This Week in SABR: September 30, 2011

Here’s what we’ve been up to as of September 30, 2011:

SABR interviews with heroes of Octobers past

As Major League Baseball gears up for the postseason, we took a whirl through the SABR archives for interviews with heroes of Octobers past conducted by members of our Oral History Research Committee. Over the last quarter-century, the SABR Oral History Committee has compiled hundreds of interviews of former players in the majors, minors, Negro Leagues and All-American Girls Professional Baseball League, along with executives, scouts, authors and writers, broadcasters and fans.

Today, we’re posting some audio excerpts from our collection. Listen to these players talk about their postseason glory days in their own words:

  • Lew Burdette, who won three games for the Milwaukee Braves in the 1957 World Series, talks about the infamous “shoe polish” hit-by-pitch incident with Nippy Jones in Game 4 and beating Whitey Ford with a 1-0 shutout in Game 5.
  • Hank Bauer, who helped the New York Yankees win nine pennants in 11 years, talks about his bases-loaded triple in Game 6 of the 1951 World Series against the New York Giants.
  • Dusty Rhodes, who hit two unlikely home runs for the New York Giants in the 1954 World Series, talks about facing the Cleveland Indians pitchers in spring training at Tucson, Arizona, and celebrating his World Series heroics back home in Alabama.
  • Al Gionfriddo, who made one of the most famous catches in World Series history for the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947, reminisces about the play that made him a household name to a generation of Dodgers fans and his memorable appearance as a pinch-runner in Game 4, when Bill Bevens lost a no-hitter with two outs in the ninth.
  • Marty Marion, the St. Louis Cardinals star shortstop and National League MVP for 1944, talks about beating the mighty Yankees in the 1942 World Series and playing through illness during the 1944 World Series.

Click here to listen to the interviews:

What a wild (card) week of baseball!

Can you remember a single calendar day in baseball history with as much multi-game drama and excitement as Wednesday, September 28? We sure can’t. (And if you can — chime in on our SABRNation thread here. The only contenders that immediately come to mind are October 1, 1967, when the Red Sox, Twins and Tigers battled for the AL pennant; or October 3, 1993, when the 104-win Braves topped the 103-win Giants for the NL West division crown.)

In the span of about 90 minutes in three different ballparks, two teams thought to be postseason locks — the Red Sox and Braves — were eliminated and the Rays and Cardinals qualified for the posteason. Relive the crazy final hours of the American League wild-card race visually with this fantastic FanGraphs timeline chart by Jack Moore.

As Rob Neyer wrote earlier this week at SB Nation, the Red Sox made history, but not the kind they wanted. “According to researcher [and SABR member] Frank Vaccaro, the 2011 Boston Red Sox are the first team in the Wild Card era to blow a 10-game lead; on the morning of August 17, the Red Sox (and the Yankees) led the Tampa Bay Rays by 10 games.” The Braves blew an 8.5-game lead in the National League, which was the second-highest blown wild-card lead in history.

Oh, and remember all the fuss last month about Bill Bergen’s hitless streak record as Milwaukee’s Craig Counsell was approaching (and eventually) tied it at 45? It’s all moot now as the Dodgers’ Eugenio Velez broke the mark with his  46th consecutive hitless at-bat this week. He’ll carry the streak into next year, finishing 0-for-37 this season.

Here’s a few more articles that we found interesting as the 2011 regular season wraps up:

“Moneyball” reviews still coming in

We’ve heard from many of you who went to see the “Moneyball” film after it opened last Friday, and the overwhelming consensus seems to be that the movie is highly enjoyable, regardless of your interest or knowledge in baseball or sabermetrics. (The film has a 92 percent audience rating over at, as of 9/30.) As SABR member Jeff Polman writes, “Moneyball may be a ‘baseball movie’, but it’s closer to a classic man-against-the-system-at-impossible-odds film … like Paul Newman’s The Verdict.”

We’re compiling more reviews of the film here, and SABR members can share your thoughts and opinions on the film in our SABRNation discussion thread.

Here are two must-read “Moneyball”-related articles posted this week:

For more coverage of “Moneyball” at, click here.

Maris anniversary events on tap Saturday in New York

Fifty years ago Saturday, Roger Maris hit the memorable home run that secured his legacy in baseball history: No. 61. On the anniversary of Maris’ record-breaking home run — a solo shot to right field off Boston’s Tracy Stallard on October 1, 1961, breaking Babe Ruth’s iconic mark for homers in a single season — the baseball community will celebrate his achievement with events planned around New York.

Twice on Saturday, Andy Strasberg will deliver his memorable presentation on his lifelong friendship with the Yankees slugger. In March we profiled Strasberg, a San Diego Padres marketing executive for two decades, and his must-be-heard-to-be-believed story about Maris. He will share his story at 11 a.m. Saturday at the Yogi Berra Museum & Learning Center in Montclair, New Jersey, and again at 6 p.m. at the Walter Bruno Auditorium, Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts Library in New York. He will introduce 61*, the Billy Crystal HBO film chronicling that memorable season.

Full details and directions to both events can be found here.

Also Saturday, the National Baseball Hall of Fame will offer a special gallery talk about Maris throughout the day Saturday. Visitors to the museum can stop by the Hall of Fame’s newest exhibit, One for the Books: Baseball Records and the Stories Behind Them, to see the bat and ball from Maris’ historic achievement, and to learn more about his record-breaking season and its place in baseball history.

The special gallery talk in the One for the Books exhibit will be offered three times Saturday, at 11 a.m., 1 p.m., and at 2:42 p.m., the exact moment that Maris hit his record-breaking blast. The program is included with admission to the museum and no reservations are required.

For more information on the National Baseball Hall of Fame, visit

Save the date: 2012 Jerry Malloy Negro League Conference

The 15th annual Jerry Malloy Negro League Conference, hosted by SABR’s Negro Leagues Research Committee, will be held July 19-21, 2012, in Cleveland, Ohio.

The Malloy Conference promotes activities to enhance scholarly, educational, and literary objectives. For the past 14 years, the event has been the only symposium dedicated exclusively to the examination and promotion of black baseball history. The conference is open to baseball and history fans of all ages.

Check back at for registration and hotel information on the 15th annual Malloy Conference in 2012.

Have you registered for the SABR Arizona Fall League Conference yet?

The 20th season of the Arizona Fall League, matching up the top prospects from major league organizations at all levels, opens Tuesday with games at Phoenix Municipal Stadium, Peoria Sports Complex and Scottsdale Stadium. The six-team league plays six days a week from early October until mid-November, with more than two dozen first-round draft picks on the rosters, including 2008 No. 1 pick Tim Beckham (Surprise Saguaros/Rays) and 2010 No. 1 pick Bryce Harper (Scottsdale Scorpions/Nationals).

Registration is still ongoing for the third annual SABR Arizona Fall League Conference on November 3-5, 2011, at the Hilton Phoenix East/Mesa. NOTE: Please book your room by October 18 to guarantee a spot.

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

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.

Retrosheet releases new discrepancy files

On Thursday, Dave Smith offered a detailed description of a major new effort by Retrosheet, “one that has never been undertaken by any other group or company or by Major League Baseball itself.”

As Smith wrote, “We have done a detailed examination of the game by game totals for batters, pitchers and fielders to check for inconsistencies in the official records. We have recently published the first set of results from this examination for several seasons, following the detailed methodology laid out below.”

Click here to learn more about Retrosheet’s discrepancy files (and the difference between “official” and “accurate”), along with an explanation of the proofing process by Tom Ruane:

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 1,675 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.

Chuck McGill wins first SABR Fantasy League

Congratulations goes to Chuck McGill, a member of the Gardner-Waterman Chapter, for winning the first season of the SABR Fantasy Baseball League.

McGill, who resides in Westford, Vermont, grew up watching the Red Sox and Fred Lynn in his home state of Rhode Island. He now feeds his passion for baseball by uncovering previously undocumented minor league no-hitters. In only a year’s time, Chuck has uncovered more than 100 no-hitters.

CJ Hangen, co-commissioner of the league (and one of our interns at this year’s SABR convention in Long Beach) will be posting a detailed summary of Chuck’s win at To learn more about the rules and stats used in SABR Fantasy Baseball, click here.

Chapter meeting recaps

(If you would like to include your chapter meeting recap in “This Week in SABR”, please e-mail a notice to Jacob Pomrenke.)

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 30, 2011. Last Updated: April 3, 2020.