Fall 2019 Baseball Research Journal

  • Left Out: Handedness and the Hall of Fame By Jon C. Nachtigal and John C. Barnes

    An analysis of handedness and its importance to the game of baseball.

  • Shifting Expectations: An In-Depth Overview Of Players’ Approaches To The Shift Based On Batted-Ball Events By Connelly Doan

    In this piece, Connelly Doan focuses on hitters' and pitchers' approaches to dealing with the shift.

  • Why OPS Works By Pete Palmer

    Pete Palmer, the inventor of OPS (on-base plus slugging), explains how the offensive statistic was developed and why it remains robustly in use in the 21st century.

  • Rating Baseball Agencies: Who is Delivering the Goods? By Barry Krissoff

    In this article, Barry Krissoff examines the number and size of contracts that the largest baseball agencies have negotiated for their clients from the 2015 to 2018 seasons, and appraises those agencies.

  • Hot Streaks, Screaming Grounders, and War: Conceptual Metaphors in Baseball By Daniel Rousseau

    In this piece, Daniel Rousseau examines orientational, ontological, and structural metaphors used to describe baseball games.

  • WAA vs. WAR: Which is the Better Measure for Overall Performance in MLB, Wins Above Average or Wins Above Replacement? By Campbell Gibson

    The data presented in this paper show that the Wins Above Replacement (WAR) concept seriously distorts the evaluation of player performance in Major League Baseball by systematically understating the value of players with relatively short careers and overstating the value of players with relatively long careers.

  • Community, Defection, and equipo Cuba: Baseball under Fidel Castro, 1959–93 By Katie Krall

    Baseball is called America’s national pastime, but in Cuba baseball is a way of life. Based on a cost-benefit analysis of the value of defection, strong familial and community ties prevented Cuban players from abandoning the national team after the 1959 revolution. However, after the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991 and legalization of the possession of the US dollar two years later, prominent players began defecting to the Major Leagues as those bonds started to break.

  • Baseball Archeology in Cuba: A Trip to Güines By Mark Rucker

    Visiting Cuba is like tripping in a time machine, and this photo essay by Mark Rucker blends the old and the new. The inspiration for this one-day trip was a group of photographs from the winter ball season of 1927–28. They were taken at a ballpark in Güines, a small city of 70,000, about 50 kilometers southeast of Havana.

  • Testing an RPI Ranking System for Canadian University Baseball By George S. Rigakos and Mitchell Thompson

    The Rating Percentage Index (RPI) is the most commonly used method for ranking a large number of teams that play a relatively small schedule. The purpose of this article is to explore the feasibility of an RPI ranking system for Canadian university baseball. In the absence of playoff eliminations, and where inter-conference play is sparse, an RPI-based ranking system has, proven useful — albeit controversial — in other sports, most notably college basketball in the United States.

  • Time Between Pitches: Cause of Long Games? By David W. Smith

    A major topic for MLB and the baseball press continues to be the length of the average game, which has been above three hours for several years. A 2018 study found very few pitch intervals exceeding 20 seconds. Therefore the proposal to force pitchers to throw within 20 seconds would not have a significant impact on game length. But could time between pitches still be a a major factor in why games are so long?

  • Setting the Record Straight on 
Major League Team Nicknames By Ed Coen

    Of the major league teams that trace their history before 1960, most started out with several short-term unofficial nicknames or even no nickname at all. This study identifies the nicknames, based on contemporary newspapers, that each existing team has been known as throughout its history.

  • Did MLB Exist Before the Year 2000? By Bill Nowlin

    Writers often refer to “MLB” as though it were something that has existed as long as there has been major-league baseball. It has not. Prior to the year 2000, American League teams were members of an unincorporated association officially called The American League of Professional Baseball Clubs, and the National League teams were members of an unincorporated association called The National League of Professional Baseball Clubs. The third entity was the Office of the Commissioner of Baseball. So did MLB exist before 2000?

  • Baseball and the Great Movie Comedians By Ron Backer

    The true sport of the great movie comedians is baseball. From silent films to sound films, from short films to full-length features, and from black and white films to color movies, cinema comics have often demonstrated that there is much humor to be derived from our national pastime.

  • 'Our Lady Reporter': Introducing Some Women Baseball Writers, 1900–30 By Donna L. Halper

    Stereotypical beliefs about women permeate American popular culture, especially about their lack of interest in sports. Nearly all news and sports reporters of the early 1900s were male, as were their editors, who geared their coverage to the male reader. As such, sending a woman who usually wrote about fashion and homemaking to cover a ballgame from the “feminine point of view” was considered a jolly gimmick. Despite stereotyping, a few young women of that era had successful careers that involved baseball.

  • Carl Lundgren: The Cubs' Cold-Weather King By Art Ahrens

    All the poetry and folklore of "Tinker to Evers to Chance" notwithstanding, the great Chicago Cubs teams of 1906–10 won their four pennants and two World Series by way of outstanding pitching. The glories of Mordecai "Three Fingered" Brown, Ed Reulbach, Jack Pfiester, and Orval Overall have been widely recognized, and rightfully so. Sadly ignored, however, is right-hander Carl Lundgren, a major contributor to their first two league championship flags (1906–07) and their prior rebuilding period. Not to mention his later accomplishments at the college level.

  • Beyond the Miracle: The Mets of the Early 1970s By Douglas Jordan

    Looking back, the 1969 Miracle Mets year seems to be the lone successful season in the first two decades of franchise existence. But this perception is wrong. The Mets' performance that year was surprising based on the seven seasons that preceded it, but 1969 was not the only successful year for the Mets. The team was competitive from 1969 to 1973. The purpose of this article is to refresh our memories of what actually happened during that time period.

  • Philadelphia in the 1882 League Alliance By Robert D. Warrington

    Histories of the Philadelphia Phillies portray the club’s admission to the National League (NL) as a straightforward and swift process. The facts tell a different tale. Philadelphia’s journey to NL membership was complicated and protracted. The team’s participation in the 1882 League Alliance was a crucial step toward major-league status