Looking for something to do next weekend? Sad we are still 3 weeks away from pitchers and catchers reporting? Come on down to Petco Park and talk a little baseball.

The San Diego SABR Chapter will hold their Winter Meeting this Saturday, 30 Jan 16, in the Petco Park Auditorium. The meeting will start at 0915 and run until 1 pm or so. There will be signs directing you to the appropriate entrance; anticipate it will be on the Park Avenue side of the stadium. Doors open at 0900 and will close at 0930. Admission is free for both SABR and non-SABR members.

Parking is also free if you use the Lexus Premier Lot (any non-marked stall). The Chapter has five presentations on Saturday’s agenda.

  • Norman Macht will give a short talk about Connie Mack, then take questions. Mr. Macht has written a 3-volume book on the life of the legendary A’s manager. If you own a copy of his masterwork, feel free to bring it with you for the author to sign. From a Philadelphia Inquirer review of his work: “For three decades, Macht immersed himself in the man who managed and owned the Philadelphia Athletics for a half-century. He traveled everywhere Mack had been. He found people who had played for him, worked for him, lived with him. He uncovered minutes of long-forgotten meetings and pored over team records that were discovered, a half-century after Mack’s 1965 death, in an Oakland trash bin.”
  • Carlos Bauer will give a presentation on the Bill Weiss Collection entitled, “How Good Are Minor League Statistics?” Mr. Weiss is widely acknowledged as having assembled one of the best collections of Minor League statistical archives ever, however his influence does not just extend to researchers. Mr. Bauer will discuss how Mr. Weiss changed the rigor with which statistics were compiled in both the major and minor leagues once he became a league statistician.
  • San Diego Padres Assistant General Manager Josh Stein will give a short presentation, followed by a question and answer period. Mr. Stein last met with the Chapter in 2011, and the discussion that day was quite lively and interesting.
  • Andy McCue will highlight some alternate ways of looking at Bill Veeck. Mr. Veeck at various times owned the Cleveland Indians, St Louis Browns, and Chicago White Sox. He also is credited with developing many unique marketing schemes to promote his clubs. Some didn’t work out so well (see: Disco Night at Comiskey Stadium).
  • Andy Strasberg will brief the membership on Chapter plans during All-Star Game Weekend.

Download a parking pass here.

Should you find yourself running late, please reach out via @SDSABR to let us know so we can make arrangements.

Hope to see you this Saturday.

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.

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The San Diego SABR (Ted Williams) Chapter will hold it’s Winter/Spring meeting next Saturday, 24 Jan, at the San Diego Central Library.  The discussion will start at approximately 1pm, and probably run until 4 or so.

As with all our meetings, attendance is free, and not limited to members of the Chapter.  If you are interested in attending, please come on down.  Parking at the library is pretty convenient, either underneath the building (2 hours are free with validation) or across the street in one of the public lots.

Why should you go?  Take a look at the agenda:

  • Padres Baseball Operations staff members Brian McBurney (software developer) and Wells Oliver (baseball systems architect) will talk about their position and responsibilities within the organization, as well as up-to-the-minute happenings with the team.  Given how active AJ Preller has been this off-season, theirs has not been a slow winter.
  • Padres Social Media Host and broadcaster Jesse Agler.  Jesse will cover a wide range of subjects, which should include the use of social media in baseball and significant changes to PETCO Park in advance of this season.
  • SD-UT reporter Kirk Kenney.  Kirk will talk about growing up a Padres fan, graduating from SDSU, and his career as a newspaper reporter.  His writing career began with Tony Gwynn’s last season at SDSU, and resulted in a long-term friendship.

As has become custom, we will meet in the Baseball Research Center, located on the 8th floor of the library.  Thanks for reading, and I/we hope to see you then.

Wait – he still writes here?

As was mentioned last week, last Saturday brought the semi-Annual San Diego Ted Williams Chapter of the Society of American Baseball Research (SABR) meeting. The SD Central Library hosted, and we had about our average turnout (25-30 people).

I got downtown about 0910, armed with a large cup of coffee, my notebook, and an amplifier. Toting an amplifier through downtown early on a Saturday morning actually helped me blend in. I was amazed at the large number of people already formed up outside the library. I assumed they were waiting to get in until it became clear they were just … waiting.

Several of us got there early to set up; however, Pete Meisner of the library was all over it, having arranged chairs for the attendees and set up a podium for a wireless mike. We brought up a table for check-ins and other items, and moved 3 plush chairs to the front for Jodi, Geoff, and I to use during the round table. That took all of about 5 min, which was great for it left a lot of time for some small talk with a bunch of folks one only sees twice a year.

SABR meeting 9 Aug 14

We delayed starting for 10 min to accommodate the fashionably late. Alan Mindell approached the podium and off we went.

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This Saturday (9 August) the San Diego Ted Williams Chapter will host it’s summer shindig.  The meet (and greet) will be held at the SD Central Library, in the Baseball Research Center, located on the 8th floor of the building, from 1000-1230.  We have three main presentations on the agenda.

Alan Mindell will talk about his fictional baseball novel, The Closer.  The Closer chronicles a career minor league knuckle-balling relief pitcher who finally gets his chance at the majors, and makes an immediate impact both on the pitching mound and with a family in distress.  Alan’s an interesting dude; he played CF for three years at UC Berkeley, leading the team in hitting and stolen bases his junior year (which, if my math is correct, was around 1963).  He was good enough to win a try out with the Los Angeles Angels, but wasn’t quite good enough to make professional baseball a career.

Alan has discovered a latent sprinting skill, and used it to win 4 gold medals at the 2012 San Diego Senior Olympics.  You can read more about the author and his book here.

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On June 14, 2014, at Sullivan Family Baseball Research Center in the Central Library downtown, the folks from the Ted Williams Chapter of SABR had a special presentation of Fantography: San Diego Baseball, a new book featuring photos taken by Padres fans over the years.

I have to give Padres Trail credit for taking notes.  I was concentrating on taking photos.  It is a photography-based book, after all!


Andy Strasberg

Andy Strasberg kicked off the stories of how the book came about and introduced each speaker, all of whom have photos featured in the book.

The only rules about the photos in the book:

  • They had to be taken by fans, not professional photographers
  • They could not be game action shots

Some of the photos are featured on the Sullivan Family Baseball Research Center’s wall.  Some can only be seen in the book.  If you haven’t been up to the Center right next to the eighth floor reading room in the Central Library, I highly recommend you do it.  It’s well worth your time.

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In case you weren’t paying attention…

Always enjoy responsibly. Don’t read and drive.

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SABR held their Baseball Garage Sale last Saturday at RJ’s Grill. Man, you missed out! There was a lady making balloon animals, and a blow-up jumpie castle, and unlimited beer tasting (4-oz glasses, limit 6 at a time) from 11:30-1300…

OK, so most of that isn’t true. Still, it was a fun event to raise money for the Baseball Research Center at the SD Public Library.

Mrs. Trail and I got there at about 0930 to help set up.  Row after row of tables with stuff on it that needed to be organized, so we hopped to it. Most of what we had was archival print material – Sporting News Newspapers from various years starting in the 1930s up to the 1990s took up 3 tables. Hard-cover and soft-cover books took up another 5. Sports Illustrated copies from the 1970s; I was amazed at how often baseball was the cover picture for SI back then. Ain’t true now, folks.

Feverishly setting up

Feverishly setting up

What else….  Read More…