SABR San Diego-Ted Williams Chapter 2015 Winter Meeting

tw-sabr-logo-1This past Saturday, the San Diego Central Library once again hosted the San Diego-Ted Williams SABR Chapter‘s Winter Meeting on the 8th floor amongst the Baseball Research Center collection. The Society for American Baseball Research meets twice a year to discuss baseball and baseball history. While I’m not a SABR member (yet), all of their meetings are open to the public, so I went.


This time the special guest speaker were Wells Oliver and Brian McBurney from the Padres front office, Padres Social Hour host Jesse Agler, and UT San Diego reporter and native San Diegan Kirk Kenney.

Tom Larwin

Weiss Collection

At last year’s Winter Meeting, SABR announced they had acquired the late Bill Weiss’ collection of baseball documents and books. It’s now been 89% inventoried. The amount of items in this collection is mind-blowing.

But the most mind-blowing thing of all might be the 62 (1943 -2005) seasons of minor league records. Sixty-two seasons. Don’t think about that for too long or your brain will start oozing out of your ears.

Every single thing in the Weiss Collection will be available for viewing to the public. Most of the books will eventually be added to the SABR collection in the Central Library. And all of the documents will be available to look at and study, either in the library or by contacting SABR to make arrangements.

San Diego Padres Front Office

Wells Oliver and Brian McBurney

Oliver and McBurney work for the Padres as data analysts. Both were hired by former GM Jed Hoyer. Now they’re on their third general manager. McBurney specializes in amateur players and the draft.

They use statistics that is available publicly on websites like FanGraphs and also private, proprietary data that is not.

When asked if any of the players seek them out to talk about statistics, both said very rarely. However, “Will Venable is a really smart guy,” and has talked with McBurney on a few occasions.

Growing up a baseball fan, Oliver said he “…always believed technology could aid a baseball team,” when he started to get into data analysis.

When asked about their opinion of the Padres’ offseason, McBurney commented,”We looked at everyone. All of those rumors you heard, they were pretty much all true.”

Jesse Agler

The Padres Social Hour host then took his turn. He gave everyone a quick summary of his resume, from growing up in South Florida to all the way to his start with the Padres last year.

Agler then started talking about his role with the Padres, the idea behind Padres Social Hour, and the Padres’ goals and efforts on social media.


“They’re going to be mad I used this logo. Go ahead and take your picture.”

Kirk Kenney

The meeting ended with the UT San Diego’s Kirk Kenney telling a few stories of growing up in San Diego and how he got started as a sportswriter.

This meeting was the most highly attended, according to chapter president Andy Strasberg. However, I still noticed some empty chairs. I highly recommend you make time to attend the next meeting, because you never know who will be there to talk.

Follow @SDSABR for chapter updates and future meeting dates.

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  • Patrick R.

    Thanks for the write-up! I couldn’t make it out, but I hope to next time!

  • Great write-up. Thanks for doing this.

    • Someone had to. Whoever runs the SDSABR Twitter account didn’t even bother showing up that day.