This Week in SABR: October 26, 2012

Here’s what we’ve been up to as of October 26, 2012:

Save the date: SABR Day is January 26, 2013

Just a reminder to all that the fourth annual SABR Day will be held January 26, 2013. We’re starting to compile details now on 2013 SABR Day chapter meetings around the country. We’ll post them as soon as we get them at  

Regional SABR meetings are open to all baseball fans and are usually free to attend, so bring a friend! Guest speakers often include current and former baseball players, managers, umpires, executives, scouts, writers and authors.

Check back soon at for more information on a SABR Day meeting close to you.

Join us for Rising Stars Game and more at SABR Arizona Fall League Conference

We’re just days away from the SABR Arizona Fall League Conference, November 1-3, 2012, in Scottsdale, Arizona. There’s still time to register online at

The fourth annual conference will feature four AFL games, each at a different ballpark. Guests will see all six AFL teams, showcasing every major league team’s top prospects. The final game on Saturday night is the Rising Stars Game at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick, the crown jewel of Arizona’s Cactus League parks.

But if you can’t take in the whole conference that weekend, why don’t you stop by for one night of baseball fun with your SABR friends? We’ve just added special a la carte registration rates for dinner at Don and Charlie’s on Thursday night, the ballpark cookout with former MLB All-Star Matt Williams on Friday night, and the Rising Stars Game on Saturday night. Sign up to attend any of these events at

Also, on Saturday morning, November 3, SABR’s Flame Delhi (Arizona) Chapter will hold its regional fall meeting. Admission is free for the chapter meeting.

The full registration price, of course, gets you in to all of these events plus transportation and an AFL Media Guide.

The Arizona Fall League ( is baseball’s premier player development league. In the first three years of the conference, attendees were treated to sneak peeks at Mike Trout, Bryce Harper, Buster Posey, Starlin Castro and Stephen Strasburg before they hit the big leagues.

All baseball fans are welcome to attend, so join us in November for the SABR Arizona Fall League Conference! Here are the details:

  • Host hotel: Holiday Inn Express & Suites, Old Town Scottsdale, 3131 N. Scottsdale Rd., Scottsdale, AZ 85251. The conference rate is $99/night + tax. Book your room online at or call the hotel at (480) 675-7665 and mention the “SABR AFL Conference.”
  • Registration: $160. To register for the conference online, click here. Your registration fee includes one ticket to all four games; an AFL Media Guide; dinner at Don and Charlie’s on Thursday night; ballpark cookout at Scottsdale Stadium on Friday night; and transportation to and from all events. A la carte registration rates are also available to certain events.
  • Schedule: A detailed schedule can be found at
  • Information: Please contact Rodney Johnson at

If you like to watch no-frills, high-quality baseball with future major league stars, the Arizona Fall League Conference is for you. We hope to see you next week!

Ty Cobb’s grandson rooting for, yes, Giants over Tigers in World Series

The grandson of the most renowned player ever to wear a Detroit Tiger uniform is rooting against family history during the World Series.

“Ty Cobb would be very excited about his Tigers playing in the World Series,” said Herschel Cobb, the 69-year-old descendant of one of baseball’s most combative and controversial figures and a SABR member since 2007. “But we live in the Bay Area and have been Giants fans for a long time. We’re going to be rooting for the home team to prevail.”

His grandfather might even understand.

Ty Cobb, a Hall of Fame outfielder with a career .367 batting average, had his roots in Georgia but made the Bay Area his home much of the year shortly after retiring as a full-time player in 1928.

When the Giants moved from New York to San Francisco in 1958, Cobb became a regular presence in the clubhouse.

“He used to come by Candlestick all the time and talk to the boys,” said Mike Murphy, the Giants clubhouse manager who was has been with the team since it arrived here. “But I didn’t know it was Ty Cobb until my boss told me.”

Read the full article from the San Jose Mercury News here:

Here are some more World Series-related articles we thought you’d enjoy:

Alan Nathan: The physics of baseball as seen in “super-slo-mo”

Here’s an insightful analysis of the most famous play from this year’s NLCS Game 7, by SABR member Alan Nathan:

During Game 7 of the 2012 NLCS, October 22, 2012, Hunter Pence came to bat for the Giants with the bases loaded, nobody out, in the bottom of the third. He hit a grounder to the left side, normally a tailor-made double play.

Now take a look at the two video clips shown below. In the first clip, we see a wide shot showing that the Cards shortstop Pete Kozma initially moved to his right, then recovered to move to his left but just out of reach of the ball. In the second clip, we see a high-speed video of the ball-bat impact, which is one of the most remarkable events I have ever seen. With the initial impact near the center of the bat, the bat breaks and the ball comes slowly off the bat. Meanwhile, the bat continues to rotate, catches up and impacts the ball a second and third time before the ball finally exits to the playing field with lots of sidespin on it. It is the sidespin that leads to the slicing action in the trajectory that takes it just out of the reach of Kozma.

As you might imagine, there is a lot of physics contained in this play, and I want to explore some of it in this article.

View the Pence clip and read the full article here:

More “super-slo-mo” clips from the NLCS can be found here, along with Alan’s breakdown of the plays:

2,100th biography published by the SABR BioProject

Nine new biographies were posted as part of the SABR Baseball Biography Project, which brings us to a total of 2,101 published biographies.

Here are the new bios:

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

You can find the SABR BioProject at its new home page:

Bios on more than just ballplayers: Many of us have researched a ballplayer’s life outside of baseball and found their spouses’ lives to be equally compelling. Their stories deserve to be told, too. So in addition to Broadcasters, Executives, Managers, Scouts, etc., we’ve now added a new Spouses category to the BioProject website. You can browse all of these categories, and more, at /bioproj/browse. So if you’ve ever thought, “Hey, that ballplayer’s wife should get the full BioProject treatment herself” — 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

Seamheads Negro Leagues Database updated with 1902-06 stats

A note from SABR member Gary Ashwill at

The newest update to the Negro Leagues Database adds no fewer than five deadball seasons—1902 through 1906—plus a number of additional games for later seasons, and lots of new and corrected biographical information.

We loosely use the term “season” here, as the farther back you go in history, the fewer and fewer games African American teams played against each other.  Most of their schedules—which could range from 80 or 90 games to 150 or more—pitted them against white semipro, amateur, or minor league teams.  So the DB, which at the moment only counts games between black teams in the United States, will represent thinner and thinner slivers of a team’s season, and a player’s career, with each step backwards in time.  (Incidentally, when we get to the later 1930s and 1940s, you will see a similar effect, as Negro league schedules contract and fewer newspapers print box scores for black teams.)


This update also adds a number of games in subsequent seasons, especially eastern games in 1912 and 1913.

Research on western games, especially for 1903, 1904, 1906, and 1907, continues, and will be posted when ready.  Also coming up: the 1933 Negro leagues, the Florida Hotel League, and (as always) more Cuban seasons.

To view the award-winning Seamheads Negro Leagues Database, visit

Related links:

Almost time to renew your SABR membership

As you probably know by now, we switched to the “rolling calendar” membership system last year. Anyone who joined SABR before then — which is most of you — should renew your SABR membership before December 31 as you’ve done in the past. Thanks again for all your support.

You can renew your membership for 1 year or 3 years online at the SABR Store; by phone at (602) 343-6450; or by mailing this downloadable PDF form and your payment to the SABR office at 4455 E. Camelback Road, Ste. D-140, Phoenix, AZ 85018.

Dues are the same as they have been in recent years: for this, you get three high-quality research publications (two issues of the Baseball Research Journal and one issue of The National Pastime); deep discounts to all publications in the SABR Digital Library; access to research resources such as Paper of Record (with complete archives of The Sporting News); discounts to SABR conferences such as the national convention (Philadelphia 2013), the SABR Analytics Conference, the Jerry Malloy Negro League Conference, and the Arizona Fall League Conference; access to a growing network of SABR baseball community, including our 27 research committees and 60+ regional chapters.

We believe SABR has something for everyone, from the active researcher to someone passionate about baseball. We hope you’ll invite your friends, colleagues and family members to join at

Registration open for 2013 SABR Analytics Conference

SABR has a long and storied history with baseball statistical analysis, evidenced by the link between our name and sabermetrics. While SABR is a multi-faceted organization involved in virtually every aspect of baseball, we have taken a major step to re-connect with our beginnings by producing and hosting the second annual

SABR Analytics Conference
presented by Major League Baseball and Bloomberg Sports
March 7-9, 2013
Phoenix, Arizona

Once again, we’re bringing together the top minds of the baseball analytic community under one roof to discuss, debate and share insightful ways to analyze and examine the great game of baseball.

The schedule will consist of a combination of Guest Speakers, Panels and Research Presentations — plus the unique Diamond Dollars Case Competition, in which undergraduate, graduate and law school students from across the country analyze and present a real baseball operations decision.

Conference registration is available now at the SABR Store. Click here to register. The conference is open to all baseball fans.

The 2013 SABR Analytics Conference will be held Thursday, March 7 through Saturday, March 9, 2013, in the Phoenix, Arizona area. The World Baseball Classic will also be in Phoenix that weekend, with first-round games scheduled at Chase Field and Salt River Fields at Talking Stick, and we plan to talk more about global baseball issues at the second annual Analytics Conference.

Featured speakers for the 2013 conference are expected to include Stan Kasten, President/CEO of the Los Angeles Dodgers; Derrick Hall, President/CEO of the Arizona Diamondbacks; Brian Kenny, MLB Network host; and many others. More speakers will be announced soon!

Some of the topics we are planning to cover include:

  • General Managers Panel on how analytics shapes front-office decisions
  • Measuring Player Performance
  • New innovations in baseball analytics
  • Player Agents — their view of analytics
  • Advances in medical information and its impact on decisions
  • New applications of PITCHf/x data
  • The use of analytics in scouting
  • Player panel — the impact of data and information on performance
  • The International Game — the next hot spot for talent development

Sportvision is also pleased to announce that it is collaborating with SABR to integrate its fifth PITCHf/x Summit into the 2013 SABR Analytics Conference. Integrating these two popular gatherings of influential baseball analysts and thought leaders will further enhance this event as the premier baseball analytics conference. Sportvision will manage a series of presentations specifically related to f/x data much like the PITCHf/x Summit. The presentations will be integrated with other SABR Analytics talks throughout the course of the event.

SABR’s long history in this area of baseball research, coupled with our mission of advancing the understanding and knowledge of baseball, makes us the perfect choice to coordinate and host this ground-breaking event.

The inaugural SABR Analytics Conference in 2012 was an enormous success. For complete coverage of the 2012 SABR Analytics Conference, visit

Students, apply for a Yoseloff Scholarship to attend 2013 SABR Analytics Conference

With generous funding from The Anthony A. Yoseloff Foundation, Inc., SABR will award up to four scholarships to college students who wish to attend the 2013 SABR Analytics Conference in Phoenix, Arizona, on March 7-9, 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 student engagement with baseball analytics, and to engender an active interest in baseball research and SABR. The Yoseloff scholarship is to assist young researchers who want to attend SABR’s Analytics Conference and to introduce them to fellow SABR members and professionals within the baseball community. Through this fund, SABR hopes to inspire future baseball research, expose students to high-quality research and build the research capability of interested students.

For details on the scholarship requirements or to download an application form, click here. 

Please note: Participants in the Diamond Dollars Case Competition are not eligible for the Yoseloff scholarship.

Students must be currently enrolled in a high school, college undergraduate or graduate program, and be between 18 and 29 years of age at the time of the conference.

SABR Digital Library: Red Sox Baseball in the Days of Ike and Elvis: The Red Sox of the 1950s

It’s not too early to add a baseball book from the SABR Digital Library to your holiday shopping list. Get your copy of our latest release:

Red Sox Baseball in the Days of Ike and Elvis: The Red Sox of the 1950s
Edited by Mark Armour and Bill Nowlin
with Maurice Bouchard and Len Levin

E-book price: $9.99
Ebook ISBN: 978-1-933599-34-2
Paperback price: $19.95
Paperback ISBN: 978-1-933599-24-3
8.5″ x 11″, 376 pages

The 1950s Red Sox were teeming with huge stories. You might know about Ted Williams, of course, but consider his teammates: Harry Agganis, a legendary local athlete whose tragic death is remembered by millions in the region; or Jimmy Piersall, whose illness and breakdown led to a book and two movies; or Jackie Jensen, a famous collegiate football star who forged a great career with the Red Sox. The Red Sox are famous for failing to integrate until 1959, the last team to do so. Depicted here are the people mostly blamed for this oversight (Tom Yawkey, Joe Cronin, and Mike Higgins), as well as the man who finally broke the color line (Pumpsie Green). 

Thanks to the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR), you can read the stories of 46 of these men, including all of of the aforementioned and one of the greatest announcers ever, Curt Gowdy. But along with many of the people you might remember, there are still plenty of lesser-known players that you can discover for the first time. All of these men made it the major leagues and played well enough to stick around for at least a few years. We think all of them are worth learning about, and hope you enjoy doing so.

SABR members get a 50% discount! Here’s how:

Donate to SABR and support the future of baseball research

Unlike many nonprofit organizations that hold monthly donation pledge drives and continually solicit donations, SABR has never been proactive about asking for donations. However, like all other nonprofit 501(c)3 organizations, SABR relies heavily on generous donations to supplement its membership dues and help the organization survive and prosper. We appreciate those members who have given in the past and continue to donate to SABR. As SABR continues to serve its members and move forward with exciting new member opportunities, we are going to become more proactive by asking our passionate and knowledgeable members to support their very special organization.

All donations to SABR are tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law. We thank you for supporting SABR and baseball research in all its forms.

To make a donation to support SABR, visit

— Marc Appleman, SABR Executive Director

In Memoriam: John McCormack 

Former SABR Vice-President John McCormack of Dallas, Texas, died on October 19, 2012, at the age of 95. He was a member of SABR since 1977 and involved with the DFW Hall-Ruggles Chapter.

John was born May 21, 1917, in Arlington, Massachusetts, where his parents, John F. and Garnette E. McCormack, temporarily resided while his father engaged in defense work. When the war ended they returned to New York, their longtime home. John grew up in New York City between the two World Wars. In 1934 he was named goaltender for the all-New York City High School Soccer Team. He graduated from the Horace Mann School for boys in 1935. He then entered Columbia College, where he played baseball for the Columbia team. He earned a B.A. in 1939 and a B.S. from Columbia’s business school in 1940. His Dad was both a baseball fan and a theatre lover. It was a rare weekend they were not at the Polo Grounds or Yankee Stadium watching the great players of Baseball’s Golden Age, including Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Carl Hubbell, Roger Hornsby, and Ty Cobb. Those were also the years of musicals by George Gershwin, Cole Porter and Rogers and Hart. He saw Fred and Adele Astaire, Ethel Merman, Bob Hope, George M. Cohan, Clifton Webb and many others. Vaudeville was coming to its end but before it died he had seen Bill Robinson, Jimmy Durante, Pat Rooney and Harry Richman.

While doing graduate work at Columbia in 1940, he sought and obtained a commission as a reserve Ensign in the U.S. Navy Supply Corps. In June 1941, he was ordered to the Navy Supply Corps School at Harvard where his instructor was Wally Savage, later Mayor of Dallas. On graduation in September 1941, he was first ordered to the USS Maryland and, upon arrival at Pearl Harbor, was reassigned to its Naval Air Station in late November 1941. When the Japanese attacked on December 7, battleship row was not far from his quarters and his introduction to war was the site of the Rising Sun on the wings of a plane overhead.

In early 1942 he sought and received a regular commission from the Navy. He served at Pearl Harbor until March 1944 when he was ordered to the Naval Air Station, Anacostia as its supply officer. He was retired as a Lieutenant for physical disability on May 1, 1945. He then enrolled in Columbia’s School of Law in 1945 and received a J.D. in 1948. It was in a law school domestic relations course that he met his future wife Catharine M. O’Brien. They married in 1950.

While working for a Wall Street law firm in 1953, he accepted an offer from Texas Instruments and moved to Dallas. Much of his work for TI was with its subsidiary Geophysical Service Inc. and affiliated companies. His work took him to 49 countries. He retired as a director of GSI in 1981. His wife, Catharine, died in February 1988. In 1991, he married a family friend and longtime bridge partner, Janet Sachs. They spent many happy years traveling the world and playing bridge in distant places such as South Africa, New Zealand, Australia, France and Slovenia. They played in many national tournaments in the U.S. and Canada. He was a Silver Life Master.

He belonged to many organizations. He served as Vice-President of the Society for American Baseball Research, the pre-eminent organization for baseball statisticians and historians. He published baseball articles in the New York Times and USA Today Baseball Weekly. The Baseball Hall of Fame honored him for his support. He was a member of the Dallas Country Club for more than 40 years. He served as a Director of The Friends of the Dallas Public Library. He belonged to the Delta Upsilon and Delta Beta Phi Fraternities and the American Contract Bridge League, where he served as President of the Dallas Chapter. He belonged to the Dallas, Texas, New York and American Bar Associations.

In addition to his wife Catharine, he was predeceased by his son, John Francis. He is survived by his wife Janet; daughter Cathy and husband Pat Maher; son Kevin and wife Sandy; sons Brien and Mark and grandsons Patrick and Alexander McCormack; also survived by step-children Byron Sachs and wife Rosa; Becky and husband Barry Brown, Joey Sachs and wife Francine; and step-grandchildren Joseph and Zachary Sachs and Rebecca Brown. A memorial service was held on Tuesday, October 23.

Though eligible for burial in Arlington National Cemetery he has chosen to be buried with full military honors at the Dallas/Fort Worth National Cemetery in a private family service. Online condolences may be made at

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.

Here is a list of new members:

Name Hometown     Name Hometown
Craig Britcher Pittsburgh, PA     Allen LaMountain Elizabethton, TN
Charles Burton Denver, CO     Amy Middleton Woodland Park, CO
JT Campfield Reading, PA     Robert Noble Wake Forest, NC
Christopher Coulter Ottawa, ON     Dave Ogden Pacific Junction, IA
Ron Elliott Stillwater, OK     Gerard Santiago Irving, TX
Robert Erland Jr. Boston, MA     Peter Seidel Brookfield, CT
John Hagan Newark, DE     Todd Thorsteinson Moscow, ID
Russell A. Hollander Olympia, WA     Brian Volz Worcester, MA
Richard Hormel Los Angeles, CA     Jeff Wing Chicago, IL


Research committee newsletters

Here are the SABR research committee newsletters published this week:

Find all SABR research committee newsletters at

Chapter meeting recaps

Here are the chapter meeting recaps 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

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

Find exclusive Members’ Only resources and information here:

Did you know you can renew your membership at any time? 1- and 3-year SABR memberships are available by clicking “Renew” at Please also consider a donation to SABR to support baseball research at

Are you following us on Twitter or Facebook? Get SABR updates every day at @SABR or by searching “SABR” on Facebook.

Replying to this e-mail goes to an undeliverable address. If you would like to contact the SABR office, please visit: /about/contact-sabr

Originally published: October 26, 2012. Last Updated: April 3, 2020.