The SABR Retroactive All-Star Game Project

SDN-064581, Chicago Daily News negatives collection, Chicago History Museum

This project sponsored by the Society for American Baseball Research is a fascinating way to delve into a bit of alternate history.

I'm a member of SABR. Perhaps you are, too. That's why, when SABR member Chuck Hildebrandt sent me this proposal, I found it fascinating.

SABR members are sponsoring a project to simulate what would have happened if there had been All-Star Games between 1916 and 1932. The earliest date cutoff is because that's as far back as they can get statistical data via Baseball-Reference.com.

It's probably better if I let them explain it to you, so here, verbatim, is what they sent me explaining the project. I think it's pretty cool -- go vote!

Every baseball fan knows that the first All-Star Game was played in Chicago in 1933. But calls for a midseason All-Star contest go back to the offseason of 1915-16, starting with this article that appeared in Baseball Magazine. (link opens .pdf)

We can’t go back in time to change history and replay those lost potential All-Star Games on the field.  But with a good game simulator and the recent availability of midseason stats going back to 1916, we can arrive at a good idea of who would probably have played those All-Star Games and how they might have turned out.

That’s what we’re doing with the Retroactive All-Star Game Project. Using the statistics available at Baseball Reference for the first halves of the 1916 through 1932 seasons, midseason All-Stars will be determined; and using OOTP 14, the games will be played.

And as they did in 1933, the fans -- meaning you -- will get to vote for the All-Star game starters, including starting pitchers, which is how they did it back then. (Bonus: no designated hitters.)

Voting is going on right now; you can vote for the 1916 All-Star starters and pitchers at this link.

Voting will be open until 2 a.m. CT September 27. At that time, we will count up the votes, put together the rosters, and sim the game.

Then -- and here’s the best part -- the box score and the game account will be posted, written in 1916-style, on Seamheads.com the following week. And while you’re waiting for that to appear, you’ll be able to vote on the 1917 All-Stars (link coming). We’ll rinse and repeat, every two weeks, until we’ve played all the All-Star games through 1932.

Sound interesting?  If you’ve read this far, you must be.  So click on this link and vote today, and be on the lookout in early October for the first Retroactive All Star games story on Seamheads.com.

The photo at the top of this post is of Grover Cleveland "Pete" Alexander, while he was pitching for the Cubs in 1920. In 1916, Alexander had a monster season for the Phillies, posting 11.7 WAR, best in baseball; the Phillies won 91 games and finished just 2½ games out of first place. After they traded Alexander to the Cubs in 1918, the Phillies entered three decades of slumber.

There's your first step to voting; go check out the 1916 season and vote 'em in.

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