By Richard Cuicchi | December 25, 2016 at 09:32 PM EST | No Comments
I just finished updates of my comprehensive database of baseball’s family relationships for the 2016 season, and I got to thinking about all the other baseball-related research and writing I did this past year. It’s been one of my busiest years. My wife Mary says I really haven’t retired—I just got another job for which I don’t get paid now.
Writing the blog posts for The Tenth Inning website is one of my favorite weekly activities. Sometimes it was a struggle coming up with a good topic (you may have noticed), but I’m proud to say I didn’t miss a week this year in getting a post published. My favorite topics are ones where I am able to take a current event in major league baseball and put it in the context of a piece of baseball history from years ago. 2017 will mark my fifth year of maintaining the blog.
Another of my ongoing efforts is the update of a database of New Orleans area baseball players who went on to play at the college and professional levels. Since I’m not originally from New Orleans, I find it fascinating to discover information about the older players from the area. I get quite a few inputs from people writing me about their own or a relative’s baseball career, when they find it missing from my list which is posted on the internet. Consequently, I’ve learned a lot about New Orleans baseball history in the process. My list currently numbers over 1,350 players, from the early 1900s to the present. The latest list of New Orleans players can be retrieved at http://www.thetenthinning.com/articles.html.
As I mentioned above, I also maintain a database of baseball’s family relationships, as an extension of my book Family Ties: A Comprehensive Collection of Facts and Trivia About Baseball’s Relatives which was published in 2012. At that time, the book identified over 3, 500 players with relatives. Through expansion of the scope of players now included and updates from seasons since the book, I now have identified over 7,000 players, representing over 11,000 relationships. I get most of my new updates each year by poring through the biographical information in all thirty Major League Baseball team media guides.
I maintain another website, Baseball’s Relatives, where I post my current Family Ties lists of players, as well as periodically post articles about current baseball relatives from other writers across the country. Here is the link to that website with my recently completed lists for the 2016 season: https://baseballrelatives.wordpress.com/.
My ultimate goal is to implement a publicly accessible database (versus the static lists I now post on Baseball’s Relatives) of my baseball relationships information. I’ve developed a technical specification for a web-based application that would allow baseball enthusiasts to query my database via the internet. Now I just need to find someone to develop and implement the app cheaply.
My involvement in the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR) BioProject and Games Project expanded this year. In the past, I have written biographies for former major league players Fats Dantonio and Scooter Tucker. Dantonio’s bio has already been published in the SABR book Who’s on First: Replacement Players in WWII, while Tucker’s is slated for inclusion in a pending SABR book on the 1995 Cleveland Indians. I’ve written the game account of Jerry Reuss’ one-hitter in 1965 for the Houston Astros which will be included in a planned SABR book about the greatest games in the Houston Astrodome.
Each of these SABR projects is a collaborative effort with other SABR members. The publication process includes rigorous fact-checking and editorial review steps. Each project involves extensive research, usually requiring searches of old magazines and newspapers from the related time period to find source material. However, getting to interview the major league players for the biographies is a real treat for me.
In 2016, I wrote the bio of Ivan de Jesus for a pending SABR book about the top major league players from Puerto Rico.
As part of the Games Project, I also wrote game accounts for Boo Ferriss’ first eight major league games as a 1945 Boston Red Sox rookie, all of which he won. I wrote accounts of two St. Louis Cardinals World Series games in 1928 and a game in 1948 in which Cardinals pitcher Harry Brecheen pitched a near perfect game. These three stories will become part of a planned SABR book about the greatest games in St. Louis’ old Sportsman’s Park.
For next year, I am already committed to write the biography of Stan Javier for a book about the greatest MLB players from the Dominican Republic. Additionally, I am on point to write two game accounts for a planned book about the greatest games in Cincinnati’s old Crosley Field, as well as two related to the greatest games in New York Mets history.
My currently published work for the BioProject and Games Project can be found at http://sabr.org/richard-cuicchi/.
Another project I assisted with this year came through a request from a fellow SABR member in Texas. He is writing a book about the minor league Dixie Series, which was an inter-league post-season playoff between the first-place teams of the Southern Association and Texas League from the 1920s to the 1950s. The New Orleans Pelicans minor league team was a participant in those post-season games for a number of years. So I helped this gentleman research those games by going through The Times-Picayune newspaper archives to find relevant articles he could reference in the book.
Besides my blog on The Tenth Inning, I use Twitter (@thetenthinning) and Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Tenth-Inning/492137224155014) to extend the reach of my work. A number of my blog posts have been published by SportsNOLA.com, a local New Orleans-based website that covers all sports in the metro area.
I’ve had a lot of fun with all the research and writing activities this year. They allowed me to stay current with today’s game of baseball, both locally and nationally, as well as expand my knowledge of the history and lore of this great sport. Plus it’s mostly kept me out of trouble with my wife. However, I’m glad I didn’t have to do this as a full-time paid job. I think I would have had many a starving day.