January 28 was SABR Day

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January 28 was SABR Day

Post by m-mac on Sun Jan 29, 2012 4:41 am

First new topic post for me, I think.

I attended the meet for the 1st time (new member) in Cooperstown. The chapter met in the Bullpen Theater in the foyer by the National Baseball Library which is associated with the Hall. We heard presentations on SI covers, Harry Pulliam, and pitching efficiency since WWII (non vintage!). After, we met at New York Pizzeria. That place, which is way off main street on 28 between the Price Chopper and a bank (now I know), features 2 slices and a fountain drink for $4, so two could enjoy for $4 if one desired to go thirsty or did not mind to share.

The next SABR meet in Cooperstown in during Induction Weekend and several chapter members are interested in the Cooperstown Symposium which is May 30-June 1 or thereabouts. Jim Gates of the National Baseball Library is a tremendous help and the Hall really takes its outreach seriously. Thanks!

If you went to your chapter meet, what'd your chapter do?

Join SABR today!

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Re: January 28 was SABR Day

Post by sabrjay on Sun Jan 29, 2012 3:30 pm

I was long time member of SABR. Bill James Baseball Abstract was responsible for getting me interested. I joined in 1984. I quit in 2005. It was no longer any fun. The academicians had taken over and if your project didn't have historical or statistical significance, it was sneered at. You couldn't present something that 'fun' or interesting without be chastised by the academicians. They have sucked the life out of what was once a fun organization.

Now that I live in the Twin Cities area I've tinkered with idea joining again only because I know that the Halsey Hall chapter is one of the best in the country.

SABR a great organization but its not something that excites me anymore and after the publication of the two Deadball Stars books I didn't see anything on the publishing horizon that I wanted, so I felt it was a good time to leave.

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Re: January 28 was SABR Day

Post by pariah1107 on Mon Jan 30, 2012 5:19 am

I admit, I had to look this up: an "Academician denotes a FULL MEMBER of an art, literary, or scientific academy". Very true with SABR.

Just ask them about voluntarily offering them information. No need, you HAVE to pay a fee. I gave up, and handed my research to the local library, who were much more gracious.
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Re: January 28 was SABR Day

Post by m-mac on Mon Feb 06, 2012 2:54 am

What kind of research incurred the sneers?

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Re: January 28 was SABR Day

Post by pariah1107 on Mon Feb 06, 2012 5:47 am

Research on Jimmy Claxton and the Central Washington semi-pro league (1891-1931) including the careers of Roy Johnson (1922-25), Hunky Shaw (1923-31), Lester "Stump" Feguson (1920-26), Leo Fitterer (1926-27), and fellow ballplayers/boxers Bruce Ashman (1908-27), and Rocco Stramaglio (1921-24). Stramaglio cut Dempsey as a sparring partner before his fight in Shelby, Montana 1923.

Claxtons' career has a very tight bio on SABR, only 1916 & 1932. If they want the other 38 years of his career have them PM me.

Nothing was sneered at, the point is... they showed no interest other than where is the membership fee? It is a Business for academicians for sure, but there are others doing valuable research anonymously and they should not be turned away at the door for dollars. Unfortunately that was my impression. Ellensburg Public Library did not hesitate to snare the information I had been working on at there facility for over a year.
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Re: January 28 was SABR Day

Post by sabrjay on Mon Feb 06, 2012 4:39 pm

The stuff that got sneered at of mine was a formula I came up with for measuring power and speed. I thought it was a nice formula because there was no era bias to it. It didn't matter when the player played. The top 100 seasons had multiple players from every decade. The reason for the sneers is because I could not justify with data why I weighted things the way I did. I did it because I wanted a stat what would work for every era. It does and I haven't heard anyone argue that a player shouldn't be on the list. Just that the formula didn't meet with academic standards.

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Re: January 28 was SABR Day

Post by pariah1107 on Tue Feb 07, 2012 4:50 am

Jimmy Claxton's career: I may have 10% of it...

1907-14: Roslyn/Ravensdale/Lester/Auburn/Tacoma
1915: Portland Colored Giants/ Sellwood Dingbats
1916: Lynne Stanley Giants/ Oakland Oaks (PCL)
1917: Midland, WA (Tacoma Industrial League)
1918: ?
1919: Shasta Limited (Northern California Champs)
1920-21: VT Mooney's Colored Giants (Yakima Twilight League)
1922: Homestead (Stevens County League, WA)
1923: Mukilteo/Queen City All-Stars (Seattle,WA)
1924: Longshoreman Stevedores/ VT Mooney's Giants (Tacoma/Yakima)
1925: Edmonds (Timber League, WA)
1926-31: Roslyn Yippers (CWL League, WA)
1930-31: Seattle Colored Giants (Inter-City League)
1932: Chicago Union Giants/Negro Leagues
1933-35: Scott Motors of Reno (California-Nevada League)
1935-37: Verdi, Nevada (1936-37 Western Nevada Champs)
1938: Reno Brewery
1939: Reno Mountain Eagles
1940: Jack Murphy's Dixie Club (Reno, w/Marion Motley)
1941-46: Tacoma Casino Giants

From 1907-15 he played under assumed names, Clawson, Clausen, Clauson, Clarkson, Klaxton, and Barton. So it is difficult to track his career, early. After he was married in 1917 he never claimed to be anyone but Claxton. Although he did go by the nickname "dark horse". He played with/against too many MLB/and minor league standouts to list over these forty years including his nephews, Mr Amateur Baseball in Tacoma Bob Maguinez, and Federal Court appointee Judge Jack Tanner.

More info to be told later...
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Re: January 28 was SABR Day

Post by m-mac on Fri Mar 09, 2012 5:45 am

Jay, I can see why you may have received some sneers, since you state you established weights without justification. An academic or someone else might view that as arbitrary. "Hmmm, Why are the weights that they are? Why not change this weight or that weight?" etc.

Pariah, whilst we procastinate, when might we antipate and view your update?

I will guess that like any functioning organization, SABR has regular bills, and its expenses are high, even with volunteers.

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Re: January 28 was SABR Day

Post by sabrjay on Fri Mar 09, 2012 1:44 pm

I don't mind someone pointing out that scientifically a stat isn't valid because there is no basis for the weighting. The number produced wasn't a game measure like Runs, Wins etc. It was just a number for ranking purposes. What gets me is that even though there was no scientific basis for the weights, the numbers produced were informative, didn't produce results that made you go WTF? and didn't show a bias for or against particular eras. That's unheard of in a baseball stat.

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Re: January 28 was SABR Day

Post by pariah1107 on Fri Mar 09, 2012 4:58 pm

Too many stories of Claxton, so I will offer this one.... in relation to a collectible.

In August 1935 Jimmy Claxton managed/pitched for an integrated small town team, Verdi, in the Western Nevada League. Claxton and Foy Scott (SS) were the only two African Americans on the team. Teammates included James Mosconi and his brother Hank Mosconi. The Verdi team won the "A" division of the league in 1936 & 1937.

In November 1937 Hank Mosconi was driving back from Reno when his car was sideswiped. Mosconi lost his left arm that had been out the window at the time of the accident. Former teammates of his, including Claxton, hosted a benefit game to cover Mosconi's medical expenses in April 1938 at Idlewild Park, with his new Reno Brewery team. Mosconi went on to become a very popular local grocer, and judge in western Nevada until his passing in 1980.

Two of Mosconi's children still live in Verdi. While doing research I contacted them by phone in a shot in the dark attempt to get some information on Claxton's years in Verdi. His daughter stated she had a "signed ball from the 1937 Verdi team in a shadowbox in their lobby." Her brother was given the ball from a widow of one of the players. They had no idea Claxton held any historical significance, but had kept the ball in remarkable shape as a memento of their father.

Great provenance on that historical item, I believe it to be the only ball with Claxton's signature.

I continue to work on his story. This summer I am planning a research trip to stop in those small towns along the rail lines he worked and played for to find newspapers that are not digitally archived, and hopefully similar stories.
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Re: January 28 was SABR Day

Post by pariah1107 on Wed Mar 21, 2012 5:11 pm

Saddened this week by confirmation of horrible news in relation to Jimmy Claxtons' history. Many mining, and logging boomtowns in the Cascade Mountains have come and gone. One of these coal boomtowns was Ravensdale, Washington. Jimmy Claxton attended Ravensdale Public School from 1905 to October 1909 (he did not graduate). He left school after a mining disaster in nearby Roslyn, Washington (October 9, 1909) required all of those of age to mine in order to make up for the lack of coal production shortly before the winter of 1909-10.

Claxton played catcher/pitcher along the Northern Pacific Railroad between Roslyn and Ravensdale for five years from the ages of 14-19. His coach in Ravensdale was a man named Jack Muncie. Muncie was unfortunately killed in another mining accident in Ravensdale 1915. The town was effectively abandoned shortly after this disaster. I travelled to what is left of Ravensdale in order to get a photo of Muncie's resting place only to find the site destroyed, sarcophagi broken, and headstones missing, broken or scattered about the area. A recent (2011) effort was made to remove the shrubbery that had overgrown the site however the vandalism to the graves is not fixable. The vandalism may have occurred decades ago. There is no discernible order to burial plots and only a couple names could still be assigned to graves. I could not locate Jack Muncie's grave.

Many of these sites are being reclaimed by the Cascade Wilderness, including the entire town of Lester, Washington where Claxton pitched his first game (1911). I would like to emphasize the preservation of history. If you know of an at risk site with historical significance please volunteer the time. It is rewarding now and in the future.

http://www.historylink.org/index.cfm?DisplayPage=output.cfm&file_id=3576
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