BA, Simpson Announce Change

Baseball America announced that Allan Simpson, the founder of Baseball America and the magazine’s chief editor for most of its 25 years, is no longer with the company.

“I thoroughly enjoyed and treasured my 25 years at Baseball America,” said Simpson, who founded the magazine in 1981 out of his garage in Kelowna, British Columbia. “I’ve got other things I’™m pursuing now–other interests within baseball.”

Publisher Lee Folger said there were no plans to replace Simpson at the company, but underscored his importance to the magazine’™s first quarter-century.

“Baseball America would not be where it is today without Allan Simpson,” Folger said. “For 25 years, he has cared deeply about providing accurate, detailed and meaningful information for baseball professionals and fans who were looking for the baseball insider’s point of view.

“We regret that this day has come. At the same time, we are excited about the future of our magazine, books and website and will endeavor to carry on with his vision and continue to serve the needs of our passionate readers.”

Editors in chief Will Lingo and John Manuel will continue to direct the magazine, Website, books and other Baseball America products. Said Manuel, “Allan essentially invented coverage of baseball’s once-obscure draft and made BA a singular voice in the industry. All of us who have worked with him know his work ethic and unmatched passion for the game will be difficult to replace.”

With Simpson at the helm through the 1980s and 1990s, Baseball America pioneered modern coverage of baseball’s player-development system, from college baseball to the draft and up through the minor leagues. Baseball America prospect lists became indispensable for hardcore fans, scouting personnel and fantasy league players, and continue to set the industry standard in the age of electronic media.

Many of the events that Simpson either called for or helped popularize are now thriving: open and expanded coverage of the draft, a prospects all-star game (known as the Futures Game) and a world-cup style tournament (the World Baseball Classic). He began the annual publication of several books that have become staples within baseball, from the Almanac to the Directory to the Super Register, and was the driving force behind Baseball America’s 1989 opus, “The Baseball Draft.”

Simpson, 57, said he founded Baseball America to counteract how The Sporting News was cutting back on baseball coverage, particularly of the minors, in the late 1970s.

“They left a void that no one was picking up,” Simpson said. “I tried on my own to fill it. I don’t think it’s any coincidence that the much greater awareness and interest today in the minor leagues, college baseball, the draft and baseball generally at the grassroots level has paralleled Baseball America’s growth–and is a direct result of Baseball America’s dedication to covering the game in depth at the player-development level.

“It was against long odds that Baseball America was established. We went through a lot of growing pains in the early years, but through good timing, perseverance, determination and the support of a small but loyal readership that believed in what we were doing, we became an accepted part of the baseball community.”