The National Pastime
offers baseball history available nowhere else. Each fall this publication from the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR) explores baseball history with fresh and often surprising views of past players, teams, and events. Drawn from the research efforts of more than 6,700 SABR members, The National Pastime
establishes an accurate, lively, and entertaining historical record of baseball.
A Note from the Editor, John B. Holway:
If time is a river, just where are we now as we float with the current? Where have we been? Where may we be going on this journey?
I thought it would be fun to take readings of our position by looking at where our game, and by extension, our country, and our world were one, two, three, and more generations ago.
Mark Twain once wrote that biography is a matter of placing lamps at intervals along a person's life. He meant that no biographer can completely illuminate the entire story. But if we use his metaphor and place lamps at 25-year intervals in the biography of baseball, we can perhaps more dramatically see our progress, which we sometimes lose sight of in a day-by-day or year-by-year narrative history. We can see the game (and the world) as mom and dad saw it in 1961, as our grandparents saw it in 1941, our great grandparents in 1916, and so on back to 1841.
Fifty years from now some of our SABR members of today will write the history of 1991, as they look back from the vantage point of 2041. How will we and our world look to their grandchildren, who will read those histories? What stories will they cover—Rickey Henderson and Nolan Ryan? Jose Canseco and Cecil Fielder? The Twins and the Braves? Toronto's 4 million fans? What things do we take for granted that they will find quaint? What kind of game will the fans of that future world be seeing? What kind of world, beyond sports, will they live in?
It's to today's young people, the historians of tomorrow, and to their children and grandchildren that we dedicate this issue—from the SABR members of 1991 to the SABR members of 2041—with prayers that you will read it in a world filled with excitement and peace, where all your battles will be for pennants.