Spring 2018 Baseball Research Journal

  • Caguas Criollos: Five Caribbean Series Crowns and Cooperstown Connections By Thomas E. Van Hyning

    The powerhouse Caguas Criollos of the Roberto Clemente Professional Baseball League have won 18 league titles in Puerto Rico and played in 14 Caribbean Series, winning five of them, including back-to-back championships in 2017 and '18.

  • Author Wiggen Goes East: Jim Brosnan and the 1958 Cardinals Tour of Japan By Adam Berenbak

    The St. Louis Cardinals embarked on their 1958 tour of Japan in the midst of management changes and a rebuilding effort, the impending twilight of Stan Musial’s career and the dawn of a new age of Japanese baseball. Watching it all was Jim Brosnan, whose series of articles would be some of the first words written from the perspective of an American ballplayer on playing in postwar Japan. They would go on to form a literary foundation not only for his own writing, but for the future of baseball literature.

  • The Growth of 'Three True Outcomes': From Usenet Joke to Baseball Flashpoint By DB Firstman

    In this paper, the growth of Three True Outcomes — home runs, strikeouts, and bases on balls — is examined and possible explanations for the upward trend are presented.

  • An Epoch in Australian Baseball: Stanford University's Tour of 1928 By Ray W. Nickson

    In 1928, the Stanford University baseball team came to Australia with its coach, Harry Wolter, to play a series of games against local teams. Australian newspapers proclaimed that it would “mark an epoch in Australian baseball history.” The Stanford tour, with its inclusion of an ex-major league ballplayer in the role of touring coach, not only served to raise the popularity of baseball in Australia but also the standard of play. The tour was a significant, yet under-recognized, milestone in the history of Australian baseball.

  • Baseball Championship Windows: How Long Are They? By Douglas Jordan

    It is not unusual to hear a sports fan or announcer say something like, “The window for this team is closing.” But what exactly does this expression mean? And how long does the typical window to contend for a championship last?

  • Relief Pitching Strategy: Past, Present, and Future? By Pete Palmer

    Was the bullpen "revolution" started by Dennis Eckersley and Tony La Russa in 1988 an effective one? Or is the modern relief strategy less productive because the closer is used too little and at the wrong times, and there is too much emphasis on left-right matchups?

  • Seven Degrees of Separation? Analyzing MLB Played-With Relationships, 1930-2016 By Peter Uelkes

    This article reports on MLB "played-with" relationships for the time period 1930 through 2016. We define player A as having played-with player B if the two appeared in the same major league game for the same team.

  • Hit Probability as a Function of Foul-Ball Accumulation By Jeffrey N. Howard

    In a day and age when professional baseball has implemented countdown timers between innings, limited mount visits, and restricted batter movement away from the batter’s box during at-bats — all in an effort to truncate drawn-out games — the foul ball remains untouched.

  • Just Like a Big Leaguer: The Chicago Tribune Amateur Baseball Contest of 1915 By Justin Mckinney

    In 1915, the Chicago Tribune announced a contest to find the three best amateur baseball players in Chicago. The prize for the three youngsters would be a chance to join each of Chicago’s major league teams, the American League White Sox, the National League Cubs, and the Federal League Whales. The contest’s origins, execution, and ultimate success were the result of a series of circumstances unique to Chicago in that era.

  • 'When You Come to a Fork in the Road, Take It': Who Took the Cycle or Quasi-Cycle? By Herm Krabbenhoft
    When a player needs only a simple single to hit for the cycle, one of baseball's rarest accomplishments, should he stop at first base on a long hit in the gap and inscribe his name permanently in the record books? How many players have encountered this 'fork in the road' and chosen to take the extra base instead?
  • 'I Thought We Had A Roof': Marlins All Wet After Opening Day Rain Delay Gaffe By Chad Osborne

    On Opening Day of the 2015 season, Miami Marlins players and fans had to scurry for cover as Marlins Park was soaked with rain — despite the retractable roof installed on the facility. 

  • Regular Season Showdowns By Stew Thornley

    One game for the pennant: winner takes the flag. Few showdowns have been so serendipitous that the schedule brought the teams together at the end. Many pennants have been decided on the final game of the season, but rare has been the contest where either winner of the game went to the World Series or at least captured first place. Here are their stories.

  • The Impact of the Blue Ribbon Panel on Collective Bargaining Agreements By Michael Haupert and Kenneth Winter

    In July 2000 the Report of the Independent Members of the Commissioner’s Blue Ribbon Panel on Baseball Economics was released. The report concluded that the level of competitive balance was markedly different from recent years. It determined that competitive balance was impaired by structural characteristics and made several specific recommendations for economic changes in MLB. This article focuses on the outcomes of the BRP’s recommendations.

  • How Bases on Balls were Scored: 1864–1888 By Richard Hershberger
    In 1876 a base on balls was charged against a batter’s average, then 11 years later in 1887 it is credited to the average. These anomalies were the manifestation of a decades-long discussion on how to think about the base on balls. This discussion only affected averages in those two years, but continued beneath the surface in the intervening years, finally arriving at the modern conclusion in 1888.
  • Was Willie Keeler the First to Record Four 5-Hit Games in a Season During the 19th Century? By Brian Marshall

    The feat of collecting five or more hits in a single game was rare enough, even for baseball in the nineteenth century, but when one player managed to do it in four separate games during a single season, that was one of the rarest accomplishments in the history of baseball. In fact, it was so rare that it was only accomplished once: According to at least three record books, Willie Keeler had four five-hit games in 1897.

  • Origin of the Phrase 'Hitting for the Cycle' and An Approach to How Cycles Occur By Michael Huber and Allison Davidson

    One of the most exciting accomplishments in major league baseball is exciting because of its rarity. This article will examine when the phrase "hitting for the cycle" was popularized by the media to describe the feat, and how the phrase evolved to what we use today.