Fall 2017 Baseball Research Journal

  • The Struggle to Define 'Valuable': Tradition vs. Sabermetrics in the 2012 AL MVP Race By Peter B. Gregg, PhD

    Voters in the 2012 American League MVP race who valued the historical rarity of the Triple Crown tipped the scales overwhelmingly in Miguel Cabrera’s favor. Meanwhile, Mike Trout’s performance was emblematic for sabermetricians struggling for acceptance of sophisticated player valuation methods. The heart of this tension revolves around the power to define “valuable” as an institutional norm among baseball journalists.

  • The Complete Collegiate Baseball Record of George H.W. Bush By Herm Krabbenhoft

    Baseball has been an important and enduring component in the makeup of George H.W. Bush, the 41st President of the United States of America. While his collegiate baseball career at Yale University did not put him on a path to play in the major leagues, contributions to Yale’s diamond accomplishments, in combination with his subsequent success in the business world and service in government, produced an illustrious legacy of awards and honors bearing his name.

  • 'Just Bounce Right Back Up and Dust Yourself Off': Participation Motivations, Resilience, and Perceived Organizational Support Among Amateur Baseball Umpires By Lori A. Livingston, Ph.D. and Susan L. Forbes, Ph.D.

    It is commonly thought that the stressful nature of sporting officials’ roles and threats of verbal and physical abuse are the primary reason why candidates drop out of the officiating ranks. This article attempts to identify what motivates individuals to enter into and remain active in amateur baseball umpiring, and investigate their resilience and how their perceptions of the support they receive from their sporting organizations affected their resilience.

  • A Comprehensive Analysis of Team Streakiness in Major League Baseball: 1962-2016 By Paul H. Kvam and Zezhong Chen

    A baseball team would be considered “streaky” if its record exhibits an unusually high number of consecutive wins or losses. In this paper, we investigate win outcomes for every major-league team from 1962 through the 2016 season in order to find out if any teams exhibited significant streakiness.

  • Quasi-Cycles — Better than Cycles? By Herm Krabbenhoft

    One of baseball’s most highly regarded accomplishments by an individual player is hitting for the cycle: collecting at least one of each of the four types of safe hits (single, double, triple, and home run) in the same game. But shouldn’t there be some long-lasting special recognition when a player gets four extra-base hits in a game?

  • Jim Piersall's Tumultuous 1952 Season By Neal Golden

    Jimmy Piersall’s death in 2017 provided an occasion to recall his rookie season of 1952 that he began playing a new position — shortstop — for the Boston Red Sox, continued with AA Birmingham, and ended in a mental hospital. His is the inspiring story of a young man overcoming a serious health problem to craft a productive 17-year major league career.

  • Analysis of Andrés Galarraga's Home Run of May 31, 1997 By José L. López, Oscar A. López, Elizabeth Raven, Adrián López

    In this article the home run hit by Andrés Galarraga at the Florida Marlins' home stadium in 1997 is analyzed. Assigned initially at 529 feet it was considered one of the longest in major league baseball history, but the distance estimate was later lowered to 468 feet. A mathematical model is developed to determine the trajectory of the ball using known principles of physics.

  • "But I'm All Alone, and This May be Sort of Fun": The Ageless Cy Young on the Mound in 1934-35 By Bob LeMoine

    Cy Young, baseball’s all-time winningest pitcher with 511 victories, ranks as one of the greatest in baseball history. He was an old farm boy at heart before he was a baseball star, and he spent his latter years doing what he would have done if baseball had never come along. This article explores the little-known life of Cy Young in the years 1934 and 1935, when the baseball legend in his late sixties found himself again on the mound.

  • Baseball Swing Stride and Head Movement Relationships By Samuel J. Haag

    Some have suggested that a baseball batter must keep their head still in order to visually track a pitched baseball, and that striding with the front foot during the swing leads to excessive head movement and disrupts the tracking of the pitch. This study analyzes the swings of 18 collegiate baseball players using a video camera and two-dimensional motion analysis program.

  • Baseball Before a Captive Audience: The Minnesota State Prison's Sisal Sox, 1914-72 By Rich Arpi

    Prison games are easily overlooked by historians because few in the general public witnessed these games and they are seldom documented. One exception is the Stillwater State Prison in Stillwater, Minnesota, whose prison newspaper — The Prison Mirror, managed and edited by the prisoners — documented nearly 1,300 games between the prison team and outside opponents between 1914 and 1972.

  • Gladys Goodding, Ebbets Field Organ Queen By Rob Edelman

    Gladys Goodding was more than just an artiste whose musical stylings entertained the Ebbets Field faithful from the early 1940s on. This cheerful, occasionally mischievous woman was a baseball pioneer. Hers was the first organ permanently situated in a big-league ballpark and she predated Eddie Layton, Jane Jarvis, Wilbur Snapp, and other ballyard organists. Her inimitable performance at every Brooklyn Dodgers home game was a foremost part of the Ebbets experience.

  • Broadcasting Red Sox Baseball: How the Arrival of Radio Impacted the Team and the Fans By Donna L. Halper, PhD

    During the Boston Red Sox's winning years in the early 20th century, the games at Fenway Park were often sold out. An easier way to find out what was happening at the ballpark was emerging. An amazing technology called radio made its debut in the summer of 1920, a life-changing invention for anyone who loved sports.

  • Fanatic Fatality: One of the Most Violent Baseball Arguments In History By Matthew M. Clifford

    The underlying aggressiveness in rivalries between baseball teams has been recorded in the annals and burned into our memories for decades. When that explosive competitive spirit spreads from the field to the fanatics in the streets, the result can be drunken fist-fights at the local pubs as fans defend their favorite teams and players. The most serious and deadly fracas of its kind took place during the 1931 World Series.

  • Champions, Tantrums and Bad Umps: The 1885 “World Series” By Paul E. Doutrich

    For more than a century the World Series has been an integral part of American culture. One of the earliest blooms of the World Series as we know it flowered eighteen years earlier, in 1885. Two strong-willed and fiercely competitive team owners each ponied up $500 and agreed to a winner-take-all series of games. The seven games that followed marked a significant step toward the institutionalization of today’s annual competition to determine which team and league carries the title as the world’s best.

  • From Recorder to Judge: The Evolution of the Scorer in the Nineteenth Century By Stew Thornley and Bob Tholkes

    The role of official scorers has evolved in many forms over the last century-and-a-half. Today’s official scorers sit in the hot seat, but until the 1870s, hits and errors were not routinely distinguished in game summaries.