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Public Library

Sullivan Family Baseball Research Center

Located on the Eighth Floor of Central Library

The Society for American Baseball Research (SABR) collection housed in the Sullivan Family Baseball Research Center is the largest baseball research collection outside of the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y.  Born from a partnership between San Diego Public Library and the Ted Williams Chapter of SABR in 1998.

Baseball Research Center display


Collection Highlights

Scrap book with Ted Williams photos, scores and biography
The Joseph Murphy Baseball Autograph Collection
The Joseph Murphy Baseball Autograph Collection is a 10-volume private scrapbook collection of baseball-related materials accumulated primarily in the 1930s with some additions thereafter; authentic autographs, correspondence, stat sheets, and biographical clippings. There are over 1,200 items in the collection including autographs of Baseball Hall of Fame members such as Babe Ruth, Ted Williams, Lou Gehrig, and Honus Wagner. The complete collection can be searched by player name in the index here.

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Baseball Magazine June 1910
Baseball Magazine’s 1908-1923 Illustrated Covers
Presented here are Baseball Magazine’s 1908-1923 illustrated covers. Baseball Magazine began in 1908 and ran through 1957. The entire run can be found in the Sullivan Family Baseball Research Center. Many of the early covers have original artwork by well-regarded illustrators and painters of the day including J.F. Kernan, Gerrit Beneker, Margaret Fitzhugh Browne, George Avison, John Downes Whiting, Arthur Covey, Benton Clark, among others. It was baseball’s first monthly publication and documented the game of baseball and its players, legends and lesser-knowns alike.

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About the Center

The Society for American Baseball Research (SABR) collection housed in the Sullivan Family Baseball Research Center is the largest baseball research collection outside of the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y.  Born from a partnership between San Diego Public Library and the Ted Williams Chapter of SABR in 1998, the Center aims to:

  • Promote interest in the history of baseball.
  • Create and preserve a unique collection of baseball research materials available to the general public.
  • Create a working and ongoing research relationship between SABR and the Library

Some highlights of the current collection that the local Ted Williams Chapter has helped develop are:

  • Microfilm - including archival collections from the National Baseball Hall of Fame
  • Issues of The Sporting News from 1886 to 1969
  • Wietelmann baseball scrapbook collection
  • Various 19th-century sports newspapers from 1857 to 1886
  • Numerous baseball periodical collections
  • 6,000 books and dvds that include history, statistics, biography, fiction , and rare early-century publications
  • Baseball Rookie Questionnaires
  • Minor League research materials

Baseball Research Center - Reference Guide

View of Baseball Research Center at the San Diego Central Library

William J. Weiss Acquisition

In 2013, the Center acquired a significant donation of baseball research material dating from the 1870s from William J. Weiss, one of SABR’s earliest members and a well-respected baseball statistician and historian.

Highlights from the William J. Weiss Acquisition:
  • Actual Score Sheet Summaries with raw game data from minor league games, 1950s-1970s
  • Baseball-related Newspapers with a focus on baseball dating to the 1870s: includes The Sporting Life, The Sporting News, The Spirit of the Times
  • Player Records in various forms: index cards, “sketch” books, annual Guides and Registers dating from the 1880s and includes rare items such as the 1884 Wright & Ditson’s Base Ball Guide, 1890 The Universal Base Ball Guide, 1891 Statistics on Base Ball Players, The  Sporting Life Guide from 1891, the New England Official Base Ball Guide from 1895, Who’s Who in Baseball from 1916 to the 2000s
  • International Baseball Publications from countries such as Canada, Cuba, Japan, Mexico and includes, for example, Super Hit, a monthly Mexican baseball magazine, Deportes, a Mexican newspaper focused on baseball, official Guides from Canada (1920s), Japan (1960s), and Cuba (1969)
  • Amateur Baseball Publications, for example, The Little Leaguer magazine from 1953, Official Baseball Guide (1950s+), The American Legion baseball statistics and clippings
  • Unique Annual Record and Rule Books dating back to the 1878 “Constitution and Playing Rules of the International Baseball Association,” and annual books that include game scores, player statistics, and allows researchers to track the changes in rules over the years
  • The Base Ball Blue Book an annual summary of the upcoming season for major and minor leagues dating to the early 1900s, and it includes items such as game schedules, league and team organization information, National Agreement for the Government of Professional Baseball
  • Miscellaneous Early 20th Century books that cover general topics such as “how to play,” “fascinating facts for fans,” “The Britannica of Baseball”
  • Dozens of different in many cases, one-of-a-kind Baseball-related Magazines, large and small, include Baseball Magazine (virtually every issue starting the first in 1908), Sports Review (1950s), Baseball Illustrated (late 1940s), Sports Illustrated (this the first “SI” and dates from 1949), Baseball Journal (published from 1908 on), Our Sports published in the 1950s with Jackie Robinson as its editor
  • National League Green Books and American League Red Books that were first published in 1937 and part of the collection, they include team-by-team rosters, season statistics, organization structure, and season highlights
  • Player Questionnaires that were completed by players from major and minor league baseball from the 1940s through the 1980s, they were returned to Bill Weiss who  used them for developing short player bios used in virtually all baseball media

Baseball Magazines covers from 1900s.

Frequently Asked Questions

I have baseball memorabilia that I would like to donate. Who can I contact?
We do not collect baseball memorabilia, as we are a baseball research collection. For donations of books, statistics, score sheets, or any other baseball research materials, please contact Pete Miesner at 619-236-5812 for review and consideration.
I wrote a book about baseball and would like it added to the SABR collection.
Additions to the collection are reviewed on a case-by-case basis.
How do I join SABR?
To join the Society for American Baseball Research, visit their website here:
Have a question that isn't answered here? Call Pete Miesner at 619-236-5812.
Baseball sculpture by Yoram Wolberger