Editor's note: Fall 2015 Baseball Research Journal
This article was published in the Fall 2015 Baseball Research Journal.
It's hard to believe that with this issue I begin my fifth year as SABR’s publications director, capping off the most productive four years in the publication department’s history. The surge in productivity is not my doing, really. I’m like a US President who gets credit for prosperity while in office. SABR’s publications output is the convergence of many factors including a stable front office, an engaged publication-happy board, modern book-making technology, and most importantly, the enthusiastic research output of hundreds and hundreds of members. We are currently publishing about one book per month plus three journals per year (two BRJs and one National Pastime). My estimate on how many total words we've published in the past year comes close to two million.
And that doesn’t count the words on the SABR website. It doesn’t count the words written and published by SABR members in other venues and in books for many other publishers. Nowadays I could read nothing but research by SABR members and still not get to it all. It’s glorious. I enjoy living in an age when the dissemination of research is easier than ever, and being part of an organization that foments so much knowledge being gleaned, gained, and shared.
This issue of the BRJ has our usual mix of history and statistics, including a group of several that are that SABR staple: articles which combine both. Whether analyzing unlikely pitching gems (J.G. Preston), trends in play like stolen bases (John McMurray), switch-hit homers (Cort Vitty), and postseason success (Stuart Shapiro), or records well known and obscure (Douglas Jordan), these authors are in relentless pursuit of understanding what has happened on the field.
The second group of articles all deal with baseball and its effects off the field. Baseball as a cultural force has been part of the history of television (Robert D. Warrington), popular culture (TV, movies, and music à la David Krell), and courtroom law (William Lamb). The author team of Warneke, Ogden, and Shorey return to the pages of the BRJ with a social psychology study about youth ballplayers and their choice of heroes among big league players. And Matthew Clifford tracks down a case of mistaken identity that persists in the baseball memorabilia biz.
Lastly we have some good old-fashioned history, telling the stories of memorable fans (Hilda Chester by Rob Edelman), performances (Brian Marshall), personalities (Colonel Ruppert and Miller Huggins by Lyle Spatz and Steve Steinberg), icons (Babe Ruth from two angles, by John McMurray and Michael Haupert, Connie Mack by Norman Macht), and seasons (1951 Hazard, Kentucky, by Sam Zygner). We in SABR have a reputation for myth-busting rather than myth-making; that makes these stories no less compelling. In fact, it makes them more so. Baseball is the original “reality TV” and it never “gets old.”
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CECILIA M. TAN is SABR's Publications Editor. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.