Why you should join SABR

*SABR is 40 years young and finding Canadians.

By Bob Elliott

SABR’s Bill Carle has been a busy man. As usual.

Carle’s September/October 2011 SABR Biographical Committee newsletter has discovered were two former Canadian major leaguers were buried.

And that another former major leaguer’s final resting place is in the same cemetery in Guelph is the same as another.

The Canadians discoveries:

James Pirie, who played shortstop for five games with the 1883 Philadelphia Quakers of the National League died in 1934 at age 81 and was buried in Dundas, Ont. (Source: death certificate).

Nelson (Red) Long, who pitched in one game for the 1902 Boston Beaneaters of the National League died in Hamilton 1929 at age 52 and was buried in the Woodlawn Cemetery in Guelph, Ont. Long was born in Burlington, Ont. (Source: death certificate).

Carle also discovered Joe Kostal, who pitched two games for the 1896 Louisville Colonels in the National League died at age 57 and was buried in the Woodlawn Cemetery in Guelph, Ont. Kostal was born in Chicago. (Source: death certificate).

Now, someone may ask what’s the big deal whether we know where someone was born or is buried. Well, Carle and his committee discovered that George (Dandy) Wood was born in Pownal, PEI. All he did was play 13 seasons with the Detroit Wolverines, the Philadelphia Quakers, Baltimore Orioles, Philadelphia Athletics, the Cincinnati Reds and the Worcester Ruby Legs.

And eventually Wood was inducted into the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame in St. Marys, Ont.,  as his numbers ranked amongst the best career numbers by Canadians.

Wood's birth place is just one of many Canadians the committee has discovered from the 1800s. It's why the answer to the question "how many Canadians have played in the majors?" is always an ever changing number. The total is being added on both ends: with September calls-ups like Taylor Green (Comox, BC) and Canadians born in the 1800s long since gone.

Historian John Thorn, one the baseball wisest men I have ever met, explains why he is a SABR member and why you should be too.

And D. Bruce Brown of Columbia, Md. who write a daily trivia email, has excellent reasons why as well:

"Many of you have been asking me about SABR. I’ve been a member since 1996 and I highly recommend it to anyone who loves baseball.  SABR will deepen your enjoyment of the game.

"What you get:

- Two issues of the Baseball Research Journal, which includes articles on history, biography, statistics, personalities, book reviews, and other aspects of the game.

- One issue of The National Pastime, which focuses on baseball in the region where that year’s national convention is held (in 2012, it’s Minneapolis)

- Regional chapter meetings, which can include guest speakers, presentations and trips to ballgames

- Online access to back issues of The Sporting News

- Access to SABR’s lending library and other research resources

- Online member directory to connect you with an international network of passionate baseball experts and fans

- Discount on annual convention registration

- Access to SABR-L, an e-mail discussion list of baseball questions and answers that many feel is worth the cost of membership itself

- The opportunity to be part of a passionate international community of baseball fans."

Brown provides some recent quotes about the organization taken from the back cover of the Fall 2011 Baseball Research Journal:

"SABR has provided a valuable service to baseball through their diligent research.  I am especially appreciative of the major role our organization has played in preserving the history of the Negro Leagues.  Happy 40th Birthday!"

Monte Irvin, Hall of Fame baseball player


"I was lucky.  I discovered SABR when I was just 19 or 20 years old.  Before that, I had no idea there was a whole community of people out there who shared my passion for baseball’s incredibly rich history.  Now, I don’t really know what I would do without the conventions, the publications, and all the incredibly wonderful people I never would have met if not for SABR."

Rob Neyer, Baseball Editor, SB Nation


"It is a pleasure for me to wish SABR a Happy Birthday!  SABR is, and has been, a favorite organization of mine for many years.  The history and research projects have brought back vivid memories of my youth, including a day back in 1938 where, as a youth, I attended my first major league game—and in Fenway Park—a game in which I witnessed a home run struck by Jimmie Foxx, the American League MVP of that season.

Roland Hemond, three-time MLB Executive of the Year and 2011 Buck O’Neill Lifetime Achievement Award recipient


"HAPPY BIRTHDAY SABR!  For me, SABR was a huge help when I was doing The Sports Encyclopedia:  Baseball.  Bill Carle and his Biographical Research Committee provided great demographic data on a huge number of players, from old-timer to rookies.

David Neft, editor of The Baseball Encyclopedia and 2010 recipient of SABR’s Henry Chadwick Award.


"I am very happy that Bob David's had the idea to form SABR 40 years ago.  I have made a lot of friends and also received a great deal of cooperation on several projects that required people all over the country to participate.  John Thorn and I met via SABR, which led to The Hidden Game of Baseball, then Total Baseball, and now the Barnes & Noble/ESPN encyclopedias with Gary Gillette."

Peter Palmer, 2010 recipient of SABR’s Henry Chadwick Award

Now, these guys are all in a league far above the one I operate in, however, as a SABR member and knowing the hard-working people who do the detailed work tracking down which scout signed every player, I agree with Thorn, Brown, etc.

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