SABR: Who We Are Matters


The SABR Board has now informed the membership that the vote to change the name of our organization from the “Society for American Baseball Research” to the “Society for the Advancement of Baseball Research” has been killed and all cast votes discarded for reasons of violation to the process of getting things done. At least, that is the way we read the e-mail from Board President Vince Gennaro. — He respectfully noted hat it was their late recognition of an unfair treatment of the by laws that has caused the Board to cancel the name change electoral motion and take some time for thought to the process issues involved in this first unsuccessful attempt.

The critical cancellation paragraph was expressed by e-mail in bold type as a Board resolution:

“That the proposed bylaw amendment and name change on the 2018 ballot is withdrawn as improvidently submitted and not properly before the membership; and that any votes on the proposed bylaw amendment and name change on the 2018 ballot shall be disregarded and will be treated as if never cast.”

Thank goodness for small favors. Sometimes process issues may save us from avoiding the substantive issue that is a matter of far greater importance.

The substantive issue is not simply coming up with a new name that still lends itself to our comfortable and familiar acronym “SABR”. When we were kids, we didn’t prefer “TOPPS” bubble gum because the gum itself tasted better than “Double Bubble”, — (Most of us thought it did not.) — we bought Topps because of the baseball cards that came with the gum.

And what became of Topps without the baseball cards? — Do you really need the answer?

Most of us bought into SABR because of how it portrayed our identity. It was, and still is, the Society for American Baseball Research, — meaning that it is an organization dedicated to an ongoing and accurate examination of how “American Baseball” has evolved — and continues to evolve — on a world-wide plane.

We are not English Baseball – or Asian Baseball – or European Baseball. — We are American Baseball, as we continue to evolve world-wide in all those places it has now evolved to include.

We need to be careful that we don’t fall into the language pit that this particular era both invites and encourages — and that is the active association of the word “America” with all the equivocating political forces that use the name of our precious country as a symbol of hatred and bigotry. And, of yes, even if our wonderful beautiful game spreads to every country on earth, which I would love to see, it would still be American Baseball – now played everywhere.

We are not those hateful people who use the word “American” in the name of harm to others; nor are we those sadly neurotic people whose sense of national guilt includes the idea of erasing the conscious recognition of America at every turn in the road. We are people who either grew up in the passion fire of America’s sandlots – or older people who found it as a gift from heaven when it arrived on their shores as something that still says “Made in America” all over it.

Please take this little break in the action for deeper consideration of this matter. It is much deeper than a clumsy process issue. It is, in reality, an opportunity to both preserve and deepen our appreciation for who we are.

We are — The Society for American Baseball Research.

That’s the organization I joined. That’s the organization I will continue to support.


Bill McCurdy

Larry Dierker Chapter




Bill McCurdy

Principal Writer, Editor, Publisher

The Pecan Park Eagle






4 Responses to “SABR: Who We Are Matters”

  1. Tom Hunter Says:

    Bill: Is there any way of determining who was responsible for this proposed bylaw amendment?

  2. Anthony Cavender Says:

    Tom: Perhaps the same person who added the “Protect the National Pasttime legislation in the recent appropriations bill (at page 1886) to extinguish minor league ballplayers’ ability to use federal law to argue for a a living wage while riding those buses in Class D. Theee were no hearings and no identified sponsor of that legislation.,

  3. gregclucas Says:

    Removing the word “American” seems to have been the biggest deal. However, as the same time for the game itself to survive long term (decades, centuries, etc) it must accept and recognize that its growth in other parts of the world is tantamount. Already a large percentage of the players on the major league level are not from the U.S. They are mostly “american” in the full sense coming from the islands and countries that are part of the North, Central or South “AMERICA” regions. But a higher percentage are not from the United States of “America” itself.

    Essentially, though the name change was unnecessary and would have caused more un-rest than needed. SABR can and should continue its research on the sport from all parts of the world–how the originally “American” game has spread world wide over time.

  4. Cliff Blau Says:

    Baseball is not originally American. It came from England, and how it is played in America has evolved to be different than the English game, just as it is played differently in Japan and the Netherlands, etc. And SABR members research all those games.

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