     Thomas McAdams W. Chicago, IL
David Fanning Gahanna, OH     Kim Mohan Seattle, WA
Darcy Gifford Adrian, MI     Larry Schultz Murrysville, PA
Christian Hildebrandt Eastpointe, MI     Ouisie Shapiro Brooklyn, NY
Harry Keller Colorado Springs, CO     Ryan Smiley Lutherville-Timonium, MD
Michael Lomax Coralville, IA        


Research Committee news

Here are the new SABR research committee updates for this week:

Find all SABR research committee newsletters at

Regional Chapter news

Here are the new regional chapter updates for this week:

  • Bob Broeg St. Louis Chapter meeting recap (May 19; St. Louis, MO)
  • Field of Dreams Chapter meeting recap (May 24; Des Moines, IA)
  • Bob Davids Chapter: Last call to get your tickets for Bob Davids Chapter Day with the Washington Nationals and special guest George F. Will on Saturday, June 6 at Nationals Park. Every odd-numbered year since 2005, we have met to watch the Nationals; we would love to include you. Cost: $65 (includes program, tickets to the game, and buffet lunch). Register before May 31. The room we will be meeting in is limited to 70 dedicated fans. Click here for more details.
  • Connie Mack Chapter: The Connie Mack Chapter’s annual meeting will be in the Hall of Fame Room at Citizens Bank Park on Saturday, June 20 in Philadelphia. A full program is being planned with guest speakers including Chris Wheeler, Jerry Casway, Mike Sielski, and more. Choice seats will also be available for the game against the St. Louis Cardinals. Cost: $55 (includes luncheon). Register before June 15. Space is limited to 50 guests.  Click here for more details.

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: May 29, 2015. Last Updated: April 3, 2020.