Monday, December 19, 2011

Tales from the Winter Meetings: SABR

First, your Tim Tebow mention of the day.

He took a 29-yard sack yesterday.

That is all.

*

I joined the Society of American Baseball Research at the Baseball Winter Meetings.

The Society, in my mind, whether this is true or not, is baseball's version of MENSA... except that they'll admit anyone, high IQ or not.  They're very forgiving in this way.

SABR has become connected with baseball analytics, though it is much more than that.  It's about baseball research and a search for greater knowledge, especially with regard to little-known history.

(One of the top articles right now is the "20 Greatest Blunders of the Deadball Era.")

Frankly, going through the website, I am already intimidated.  There are specialists in the 19th century, in specific cities and states, and in specific areas such as mathematical analytics.  I'm not really much of a researcher nor a mathematician.

But that's all right.

I'm a reader.

They can all do their great research projects and I'm going to read them, and then I'll share what I think on the broadcast airwaves and on this blog.  There's treasure everywhere, as Bill Watterson once wrote.

From the greatest blunders article, there's this wonderful gem, derived from the years when ballplayers would ghostwrite columns in the local paper.  It's a little tiff between diametrically opposite Hall of Fame pitching teammates...


When Marquard grooved one for Baker. 


In Game 2 of the 1911 World Series, Frank Baker’s two-run home run off Rube Marquard broke a 1-1 tie, and the Athletics beat the Giants, 3-1. 


When Matty grooved one for Baker. 


In Game 3 of the 1911 World Series, Frank Baker’s ninth inning home run off Christy Mathewson tied the game at 1-1 and sent it into extra innings. The Athletics won in eleven innings, 3-1.


The wording “grooved one” suggests that the pitchers served up “fat” pitches. Mathewson’s (ghost-written) column of the morning after game two was critical of Marquard’s serving up Baker’s blow: “Baker’s home run was due to Rube’s carelessness.” Continuing, “Marquard was told just what not to pitch to Frank. Well, Rube pitched just what Baker likes.” Ironically, the very day that column appeared, Mathewson served up a home run to Baker, too. Marquard (his ghost) then wrote, “Just what happened, Matty?” (Fred Lieb, The Story of the World Series.)

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