Univ. of Delaware: Smith wins national baseball research award

From Ann Manser at the University of Delaware’s UDaily on April 5, 2012, on SABR member David W. Smith:

Today is Major League Baseball’s Opening Day, but UD biology Prof. David W. Smith, a winner of this year’s Henry Chadwick Award from the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR), fields hardball questions all year long. 

The queries come by phone and email, from sportswriters, team managers, coaches and fans. Did the Dodgers set a record by having seven sons of Hall of Famers on their spring training roster this year? (Yes.) Has the modern use of designated closing pitchers made teams more likely to hold onto a lead in the final innings of a game? (No. “Closers are incredibly overrated.”) Has there ever been a game in which only a single player got on base? (No, but there’s been a game with only two baserunners, Sandy Koufax’s perfect game, a 1-0 win over the Cubs in 1965.)

And then, there’s the question that Smith is asked most often: When did your fascination—some would say obsession—with baseball statistics begin? (July 11, 1958, when his father took him to see Koufax pitch and bought him the big, red Dodgers almanac filled with pages of numbers compiled by Allan Roth, the first team statistician in the sport’s history.)

“Other kids might have thought they’d grow up to be Koufax,” says Smith, a diehard Dodgers fan who grew up in California. “I wanted to be Allan Roth.”

Read the full article here: http://www.udel.edu/udaily/2012/apr/smith-retrosheet-040512.html

Related link: Dave Smith was named a recipient of a 2012 Henry Chadwick Award

Originally published: April 5, 2012. Last Updated: April 5, 2012.