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, Jim Charlton:
This is the first issue of The National Pastime devoted to articles on "individuals in the game." An all-biographical issue, if you will, though this is a leaky umbrella over the subject: there are interviews, slices of players' lives, and write-ups of big games by players. One SABR wag commented to me that he "thought every issue of TNP was all biographical," but that has not been the case. The journal has always published a wide variety of articles on pennant races, pitching tandems, umpire uniforms, Cuban baseball, fair-foul hitting, integration, stadiums, women's baseball, and dozens of other topics. Whew!
It is not, of course, the first dedicated issue of the journal. John Thorn and Mark Rucker put together delightful all-pictorial issues in the 1980s that were on particular topcis, such as 19th-century ball. In 1992, the estimable Peter Bjarkman edited an issue of TNP devoted to baseball around the world. These are among my most cherished issues of the journal, and for newer members, these are well worth seeking out and acquiring.
This issue of TNP has some wonderful pieces on some surprising subjects. One is Jeff Obermeyer's profile of major leaguer Jim Riley, who also played in the NHL. Dick Thompson's article on Cannonball Bill Jackman is an illuminating piece on this little-known New England star. James Smith provides a warm portrait of longtime PCL personality Lester Cook, while Pete Bjarkman persuasively speaks to Roberto Clemente's groundbreaking impact on Latin players and baseball. The late Smoky Joe Wood proves to be as outspoken and interesting an observer as he was a pitcher and hitter. The cover article, by Steve Bennett, introduces us to one of the game's great characters, George Kromer.
One of my favorite pieces is by one of my favorite musicians, jazz pianist and lyricist Dave Frishberg, whose albums have been nominated four times for Grammy Awards. Dave is the composer and singer of the wry and amusing "My Attorney Bernie," Schoolhouse Rock favorites such as "I'm Just a Bill," and the iconic "Van Lingle Mungo." He shares with us the creative steps on the writing of that tribute. You'll be humming by the end.