(Blogathon ’16) First References to Off-The-Field Innovations and Innovators

This post is part of the 2016 Baseball Continuum Blogathon For Charity, benefiting the Roswell Park Alliance Foundation. The Roswell Park Alliance Foundation is the charitable arm of Roswell Park Cancer Institute and funds raised will be “put to immediate use to increase the pace from research trials into improved clinical care, to ensure state-of-the-art facilities, and to help improve the quality of life for patients and their families.” Please donate through the Blogathon’s GoFundMe page.

One of the great perks of SABR membership is access online to The Sporting News’ archives. While it now is dedicated to all sports, for a good chunk of it’s earlier history it was almost entirely focused on baseball. This allows us to see how players, ideas, teams and even countries first got the attention of the baseball press. This time, I take a look at off-the-field innovations and innovators:

Bill James

The first appearance of the founding father of Sabermetrics came in advertising, as he hawked his early Baseball Abstract editions with ads like this one that can be found in the May 14, 1977 edition of Sporting News:

Screen Shot 2016-01-29 at 2.35.32 PMHowever, James’ first appearance in a print story seems to be in this November 10, 1979 snippet about the fall of the ’79 Dodggers and Yankees:

Screen Shot 2016-01-29 at 2.37.20 PMRotisserie Baseball

The first reference to Rotisserie Baseball comes, as far as I can tell, in a advertisement for it in the Feb. 27, 1983 edition of Sporting News:

Screen Shot 2016-01-29 at 2.41.50 PMThe first reference in-story to Rotisserie, as far as I can see, is in a story about Dan Quisenberry from May 19, 1986. He says he knows his poor save stats are letting his roto-owners down:

Screen Shot 2016-01-29 at 2.45.23 PMNote that it’s possible that there were references to “roto” or “fantasy” before this, but I didn’t include them in the search.

Strat-O-Matic

Strat-O-Matic began in 1961 and they put advertising in Sporting News right away, like in this August 23, 1961 ad.

Screen Shot 2016-01-29 at 2.52.32 PMI can’t find the first reference in a story, but it probably happened eventually. Maybe next time…

ESPN

The first reference to ESPN came in a September 22, 1979 column by Dick Young, where he mentioned that Jim Simpson (who passed away recently) was joining the network:

Screen Shot 2016-01-29 at 3.08.44 PMAnd, finally… Bobbleheads:

The first reference to bobbleheads comes in a profile of Danny Goodman on October 27, 1962. Goodman was one of the first big souvenir salesmen and was based on the west coast:

Screen Shot 2016-01-29 at 3.16.41 PM

At 7 pm: Breaking OOTP

This post has been part of the 2016 Baseball Continuum Blogathon For Charity, benefiting the Roswell Park Alliance Foundation. The Roswell Park Alliance Foundation is the charitable arm of Roswell Park Cancer Institute and funds raised will be “put to immediate use to increase the pace from research trials into improved clinical care, to ensure state-of-the-art facilities, and to help improve the quality of life for patients and their families.” Please donate through the Blogathon’s GoFundMe page.

 

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2 thoughts on “(Blogathon ’16) First References to Off-The-Field Innovations and Innovators

  1. Pingback: Every Piece from the 2016 Blogathon | The Baseball Continuum

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