SABR announces 2017 Henry Chadwick Award recipients


The Society for American Baseball Research is pleased to announce the 2017 recipients of the Henry Chadwick Award, established to honor the game’s great researchers—historians, statisticians, annalists, and archivists—for their invaluable contributions to making baseball the game that links America’s present with its past.

Dan Levitt (1962 – ) is the author or co-author of several baseball books, covering the Federal League, longtime Yankee general manager Ed Barrow, and the evolution of team building. The breadth of his research contributions includes biography, records (discovering the season record for lowest ERA), statistical analysis, labor relations (an extensive project with the Major League Baseball Players Association), economics (uncovering the truth behind Harry Frazee’s finances), and more, studying more than a century of baseball history. He has received several awards for his research, and his extensive contributions to SABR earned him the Bob Davids Award in 2015.




Dan Levitt Presents at the 2017 SABR Annual Conference


Presentation:  RP29: Ejection Diaries: John McGraw Battles the National League’s Umpires and Executives

John McGraw was one baseball’s greatest managers and one of New York’s most celebrated figures. He could be charming and generous. Alternatively, he often found himself in the middle of physical confrontations and bitter controversies, frequently from his abuse of the umpires. The details of many of McGraw’s clashes with the umpires can now be unearthed in the massive Garry Herrmann collection at the Baseball Hall of Fame, only relatively recently organized and processed for researchers to use. Levitt combed these reports to find the umpires’ descriptions in their own words of their confrontations with McGraw and their consequences. These include first-hand accounts of incidents from Bill Klem and Bill Byron. Levitt sheds new light on McGraw’s complex personality and Deadball Era baseball.



Dan Levitt Speaker at SportCon Sports Analytics Conference, January 10, 2017.


From Deadball to Techball: The Evolution of Baseball Innovation

Moneyball highlighted a new way to think about building a baseball team. But trying to gain an edge has been going on since baseball began, and it didn’t stop with the publication of Michael Lewis’s book. For example, in the 1930s, the smartest front offices created farm systems, and the teams that did so first established a lasting advantage. In the 1980s, Toronto was at the forefront of creating an identifiable presence in the Dominican Republic, leading to a decade of contention and two championships.

Today we’ve moved beyond Moneyball. Big Data is now on the cusp of an even bigger transformation of our understanding of baseball. Just before the 2015 season Major League Baseball rolled out Statcast, a system of multiple cameras in each ballpark that includes Trackman, a synergistic technology using the Doppler radar effect, that is revolutionizing how on-field activity can be quantified. The San Francisco Giants were at the forefront of this revolution, and in the aftermath of their 2012 World Series victory USA Today dubbed their approach “Techball”. Like baseball teams looking for an edge, the most successful businesses continually innovate to gain a strategic advantage.

SABR 45: Dan Levitt selected as Bob Davids Award winner


Daniel R. Levitt, an award-winning author and past president of SABR’s Halsey Hall Chapter in Minnesota, was announced as the winner of the Bob Davids Award during the SABR 45 Awards Luncheon on Friday, June 26, 2015, in Chicago.

SABR 45: Dan Levitt selected as Bob Davids Award winnerThe award — which is the Society’s highest honor — honors SABR members whose contributions to SABR and baseball reflect the ingenuity, integrity, and self-sacrifice of the founder and past president of SABR, L. Robert “Bob” Davids.

“Wow, this is just overwhelming,” Levitt said after the announcement was made. “I could never give back to SABR everything I’ve gotten from being part of this organization. I’ve made so many great friends here, so many connections, and learned so much.”

Levitt is the author of four fine books: Paths to Glory: How Great Baseball Teams Got That Way (with Mark Armour; winner of the 2004 Sporting News-SABR Baseball Research Award); Ed Barrow: The Bulldog Who Built the Yankees’ First Dynasty (a 2009 Seymour Medal finalist); The Battle That Forged Modern Baseball: The Federal League Challenge and Its Legacy (which won the 2013 Larry Ritter Award); and In Pursuit of Pennants: Baseball Operations from Deadball to Moneyball, published this spring with Mark Armour.

His research has been published in the Baseball Research Journal, and he has produced a number of biographies for the SABR BioProject. For many years, Dan served on the SABR Board of Directors election nominating committee. He served as editor of The National Pastime convention journal in 2012, focusing on baseball in Minnesota. He has been President and Officer of the Halsey Hall Chapter. On occasion he can be found in left field for the chapter’s Vintage baseball team.

“The criteria for the Bob Davids Award place great emphasis on two factors: service to the organization and doing the research that is the core of our existence. Dan Levitt best personified those two criteria,” said Dick Beverage, a Bob Davids Award recipient in 2013 who served on the award selection committee along with Jan Finkel and Mark Rucker.

SABR 45: Dan Levitt selected as Bob Davids Award winnerLevitt studied at the University of Wisconsin but migrated north and is a Gopher at heart. In his other life Dan is a Vice-President for Ryan Companies US, Inc. Dan manages the capital markets for Ryan-owned properties where, Beverage said, “He has developed a fine reputation for thoroughness, clarity, creative problem solving, and presentation skills.”

Previous Bob Davids Award winners in attendance Friday at the SABR 45 Awards Luncheon were: Bill Carle (1993), Len Levin (1997), Lyle Spatz (2000), Larry Gerlach (2001), David W. Smith (2005), John Thorn (2006), Andy McCue (2007), Mark Armour (2008), Tom Ruane (2009), Mark Rucker (2010), Bill Nowlin (2011), Jan Finkel (2012), Beverage (2013), and Leslie Heaphy (2014).

The Bob Davids Award was established by the Board of Directors in 1985, and is awarded each year at the annual convention. Click here to view previous winners.