McCotter's essay, "Cal Ripken's Record for Consecutive Innings" finishes first
April 27, 2013—Trent McCotter has been selected as winner of the first annual Greg Spira Baseball Research Award. McCotter’s 2012 essay, “Cal Ripken’s Record for Consecutive Innings,” compiled for the first time the correct total of consecutive innings (8,264) played by the Orioles’ great shortstop between 1982 and 1987. McCotter’s extensive research also created a list of every player who ever played at least 2,500 consecutive innings, information previously unknown despite the fact that the players involved had all retired many decades ago.
The article by McCotter, an attorney living in Washington D.C., first appeared in the Fall 2012 edition of the Society of American Baseball Research’s Baseball Research Journal (Volume 41, No. 2). [http://sabr.org/latest/ripken-s-record-consecutive-innings-played] It was this type of research and presentation that the Greg Spira Research Award was created to honor.
A look at Jeffrey Loria and Miami's current financial situation.
“The point is, ladies and gentleman, that greed, for lack of a better word, is good. Greed is right; greed works.” —Gordon Gekko, Wall Street
I don’t know if Miami Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria owns a copy of Oliver Stone’s Wall Street. The movie, which came out at the height of the 1980s’ “excess is best” period would seem to play well with him. That now infamous speech by Gekko summed up everything that was wrong with not only Wall Street but also where America was headed. Loria, it seems, is still living in the 80s.
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A look at five turn-of-the-century books written by baseball stars of the time that are now available on your ebook reader.
I'm always in awe of the digital age we live in. Everything is on demand and at your fingertips. Music, movies, television, video games - they can all be enjoyed anywhere you are almost instantly. Books are the same way, with all the various e-book readers on the market now. In fact, instantly downloadable electronic books are so prevalent that each and every one of us can even read books about baseball written by turn-of-the-century Hall of Famers with just a few clicks of a mouse button.
Currently, there are at least five different baseball books available free on Google Books written by early-20th century baseball stars, including legendary Hall of Famers John McGraw and Christy Mathewson. These books are also available in other ebook stores, but the prices and availability differ.
Exploring the origins of baseball's unique moral burden, with an assist from Diderot and Jacques Barzun.
Poor baseball. These two words keep running through my mind lately, the way a line from a song gets stuck in your head. Poor baseball. Poor baseball. Oh, pity poor baseball.
It is our beast of burden. We ask the sport to do so much work for us, and when it fails, we beat it mercilessly, often until we are beating ourselves. That is because the work we ask baseball to do is moral, and the punishment for doing it poorly or not at all is severe.
Talking arbitration with long-time baseball arbitrator, professor, and author Roger Abrams.
While looking toward the future with our comprehensive slate of current content, we'd also like to recognize our rich past by drawing upon our extensive (and mostly free) online archive of work dating back to 1997. In an effort to highlight the best of what's gone before, we'll be bringing you a weekly blast from BP's past, introducing or re-introducing you to some of the most informative and entertaining authors who have passed through our virtual halls. If you have fond recollections of a BP piece that you'd like to nominate for re-exposure to a wider audience, send us your suggestion.
A look at some of the best (or simply most enjoyable) baseball movies ever made
1) Field of Dreams
To be perfectly honest—and when discussing a movie sewn through with themes of simplicity and the supposed erosion of classic American values, honesty should be required—not only isn’t Field of Dreams my favorite baseball movie, it’s not even my favorite Kevin Costner baseball movie. That, of course, would be Bull Durham, and as both films arrived in theaters when I was in my twenties, Bull Durham’s irreverent comedy was far more likely to strike a nerve than the overwrought sentimentality of Field of Dreams. Enjoying Field of Dreams at that point in my life would have been akin to copping to a fondness for Steel Magnolias. Sure, I made the two hour pilgrimage to the Field of Dreams film location at Dyersville—after all, there’s not much else to break up the drive from Madison to Iowa City—but when I ran the bases and smacked a few batting practice lobs into the left field corn, I did so with a practiced smirk. I rolled my eyes when I overheard comments about how “peaceful” and “pure” the experience was, chuckling at the ongoing squabbles over commercialization between the two families that then owned portions of the site. I enjoyed myself, reveling in my ironic detachment… until my girlfriend asked me if I wanted to play catch, shattering all my pretension and reminding me that I hadn’t been immune to the film’s melodramatic charms after all.
You see, Field of Dreams may be a Capra movie without Capra, burdened with Costner’s sub-replacement-level Jimmy Stewart, but you can’t deny the power of its Capital M Moment. After ninety minutes of fully ripe Iowa cornball, it’s hard to believe that the appearance of Ray Kinsella’s father and their game of catch could pack such an emotional wallop. It seems completely unearned, but when I saw it in the theater, I teared up—one of only five times a film has done that to me. This was despite (or perhaps because of) the fact that I had a very happy, baseball-filled childhood and didn’t suffer from Paternal Catch Deficiency. What’s more, I’ve had at least a dozen friends or acquaintances tell me they had the same experience of not particularly enjoying the film but welling up during the game of catch. I can’t explain it, and in many ways it’s completely counterintuitive, but it’s true. It happened, and even now I get a little misty just writing about it. Whatever your opinion about Field of Dreams as a whole, it’s hard to deny its ability to get under your skin, and while that doesn’t make it the best baseball movie of all time, it certainly makes it one of the most memorable. —Ken Funck
A true friend to Baseball Prospectus--and baseball analysis in general--has passed away.
Our friend, Greg Spira, passed away yesterday.
I've been in a reflective mood lately. Part of it is the holidays, I'm sure, and spending some precious quality time with family. Part of it is the recency of the Best of Baseball Prospectus editing experience... working with all of that content really brought back memories of how things were in the old days. We dedicated those books to Doug Pappas, another of our friends who left us too soon, and whenever I flip past the dedication I'm reminded of Doug's entertaining phone conversation with the commish... goodness, we were all once so young and full of vinegar.
Who can buy the most copies of our new book in the next couple of days? We think you can.
Thank you to everyone who has already purchased the Best of Baseball Prospectus books–we're grateful for your interest and support and hope you have as much fun reading the books as we did during production. To provide additional incentive for those of you who might be on the fence, we're offering a Best of Baseball Prospectus Christmas Contest that will give you a chance to win a signed set of Best of Baseball Prospectus books.
A treasure trove of archived video fosters appreciation for the wit and wisdom of the late, great Bill Veeck.
Believe it or not, most of our writers didn't enter the world sporting an @baseballprospectus.com address; with a few exceptions, they started out somewhere else. In an effort to up your reading pleasure while tipping our caps to some of the most illuminating work being done elsewhere on the internet, we'll be yielding the stage once a week to the best and brightest baseball writers, researchers and thinkers from outside of the BP umbrella. If you'd like to nominate a guest contributor (including yourself), please drop us a line.