Baseball Research Journal (BRJ), Volume 48 #2


Baseball Research Journal (BRJ), Volume 48 #2

Society for American Baseball Research (SABR)

128 pages


December 2019


$14.95 Add to Cart

About the Book

The Fall 2019 issue of the Baseball Research Journal features voices old and new in baseball analytics and historical research. In this issue researchers tackle some of the hot issues of 2019, including analysis of defensive shifts, time of game, and comparing the metrics WAR and WAA. Photo historian Mark Rucker presents archival photos of one of Cuba's lost ballparks, matched with his own modern photos of the site.

This is the 48th year of publication for the Baseball Research Journal and this issue includes two contributors who were both in volume two, published in 1973, Art Ahrens and Pete Palmer. Ahrens delves into the life and career of Chicago Cubs hurler Carl Lundgren while Palmer revisits the history and rationale behind OPS and why it persists as a popular measure of offensive output. 


Philadelphia in the 1882 League Alliance
Robert D. Warrington

Histories of the Philadelphia Phillies portray the club’s admission to the National League (NL) as a straightforward and swift process.... The facts tell a different tale. Philadelphia’s journey to NL membership was complicated and protracted. The team’s participation in the 1882 League Alliance was a crucial step toward major-league status, and Alfred J. Reach’s enthusiasm for joining the NL may not have been as unbridled as depicted by some authors. This article examines the club’s entry into the Alliance, its 1882 season, and how the transition from the Alliance to the NL unfolded. It also investigates the genesis of the team’s longstanding nickname “Phillies” and questions the accuracy of the oft-told tale of how it became associated with the franchise. 

“Our Lady Reporter” Introducing Some Women Baseball Writers, 1900–30
Donna L. Halper, PhD

Nearly all news and sports reporters of the early 1900s were male [and] sending a woman ... to cover a ballgame from the “feminine point of view” was considered a jolly gimmick. The headline would often mention the “lady reporter.” Readers might see headlines like this one, promoting some unique interviews about the 1912 World Series: “The heroes of the coming big baseball game personally sized up and interviewed BY A WOMAN.” [A] female reporter was expected to write a human interest story—this headline was typical: “She’s Going to Write About the Personality of Five Baseball Heroes.” Both headlines topped syndicated articles by Idah McGlone Gibson, an experienced female columnist who absolutely did know something about baseball.

Shifting Expectations: An In-Depth Overview Of Players’ Approaches To The Shift Based On Batted-Ball Events
Connelly Doan, MA

This paper will focus more on hitters’ and pitchers’ approaches to dealing with the shift, rather than merely the outcomes of the shift. It is easy to say that hitters could just bunt or hit to the opposite field when shifted on, but an in-depth overview of shift outcomes based on hard data would be a welcome addition to the discussion. To help fill this void, this paper will present an overview of shift batted-ball events from the beginning of the 2017 season through the first half of the 2018 season. Further, it will identify patterns in the data regarding both hitters’ and pitchers’ approaches to the shift. Finally, conclusions will be drawn in an attempt to explain why shift outcomes occurred as they did and to identify further topics of analysis. Understanding how players approach the shift in addition to understanding the tactic itself will offer insight into its effectiveness.

Table of Contents

  • Community, Defection, and equipo Cuba: Baseball Under Fidel Castro, 1959–93 by Katie Krall
  • Baseball Archeology in Cuba: A Trip to Güines by Mark Rucker            
  • Testing an RPI Ranking System for Canadian University Baseball by George S. Rigakos & Mitchell Thompson
  • Time Between Pitches: Cause of Long Games? by David W. Smith
  • WAA vs. WAR: Which is the Better Measure for Overall Performance in MLB, Wins Above Average or Wins Above Replacement? by Campbell Gibson, PhD
  • Left Out: Handedness and the Hall of Fame by Jon C. Nachtigal, PhD & John C. Barnes, PhD
  • Shifting Expectations: An In-Depth Overview of Players’ Approaches to the Shift Based on Batted-Ball Events by Connelly Doan, MA
  • Why OPS Works by Pete Palmer
  • Rating Baseball Agencies: Who is Delivering the Goods? by Barry Krissoff
  • Hot Streaks, Screaming Grounders, and War: Conceptual Metaphors in Baseball by Daniel Rousseau
  • Did MLB Exist Before the Year 2000? by Bill Nowlin
  • Setting the Record Straight on Major League Team Nicknames by Ed Coen
  • “Our Lady Reporter” Introducing Some Women Baseball Writers, 1900–30 by Donna L. Halper, PhD
  • Baseball and the Great Movie Comedians by Ron Backer
  • Carl Lundgren: Cubs Cold Weather King by Art Ahrens
  • Beyond the Miracle: The Mets of the Early 1970s by Douglas Jordan, PhD
  • Philadelphia in the 1882 League Alliance by Robert D. Warrington

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