Let’s try something new that could be fun and maybe even useful. I get a lot of questions about baseball, which may be unsurprising to you. I have been pleased to provide answers, lately on Twitter, and almost always on the fly–“pants pressed while u wait.” Sometimes I need to take a bit of a spin through my archives. And if I don’t know an answer or can’t quickly locate it in my files, I know who will; it is good to have so many clever colleagues in SABR, that “College of Baseball Knowledge.” I like posting odd facts and seldom seen images, too, as my Twitter followers and Facebook friends will have noticed.
Starting today, I will add a hashtag of #AskTheHistorian to such posts (and to my @thorn_john Twitter avatar). The intent is to encourage more questions and comments, and especially more dialogue. I like to talk baseball, and I suspect you do too.
Cramped replies on Twitter are sometimes unsatisfying; now and then I’d like to say a bit more. On such occasions I’ll expand upon my tweets with “The Rest of the Story” at Our Game, or ask that we move into a private conversation in email. Realtime chats might be down the road a bit.
What does this mean to my fellow tweeps, who have already posed such interesting questions? Keep ’em coming. To those who like this idea and would like to join in, I ask only that you genuinely wish to know something you don’t know already. The very best sort of question is, I think, “Where might I go to find this, on the web or in an archive?” or “Who is the expert in this field, and how might I reach him or her?”
Here’s just a sampling of the questions that have come my way in recent days:
Where did the lone survivor of the USS Maine baseball team come from?
Do you think Maury Wills belongs in the HOF?
Who had the lowest RBI/AB ratio ever?
What was Amos Rusie’s influence on the game?
Is this picture of Christy Mathewson really from 1911, as it is labeled?
What was the starting time of the first game played in New York by its NL club?
Did Babe Ruth truly save baseball after the Black Sox Scandal?
Do we know what the rationale was for walks being counted as hits in 1887?
Is Cool Papa Bell in this picture of the 1945 Kansas City Monarchs?
With the Chicago White Stockings playing ball in 1870, does that make the Cubs the oldest continuous major league franchise, or do the Atlanta Braves hold that record? Or the Cincinnati Reds?