This Week in SABR: September 16, 2011

Here’s what we’ve been up to as of September 16, 2011:

Set Your DVRs on Sunday for “Behind the Seams: The Stat Story”

MLB Network will premiere “Behind the Seams: The Stat Story”, a special on the evolution of statistics in Major League Baseball, at 10 p.m. Eastern on Sunday, September 18, 2011. The hour-long program will be narrated by 22-time Emmy Award-winner Bob Costas.

An MLB Productions crew spent five days at the 41st annual SABR convention this summer in Long Beach, California, filming interviews with SABR members for the show.

Among the interviewees are Elias Sports Bureau’s Steve Hirdt, MLB’s official historian John Thorn,’s Sean Forman, Sports Illustrated’s Joe Sheehan, contributor Jonah Keri, New York Times writer Alan Schwarz, Rotisserie League Baseball creator Dan Okrent and SB Nation’s Rob Neyer.

Check with your cable or satellite TV provider to find out if you have MLB Network, or visit for more information.

Save the date: 2012 SABR convention in Minneapolis

Save the date for SABR 42! Our next national convention will be held June 27-July 1, 2012, in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

The Twins are scheduled to play host to the Kansas City Royals in a weekend series at Target Field, which opened in 2010. In addition, a trip is tentatively planned to see a St. Paul Saints minor league game. The Major League Baseball schedule was released Wednesday morning.

Recently, Stew Thornley of the Halsey Hall Chapter offered a preview of the programs being planned for SABR 42 and area attractions in the Twin Cities. You can read it here.

Minnesota’s Halsey Hall Chapter last hosted the SABR convention in 1988. and The Baseball Gauge launch Negro Leagues Database

Our friends at and The Baseball Gauge have launched the Negro Leagues Database, the first comprehensive online statistical encyclopedia of the great black baseball teams and leagues that operated behind the color line in the days of Jim Crow segregation:

The database, created by longtime SABR members Gary Ashwill, Scott Simkus, Kevin Johnson and Dan Hirsch, also collects a vast amount of biographical information about the players, including links to their SABR Baseball Biography Project entries and player pages at and, where applicable. 

Ashwill and Simkus have compiled the statistics for the first three seasons of the Negro National League, 1920 to 1922; four seasons of pre-Negro League play, 1916 to 1919; and nine seasons of the Cuban Winter League, 1905 to 1913. These leagues featured some of the best black ballplayers of the era, including Oscar Charleston, Cristóbal Torriente, Bullet Rogan, Joe Williams and Pete Hill. 

On Tuesday, we spoke with Ashwill — who blogs regularly on the Negro Leagues at — by phone to talk about his research and launching the Negro Leagues Database. Click here to read more of our interview: panel selecting top 5 Latino pitchers of all-time

In the wake of “The Year of the Pitcher” and in a salute to Hispanic Heritage Month, posed the following question to some of the most respected authorities on baseball — men and women who have deep knowledge of Latinos in baseball: Who were the top Latino pitchers in the history of the game? Only retired players could be considered.

The No. 5 selection, released Thursday, was Fernando Valenzuela. The No. 4 selection, released Friday, was Dennis Martinez. The top three will be revealed next week.

The voting panel consists of SABR members Peter Bjarkman, Adrian Burgos, Dick Clark, Leslie Heaphy, Larry Lester, James A. Riley and John Thorn, along with Raymond Doswell, Bob Kendrick and Luis Rodriguez-Mayoral.

Click here to read the articles in the series:

Three new biographies posted at SABR BioProject

Three new biographies were posted this week as part of the SABR Baseball Biography Project, bringing us to a total of 1,666 published biographies:

All new biographies can be found here:

Writing a biography for the BioProject is an easy way to get involved as a SABR member. Find out how by visiting our BioProject Resources page or reading the FAQs section. 

Tan, Kaufman to co-edit 2012 Baseball Prospectus annual

The editors for the 17th annual Baseball Prospectus annual in 2012 will be Cecilia Tan, who is one of SABR’s Publications Editors and is hard at work now on the Fall 2011 edition of the Baseball Research Journal, and King Kaufman, formerly of and now the manager of Bleacher Report’s writer program.

SABR member Steven Goldman writes: “Since 2005, the Baseball Prospectus annual has been like my third child. I have spent more time with it than I have with my actual children, but it has been time well spent—the annual is the heir to the Bill James books that activated my love for the game as a teenager, and I’ve tried my best to live up to that standard, to make it a book you could read as well as use as a reference, to laugh with and learn from. … After six editions as editor or co-editor, I am ready to seek new challenges (among them my continuing role as editor-in-chief of, and so I am passing the torch. It is hard to let go of something for which you have such deep feelings, but I do so knowing the book is in the best of hands.”

Can you solve Rick Swaine’s latest Baseball Crossword Puzzle?

Since March, SABR member Rick Swaine has been creating baseball crossword puzzles of varying difficulty and posting them every week on his website at

Try his latest one online by visiting Find out about his new puzzles every week on the SABR Bulletin group at SABRNation, which you can access by logging in here:

Register now for SABR Arizona Fall League Conference

Registration is still ongoing for the third annual SABR Arizona Fall League Conference on November 3-5, 2011, at the Hilton Phoenix East/Mesa.

The schedule is expected to include:

  • Four AFL games, including the premier Rising Stars Game on November 5 in Surprise and games at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick and Hohokam Park in Mesa.
  • Major League Alumni Awards Dinner: Roland Hemond will receive the AZMLA Legacy Award
  • A tour of the “Play Ball: The Cactus League Experience” museum exhibit at the Arizona Historical Society in Tempe
  • A tour of Chase Field, home of the Arizona Diamondbacks
  • Research presentations and guest speakers

Two of baseball’s top prospects, Bryce Harper of the Nationals and Mike Trout of the Angels, reportedly will play in the same outfield for the 2011 Scottsdale Scorpions.

Registration for the conference is available now at the SABR Store: $125 for SABR members and guests, or $159 for nonmembers. The conference is open to all baseball fans.

The Hilton Phoenix East/Mesa is at 1011 West Holmes Avenue, Mesa, AZ 85210. SABR has reserved a block of rooms for $99/night (plus tax) for the nights of November 3-5. Click here to book your room online or call (800) 544-5866 and tell them you’re registering for the SABR Arizona Fall League Conference. Conference attendees will receive complimentary parking, complimentary breakfast buffet (for up to two people per room) and complimentary wireless high-speed Internet in guest rooms. Please book your room by October 18 to guarantee a spot.

Thorn, Neyer to speak at Rocky Mountain Chapter banquet

SABR’s Rocky Mountain Chapter will hold its 14th annual chapter banquet on November 4 at the Denver Athletic Club. Cocktails begin at 6 p.m., dinner and program at 7.

The banquet will take place in the Grand Ballroom of the DAC, 1325 Glenarm Place, Denver, CO 80204.

John Thorn, Official Historian of Major League Baseball, will be the keynote speaker. Rob Neyer, baseball editor at SB Nation, will be the featured speaker.

For more information, contact Paul Parker or visit For a downloadable PDF registration form, click here. 

Upcoming SABR events:

In other recent SABR news:

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

Find more information about SABR and at the Members’ Info page here:

If you would like us to include an upcoming event, article or any other information in “This Week in SABR”, please send an e-mail to Jacob Pomrenke.

Originally published: September 16, 2011. Last Updated: April 3, 2020.