Hundreds of baseball fans from across the country gathered in the District on Thursday to dwell on these historical tidbits, among others, at the first full day of events at the 39th annual Society of American Baseball Research (SABR) convention.
There were historians. There were statheads. There were guys wearing T-shirts and caps of teams ranging from the Oakland Athletics to the Kansas City Monarchs.
...There will be 42 presentations in all - SABR had to reject another 47 because of a lack of space - with an equal mixture of historical research and statistical findings. Each of the four days will end with a trivia contest or a bus trip to an area ballgame. In between will be long conversations and healthy debates over everything from the Hall of Fame credentials of Bert Blyleven to the importance of clutch hitting.
...SABR members have a perhaps unfair reputation of possessing a nerdy quality, and Thursday’s largely white, male and casually dressed crowd did little to dispel that stereotype. Christina Kahrl, editor of the research site Baseball Prospectus and a keynote speaker at the convention, compared it to Comic-Con, the recent convention for comic book enthusiasts.
“It’s just about as equally big in terms of cool points,” she said. “But I have no problem getting in touch with my inner geek.”