Fall 2013 Baseball Research Journal
Baseball’s First Bill Veeck
What with Bill Veeck Jr.’s gregarious nature, numerous achievements, and well-known career as “a champion of the little guy” (to quote from his Hall of Fame plaque), it is not surprising that writers have penned quite a few profiles of the flamboyant baseball executive. On the other hand, regrettably little ink has been spilled in coverage of his father, the lesser-known Veeck Sr., an “unsung hero in MLB history.”
- More Whimpers Than Bangs: How Batters Perform When “It’s the World Series and they’re down to their final out”
- The Veracity of Veeck
The Hearst Sandlot Classic: More than a Doorway to the Big Leagues
Set against the backdrop of a country emerging from war, and entering into a period of prosperity, the Hearst Sandlot Classic for 20 years offered a showcase for young baseball talent. Many of those who participated signed professional contracts and others were able to obtain scholarships to further their education. Everyone who participated gained memories to last a lifetime.
- Fate and the Federal League: Were the Federals Incompetent, Outmaneuvered, or Just Unlucky?
Clutch Hitting in the Major Leagues: A Psychological Perspective
Sabermetricians have been arguing about the reality of clutch hitting for quite some time now. Existing research has, for all intents and purposes, been based on the assumption that major league ballplayers vary significantly in the psychological characteristics associated with clutch hitting. What might those characteristics be? And is it reasonable to expect major leaguers to represent different levels of those characteristics? If not, what are the implications for the search to find convincing and replicable evidence for clutch hitting?
Is a Major League Hitter Hot or Cold?
Many major league baseball games are decided in the final innings or outs of a game. For that reason, it would be beneficial for team managers to know which player on their team has the highest probability of getting on base or getting the game-winning hit. The probability, however, will differ depending on whether the player is hot or cold. The goal of this study is to use hidden Markov models to determine when players are hot or cold and to determine how their batting averages differ between these two states.
When Did Frank Baker Become "Home Run" Baker?
The story of how Frank Baker, the Philadelphia Athletics star third baseman, earned the nickname of “Home Run” is well known to even casual fans of baseball. As his Hall of Fame plaque states, he “won two World Series games from [the] Giants in 1911 with home-runs thus getting name ‘Home Run’ Baker.” Although this story of how Baker’s famous nickname came about has become a well accepted piece of baseball lore, it isn't quite accurate. In fact, Baker was tagged with his famous sobriquet even before he had hit his first regular season major league home run and at least as early as spring training of his rookie year with the Athletics.
- Preferences Between Baseball and Fastpitch Softball Amongst Female Baseball Players
- The Way the Game Is Supposed to Be Played: George Kell, Ted Williams, and the battle for the 1949 batting title
- The Mystery of Jack Smith’s Runs
Debs Garms, the Bioproject, and I
The SABR BioProject is not only a boon to readers, but to the researchers who create the articles. The research has fulfilled curiosity and generated enjoyment for countless SABR members seeking to learn more about the lives of childhood heroes or members of a favorite team. Here's one example.
- The 20/30 Game Winner: An Endangered/Extinct Species
- Game Score vs. Starter Score
- The Team with the Most On-Base Percentage Titles
- Additional Corrections in the Official Records (1920–44) of Runs Scored for Detroit Tigers Players
The Future of Baseball Contracts: A Look at the Growing Trend in Long-Term Contracts
Baseball contracts seem to be headed increasingly in the same direction; teams are trying to lock up their younger (particularly homegrown) stars to long-term deals before they hit the free agent market, which would drive up the price for a player. These contracts carry “boom or bust” potential for both the player and the franchise. In the player’s case, he is guaranteeing himself a great deal of money, but at the same time, he is putting a ceiling on his earnings. He is potentially giving up an even greater sum if he were to hit the open market of free agency.
- Prospects, Promotions and Playoff Races: Do They Bring Fans to Minor League Games?