Spring 2015 Baseball Research Journal

  • The Retroactive All-Star Game Project By Chuck Hildebrandt, with Mike Lynch

    We all know that the first All-Star Game wasn’t played until 1933 at Chicago’s Comiskey Park. But calls for an annual All-Star Game as early as 1914 in Baseball Magazine. So it might have happened. And with the help of some modern-day innovations, we did make it “happen,” using a combination of the most comprehensive baseball stats website on the planet, a simple-to-use online survey website, and one of the very best game simulators on the market.

  • The Dropped Third Strike: The Life and Times of a Rule By Richard Hershberger

    The dropped third strike is a peculiar rule. Three strikes and you are out seems a fundamental element of baseball, yet there is this odd exception. Occasionally the ball gets a few feet past the catcher, and the  batter takes this more seriously and makes a run for first base, only to  be called out as the ball beats him there. But on rare, magical occasions, the rule matters.

  • The Work of Harvey Dorfman: A Professional Baseball Mental Training Consultant By Andrew D. Knapp and Alan S. Kornspan

    The importance of psychology in the development of baseball players has been recognized for many years. But there is not much information on how professional baseball organizations began to utilize the services of full-time mental training consultants during the 1980s. Harvey Dorfman is perhaps the most celebrated of these consultants. For over 27 years, Dorfman worked with three professional baseball organizations and the Scott Boras Corporation.

  • First-Generation Player Contracts: An MLB Success Story? By Barry Krissoff

    Like most businesses, major league baseball (MLB) owners strive for optimizing profits by expanding revenue and limiting costs. A recent approach to accomplish this goal is for owners to sign  multiyear contracts with players that have limited or no major league  experience. Some teams have signed $100 million plus extensions with their star  players for seven to ten years or longer to keep them under team control  possibly for their entire careers. This article scrutinizes the extent that teams are adopting the early signing of  players and assesses whether this approach has been successful.

  • Reviewing Instant Replay: Observations and Implications from Replay’s Inaugural Season By Gil Imber

    The 2014 baseball season’s adoption of expanded instant replay review  not only introduced another wrinkle into our national pastime, it opened the door into a brand new arena of statistical analysis over 50 years in the making.

  • Seeking Resolution of the Discrepancy for the 1912 NL Triple Crown By Herm Krabbenhoft

    For many years, according to several prestigious sources, Heinie Zimmerman was  shown as having achieved the Triple Crown in 1912 while playing with the  Chicago Cubs. However, since 1969, other prominent  sources have shown that Zimmerman did not win the Triple Crown in 1912. What  really happened?

  • Association Between Pelvic Motion and Hand Velocity in College-Aged Baseball Pitchers: A Preliminary Study By William T. Horlbeck, Talin Louder, and Eadric Bressel

    Baseball pitching is an intricate athletic skill requiring a complex and  systematic activation of body segments to create maximal velocity at  the distal aspect of the throwing arm. Proper mechanics are crucial for injury prevention and facilitate consistent, successful pitching performance.

  • Pros vs. Cons: Federal Leaguers versus Federal Prisoners at Leavenworth By Bob Rives and Tim Rives

    On an 89-degree September 13, 1915, the Kansas City Packers became the first major-league team to play a squad of convicts inside a prison. Bankrupt and unable to win its lawsuit against the National and American  Leagues that would have ensured parity, the Federal League would fold  after the season as would its Kansas City franchise, also bankrupt. The prison team, called the White Sox, would be more stable. It was an  all star team of white players that would last until 1933 when the  prison integrated the institution’s ball clubs.

  • Dazzling Dazzy Vance in the "K-Zone" By Bryan Soderholm-Difatte

    Walter Johnson. Lefty Grove. Bob Feller. Sandy Koufax. Nolan Ryan. Randy Johnson. Their names are synonymous with “overpowering strikeout pitcher.” Relative to their peers, however, none of them, nor any other pitcher,  was as dominant in the “K-Zone” in any single season as Brooklyn's Dazzy Vance in  1924.

  • More Baseball in Non-Baseball Films By Rob Edelman

    Even the most obscure films with obvious baseball themes are readily  accessible to researchers. However, seeking out films in which baseball  is referenced but does not play a central role in the storyline is more  problematic. So compiling a definitive list of non-baseball-themed films  which cite the sport is, in a word, impractical. Even today, in our  Internet/information age, there is no source for such information.

  • William Hulbert and the Birth of the National League By Michael Haupert

    In 1916, former National League President Abraham G. Mills said at a  banquet celebrating the fortieth anniversary of the National League, “I  cannot doubt that all true lovers of Base Ball will always cherish and  honor the memory of William A. Hulbert.” Twenty years later the first  honorees were elected to the new Baseball Hall of Fame. Hulbert was not  among them, nor would he be for another sixty years.

  • Michael Kelley's 1906-08 Woes with Organized Baseball By Dennis Pajot

    Michael Kelley played only briefly in one major league season. Despite  this lack of major league success he was a highly respected minor league  player and manager. However, he found himself in extremely hot water  with Organized Baseball for three years, starting in 1905, from being a part of a sham sale of the St. Paul franchise to later refusing to report in a  trade to a major league team — thus challenging baseball’s reserve  clause.

  • Henry Chadwick Award: David Block By Andy McCue

    David Block revolutionized the study of early baseball and the  assumptions behind it. For decades, dating back to Henry Chadwick and  the Mills Commission, baseball’s roots were thought to be either in the  English children’s game of rounders or in the creativity of Abner  Doubleday and his Cooperstown playmates. The Doubleday myth was  shattered as researchers focused on its improbabilities, and on the  Knickerbocker rules of 1845.

  • Henry Chadwick Award: Dick Cramer By Rob Neyer

    Dick Cramer, recipient of a 2015 Henry Chadwick Award, has been doing sabermetrics for just about as long as anyone alive. Cramer began serving SABR in various positions during the 1970s and published a great deal of research, including work on clutch hitting that remains a touchstone 40 years later.

  • Henry Chadwick Award: Bill Deane By Lyle Spatz

    Bill Deane served as the Senior Research Associate at the National Baseball Hall of Fame Library from 1986 to 1994, where he helped earn the library in Cooperstown an international reputation for timely and accurate service to baseball fans, scholars, and media personnel.

  • Henry Chadwick Award: Jerry Malloy By John Thorn

    Jerry Malloy (1946–2000) was a pioneer researcher who has been honored by the creation of an annual Negro League Conference named for him, as well as a book prize. SABR is honored now to count him among its Chadwick Award recipients.

  • Henry Chadwick Award: David Nemec By Christina Kahrl

    Among the many avenues of curiosity for a baseball historian, perhaps none is more reliably arcane—even for SABR members—than the nineteenth century and the lessons it provides about the development of the game into a popular national pastime and a money-making enterprise. But among those happy few who have sought to dispel ignorance of the period and its importance, few rank as high or have earned as much recognition as SABR member David Nemec has.