This Week in SABR: March 23, 2012
Here's what we've been up to as of March 23, 2012:
Couldn't make it to Arizona last weekend for the inaugural SABR Analytics Conference? Check out SABR.org/analytics for full coverage of the event that brought together more of the top minds of the baseball analytic community than ever before. Nineteen Major League Baseball teams sent representatives to the conference, which featured among its guest speakers Chicago Cubs owner Tom Ricketts, Arizona Diamondbacks President/CEO Derrick Hall and Cleveland Indians President Mark Shapiro.
We've posted audio from several of the panels online at SABR.org/analytics (with more to come soon!) Here's a sampling from the SABR Analytics Conference:
- Changing Face of Baseball Data panel: Our panel of Cory Schwartz, MLB.com; John Dewan, Baseball Info Solutions; Dave Cameron, FanGraphs; and moderator Sean Forman, Baseball-Reference.com discussed new fielding metrics (and when it might become publicly available); the future of analytics; which MLB teams are using sabermetrics and to what extent; and more. Listen to the panel in its entirety at http://sabr.org/latest/sabranalytics-changing-face-baseball-data-panel.
- Player Panel with Brandon McCarthy: A's starter Brandon McCarthy and moderator Rob Neyer of Baseball Nation discussed how his study of sabermetrics led to his breakout season in 2011; his goals for the upcoming season; his preparation for games; his enjoyment of the humor website FireJoeMorgan.com; and more. Listen to the panel in its entirety at http://sabr.org/latest/sabranalytics-player-panel-oaklands-brandon-mccarthy.
- General Managers Panel: Our panel of Cleveland Indians GM Chris Antonetti, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim GM Jerry Dipoto, Milwaukee Brewers GM Doug Melvin and moderator Ken Rosenthal of MLB Network/FoxSports.com discussed how different front offices are using sabermetrics, the reliability of new defensive metrics, ballpark effects, free agency and more. Listen to the panel in its entirety at http://sabr.org/latest/sabranalytics-general-managers-panel.
- Q&A with Mark Shapiro: Cleveland Indians President Mark Shapiro and moderator Ken Rosenthal of MLB Network/FoxSports.com discussed how far baseball operations departments have come since Shapiro's first year with Cleveland in 1992, the expanded amount of information available today, how to make decisions about players based on objectivity instead of emotion, and more. Listen to the panel in its entirety at http://sabr.org/latest/sabranalytics-qa-mark-shapiro.
- University of Chicago wins Case Competition: Four students from the University of Chicago's Booth School of Business had to outwit a hypothetical Scott Boras and devise a plan to help the Washington Nationals contend for the postseason in order to win the 2012 SABR Case Competition on Saturday. The University of Chicago team consisted of captain Ryan Lamb, Brad Rodriguez, Jonathan Hay and A.J. Kennedy. Read more about their journey to win the SABR Case Competition at http://sabr.org/latest/sabranalytics-2012-sabr-case-competition.
We'll post more content from the SABR Analytics Conference online soon, including the rest of the panels, the research presentations, and recaps of the event from around the Web. Check out photos from all three days of the SABR Analytics Conference at SABR.org/analytics/photos. Check out a sampling of the top tweets from #SABRanalytics at http://storify.com/sabr/sabr-analytics-conference.
Check it all out at SABR.org/analytics.
Robert Churchill "Bob" McConnell, 87, one of SABR's founding members and a renowned expert on home runs and baseball's minor leagues, passed away on Sunday, March 18 at the Christiana Hospital in Newark, Delaware.
A longtime power plant engineer with Delmarva Power & Light Company in Wilmington, McConnell — along with 15 other researchers led by SABR founder L. Robert "Bob" Davids — attended the Society's first organizational meeting on August 10, 1971, at the National Baseball Hall of Fame Library in Cooperstown, New York. Davids was selected as the president of SABR, while McConnell became its first secretary and treasurer. McConnell served as a board member for eleven years during this formative period and remained involved with SABR for more than four decades afterward, regularly attending the Society's national convention, including last year's SABR 41 in Long Beach, California.
In 1981, McConnell took over the SABR Home Run Log after the death of John Tattersall. One of SABR's most ambitious projects, the Home Run Log was the creation of a database that details every major league home run ever hit. McConnell was a key ally on this initiative, filling in many of the gaps in the records. McConnell insisted that it was Tattersall who "should be credited with the bulk of the work." In 1996, SABR published SABR Presents The Home Run Encyclopedia, fulfilling Tattersall's dream of a large-scale home run register. The SABR Home Run Log, now maintained by David Vincent, is available for everyone to view at Baseball-Reference.com. (Go to any player's page and click the tab that says "Home runs" to access the data.
"Today's researchers take for granted the completeness of the statistical record that is now available at the click of a mouse," author Peter Morris wrote in his SABR Baseball Biography Project biography of McConnell in 2008. "But we need to recognize that we have that vantage point because we stand on the shoulders of giants like Bob McConnell who put in countless hours of work to make that possible."
McConnell's second research passion came out of the many afternoons he spent watching the greats of the International League. Along with Ray Nemec, Vern Luse and Bob Davids, he became one of the principals in another ambitious effort that aimed to create complete statistical records for the greatest minor league players. The project proved so successful that SABR eventually published three volumes of the Minor League Stars series, along the way directing new attention to "Buzz" Arlett and other luminaries of the golden age of the minors.
A member of SABR's Philadelphia and Washington-Baltimore regional chapters, McConnell was the first recipient of the Bob Davids Award, SABR's highest honor, in 1985. He was the author of Going For The Fences: The Minor League Home Run Record Book and wrote several articles for the Baseball Research Journal.
Bob is survived by his loving wife of 63 years, Mildred; two sons, Daniel and David; four grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren. A celebration of life was held Friday morning at Chandler Funeral Home in Wilmington, Delaware. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Central Branch of the YMCA, 501 West Eleventh Street, Wilmington, DE 19801. For online condolences, please visit ChandlerFuneralHome.com.
- BioProject: Read Peter Morris' profile of Bob McConnell: http://sabr.org/bioproj/person/5e8e335e
- About the founders: Learn more about the "Cooperstown 16": http://sabr.org/about/founders
- Video: Bob McConnell talks about his role as a founding member of SABR (July 8, 2011): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HfNpjjeqXiU
From SABR member Sean Forman at Baseball-Reference.com on Thursday, March 22:
We are very pleased and honored to announce that we have added Negro League Statistics from 1903 through 1948. These stats are due to a pair of collaborations. The first is between Baseball-Reference.com and the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum (1920-1948 data), and the second is between B-R and Gary Ashwill and Scott Simkus of Outsider Baseball (1903-1919 data).
The details of what is and is not included is understandably complicated and the list of contributors very long, so we have provided a detailed rundown of the stats and the people who researched them.
Special thanks also to Ted Turocy who helped immensely with the integration of the stats into our existing databases.
Among the contributors are SABR members Gary Ashwill, Carlos Bauer, Todd Bolton, Adrian Burgos, Dick Clark, Peter Gorton, Leslie Heaphy, Larry Hogan, John Holway, Lou Hunsinger, Dwayne Isgrig, Tony Kissel, Ted Knorr, Jeremy Krock, Tim Joyce, Neil Lanctot, Larry Lester, Jerry Malloy, Jim Overmyer, Todd Peterson, Bill Plott, Patrick Rock, Scott Simkus and Wayne Stivers.
The Negro Leagues statistical database is part of a team effort by "The Negro Leagues Researchers/Authors Group" deputized by the Hall of Fame Board of Directors in 2001 and led by Larry Hogan, Dick Clark and Larry Lester; the latter two are longtime co-chairs of SABR's Negro Leagues Research Committee. Major League Baseball provided the Hall of Fame with a $250,000 grant in July 2000 in order to initiate a comprehensive study on the history of African Americans in Baseball, from 1860-1960.
Their research resulted in a raw narrative and bibliography of nearly 800 pages and a statistical database, which includes 3,000 day-by-day records, league leaders and all-time leaders. The research was culled from box scores from 345 newspapers of sanctioned league games played from 1920-48.
You can find Negro Leagues player, team and league statistics at http://www.baseball-reference.com/nlb/.
We have a great convention coming up in 2012! From June 27-July 1, SABR's 42nd annual convention will be held at the Marriott City Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Halsey Hall Chapter of SABR will be hosting the event and we've been busy for many years planning for a great event. A full schedule and speakers will be announced soon.
CLICK HERE TO REGISTER FOR SABR 42: http://sabr.org/convention/sabr42-registration
We're offering two options for registration this year:
1) All-inclusive rate
Special for 2012: We're offering an all-inclusive rate for SABR 42. From now until May 1, SABR members can pay $199 and nonmembers can pay $249 to receive:
- Full registration to SABR 42 in Minneapolis (regular price: $129 for SABR members or $179 for nonmembers)
- 1 ticket to the Awards Banquet (regular price: $45)
- 1 Skyline Deck ticket to the Twins vs. Royals game on Friday, June 29 (regular price: $44)
Please note: Skyline Deck tickets are only available to the first 250 people who select the all-inclusive rate. Those who select the all-inclusive rate after Skyline Deck tickets are sold out will receive a Home Plate View ticket (regular price: $38) instead.
After May 1, the all-inclusive rate will be available at $219 for SABR members and $269 for non-members.
2) Regular rate
SABR members and non-members who wish to purchase registration, banquet tickets and game tickets separately can do so at the following rates:
includes access to all panel discussions, research presentations, committee meetings and other on-site events.
- SABR members: $129
- Non-members: $179
Awards Banquet on Friday, June 29
- Awards Banquet: $45
Meal includes salad, chicken entree and dessert. (If you have special dietary considerations, please contact Deb Jayne at email@example.com.)
Twins vs. Royals game on Friday, June 29
SABR has reserved a block of tickets in the Skyline Deck and Home Plate View sections. (The Skyline Deck section is normally available only to season-ticket holders and special groups.) Click here for a seating chart at TwinsBaseball.com.
- Skyline Deck: $44
- Home Plate View: $38
You will be able to redeem your game ticket at the registration desk using the chit system. If you do not care with whom you sit, you should turn your chit into your game ticket right away at the hotel. But if you want to sit with a friend, wait to turn in your chits at the registration desk at the same time, thereby getting tickets next to one another.
We hope you'll join us in Minneapolis this summer!
CLICK HERE TO REGISTER FOR SABR 42: http://sabr.org/convention/sabr42-registration
On March 29, a one-of-a-kind "baseball trail" in Arkansas documenting Hot Springs' status as "The Birthplace of Spring Baseball" will open to the public. SABR members Bill Jenkinson, Don Duren, Mark Blaeuer and Mike Dugan helped organize the trail and the installation of plaques throughout the city.
"A series of 26 historical markers linked to the very latest digital technology will allow visitors to tour the city and visit places where America's baseball legends came to play, train and visit during baseball's golden age," said Steve Arrison, CEO of Visit Hot Springs. "More than 45 percent of the people in the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y., either played baseball or were in some way associated with baseball training in Hot Springs National Park, Arkansas."
"One hundred thirty-four of the 295 members of the Hall of Fame can be associated with training, playing, visiting or otherwise being in Hot Springs, many from the late 19th Century," Arrison said. "Five pre-eminent baseball historians have painstakingly documented the Hot Springs connection to what became known as the sport's spring training.
Twenty-six cast-aluminum plaques have been installed all over the city at locations that range from the spot where Babe Ruth in 1918 smacked a home run that traveled 573 feet and landed in an alligator pit at the Arkansas Alligator Farm to the site of the hotel where Ruth flipped a coin with his manager to determine Ruth's salary for the next year.
"Things really got rolling in the spring of 2011 when we were able to document that Ruth hit the first 500-foot-plus home run while playing spring baseball at Whittington Park," Arrison said.
"Bill Jenkinson, one of the pre-eminent baseball historians in the world, came to Hot Springs and helped us authenticate Babe's legendary 573-foot shot that zoomed over Whittington Park's fence, across Whittington Avenue and into the Arkansas Alligator Farm."
Jenkinson, Reid, Duren, Dugan and Blaeuer determined that A. G. Spalding and Cap Anson brought the Chicago White Stockings (AKA Colts; now called the Cubs) to train and play spring games in Hot Springs in 1886. The field where they played, known as The Hot Springs Baseball Field and The Hot Springs Baseball Grounds, was located on Ouachita Avenue behind the current site of the Garland County Courthouse.
To learn more about the Hot Springs Historical Baseball Trail and the locations of the plaques, visit http://www.hotsprings.org.
The Emerald Guide to Baseball 2012, edited by Gary Gillette and Pete Palmer with Rod Nelson and Ted Turocy, is the most comprehensive record of the 2012 baseball season.
Historically, the primary purpose of annual baseball guides has been the publication of the official league standings plus the official team and individual statistics for both Major League Baseball and Minor League Baseball. Our new Emerald Guide follows faithfully in that tradition, containing the official batting, pitching, and fielding statistics for every team and every player in the Major Leagues plus extensive lists of league leaders.
The Emerald Guide to Baseball is our attempt to fill the gap in the historical record created by the recent demise of The Sporting News Baseball Guide. First published in 1942, The Sporting News Guide was truly the annual book of record for our National Pastime. It is our great privilege to document for posterity a slice of recent baseball history in our new book.
The 2012 edition of the Emerald Guide runs nearly 600 pages and covers the 2011 season; it also includes a 2012 directory of Major League Baseball. The Emerald Guide is available in both a printed version and in a downloadable PDF format.
A softcover print edition will be available for purchase soon.
- Download the PDF: SABR members can download the Emerald Guide on the Research Resources page. All others can download it here.
The Team That Forever Changed Baseball and America: The 1947 Brooklyn Dodgers, edited by Lyle Spatz, is the first book in SABR's "Memorable Teams in Baseball History" series with University of Nebraska Press. It will be published April 1, 2012 (no fooling!). To pre-order your copy from UNP, click here: http://www.nebraskapress.unl.edu/product/Team-That-Forever-Changed-Baseball-and-America,674944.aspx
The second book in the series, Pitching, Defense, and Three-Run Homers: The 1970 Baltimore Orioles, edited by Mark Armour and Malcolm Allen, is available for pre-order from UNP here: http://www.nebraskapress.unl.edu/product/Pitching-Defense-and-Three-Run-Homers,674949.aspx
Each book in the "Memorable Teams in Baseball History" series focuses on a team’s memorable single season and collects essays detailing the players, moments, and games that define these teams. The essays bring together contributions of many SABR writers and devoted fans who share passions for these teams and wish to relive those exceptional seasons. To learn more about the SABR-UNP "Memorable Teams in Baseball History" series, visit http://bit.ly/sabr-unp.
We recently relaunched the BioProject website — with 1,800+ peer-reviewed biographies published, and more posted every week — at its new home page: SABR.org/BioProject. All new biographies can be found here: http://sabr.org/bioproj/recent
Register for Malloy Negro Leagues Conference, Ivor-Campbell 19th Century Conference
- Frederick Ivor-Campbell 19th Century Base Ball Conference, April 20-21, Cooperstown, New York: Registration is now open for the Frederick Ivor-Campbell 19th Century Base Ball Conference at SABR.org/ivor-campbell19c. Conference registration is open to all SABR members and up to two non-SABR family members or friends (18 years or older). There are also "Welcoming Dinner", "Luncheon Only" and "Post Conference Gathering" registration options. Registration will continue until April 10, 2012, or space is filled, whichever comes first. Click here to download a Registration Form in the Nineteenth Century Committee's Winter 2012 newsletter. Registrations can be accepted by mail only. Research presentation abstracts were due by February 15, 2012. Conference attendees who are baseball authors will have an opportunity to submit their books when registering so that the Hall of Fame bookstore can stock their book for purchase and for signing.
- Jerry Malloy Negro Leagues Conference, July 19-21, Cleveland, Ohio: Registration is now open for the 15th annual Jerry Malloy Negro League Conference at SABR.org/malloy. The Malloy Conference, hosted by SABR's Negro Leagues Committee, promotes activities to enhance scholarly, educational, and literary objectives. For the past 14 years, the event has been the only symposium dedicated exclusively to the examination and promotion of black baseball history. The conference is open to baseball and history fans of all ages. Each year, monies are targeted to donate books to schools or libraries; raise funds for the Grave Marker Project; and award scholarships to high school seniors in a nationwide essay contest and a nationwide art contest. Research presentation abstracts were due by March 19, 2012. A complete information packet with schedule, mail-in registration form and program advertising opportunities can be downloaded here (PDF) or on the website.
Upcoming SABR events:
- March 23: Mike Luery book signing (Los Angeles, CA)
- March 24: Bill Staples Jr. book signing (Los Angeles, CA)
- March 24: South Florida Chapter meeting/ballgame (Jupiter, FL)
- March 24: Boston Baseball Hack Day (Boston, MA)
- March 24: Mike Luery book signing (La Mesa, CA)
- March 27: Dorothy Seymour Mills talk: "Women's Baseball History is Part of Women's History" (Naples, FL)
- March 30: Vintage Base Ball Association convention (Long Island, NY)
- March 30: Baseball in Literature and Culture Conference (Murfreesboro, TN)
- March 31: Mike Luery book signing (Emeryville, CA)
- March 31: Jonathan Knight book signing (Dover, OH)
Visit SABR.org/events for details on all upcoming SABR events.
In other recent SABR news:
- Jay Jaffe, who was on the "Clubhouse Confidential" panel, posts Part 1 of his experience at the SABR Analytics Conference (Baseball Prospectus)
- Dustin Parkes: Top 10 things I learned at the SABR Analytics Conference (TheScore.com)
- David Fung recaps his experience at the SABR Analytics Conference (Beyond the Box Score)
- Drew Balen recaps his experience at the SABR Analytics Conference (Seedlings to Stars)
- Peter Liubicich recaps his experience at the SABR Analytics Conference (LoveMyTeam.com)
- Chris Carelli interviews C.J. Hangen of Manhattanville College about participating in the SABR Case Competition (Call to the Pen)
- J.P. Hoornstra: Dodgers not far behind in scouting/stats mix (Los Angeles Daily News)
- Al Quimby has rediscovered former Detroit Tiger Jack Dalton, who vanished in 1948 (Baltimore Sun)
- David Laurila talks sabermetrics with ESPN broadcaster Jon "Boog" Sciambi (FanGraphs)
- John Dewan's Stat of the Week: 2011 Total Runs leaderboards (ACTA Sports)
All previous editions of This Week in SABR can be found here: http://sabr.org/content/this-week-in-sabr-archives. If you would like us to include an upcoming event, article or any other information in "This Week in SABR", e-mail Jacob Pomrenke at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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This page was last updated March 23, 2012 at 3:56 pm MST.