This Week in SABR: September 21, 2012

Here’s what we’ve been up to as of September 21, 2012:

Save the date! SABR 43 is July 31-August 4, 2013 in Philadelphia

Save the date! SABR 43 will be held July 31-August 4, 2013, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Hotel and registration information will be available soon at

Our 43rd annual convention will be highlighted by a Phillies home game at Citizens Bank Park. The San Francisco Giants are in town from July 30-August 1 and the Atlanta Braves will be in Philly for the weekend series on August 2-4.

The SABR Board of Directors awarded the 2013 national convention to Philadelphia’s Connie Mack Chapter during the 2011 annual business meeting at SABR 41. If you’d like to get involved with planning and organizing for the 2013 Philadelphia convention, please contact Seamus Kearney.

A call for papers for the 2013 issue of The National Pastime, our Philadelphia convention journal, can be found here.

The 2013 convention will be SABR’s 43rd annual gathering; the organization’s founding in Cooperstown in 1971 is counted as the first. SABR last held its national convention in Philadelphia in 1974 — our fourth annual meeting. Legendary sports writer Fred Lieb, one of the earliest SABR members, was the featured speaker. Other guest speakers included Phillies and Reds announcer Gene Kelley and former Negro Leagues player Ted Page.

For a multimedia history of all 42 past SABR conventions, including complete coverage of SABR 42 this summer in Minneapolis, click here.

Register for the SABR Arizona Fall League Conference

Join us for the fourth annual SABR Arizona Fall League Conference, November 1-3, 2012, in Scottsdale, Arizona. Registration is now open at

The 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 Talking Stick at Salt River, the crown jewel of Arizona’s Cactus League parks.

After taking in a game on Thursday afternoon, guests will also be treated to dinner Don and Charlie’s, home to one of the great sports memorabilia collections you will ever see. Friday’s schedule includes two AFL games and a pregame ballpark dinner at Scottsdale Stadium, along with a special guest speaker to go along with your meal.

On Saturday morning, attendees will join members of SABR’s Flame Delhi (Arizona) Chapter for their regional fall meeting. Saturday night is always a highlight of the conference as the top prospects from every organization participate in the AFL Rising Stars game. All of this, including transportation, is included in one low registration price.

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. 
  • 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 in November!

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

Connie Mack Day celebrated in East Brookfield, Massachusetts

SABR members Dick Rosen, working with the Philadelphia Athletics Historical Society (and an organizer of the 2013 SABR convention), and Norman Macht (author of two published volumes on Connie Mack) both took part in “Connie Mack Day” on September 14 and 15 in East Brookfield, Massachusetts. The town took the weekend to celebrate the 150th anniversary of Connie Mack’s birth in the town where he grew up.

Dick Armstrong, former public relations director for the Athletics, and former U.S. Senator Connie Mack III and Congressman Connie Mack IV of Florida were also in attendance.

The town turned out with displays of memorabilia and local history. This year marks the 150th anniversary of Mack’s birth on December 22, and a group of enthusiastic town officials and historical society members put together a great program.

Both Dick and Norman gave talks on Friday evening. The highlight of Saturday was the re-dedication of Connie Mack Field in the town and a vintage baseball game featuring a match between East Brookfield and North Brookfield, reprising Connie Mack’s first championship game.

East Brookfield had a bit of an edge, with former major league pitcher Bill “Spaceman” Lee joining the team — throwing in an underhand motion, of course, and unable to benefit in the strikeout department from foul balls being considered strikes. East Brookfield won, 27-7, in large part thanks to Lee’s eight RBIs, scored on two run-producing singles and a grand slam over the right-field fence.

Check out some photos of the event at

— Bill Nowlin and Joanne Hulbert

Chicago Baseball Museum honors Veeck family with special event

The Veterans Committee meets in Nashville this December during baseball’s Winter Meetings to vote on 10 candidates from the 1876-1946 era to be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Right after this year’s World Series, the BBWAA-appointed Historical Overview Committee that acts as the screening committee will select 10 candidates — retired Major League Baseball players no longer eligible for election by the BBWAA, managers, umpires or executives — for the Pre-Integration Era Ballot.

One dark horse, but extremely worthy candidate for this year’s Pre-Integration Era ballot is MLB executive William Louis Veeck (1877-1933), who was the President of the Chicago Cubs from July 1919 until his death in October 1933.

William Veeck is an unsung hero in MLB history, a man who helped ferret gambling out of the national pastime and helped transform baseball from a cottage industry to a dynamic entertainment industry with his intricate involvement in the creation of the first Commissioner’s Office in 1920 and other innovations such as Ladies’ Day that helped attract a new base of fans. While better known as the father of Bill Veeck, who grew up at Wrigley Field because his father was the Cubs’ President and minority owner, the elder Veeck had a stellar career of his own and had a lasting impact on the national pastime.

Click here to learn more about his legacy:

The Chicago Baseball Museum plans to actively advocate for William Louis Veeck’s selection by the BBWWA Historical Overview Committee to be included on this year’s pre-integration ballot after this year’s World Series.

On September 20, the CBM hosted “One Family, Two Teams: The Impact of the Veecks on Chicago Baseball” at the Chicago History Museum, which made the case for Veeck’s worthiness to be elected to the Hall of Fame by the Veterans Committee this December. For more information, visit

— Dr. David Fletcher

Catching science: The mind behind the mask

SABR members Robert and James Arkin take us into the psychology behind the catcher’s position, in a research article published this week at 

Baseball historians view the evolution of the catcher position in a way that’s similar to how psychological scientists view the evolution of the cortex. The position used to be called “the behind” and was located way, way behind the batter, but the catcher slowly moved up to be adjacent to the hitter (Morris, 2009). Catchers gradually assumed a crouching position (and, most importantly, finally got some padded equipment), and ultimately the catcher became a social animal, a leader, and a field general (the metaphors are legion; see Morris, 2009).

Catcher is a unique position on the baseball field. Squatting awkwardly in heavy gear and using one’s body to block the baseball may appear brutish compared with the graceful stances and fluid movements of the other positions. Yet catching involves mental gymnastics well beyond those required of any other player.

Only the catcher is positioned to see the entire field of play, including the hitter, and it is the catcher who triggers virtually every action by calling the pitches. The catcher makes calls based on a complex array of data that he processes in a split second. He must be aware of every aspect of the game at all times, particularly the perceived strengths and weaknesses, as well as preferences and desires, of the hitter (the opponent) and his own teammates. He must keep the score, the inning, and the number of outs in mind. He has to know what the count is and what the batter did the last time he was up to bat as well as in prior games. Is the pitcher’s curveball working today? Does the umpire have a loose or a tight strike zone? Does the batter dig in? Is his weight leaning forward or on his heels? Do the runners have large leads, and which way are they leaning? These perceptions, judgments, and decisions run through a catcher’s mind before he calls a pitch. Each decision is critical, because the outcome of the game could turn on any one. The complexity seems daunting. But, like a chess master — or a master of any other talent that involves an opponent and/or a team — catching relies on emotional intelligence and perspective taking, which depend on the thoughts and feelings that run through the medial prefrontal cortex hub.

Click here to read the full article:

Robert M. Arkin is an APS Fellow and professor of psychology at Ohio State University. James R. Arkin is a journalism student at Northwestern University who has written for The Sports Bank and

Call for papers: 2013 NINE Spring Training Conference

The 20th annual NINE Spring Training Conference invites original, unpublished papers that study all aspects of baseball, with particular emphasis on history and social policy implications. Abstracts only, not to exceed 300 words, should be submitted by December 3, 2012, to

Authors will be notified as quickly as possible whether their papers have been accepted. Authors are required to register for the conference and present their work in person.

The 20th annual NINE Spring Training Conference on the Historical and Sociological Impact of Baseball will be held Wednesday, March 13-Saturday, March 16, 2013, at the Fiesta Resort Conference Center, 2100 South Priest Drive, Tempe, Arizona.

The keynote speaker is Chris Lamb, author of six books, including Conspiracy of Silence: Sportswriters and the Campaign to Desegregate Baseball (McFarland, 2012).

The 2013 SABR Seymour Medal will also be awarded at the NINE Conference.

Conference registration forms are available online on the NINE website at

9 new biographies 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 2,072 published biographies.

Here are the new bios:

All new biographies can be found here:

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

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

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
Brett Andler Medford, MA     Catherine Heyward Medford, MA
Doug Biehn Burlington, ON     Kenneth Holt Carrboro, NC
John Bowden Parksley, VA     Lynne Koester Medford, MA
Larry Brunt Spokane, WA     Rochelle Nicholls Coolac, NSW (Australia)
Larry Cervasio Nutley, NJ     Melissa Rosario Medford, MA
Bill Ehrman Parma, OH     Ethan Schurkman Scarsdale, NY
Tony Gianninoto Preston, MD     Kevin Stahl Rancho Palos Verdes, CA
Eric Golanty Oakland, CA     Ellen Staurowsky Audubon, PA
Nathan Hartman Cincinnati, OH     Eric Steward Easton, MD
Jack L. Hayes Lady Lake, FL     Larry Wimberly Houston, TX


Research committee newsletters

  • There were no committee newsletters published this week.

Find all SABR research committee newsletters at

Chapter meeting recaps

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: 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:

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Originally published: September 21, 2012. Last Updated: April 3, 2020.