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Monday, January 02, 2012

Baseball's SABR relocates to Arizona

"SABR, along with the Hall of Fame, is a guardian of baseball's past"... "It's a long way from their origin at the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y., four decades ago, but the Society for American Baseball Research has found a home in Arizona.

The society of more than 6,000 members moved in April from Cleveland to the Valley, packing along its collective historical wisdom and an umpirelike neutrality on baseball politics and the game's record books.

"SABR, along with the Hall of Fame, is a guardian of baseball's past and a kind of Underwriters Laboratory of baseball," said John Thorn, a society member and the official historian of Major League Baseball.

The society's modest Phoenix office in Arcadia is anything but a musty archive of documents and arcane baseball ephemera. There are shelves of baseball books and some memorabilia, but mostly this is an office where three staffers and Executive Director Marc Appleman publish the Baseball Research Journal twice a year and operate sabr.org, headed by Jacob Pomrenke, Web editor and producer.

The society's first e-book, out last month, is "Can He Play? A Look at Baseball Scouts and Their Profession."

The society has more than 50 chapters in the United States and Canada, the Bobby Thomson chapter in London, the Orlando Cepeda chapter in San Juan, Puerto Rico, and a chapter in Tokyo.

Phoenix's Flame Delhi chapter is headed by Rodney Johnson, William Suphan and David Schollmeyer.

"We have a very dedicated, passionate membership," Appleman said of the mostly male, mostly older members.

The group has connected with younger baseball fanatics who devour statistics to get an edge for their fantasy baseball leagues."...

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