The Obit For Bob Davids

Monday, February 11, 2002
Baseball historians flocked to Davids' view of game news services

Leonard Robert "Bob" Davids, who helped shape new ways baseball fans could look at the game when he founded the Society for American Baseball Research, died Sunday in Washington, D.C.

Davids died in his sleep. He was 75.

Davids began to build his baseball legacy with a monthly newsletter called Baseball Briefs in April, 1971. He organized a meeting of baseball historians five months later in Cooperstown, N.Y. -- there, the 16 attendees began SABR. By 1986, there were 6,000 members, and the annual convention drew upwards of 600. Davids produced and mailed the SABR Bulletin and the Baseball Research Journal.

The Bob Davids Award, the society's highest honor, was instituted in 1985. The Baltimore-Washington Chapter of SABR is named in his honor.

Davids worked for the Department of Defense in Washington, beginning in 1951. He then transfered to the Atomic Energy Commission in 1958 and was the Department of Energy's Special Events Coordinator from 1977-81. He retired from the federal goverment in 1981 at the age of 55.

He had published many articles on Congressional history in Roll Call, the Capitol Hill publication, between 1960 and 1975. Similarly, he wrote many byline articles on baseball for The Sporting News between 1951 and 1965. When the latter publication reduced its coverage of baseball to report more fully on other sports, he had no outlet for his statistical and historical articles.

SABR became that outlet.

Born on a farm near Kanawha, Iowa, March 19, 1926, he served in the Army Air Force, 1944-46, with overseas service on Okinawa. He received a bachelor of Journalism degree from the University of Missouri in 1949, a Masters of Arts in History from the same institution in 1951, and a PhD in International Relations from Georgetown University in 1961.

He married Yvonne Revier, a Pentagon administrative assistant, in 1953. They had one daughter, Roberta Davids-Hagen, and two grandsons.

Burial will be at Arlington National Cemetery.