Thursday, May 3, 2018

The Chase for the "Triples Crown"

The Spring 2018 issue of the American Association Almanac was published a few weeks ago, the fiftieth edition of the publication which began as the American Association Newsletter in 2001. The subject for this hallmark issue revolves around the top triples hitting teams of the Association. Spanning the years of the "original" American Association, 1902 to 1962, this survey presents a detailed statistical view of the trends and highlights of triples production for the league as a whole. The content develops into a focus on the triples production for each team, highlighting the seasons during which each team led the circuit in three-baggers. Key player performances are illuminated allowing the reader to make connections between names both familiar and unfamiliar.

The cover for the Spring 2018 edition of the American Association Almanac features an interior view of Milwaukee's ancient Borchert Field, built in 1888, from a postcard originally published around 1950.

This 30,000-word issue contains a variety of highlights for fans of minor league baseball history. For example, three teams shared the spotlight as leaders of the league's "triples crown." These three teams led the league in triples production for 13 seasons, each with its own unique "footprint" which provides insight into the evolution of the team's offensive production. It was found that each of the league's eight clubs had its own phases, often distinct, which formed a pattern. These patterns are useful for historians to identify those "feast or famine" periods which can be studied. This Almanac breaks new ground with respect to the topic of triples production with respect to minor league history. The author is unaware of any previous such treatment covering the topic of triples production at the major league level.

The table of contents for the Spring 2018 edition of the American Association Almanac. The extensive use of graphics for this issue helps illuminate the statistical depth explored within its pages.

In order to get a better idea of the contents of this ground-breaking issue, a few sample pages are provided below. Each page shows a unique feature of the treatment for the subject matter and gives a sense of how the data are organized and presented. Most notable is the summary for each team's history as a triples hitter, shown in the final example of the team history for Columbus.

This sample provides an example of general content, allowing the reader to get a sense of how the layout is handled for the presentation of the subject matter. A total of 17 footnotes appear throughout this issue.

This sample provides examples of the numerous graphics, tables and charts, used for highlighting key information.

The sample shown here gives the reader an idea of how the subject matter introduces each team's triples-hitting history.

Notable here is the team history's summary of triples hitting employed for each team.

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Rex Hamann
14201 Crosstown Blvd. NW
Andover, Minn.   55304

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Friday, January 12, 2018

The American Association Playoffs, 1933 to 1941

The American Association Almanac
Volume 13, No. 2
Fall 2017

The 49th issue of the American Association Almanac was released in early September, 2017. It provides a comprehensive look at the American Association playoffs which began in 1933 when the first-place Columbus Red Birds (101-51), led by Ray Blades, vied for the league championship against the second-place Minneapolis Millers (86-67) under the leadership of future Hall of Famer Dave Bancroft. As explained in the official league manual (pub. 1969), "Under the playoff plan whereby the highest standing Eastern team met the highest standing Western Club, Columbus beat Minneapolis four out of six games to win the official league championship..." There was no beef about the outcome with the possible exception of a handful of Columbus fans who thought their team, with its clearly superior record, shouldn't have to prove itself twice. The following year, Minneapolis fans had the beef as the same two teams met in the playoffs again, this time after the Millers claimed the top spot with a record of 85-64. Columbus finished second, just a sliver behind with 85 wins and 68 losses. After Columbus came away with the championship in a rugged seven-game battle, critics were all over the place. The system was scrapped for the 1935 season, and in 1936 a two-tier plan named after the originator of the playoff system employed in the East, Frank Shaughnessy, went into effect. It allowed allowed the first-place team to cop the championship while vying for the Governor's Cup and the honor of meeting the International League's top representative in the Junior World Series. This system proved itself over the next three decades.

This volume exceeds 30,000 words in a 56-page format. It includes a color cover (see below), a prominent back-cover reproduction of a 1939 Louisville Colonels team photo, a table of contents (see below), and a table summarizing the head-to-head play between each playoff contestant from 1933 to 1941, in addition to narratives for each game. Copies are available at $15.00 postpaid. For those interested in starting a subscription (one- or two-year options available; see below), this issue can be included at a discount.



Content is organized by season. This sample page provides a look at how each section unfolds. Here is an excerpt of the content from this issue:


Perhaps the most remarkable feature of this issue is the clear delineation of playoff records. Each season's leader board is encapsulated within a listing of statistical achievements for the customary categories, such as which player claimed the most runs scored, the most hits, the most home runs, etc. But readers will also find statistics from more obscure categories which include averages, such as team batting average and runs per game. Here is a sample page:


A final sample page:


I've been editing and publishing the Almanac since Fall 2001 and have made it my life's work. If you are interested in comprehensive baseball history with a regional flavor, strong statistical backbone and a concise writing style, this may be your best option. Readers are encouraged to write to me, Rex Hamann, with questions about how to subscribe to the American Association Almanac. One-year subscription: $24.00 for two issues. Two-years: $42.00 for four issues. Lifetime subscriptions: $200.00 (non-refundable). Institutional subscriptions: $60.00/yr. Checks can be mailed to me at 14201 crosstown Blvd. NW, Andover, MN   55304, or sent to my Paypal account via my email address (