In today's music man two-fer, we run around the bases with the co-owner of Rounder Records.
When the subjects are baseball and music, Bill Nowlin is about as knowledgeable as they come. The Vice President of the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR), Nowlin is also a co-owner of both Rounder Books and Rounder Records, the latter of which produced the 2009 Grammy Award-winning collaboration between Robert Plant and Alison Krauss. The author of over 20 books on baseball, Nowlin also serves as the publications editor for the Ted Williams Museum.
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Maury talks about a revered colleague and friend on the anniversary of a tragic loss.
There are days in all of our lives that we'd like to forget, days we wished had not happened. Days that place matters in perspective. Today is the anniversary of one of those days. And while we might have been talking the sale of the Braves, or owners approving the deal for MLB Extra Innings and the MLB Network, today is reserved for something more important.
Three years ago today, the baseball research community was hit by shocking news: Doug Pappas, the founder of SABR's Business of Baseball committee and an author for Baseball Prospectus, had died. The circumstances of his death seemed unbelievable-he died of heat prostration while vacationing at Big Bend National Park in Texas. It didn't sound right. "What? Doug is dead? He died how?!?" Emails, phone calls, message boards, and blogs spread the news. Doug's own blog became a point where many met to leave final words of thanks and well-wishes. At 41, one of the most respected and prodigious baseball researchers was gone.
Dan recaps some research presentations from the recent SABR convention.
As promised last week, in today's column (split into two parts) we'll report on the most interesting research presentations (assuredly full of thinking, not divorced from reality) that yours truly attended at the 36th annual Society for American Baseball Research (SABR) convention in Seattle last week, where over 500 researchers, scholars, and baseball fanatics gathered. For a recap of the convention as a whole, including the fine panel discussions such as the one by members of the Seattle Pilots, former Pacific Coast League players, and the upcoming collective bargaining agreement, you can check out the reports filed on my blog last week from the Emerald City.
Today's column was supposed to be a game report from yesterday's Rangers/Angels tilt in Anaheim. Due to a series of events that, had they been filmed, would have been Oscar-worthy, my ticket went unused. I'm disappointed not only because I haven't been to a game yet this year, but because I would have enjoyed the company. I was invited by Stephen Roney, who is the president of the Allan Roth chapter--the L.A. area chapter--of the Society for American Baseball Research. SABR might be one of the most misunderstood organizations in the country, associated as it is primarily with baseball's statistics. Sabermetrics is much more than this; performance analysis is just a subset of the field, and any time spent with the historians and biographers and researchers of SABR shows you just how broad a knowledge base is represented in the group.
I'm disappointed not only because I haven't been to a game yet this year, but because I would have enjoyed the company. I was invited by Stephen Roney, who is the president of the Allan Roth chapter-the L.A. area chapter-of the Society for American Baseball Research. SABR might be one of the most misunderstood organizations in the country, associated as it is primarily with baseball's statistics. Sabermetrics is much more than this; performance analysis is just a subset of the field, and any time spent with the historians and biographers and researchers of SABR shows you just how broad a knowledge base is represented in the group.
Lots of mail pursuant to the Game Scores 2.0 piece...
Yesterday Kerry Wood shutout the Mets who fielded a lineup that was major league only because the players were allowed to wear Mets uniforms. Shouldn't the game scores somehow represent the lineup a pitcher faces. A Pedro or Mulder shutout of the Yanks full-strength lineup simply can't have the same game score as Wood's "masterpiece" yesterday. BTW, the PCL champion Sacramento Rivercats (Crosby, Koonce, Grabowski, German, Edwards, et. al.) fielded a better lineup than the Mets yesterday. Check the Cats' MEQs.
Ideally, H.W., there would such a variable, but that would just about 86 any ease-of-calculation appeal game scores might have. But the idea is certainly correct: not all outings, be they gems or disaster starts, are created equal. (For instance, take a gander at the cast of forgettables Eric Milton mowed down in his 1999 no-hitter.) It's not quite germane to game scores, but Keith Woolner's Pitcher's Quality of Batters Faced reports are highly instructive in this regard.
Cast your vote for this year's Hall of Fame class.
Welcome to the 2002 edition of the STATLG-L Internet Hall of Fame! As listowner of STATLG-L, the "Baseball (and lesser sports) discussion list", I've been running an online Hall of Fame vote since 1991. For the first eight years, it operated strictly through our email list. This is now the fourth year we've been doing this here on the Baseball Prospectus website ... I suppose we must be "regulars" in the BP rotation by this time.
As far as I can tell, this is still the only public-access Hall of Fame balloting found anywhere. While members of the Baseball Writers Association of America use little more than their fading memories and baseball-card stats to make their choices, we BP readers can look at the candidates from the perspective of EqA, RARP, SNWL, TPR, and the like. This year, Win Shares has added still another form of analytic ammunition to our collection of weapons. With all this information at our disposal, we can do a far better job of sorting through the candidates than those besotted BBWAA members, can't we?
Or can we? During our existence, the STATLG-L voters have produced results that are often quite congruent with those of the writers. For example, we were no better advocates for Ron Santo than were the writers. Here is a year-to-year comparison between the real BBWAA results and those of the STATLG-L voters (note that "year" refers to the time of voting, not the induction ceremony):
Year BBWAA result STATLG-L result
1991 Tom Seaver Tom Seaver
Rollie Fingers Rollie Fingers
1992 Reggie Jackson Reggie Jackson
1993 Steve Carlton Steve Carlton
1994 Mike Schmidt Mike Schmidt
1995 (none) Phil Niekro
1996 Phil Niekro Phil Niekro
1997 Don Sutton (none)
1998 Nolan Ryan George Brett
George Brett Nolan Ryan
Robin Yount Robin Yount
1999 Carlton Fisk (none)
2000 Dave Winfield Dave Winfield
2001 Ozzie Smith Ozzie Smith
The STATLG-L Hall of Fame vote operates using rules as close to those of the BBWAA as I can make them. The rules are straightforward - choose the players you feel belong in the Hall of Fame from the same candidates who have been put before the BBWAA. You can vote for any number up to ten, including zero. If you can submit a blank ballot, it will count toward the denominator. You can't write in the name of anyone who doesn't appear on the official ballot ... fans of Mariano Duncan, Greg Gagne, Kevin Gross, Mark Gubicza, Ron Karkovice, Joe Orsulak, Jody Reed, Don Slaught, or John Smiley should send their protests and petitions to BBWAA Screening Committee, not me or BP.
When the voting ends, right around the end of the year, any player whose name appears on at least 75% of all submitted ballots is "elected." Voting ends Friday, January 3, 2003, and the results will be announced on January 6, the day before the Hall of Fame announces the real results.
Over the weekend, I attended my first Society for American Baseball Research convention. It was the 32nd get-together for the organization, of which I've been a member for about three hours.
Over the weekend, I attended my first Society for American Baseball Research convention. It was the 32nd get-together for the organization, of which I've been a member for about three hours. Prodded by BP's Jeff Bower, I joined and made the trek to Boston for this year's gathering, which kicked off this summer's "Sheehan Across America" tour. (And to clear up the rumor, no, Papa Roach isn't opening for me.)