Sunday, March 12, 2006

A Letter from Kevin McCann

A Letter from Kevin McCann

Kevin is in the process of putting together as complete as possible record for the Kitty League, and had done considerable work so far. The Kentucky-Illinois-Tennessee League was in existence off and on from 1903 through 1955.  Kevin is asking a question that every researcher asks at some point in time.  

I've asked Ray Nemec this question before, but I'd like your opinion as well. In my Kitty League research, I have four seasons (1903, 1904, 1905, 1922) for which there are no complete, official stats available. For the 1903 season, I already know two newspapers (Henderson and Jackson) no longer exist. I also know some papers did a better job with complete box scores than others; some used only line scores most of the time. My question is this: Knowing these facts, would it still be worthwhile to gather as much data as I can to compile at least a partial season? I figure that a partial season is better than nothing at all. Ray seems to think it would be a waste of time and effort to do so. What's your take?

Kevin,Let me tell you a little story.  When I first started working my PCL Encyclopedia, one of the big guns of minor league research told me that he had researched 1903 and 1906 and stated flatly that not all the box scores existed, and that it would be a "waste of time" to try to find them.I, of course, found all of them save one box score for 1906, but was even able to make up a pretty good box score from all the game stories.  What helped was that the game was played in the Bay Area, and one paper published a box score summary.You say that many of the papers no longer exist.  I have been to virtually every library in California that fielded a pro ball club, and out here at least, when a paper goes belly up all its files go to the local library which will then put it on microfilm.  I would bet that has happened there in your neck of the woods, too.A lot of minor league baseball research depends on how much effort you want to put into it.  Many times, if you go to the town in question, you will find in the microfilm drawer a second or third paper for the period you are doing.  (I suspect that to be the case for the 1903, 1904 and 1905 Kitty League. Later years sometimes are not as good.)Many researchers tend to remain at home and try to get things through interlibrary loan, but libraries never send the second or third paper out.  If you go to the towns, you may be pleasantly surprised at what you find.  People in smaller towns and cities have pride in their local history and tend to preserve more than one would believe.But let's say that Nemec turns out to be right.  If you were to go to the towns, and only came up with line scores for the games-- you'd still be able to compile pitcher win-loss records that nobody's ever seen.Last summer, I put 1,500 miles on my car driving around the Central Valley to get box scores for the 1910 & 1911 San Joaquin Valley League.  Most of the papers no longer existed in the towns in that league, but they were on microfilm in the local libraries.  I didn't get every box score, but I got damn close.Kevin, a lot depends on how much effort you want to put into it.  Best wishes, & good researching,Carlos


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