We noticed this week that our Twitter account @SABR was about to pass 4,000 followers. Thanks to all of you for the support as we continue our 40-year mission to foster the research, preservation and dissemination of the history of baseball.
As we approach the milestone, we wanted to offer a gesture of appreciation to our baseball friends in the Twitter-verse. So we’ve rounded up a few prizes to give away — with a SABR twist, of course.
We like round numbers as much as anyone, but 4,000 isn’t nearly as important in baseball history as 4,189. See, for more than a half-century after he retired in 1928, Hall of Famer Ty Cobb’s career hits record was thought to be 4,191 — until SABR member Pete Palmer’s research in the late 1970s discovered that the Detroit Tigers great had been credited with two extra hits in 1910, near the end of a highly disputed batting race with Cleveland’s Nap Lajoie.
Cobb’s career hit total has since been corrected to 4,189 in most sources, as you can see here on the leaderboard at Baseball-Reference.com. But when Pete Rose was chasing Cobb’s mark in the 1980s, Major League Baseball hadn’t yet acknowledged the revision and Rose famously celebrated in front of the home fans at Riverfront Stadium in Cincinnati when he singled for his 4,192nd hit on September 11, 1985. In fact, he had actually set the record three days earlier, on September 8 at Wrigley Field in Chicago.
It’s one of the many impacts SABR members have had on baseball’s record books in the last four decades. When the Fall 2011 Baseball Research Journal comes out in the next few weeks, you can read more on this in Gary Gillette and Lyle Spatz’s article, “Not Chiseled in Stone: Baseball’s Enduring Records and the SABR Era”.
So, back to Twitter. One lucky follower will pass the real Cobb record soon and, this time, we’ll be celebrating.
To our 4,189th follower: You get a copy of the The National Pastime: Baseball in the Peach State, our 2010 convention publication featuring a landmark article by Ron Cobb (no relation) debunking the many myths about Ty Cobb and his baseball legacy.
To our 4,190th follower: You get a copy of How Bill James Changed Our View of Baseball (ACTA Sports), featuring articles on the legendary sabermetrician by Alan Schwarz, John Thorn, Rob Neyer, John Dewan and more.
UPDATE (10/26/11): Thanks to all of you who are following our Twitter account. We just hit 4,190 and are sending out our prizes to the winners!
If you’re not a member of SABR, we hope you’ll consider joining. Thanks again for your support.
— Jacob Pomrenke
This article has been modified from its original version.
Originally published: October 25, 2011. Last Updated: October 25, 2011.