The Retro Sheet

Official Publication of Retrosheet, Inc.

Volume 1, No. 1 October 1994

Table of Contents

Retrosheet History and Relation to Other Groups
Items for Newsletter
Retrosheet's Holdings
Membership Directory
Retrosheet's Mission
Data Distribution
Use of the Data
Progress in Computer Inputting to Date
Projects Underway
Possible Projects for the Future
Allan Roth Collection
Odd and Cute
SABR Home Run Log
Tax Exempt Status
A Brick for Retrosheetr
My Many Hats
Luke Kraemer and the 1967 American League
Future Newsletter Editions


Here is the first issue of the Retrosheet newsletter, which has been discussed and promised for quite some time. The plan is to issue one each quarter, depending on how much news we have. This issue is edited and composed by David Smith, although that may not be the case in the future. Throughout this document the pronoun "I" is used, since writing in the third person passive always bores me to tears. I realize that I have shared many of the items in this news letter with several of you already, but I have not done so systematically and it seems like a good idea, so bear with me on the parts you have seen or heard before.

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Retrosheet History and Relation to Other Groups

This section is my personal view of many things that have occurred during the l last decade, with many of them abridged to remove the details which I don't think are essential in the present context. Several readers of this newsletter have their own memories of some aspects that are presented here and I hope that I have not offended anyone or distorted reality along the way.

We must begin with Bill James and Project Scoresheet. The first systematic attempt to collect all the play by play accounts for a complete season came through Bill's organizing efforts. Many volunteers donate d their time and two issues of the Great American Baseball Stat Book were produced as a result. In 1988 STATS Inc began their own n collection of daily game accounts, with many former members of Project Scoresheet, including Bill James, joining that group (some people remained affiliated with both). Among other differences between the two organizations, Project Scoresheet was firmly committed to making available the raw play by play data to anyone who wished to purchase it. I regret that the policy of STATS in this regard is the same as that of the Elias Sports Bureau; raw data files are not for sale, although STATS will respond (for a fee ) for specific requests for information and Elias will still ignore such requests.

Project Scoresheet ceased collecting data at the end of the 1990 season. During g 1991 the task was handled by Sports Source and since 1992 it has been done by the Baseball Workshop, headed by Gary Gillette, former director of Project Scoresheet. The accumulated data base now encompasses 1984 through 1994 and is available for purchase from the Baseball Workshop. This collection is 22,806 games with over 1.72 million plays.

I founded Retrosheet in 1989 for the purpose of coordinating data collection backwards to the pre-Project Scoresheet era. Several aspects of Retrosheet's operation are detailed elsewhere in this newsletter, but there are two points of special note related to the history recounted above. First, games in the Retrosheet collection are in the same computer format as is used for the 1984–1994 data, thereby maximizing the ease of analysis. Second, all Retrosheet computer data will always be publicly available.

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Items for Newsletter

It is my hope that this newsletter will receive contributions from Retrosheet volunteers. Comments, suggestions and complaints are welcome and all will be printed. Perhaps we will have a formal "letters" section on. Although we all share the basic objective of computerizing and distributing the pre-1984 data, there are a multitude of ways in which this can be accomplished. Our group contains people from many walks of life and Retrosheet can definitely prosper from the diverse points of view we possess. As a semantic point, I have resisted the term "member" and prefer the term "volunteer", although that is my own perspective. Any comments on this small point out there?

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Retrosheet was incorporated as a non-profit corporation in the State of Delaware in March, 1994. There are several reasons that this formality was logical, including the potentially significant value of the scoresheets in our collection. The bylaws of the corporation are available to anyone who wishes to see them, but since they are 13 pages long, they are not included here. If you would like a copy, please let me know and I'll send one out right away.

As described in the bylaws, Retrosheet is governed by a five member Board of Directors elected for varying length terms. From these five members are elected the four officers: Chairman of the Board of Directors, President, Vice President and Treasurer. Our first Board meeting was held in Arlington, Texas in June, 1994 during the SABR (Society for American Baseball Research) convention. The Board will meet each year during the annual SABR convention. Each meeting is open to interested friends of Retrosheet. The initial members of the Board of Directors, their offices, and terms of membership on the Board are:

The Board selects its own replacements and all subsequent terms are for three years. There is no permanent office of Secretary. David Vincent volunteered for that function at the June, 1994 meeting of the Board. Minutes of this meeting are also available from me upon request.

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Retrosheet's Holdings

Retrosheet currently has around 100,000 scoresheets representing over 60,000 different games. The duplication occurs because we have the same game from two sources in many cases. The presence of backup accounts gives us the opportunity to check complicated plays that might not be clear from a single source. The first phase of game acquisition has had two major components: the teams and sportswriters/sportscasters. The largest bulk has come from the teams. Of the 26 franchises in existence in 1983, 24 of them have allowed us to copy their materials or have promised to do so, with the act actual copying either underway or planned for this offseason. It has in general been a pleasure to deal with the public relations de departments of the various teams. We have failed to come to an agreement only with Detroit and Toronto. Writers and announcers have been very valuable and in several cases have provided game accounts that the teams don't have.

The second phase of game acquisition is microfilmed newspapers. In the early part of this century it was common practice for the evening newspapers in Major League cities to carry the complete play by play of that day's game (they were all day games then, of course) from their city. The format was similar to what we see today for innings in which runs are scored except that they covered the whole game. For example the New York Evening World carried accounts for Dodgers, Yankees and Giants games each day until its demise in 1931. I have obtained microfilm copies of the newspaper via interlibrary loan and have copied all their accounts from 1924 through 1930, about 450 games per year or 3000 over this period. Just in case you're curious, we have about 120 games of the 1927 Yankees, although only 60 have been input. The only disadvantages are that the paper did not publish on Sundays or holidays and they often had only partial accounts, such as the first five innings, especially for the "western" games in Chicago and St. Louis. Jim Weigand of Barberton, Ohio has made copies of Indians games from the e Cleveland Plain Dealer from 1918 to 1927 and generously donated them to Retrosheet. I know that other cities had newspapers that did the same thing, but I have not yet had the opportunity to collect them. This second phase will become increasingly import ant to us, especially for pre-World War II games. If anyone has access to the microfilm and wants to help in this way, it would be much appreciated.

We still don't have a complete catalogue of our holdings. I am somewhat embarrassed by this fact, but I have used my limited time to keep up correspondence and coordinate the translating and inputting operations, so the cataloguing keeps getting put off. Last year David Vincent helped me set up a system for entering the information into a useful database format and all I need is the time to do the entry. For the most part this is an area where volunteers can't real really help very much, because the scoresheets are all with me.

A rough summary of our holdings by team with the disclaimer that games are missing from most of these sets, some much more so than others:

Games promised to us, but which are not yet in hand:

There were 58450 games played in the American League from 1901–1983 and 57267 in the National League for a total of 115717. Of course the National League has been in operation since 1876 and there have been other leagues recognized as Major Leagues at various times in both the 19th and 20th centuries. However, the games played b y the two longest-running leagues since they both began playing seems like a reasonable grouping for this summary. It is therefore my estimate that we have in our possession somewhat over 50% of the 20th century total. I don't know how that number impresses anyone else, but I am personally astonished that we have had this much success in five years.

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Membership Directory

Several of you have expressed an interest in having a Retrosheet directory, so you can have a better idea of who else is involved in this effort. I think this is a great idea, but I want to be careful not to violate anyone's privacy and therefore ask for you to let me know if you agree to be listed in a directory. If you do, please send me a listing exactly the way you would like it to appear, including a brief (less than 10 words) description of what area or era you are mostly interested in. The basic format I have in mind is similar to that used in the SABR directory. For example, the entry I would for myself follows.

I urge you to consider submitting an entry for yourself. I promise that the li will never be sold or distributed to people not listed in the directory.

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Retrosheet's Mission

Retrosheet is unique. We are truly doing something that no one else is, including Major League Baseball. Many people are surprised to learn that the Major Leagues do not have an organized compilation of game accounts. Others presume that the Hall of Fame has these details. In fact the only officially held records are the daily summaries of each player's performance, that is how many at bats, runs, hits, doubles, stolen bases, etc. each batter had and how many innings pitched, hits, strikeouts, etc. each pitcher allowed for each day. The Hall of Fame Library has this information as do (I believe) the league offices. It is possible to make copies at the Hall of Fame (their information is on microfilm), but it is probably necessary to go there yourself to do so. At any rate, the point is not to say bad things about Major League officialdom or the Hall of Fame, but there simply is no one else trying to do what Retrosheet is doing. I trust it is obvious that there can be no information more primary for a game than a play by play account; all else in baseball analysis can de derived from it. There are surely many people who would like to have access to this primary data, and for any number of research purposes; we are making that at possible. In addition I believe there is great value simply in having this information publicly available as an historical record of indisputable value to baseball fans. Each of you who has volunteered so much of your time probably has his or her own reasons for thinking our work is worthwhile, but I wanted to share with you my reasons for thinking that what we are doing is important.

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Data Distribution

I have frequently used the phrase "publicly available" with respect to Retrosheet's data. As nice as the phrase is, it is awfully general and there are many specific questions that suggest themselves, three of which are: 1) What will be the format of the data? 2) What will be the basic unit of data to be distributed? 3) What will be the cost to someone who wants to obtain the data? These questions were all discussed at the June Board meeting and many good suggestions were put forward. The Board has not yet formally approved a data distribution policy, but I believe the matter is important enough that I offer the following summary, subject to the disclaimer that details might change when the Board does adopt a policy.

1. Format: Our fundamental format is the computer file since this method will allow maximum efficiency of storage and transfer as well as facilitating analysis. For those who do not have computer expertise or who wish "hard copy" of the data, David Vincent has developed a program which will process our data files and produce the narrative text format similar in form to that currently published by many newspapers for innings in which runs are scored. There are plans for a program which will convert our data files to a scoresheet format.

2. Basic Unit: The basic unit will be different things at different times, but it will follow a hierarchy:

  • a. All games for both leagues for one season.
  • b. All games for one league for one season.
  • c. All games for one team for one season.
  • d. Individual games.
  • e. Special sets.

The first three entries in this hierarchy are self-evident, but there are other considerations. No complete seasons, league-seasons, or team-seasons will be released until substantial proofing and editing has been accomplished and the data meet standards of accuracy. This objective is more complicated than it may at first appear. First of all, the process of checking and tracking down discrepancies is very time-consuming and may take a considerable amount of time after the games have been entered into the computer. Secondly, there are multiple sources of totals out there to consider (Total Baseball, MacMillan Encyclopedia, Sporting News Guide, Spalding Guide, Reach Guide). These sources do not always agree with each other. Thirdly, some of the "official" totals are demonstrably in error. Many of you are aware of hotly disputed errors in totals from the early part of the century, but there are also mathematical impossibilities in Sporting News Guides in the 1970s, errors such as bases on balls received by batters not equaling the number of bases on balls allowed by pitchers. This subject quickly becomes a quagmire which I don't propose to resolve in a definitive way. Our policy to date is to make our best determination and to note differences from any official sources. Luke Kraemer's 1967 books (see below) are an excellent example of this procedure. He carefully notes a few dozen cases where our totals differ from the official ones and explains that in no way do we wish to enter into arguments over whose numbers are "more true"; we are simply noting the discrepancies.

The inclusion of individual games on this list reflects the fact that several individuals have contacted me over the years for the scoresheet of the first game they ever attended, or some other single game of special meaning to them. If the game in question is in the Retrosheet collection, but not yet computerized, then it will be translated, entered and processed as a separate request, thereby becoming a "basic unit" of one game.

The "special sets" are groups of games which are logical collections that should be of general interest and hopefully stimulate people to become involved with our work. For example, all no-hitters which we have, all games in which a batter hit four home runs in a game, all first games in a park, all last games in a park, 300th wins for pitchers, 500th, 600th, 700th home run games for batters, LCS games (which are available no where else to my knowledge prior to the last two or three years when Baseball Weekly has published them), pennant playoff games (we have all of them), World Series games. Some of these sets have already been processed; any suggestions for new groups would be appreciated. The advantage to Retrosheet is that each set should be attractive on its own, but is only a relatively small number of games, as opposed to the thousands of games for a complete season.
3. Cost: Retrosheet data are free. The Board had a long discussion about various consequences and implications of charges, etc and our conclusion is that the best way to meet our central objective of making the information available as widely as possible is for it to be free. The only cost will be a "handling charge" which will consist of a small fee (on the order of $5) to cover the costs of disk and postage). This fee will be the same for each "basic unit" of data, no matter which of the five categories applies in a specific request for data.

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Use of the Data

In keeping with the purpose of the broadest possible distribution, there will be no restrictions on the use of Retrosheet data to anyone who obtains it. Individuals who obtain the data may give it away, sell it, use it as the basis for a commercial product, or do anything else they wish with it. Each data shipment from Retrosheet will carry a statement that copyright ownership of the data is retained by Retrosheet and that we request anyone who uses it to acknowledge us as its source, probably by the proclamation of a specific copyright notice that we will supply with the data shipment. There are many reasons the Board came to this conclusion, but two stand out, which may be termed positive and negative. The negative view is that the placing of restrictions on use of the data would become complicated very quickly and result in our having to distinguish among different categories of users. Since we are an all-volunteer organization, it is an unwise use of our most precious resource: time. Time would be spent in categorizing users and in "policing" their uses in some way. The Board felt strongly that this would be a mistake. The positive view is to recall that we all wish for the information to be used and disseminated. If a commercial product is derived from our data and we are acknowledged as the source, then our central purpose has been furthered. It is very important to me that no Retrosheet volunteer ever feel exploited or be unhappy that his or her work will be used by someone else for a big profit. By laying out the possible consequences now, I hope that no one is ever surprised by any eventuality.

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Progress in Computer Inputting to Date

This subject requires a brief explanation of how it is decided which games get entered into the computer. When a volunteer expresses an interest in a specific team or season, I do my best to comply with that request. There are so many games for us to do that the actual sequence of completion is not a crucial issue. Each volunteer' s donation of time is a precious gift which must be respected and I hope that no one ever feels pressured in any way to do a specific task or to work at a specific pace. There is a pragmatic consequence as well, which is that a volunteer with a specific interest will be more likely to maintain his or her interest in the project and benefit the organization in the long run. If a volunteer has no preference, then I direct him or her to the 1983 and 1982 seasons. Since the Project Scoresheet/Baseball Workshop data base begins in 1984, it is very attractive to have our data merge with theirs as soon as is reasonably possible, thereby increasing the utility for everyone. The following table shows the number of games entered into the computer as of October 9, 1994 for each season, followed in parentheses by the total played in that season.

Grand total in the computer = 9607, which is obviously a pretty small percentage of the games we possess, let alone of the number played this century. Nonetheless, I see this number in a positive way as reflective of significant achievement during the last five years.

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Projects Underway

In addition to the 1982–1983 push, there are several other identifiable projects underway within Retrosheet. They are listed here along with the names of those most responsible for them. Luke Kraemer is heading up work on the 1964 and 1956 seasons, with help from several others, notably Gary Robbins with 1964. Ron Rakowski has completed the inputting for the 1961 season (both leagues) and is currently in the long process of proofing and editing the files. Gord Gladman has entered all of the Dodgers games from 1947 (Jackie Robinson's rookie year, of course) and is well into 1948. Shannon Lynn is crunching away on the 1967 Cardinals and Dave Lamoureaux is translating and inputting the 1962 Yankees after inputting dozens of games of the 1964 Yankees that Gary Robbins had translated. Ron Fisher is a dervish who has several irons in the proverbial fire. He has completed the 1959 and 1968 Tigers as well as several hundred games from 1929 and 1930. He is currently doing more games from 1930 as well as the 1953 Dodgers. Carl McCarty has completed the 1972 and 1982 Phillies and is deeply into the 1976 club. David Vincent has finished the 1975 and 1977 Twins in addition to working on several of the "special sets" mentioned above.

The above list is limited to the complete teams or seasons which are being entered into the computer. However, I wish to acknowledge the many other volunteers (around 80 in all) who have given hundreds of hours in translating and inputting games for Retrosheet. The efforts of everyone are greatly appreciated and I do not wish to overlook anyone. Nonetheless, five people stand out in this category and deserve special commendation: Clem Comly, who has translated almost the entire 1983 National League season along with most of the 1968 NL, the 1964 Phillies and about 100 Philadelphia home games (both teams) from 1911; Alan Boodman, who has translated and input over 600 National League games from 1982 in the past six months; Brian Verrelli, who translated and input about 600 AL games from 1983 and is working on the 1982 AL ; Bill Disney, who has input a few hundred of the games that Clem translated along with a few hundred Orioles games from the 1970s; David Annis, who has translated several hundred Orioles games.

One other volunteer who deserves special notice is John Booth, who spent about 10 months in Antarctica last year at Palmer Station, where he was a science technician. John assisted with the editing and cleaning up of Project Scoresheet data and also entered about 45 years worth of World Series games. In late October, 1994 he is scheduled to depart for Antarctica again, this time all the way to the South Pole. Through the wonders of satellites and Internet, we will be able to keep in daily touch as needed.

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Possible Projects for the Future

The Retrosheet collection has the complete play by play records for 28 Hall of Fame players. It is an attractive idea to consider focusing on the games played by these men under the assumption that their performance will be of interest to a wide group of baseball fans. I have personally almost completed entering the games of Sandy Koufax. Since he was a pitcher, there are "only" about 40 games per season to do instead of the 150 or so per season it would take to complete Mike Schmidt's career, for example. Two projects which are large but very appealing are the careers of Jackie Robinson and Nolan Ryan. About 15% of Jackie's career is in the computer, and all of Nolan Ryan's from 1984 on is in the Project Scoresheet/Baseball Workshop data base (along with many of his games in 1982 and 1983). Since 1997 will be the 50th anniversary of Robinson's debut and Ryan will almost certainly enter the Hall of Fame in 1999, we might consider trying to make Retrosheet a part of the se ceremonies. Any thoughts? Volunteers?

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Allan Roth Collection

Of all the scoresheets which Retrosheet has obtained, the most remarkable is the set of games scored by Allan Roth, who was the Dodgers statistician from 1947 until late August 1964. Allan was hired by Branch Rickey and is credited by many as being the first person to do the kind of detailed analysis which paved the way for modern Sabermetrics. Allan's scoresheets are not only play by play, they are also pitch by pitch. From 1947 into 1951 he also indicated for each pitch its location and type, for example, curve ball low and away or fast ball high and inside! Allan died in March of 1992 and his baseball material was in substantial disarray. David Stephan of Los Angeles had been close to Allan and arranged with his family to organize Allan's baseball material and to coordinate its transfer to the library of the Amateur Athletic Foundation of Los Angeles. This effort required hundreds of hours on the part of David and some assistants. Wayne Wilson, the director of the library, graciously gave Retrosheet permission to copy the Roth scoresheets. They were shipped to David and Sherri Nichols who spent a large number of hours (I'm afraid to ask them how many) copying these scoresheets (they were on paper of varying colors and sizes, generally about 12 by 19 inches). As a lifelong Dodger fan I am thrilled nearly beyond description that we have come into possession of this information and I will always be grateful for the help of so many people in mak it possible, most of all David and Sherri. I think it is fair to say that the Allan Roth scoresheets are and always will be the centerpiece of Retrosheet's collection. As of this writing about 750 of his approximately 2700 scoresheets have been input to the computer (Robinson and Koufax games mostly, but also the complete 1961 and 1964 sets which I entered).

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Odd and Cute

One of the side benefits of examining so many game accounts is that some surprising and entertaining things come to light. Here are some examples; many are Dodger games based on the Allan Roth scoresheets.

1. On the opening day of the 1927 season, Babe Ruth was removed for a pinch-hitter in the 6th inning (Ben Paschal got a single). Now the game was clearly won and Ruth was reported to have a heavy cold, but this doesn't fit with what one expects about Ruth in general and that team in particular.

2. On July 18, 1964 (second game) the Cubs scored five runs against the Dodgers in the second inning. The amazing occurrence is that the Cubs had nine batters that inning and saw a collective total of 10 pitches! (there was one swinging strike).

3. On May 28, 1960, Sandy Koufax threw 210 pitches in a game with the Cubs (not the only occurrence of his throwing over 200 pitches). In the 14th inning he was allowed to bat with a runner on first base and botched a sacrifice attempt by running into the catcher. He was knocked out of the game in the bottom of the 14th and got the loss. Given his deserved reputation as a terrible hitter and the facts that it was the 14th inning and he already thrown over 200 pitches, why did Alston let him bat?

4. On July 31, 1961 the Dodgers played in Milwaukee. Alston made seven substitutions at the start of the 9th inning. The Braves then used four consecutive pinch-hitters to end the game. Did Alston and Dressen have a contest for how many players they could use?

5. In a game in Washington in 1970, Sam McDowell of the Indians issued five intentional walks to the Senators, three of them to Frank Howard, and two of those when Howard led off an inning! The fourth time Frank came to bat, McDowell went to play first base, returning to the mound in the following inning (in case you're wondering, Alvin Dark was the overenthusiastic manager of the Indians). For those of you who heard Sam McDowell speak at the SABR convention in Cleveland, this isn't a surprise as he told some funny stories about how Howard beat him up consistently.

6. It probably isn't a record, but the 1983 Seattle Mariners sure make an inputter's life difficult. Their roster that year had two players named Cruz (Julio and Todd), two Hendersons (Dave and Steve) and three Nelsons (Jamie, Ricky, and Gene). It could have been worse: they only had one Stoddard (Bob), one Roenicke ( Ron) and one Bradley (Phil).

7. I uncovered what appears to a previously undetected Major League record for most strikeouts by a pitcher at the start of his career. The game was April 12, 1962, Cincinnati at Los Angeles, the 3rd game ever played in Dodger Stadium. In that game, which the Dodgers won, 11-7, Stan Williams started for the Dodgers, but got pulled in the 2nd inning, when he allowed four runs. Pete Richert entered with 2 outs, making his major league debut. He struck out Vada Pinson to end the inning. In the third inning he struck out Frank Robinson, Gordy Coleman, Wally Post and Johnny Edwards, tying the major league mark for four strikeouts in one inning (Coleman reached first base on a passed ball to set up the opportunity for four K's). He opened the fourth inning by getting Tommy Harper looking (the first five were swinging).

Here's the record: The Sporting News Record Book lists Richert as the NL co-holder with Karl Spooner at 6 consecutive strikeouts in one's first major league game (Spooner did it on September 22, 1954). Sammy Stewart of the Orioles holds the AL record for a debut game with 7 consecutive strikeouts on September 1, 1978. Since Retrosheet has scoresheets for those two games, I checked to be sure, and neither Spooner nor Stewart had their strings against the first 6 (or 7) batters they faced. Both of them started their games, while Richert, appeared in relief. The Sporting News book doesn't list the record for most consecutive batters struck out at the start of a career. Richert certainly has the NL record, since Spooner is the only other one listed with 6 consecutive in his first game. It is conceivable that someone in the AL struck out his first 6 batters and that Stewart's 7 caused its disappearance from the record book, but I doubt it.

I sent this information to Lyle Spatz of the SABR Records Committee and he concurs that Richert has an unrecognized record. Lyle printed my story in his committee's newsletter, which has The Sporting News on its mailing list. Perhaps they will change their book.

Just to finish off Richert's story for that day. He pitched 3 and one third innings, facing 12 batters, of whom 7 struck out. The only man to reach base was Frank Robinson in his second at bat against Pete; he got to first when Tommy Davis dropped his fly ball in right field. As Allan Roth notes on his scoresheet, Richert threw a total of 40 pitches to these 12 batters, only 7 of which were balls. All in all, not a bad debut.

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SABR Home Run Log

Many of you are SABR members and are aware that that organization has a computerized log of every home run ever hit. David Vincent is in charge of managing that data base and he has obtained a lot of information from Retrosheet, such as batting order and fielding position for batters. You may also know that for several years, mostly during the 1920s, a ball which bounced into the stands was a home run (no, Babe Ruth never hit any this way). Retrosheet has discovered several of these bounced home runs for the SABR log. In addition we have come across many scoresheets which were for the first two or three innings of a game which was eventually rained out. The records from such games don't count, of course, so they haven't been recorded anywhere. So, partly as a joke and partly because it's something no one else has, David and I have documented several "rained-out home runs", including two hit by Harmon Killebrew, one by Reggie Jackson, one by Joe Dimaggio, one by Rod Carew and one by Carl Yastrzemski.

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The intrusion of finances into a hobby is always a potential danger and I raise the issue reluctantly. Things are so much nicer when the substantive parts of the work can proceed without reference to costs. However, the fiscal reality of Retrosheet cannot be ignored and I present here a brief summary of our situation. There are two broad categories of costs for Retrosheet: acquisition of game accounts and processing. Each has its own specific features:

Acquisition: Each game account we have is a photocopy. Sometimes the owners of the account (teams or sportswriters or fans) send me their originals to copy and return; I have done about 30,000 games this way (Orioles, Phillies, Astros, Yankees, Indians, sportswriters Carl Lundquist, Bob Stevens and Allen Lewis, announcers Monte Moore and Gene Elston). David and Sherri Nichols copied several of the Oakland Athletics games as well as the scorebooks of Hall of Fame writer Leonard Koppett. Occasionally the teams allow us to use their copying facilities (I went to Shea Stadium to copy the Mets games, David Stephan copied Los Angeles games at Dodger Stadium and Ron Rakowski spent many hours at Comiskey Park copying about 20 years worth of White Sox scoresheets). In a few cases the teams have allowed us to remove scorebooks from their premises one or two seasons at a time for copying and return within one to two days; my brother Hugh did the Angels this way, Marc Bowman the Royals, Tom Eckel the Reds, Ed Luteran the Pirates and Brigg Hewitt is currently completing the Padres. The final type of arrangement we have made with teams is for them to do the copying and for us never to see the originals. Sometimes the teams absorb the complete cost, sometimes they charge us for the labor of their interns (Pete Palmer has paid a Red Sox intern for their copying). Many of you received my fund-raising request last winter when the Cardinals wanted $1000 to copy their scorebooks from 1956–1983. I am pleased to report that Retrosheet volunteers responded generously: over $1100 was received, for which I am very thankful. The final acquisition category is the photocopies from microfilm, as mentioned above. I have been able to obtain microfilm of New York newspapers through the University of Delaware's Interlibrary Loan Office and have copied about 3000 games this way and Jim Weigand did 10 years of Indians games. I do not have a firm total of how much has been spent on these acquisition activities, but the copies range from five cents to 12 cents (for copies from microfilm at the University of Delaware) to 23 cents (for the Cardinals scoresheets)..

Processing: When I send games to volunteers for translation and/or inputting , prudence dictates that I make a copy of our "original". There are also costs for disks, postage, letterhead, envelopes and telephone calls as specific games are discussed. I have made well over a thousand mailings related to Retrosheet in the last three years.

In addition to these two categories there have been the "one time" expenses associated with our incorporation, a total of around $650, which was covered by the generous donations of four Retrosheetians (yes, we do make up own words now and then).

The only explicit solicitation I have made for money was for the Cardinals scoresheets last winter; the majority of the other costs have been covered by me, although a few people have made donations. Much of what I have spent was for expenses which will not recur, such as copying scorebooks which were sent to me. However, as we become increasingly active in translating and inputting the games, the other expenses for copying, postage, etc will increase. This newsletter, which is being sent to about 80 people, is another expense which will continue, at least sporadically (the microprint font was chosen to minimize the number of pages). So far I have been able to absorb these expenses, but the time is rapidly approaching when I will become a victim of Retrosheet's success as it were and I will need some help.

I think it is not a good idea for us to have formal membership categories and dues, since we are not an organization like SABR that has defined products which are scheduled to appear regularly. I think that the approach I like best is simply to identify the situation as I have done here and ask each of you to do what you can to help. The Board has not addressed this question explicitly and there is nothing resembling an organizational policy. I am therefore interested in any suggestions that anyone has for this unfortunately important part of our activity. By the way, if you do choose to make a donation, then please make it to Retrosheet and not to me personally. There are two reasons for this: 1) the organization is developing reimbursement policies and I feel it is appropriate for donations to go the corporation, which is much more than just me; 2) there may be eventually be a small tax advantage for you that way (see below).

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Tax Exempt Status

Retrosheet was incorporated as a non-profit corporation. While carrying out the process for us to obtain corporate status I discovered just how uninformed I was about tax laws. I present here my summary of the relevant parts of the law as I have come to understand it. Our articles of incorporation classify us under IRS regulation 501(c)(6), described by the IRS as "Business Leagues, etc." This status should allow the corporation to avoid paying income taxes, but it does not, most importantly does not mean that donations to Retrosheet are deductible for the donor. The status which allows donations to be tax exempt for the donor comes under heading 501(c)(3) which applies to organizations described as "Charitable, religious, educational, scientific, etc." Typically this status is held by churches, volunteer fire departments, the Red Cross, and so forth. Interestingly enough SABR is a 501(c)(3) organization so donations to SABR are tax deductible. In order to obtain the desired 501(c)(3) status, the organization must submit a remarkable application, form 1023, which the IRS estimates to take over 8 hours to complete. Our application is pending, but it is not clear when we will receive a ruling from the IRS. The best suggestion I have received is that we should apply as a religious organization as representatives of "The Church of Baseball " as Annie Savoy explained in "Bull Durham". If the ruling is unfavorable, there is an appeal procedure and we already have an offer of legal assistance in the event of appeal from a SABR member who is a friend of Retrosheet.

What does all this mean to you? Given the current structure of itemized deduct ions on personal income tax returns, it is unlikely that any of us would make a donation large enough to alter our taxes. Therefore I conclude that your decision to donate to Retrosheet or not should probably not have the tax consequence as a significant component. It would be great if we had this status so we could conceivably attempt to attract larger sums of money from people who could benefit from our having 501(c)(3) status, perhaps some current players with an interest in baseball history (Don't laugh; it could happen!). Whatever the IRS decision is, I promise to keep you all informed.

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We have been fortunate to receive recognition in several venues. Gary Gillette has featured us prominently in each of the last two issues of the Great American Baseball Stat Book. Baseball Weekly had a couple of paragraphs about Retrosheet in an article featuring Pete Palmer in the spring of 1992. Baseball America featured us in their nostalgia section in May of 1994 (and even printed my picture! Thanks to all of you for the charming zings that resulted therefrom; Pete Palmer said I looked like a slave trader). The SABR Bulletin has mentioned us two or three times and I was inter viewed on Scott Graham's "Talking Baseball" before a Phillies game in May of 1994. Recently (early October, 1994) I was interviewed by the Wilmington, Delaware News Journal for an article they were preparing about Retrosheet. When Dave Winfield got his 3000th hit in 1993, the Twins prepared a very nice booklet summarizing his career, with lots of interviews and photographs, including each of his baseball cards. In the back they printed a listing of each hit, giving the date, type of hit, city, and opposing pitcher. I compiled most of that list for them, using the Baseball Workshop data for 1984-1993 and our scoresheets for most of the pre-1984. We received an acknowledgment in the front of the book. Each of these exposures has done us good and most of them have led to new volunteers. I am always looking for ways to get the organization more publicity and to that end I note that Larry King is a SABR member and ...... , well, maybe not.

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A Brick for Retrosheet

The Ballpark in Arlington has an interesting walkway outside the park along the third base side. It has separate square sections that they call panels, about 50 feet on a side, for each season the Rangers hav e played. For each year there is a border of bricks into which have been carved the names of each player on the roster of the Rangers for that season. Larger bricks in the corners highlight the Rangers MVP and other statistical leaders for the year. In the center of each square there is a large stone with the year in it and 2600 smaller bricks with the names of individual fans, who paid a fee ($100 per brick) for the privilege. The money raised in this way goes "... to landscape and beautify the new ballpark" to quote their literature. I have seen this general concept elsewhere, for example on the rebuilt waterfront in Cleveland, where citizens had their donations memorialized in this way. Since the first ever Retrosheet Board meeting occurred in Arlington, just a few hundred yards from The Ballpark in Arlington, several people who attended the meeting thought it would be a good idea for Retrosheet to purchase a brick and have it placed in the 1983 block, with the inscription "Retrosheet, ????-1983", which should confuse anyone who ever bothers to look at it. I requested information from the Rangers about the program and it arrived last week. We have already received "pledges" (a terrifying word; it makes us sound like public television) of about $60. If you wish to add to this fund, please feel free to do so. By the way, I have contacted the Rangers Public Relations department, which has some very helpful employees, and they have agreed to photograph the brick for us once it's in place.

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My Many Hats

In addition to my involvement in running Retrosheet, there are two other relations of mine which deserve comment here, mostly in the name of completeness. These are the entities known as the Baseball Workshop and DiamondWare.

Baseball Workshop: Although Retrosheet and the Baseball Workshop are distinct organizations, I have a strong connection to the Baseball Workshop. I keep the master files of the 1984-1994 play by play data and do almost all the programming for the group. I do not receive payment for these services, but consider myself well compensated by assisting Gary Gillette in keeping alive the only organization which makes raw play by play data available to the public. Gary is a wonderful friend of Retrosheet and has used his many contacts in baseball to our tremendous advantage on several occasions. It is clear that we may never have come to an arrangement with several of the teams, notably the Padres and the Brewers, if it had not been for Gary's help.

DiamondWare: The fundamental structure of our data files (and those of the Baseball Workshop) as well as the sophisticated software to process them were authored/created/written by David Nichols and Tom Tippett during the period 1988-1990. I began the maintenance and modification of the software in 1991, attending to a few minor bugs and modifying the data system to a small degree. David and Tom formed DiamondWare as a separate group to allow clear identification of their programming products. Those of you who have input games know them and DiamondWare's name from the programs you use, especially DWENTRY. In Arlington this June David, Tom and I had several discussions about our mutual interests in Retrosheet and data collection in general, specifically the computer aspects. They graciously decided to include me as a member of DiamondWare in recognition of what they saw as my efforts in maintaining the data base and the computer programs and with an eye toward continuity and stability in the future.

The reason I mention these two items is that newcomers to Retrosheet might become confused by my overlapping responsibilities. There should be no significant consequences to any Retrosheet volunteers, but I thought it might be useful to have this brief summary. The precise relationship between Retrosheet and DiamondWare has not been determined, but the three of us are in solid agreement about the importance of Retrosheet. As conclusions are reached that are relevant to Retrosheet, I will promulgate them through the newsletter.

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Luke Kraemer and the 1967 American League

I have referred to Luke and the 1967 AL project a few places above, but his tremendous effort deserves special notice. He tracked down scoresheets for all 810 AL games played in 1967 with a little help from Ron Rakowski and me. He entered all of them into the computer by himself and then did the painstaking job of proofing and editing the results. The data files Luke created in this way are the property of Retrosheet, in keeping with the policies I have discussed above. He has two tangible products from this work, a book of daily box scores and a book of statistical analysis. The box scores are the most comprehensive annual collection ever assembled for any season, even the most recent ones. They are in the modern "expanded" format used by Baseball Weekly and USA Today (I helped a little with the programming, but Luke is a fine professional programmer who did the bulk of the work), including running season totals for all players in each box score. For example, with his permission, I reproduce here the box score for the last Red Sox game of the 1967 season.

     Game of 10/1/1967 -- Minnesota at Boston (D)

  Minnesota          AB  R  H RBI    Boston             AB  R  H RBI  
Versalles Z, ss       3  0  0  0   Adair J, 2b           4  1  2  0   
Reese R, ph-lf        1  0  1  0   Andrews M, 2b         0  0  0  0   
Tovar C, 3b           3  1  0  0   Jones D, 3b           4  1  2  0   
Killebrew H, 1b       2  2  2  0   Yastrzemski C, lf     4  1  4  2   
Oliva T, rf           3  0  2  0   Harrelson K, rf       3  0  0  1   
Allison B, lf         4  0  1  1   Tartabull J, pr-rf    1  1  0  0   
Hernandez J, ss       0  0  0  0   Scott G, 1b           4  0  0  0   
Uhlaender T, cf       4  0  1  0   Petrocelli R, ss      3  0  1  0   
Carew R, 2b           4  0  0  0   Smith R, cf           4  0  0  1   
Zimmerman J, c        2  0  0  0   Gibson R, c           2  0  0  0   
Nixon R, ph-c         1  0  0  0   Siebern N, ph         1  0  0  0   
Rollins R, ph         1  0  0  0   Howard E, c           1  0  1  0   
Chance D, p           2  0  0  0   Lonborg J, p          4  1  2  0   
Worthington A, p      0  0  0  0   
Kostro F, ph          1  0  0  0   
Roland J, p           0  0  0  0   
Grant J, p            0  0  0  0   
                     -- -- -- --                        -- -- -- --
                     31  3  7  1                        35  5 12  4   

Minnesota        101 000 010 --  3
Boston           000 005 00x --  5

  Minnesota            IP  H  R ER BB SO
Chance D (L)*         5.0  8  5  5  0  2
Worthington A         1.0  0  0  0  1  1
Roland J+             0.0  3  0  0  0  0
Grant J               2.0  1  0  0  0  1

  Boston               IP  H  R ER BB SO
Lonborg J (W)         9.0  7  3  1  4  5
  * Pitched to 5 batters in 6th
  + Pitched to 3 batters in 7th

Game winning RBI -- Harrelson K
E -- Scott G, Yastrzemski C, Killebrew H
DP -- Minnesota 3, Boston 2
LOB -- Minnesota 5, Boston 7

The statistical analysis book has not only all the modern situational splits we have become accustomed to, but a few that haven't been seen before, such as performance by batters as a function of how many time s they have batted in the game.

I don't think the Retrosheet newsletter will become an advertising vehicle, but I believe that anyone who has volunteered for this effort would be very interested in these books. More information on purchasing them can be obtained by writing to Luke:

Pastime Press
P.O. Box 1544
Beaverton, OR 97075-1544

Just for the record I note that Luke's books are his publications, not Retrosheet's, which certainly does not mean that I am trying to distance the organization from these books, but it does reinforce rather nicely the distinction between Retrosheet's processing of the data and other people's use of it.

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I have received three creative pieces from volunteers who have a nice gift for satire. I offer them here with a few small notes that may help in understanding some of the "inside" references.

The first one came in the mail one day last spring from Clem Comly. The notes I must include here are that Clem lives near me (about 40 miles north) and I-95 is the highway connecting us. We have a dog named Merlin who has his doggie treats in the cookie jar on top of the microwave. He is a friendly pooch, but insists on receiving a treat from each visitor.

From the pages of the Diary of Clement Comly IV for the year 1994.

Not to be revealed or published until after the deaths of Clement Comly and his President, Bill Clinton.

May 14, 1994

Even before the craving starts, there is an itch in my fingers. They won' t keep still. They dance to music I can't hear. I check my stash, but I already know it's empty. I have my favorite breakfast, but it tastes bland. Nothing's good. I keep my supplier's phone number in my wallet. It's encoded so no one else can use it. I don't know why I keep it, because I'll never forget it. The problem is keeping my hand steady to dial it. I could program it into my phone, but then one of my friends could get it off of the phone while I am out of the room.

My luck is good. D____ S____ answers. If he wasn't there, his silent partner would just let the answering machine take my call. That M_____ is a real S.O.B.! D___ recognizes me from my hello. I don't know if he can't hear IT in my voice or he's in a sadistic mood, but he starts to ask me how I am. I cut him off. Unconsciously, I raise my voice, "I NEED TO SCORE. TODAY. THIS MORNING."

"Ow, my ear. Call me when you remember your telephone manners."

It takes all my reservoir of control to make a quiet apology to him as my guts try to convince me I had a knife for breakfast. I silently pray that I won't hear that click. I mentally urge him to continue the conversation.

"OK, don't let it happen again. Be at the safe house in Newark at 11. Moscow rules."

After I hang up, I quickly dial an acquaintance and chat for a second. Now that no one can get D___'s number from my phone's automatic redial, I start preparing for the trip south.

My anxiousness gets the best of me and I roar down I-95. It has been 12 hours since I scored and my control is shaky. I can't waste any now. I'll need it for the return trip when I'll be carrying and even more strung out. I remember how hard those return trips are: going 54 so the troopers don't stop me. Patting the envelope to reassure myself that the stuff is still in there. The almost unbearable urge to floor it so I can get back and score even sooner. I ponder my decision not to bring my scoring paraphernalia with me. If I had it, maybe D____ would let me score one there or I could find a motel nearby. But then I'd be at risk I got stopped on the way south. I also wonder about D____'s willingness to hang up on me. Was it a bluff? After all, he wants what I give him for the stuff. But he knows I need the stuff and he is my only supplier, so he's in the catbird seat.

I reach the exit and curl right. The house is very close to I-95. You've heard rumors of "mules" traveling north on I- 95. Draw your own conclusion.

As I get out my car, a Jamaican exits the house. I had heard Jamaicans were becoming more involved. We both know why we are here. The fat envelope in his hands has me salivating. He feels safe because we both fear any trouble outside would cause D___ to find a new house and not send us change-of-address notices. As we draw even, he stuns me by brazenly pulling one from the envelope. He admires it for a moment and smiles beatifically. "Good sheet, mon."

As always, M_____is guarding the door. He knows me, but I still have to pass the welcome visitor test. I go to the c_____ j__. I reach inside, knowing there won't be any c______ in there, take out one of what is in there, and throw it on the floor. Since I've passed the test, M_____ disposes of it so that the next visitor will have to face the same test without any clues.

D____ is there too. We get right to business. We discuss what is in his current stock. He continues to deny having any San Diego, claims he has never seen any. I've never seen any either, but I keep hearing things that make me believe it exists. In another "plant product", Hawaiian is supposed to be the best. San Diego has a similar climate to Oahu. Is it so good that a conspiracy is keeping it out of my hands?

It is definitely true that there are differences between stuff. For instance, I am trying to wean myself off this stuff by only using stuff with a low offense content, like the 1968 vintage. I understand there are people who can't get a buzz without the strong stuff, pre-1942. How much longer will the suppliers be able to pull stuff like that out of their cellars? They don't make stuff like that anymore. There are differences even in each vintage based on the 'yard where it was made. People with taste can distinguish and appreciate stuff made by different people at the same 'yard. Among the characteristics to judge stuff on are clarity and dryness. Some of the stuff is made by the press, some is not.

We decide on a 1968 St. Louis. It is an award winner, but not the best '68. Over the years, some 'yards close and others start. There used to be a second St. Louis, but it went out of business. There are a mixture of colors to the stuff, more Reds than White, and they don't make Brown anymore. While there are some religious names, most 'yards are secular now. Pope Paul (Owens) and Monk Meyer are retired, but there are still some Padres in San Diego and Cardinals in St. Louis. Imagine the old days when the stuff was made each summer. Only two 'yards were allowed to have champagne until 1969. Why, you could make it yourself if you had a 'yard and there was sunshine.

We make the exchange. I tell him how good the last stuff was, Allen Lewis ' Philadelphia 1968. Lewis did more with less than anybody I've tried. It wasn't as good as his Philadelphia '64, but it didn't have that bitter after-taste. He tells me the Roth stuff is the absolute best. I take his word for it; he hoards it, so I've seen one or two but not even a taste. But he's my supplier, so I smile. It's easy to smile. Soon I'm going to SCORE.

Carl McCarty's contribution contains references to my service last year on the University of Delaware's Promotion and Tenure (P&T) Committee and the lengthy appeal process we have (our committee reviewed 65 applicants). The Star Trek references are obvious and represent another interest that Carl and I share besides baseball.

Voice of Kirk: Captain's Log Stardate 3025.1 We had been on a routine mission to collect dilithium when suddenly someone or something has seized command of the Enterprise.

Scene: Bridge of the Enterprise

Kirk: Plot in a course for Starbase 4, Mr. Sulu.

Sulu: Sir, the helm will not respond.

Kirk: Scotty, is there a problem in navigation?

Scotty: Everythin's OK herrre, Sir.

Spock: It appears, Sir, as though our coordinates are being entered directly from a remote source in Quadrant 2.

Kirk: Switch to manual override, Mr. Sulu.

Sulu: The coordinates seem to have been locked in, Sir.

Kirk: Spock, can you isolate the source of the transmissions?

Spock: It appears to be coming from the planet Retrosia and it is taking us in that direction.

Kirk: The only planet in the known galaxy that is off limits to all Starships. Mr. Sulu, go to impulse.

Sulu: Sir, we are at Warp 4 and accelerating. The helm still will not respond.

Kirk: Mr. Spock, what is our estimated time of arrival at Retrosia?

Spock: 28 minutes, 37.3078 seconds.

Kirk: Scotty, can you give us an override?

Scotty: Aye, Sirrr - but it will take at least an hourrr.

Kirk: (sounding slightly on edge) We don't have that much time.

Scotty: I'll do my best, Sirrr.

Chekov: (turning to face Kirk) Why is Retrosia off limits, Sir?

Kirk: It's the only planet in the universe where time runs backwards.

McCoy: Do you know what that would do to us, Jim? It would scramble our brains like raw eggs—aside from you Spock, with your perfect brain cells.

Spock: Unfortunately incorrect Doctor. My human side would feel the same effects as you.

Kirk: Mr. Sulu, Main viewer, magnification factor one thousand.

Sulu: Aye, Sir.

McCoy: What a beautiful planet. What does the name "Retrosia" mean?

Spock: It was named after a group on old Earth in the late twentieth century. They were thought to be harmless at first but within a quarter of a century had caused a shift in world power.

Kirk: (calmer now, almost serene with the thought) Yes, Mr. Spock, the group collected scoresheets of a game called baseball and analyzed them. I remember seeing one at the Academy.

Spock: Baseball, a primitive sport where one would hit a ball and run bases, not unlike the game zxyuuit-yu played on Rigel Four—except that it is played with a four-dimensional hypercube.

McCoy: It was poetry in motion, Spock, but you wouldn't understand. But how could they cause a shift in world power?

Spock: In the beginning they were considered eccentric and would have been long forgotten except for the work of one man. Their high priest, a Doctor David W. Smith, was a man of extraordinary persuasion and had convinced more and more "fans", as they were called, into laboring on his project. By the end of the twentieth century he had a force large enough to have entered every game ever played into a large database. He would then attempt to forecast the future by projecting from the past.

The forecasts became so accurate that the game itself no longer needed to be played. But, a greater problem was arising. When the accuracy of his predictions were published in "The National Enquirer" people began to accept him as a prophet and sent him data sets of their lives in the hope that he would predict their future or afterlife. Within three years better than one half of the civilized world was sending daily upgrades to a central computer dedicated to just that purpose. He went into politics on the P&T ticket and within another two years had swept aside all other candidates. By 2015 Delaware became the capitol of the world, wars had ceased, all were one nation.

Now all society would spend its entire day soul-searching the past to sending reports to the computer. The future no longer was needed; everyone lived for the past. Progress stopped. It was at this point that some third and fourth-world countries rose up. The world came out of its lethargy and started the greatest series of battles ever fought. It held Doctor Smith personally responsible and wanted to try him as a criminal of war. Although he lost his initial trial, he was acquitted on an appeal. He dropped from sight soon after that.

Kirk: Time, Mr. Spock.

Spock: 3 setunim, .234.23 sdnoces, miJ

Kirk: .K.O, kcopS

I sent Carl's parody to several people via Internet and David Nichols' reply wa s the best:


Finally, Ron Fisher's short piece arrived a few weeks ago. It nicely captures his charmingly manic personality, although "capturing" anything about Ron may be too optimistic.

"... and Bob Howsam said 'Ken Sr. thou shall lay down the sacrifice of thy only son so that the Team may advance.' And Ken Sr was about to do this with the sacred Louisville Slugger* when the angel Sparkus appeared and said "You know in all my years in the game I've never seen loyalty to the team like you, Ken Sr. Why back in the old days..." [at this point the angel Sparkus went on for so long that it makes Ulysses' Naming of the Ships look like a grocery list. This went on until Archangel Stengal appeared to say "SHUT UP!" The point is that Ken Sr. didn't have to kill him.] And thus Ken Sr's son was spared and he went on to lead the Sea People to Utter Mediocrity. Not that it's like his fault or something."

--Book of Ozark Isaiah Ch.3 v.12

* "Powerized!" is an ancient Hebrew word meaning "up the gap." You know—when the Israelites were trapped with their backs to the sea Moises Heston spread his arms -- after touching his nose, his cap and his chest protector—and intoned the words "heybatterheybatter". The water cooler parted and the Israelites were "Powerized!"

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Future Newsletter Editions

I'm sure that future editions of this newsletter won't be so long, but the items included here have been accumulating for five years and it's about time they were all set down in one place. Final personal note: I always enjoy talking about any aspect of what we do, but the one exception is Friday night, which I give each week to my very patient wife, a pretty small reward, I know. If you call then, you should expect to get the answering machine.

Thanks to all of you who so generously donate your time to Retrosheet; it is appreciated by all volunteers, since we all benefit from each other's work. It is remarkably gratifying to see how many other people share my feelings that this work is worthwhile.

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Page Updated: 9/4/96

Copyrighted: Retrosheet, 1996