First Greg Spira Baseball Research Award Winner Named
The winner of the first Greg Spira Baseball Research Award, named in honor of the late co-founder and managing editor of Frequent Business Traveler magazine, was announced Saturday. Trent McCotter, an attorney residing in Washington, D.C., was awarded top honors for his essay, “Cal Ripken’s Record for Consecutive Innings.”
Mr. McCotter’s 2012 essay compiled for the first time the correct total of consecutive innings (8,264) played by the Orioles’ great shortstop between 1982 and 1987. His extensive research also created a list of every player who ever played at least 2,500 consecutive innings, information previously unknown despite the fact that the players involved had all retired many decades ago. It appeared in the Fall 2012 edition of the Society of American Baseball Research’s Baseball Research Journal (Volume 41, No. 2).
In 1991, two years before the invention of the first Web browser, Mr. Spira founded the Internet Baseball Awards. He was considered an important pioneer in Usenet online baseball discussion groups including rec.sport.baseball, and helped found Baseball Prospectus, a Web site that focuses on the sabermetric analysis of baseball.
“Greg was one of the top baseball researchers of our time and probably the person most responsible for bringing baseball discussion to the Internet in its early days,” said McCotter. “It is such an honor to be chosen for the first Greg Spira Award. I hope it will encourage other young writers to focus their efforts on baseball research and analysis.”
The awards will be given annually in recognition of the best published article, paper, or book containing original baseball research by a person 30 years old or younger on April 27, Greg Spira’s birthday.
“One of the submissions that I read in my first round of judging was ‘Ripken’s Record for Consecutive Innings Played,’” said Jonathan Spira, editorial director at Frequent Business Traveler. “This was not only an article Greg would have liked, but it sounded like the type of article he would have written as well, both in tone and subject matter. I was pleased that my fellow judges agreed with my assessment and that Mr. McCotter is being awarded the first ever Greg Spira Baseball Research Award.”
The judges who evaluated the submissions for the first annual Spira Award were a mix of baseball writers and researchers who knew and respected Greg Spira and his work. The panel consisted of Dvd Avins, Sean Forman, Gary Gillette, Joe Hamrahi, Sean Lahman, Rod Nelson, Dave Pease, Claudia Perry, Carl Rosin, Stuart Shea, Matthew Silverman, and Jonathan Spira.
Mr. McCotter received $1,000 in addition to the award. Second prize went to Dan Farnsworth for his article on the economics of team restructuring, “Is Rebuilding Worth It?” and third prize went to Caleb Hardwick for his detailed Web site and database about baseball, the Arkansas Baseball Encyclopedia.