My father was the first person in his family to attend a secondary education institution. Obviously I was yet to be conceived at the time, but I can only imagine the day he left for college was a very emotional one. In fact, the last thing that my grandfather said to my father before he left for college was, "Don't ever forget where you came from".
These are powerful words, I've personally taken them to heart. I won't ever forget where I came from, or where my father and mother came from. I won't ever forget all the hard work and tribulations those before me endured, mostly in an attempt to service the family's future. I won't forget that my grandfather fixed lawnmowers for 60 years in order to send my father to college. I won't forget that my other grandfather started his own construction business after the war and put every ounce of energy he had into making it a successful operation in order to provide for his family. I won't forget that my father goes to work an hour early and comes home an hour late every day. I won't forget the infinite sacrifices my mother has made. All things considered, my life has been extremely easy--I've been very blessed--and at the least I owe the people who worked hard to accomplish this the diligence of remembering where I came from.
At this point, you're probably wondering why I've gone on a two paragraph shtick about my family. There are two reasons. Number one, maybe this is just a southern thing, but I think it's a pretty good life lesson (though my original intent was hardly to present a lesson on life). Number two, the same notion of remembering where we came from is, I think, very applicable to sabermetrics.
This offseason has been extremely primer-centric. Between Alex Remington's excellent series at Big League Stew, the Lookout Landing Sabermetrics 101 series, and many, many others that I apologize for failure to mention, we've had our fair share of primers. I'd like to make my own small contribution to the year of the primer and in the spirit of remembering where we came from, this series will cover only older, semi-obsolete (yet not useless) statistics.
History repeats itself (or so says the old cliché) and if we don't study the past, we'll make the same mistakes in the future. Examining Sabermetrics from a historical perspective is something I think we all could stand to do a bit more, especially the young saberists out there (self included). Tomorrow the first primer will be posted (secondary average). In the mean time, I'd love to get some suggestions as to which old-school statistics you'd like to see covered. My goal is to post one a week (something I'll most likely regret commiting to) for ten or so weeks.
Maybe we learn nothing from this exercise, but at the very least, a bit of historical perspective and respecting our sabermetric roots can't hurt.