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WASHINGTON — David Vincent once said in an interview that he never hit a home run.
Yet, in a way, clearing the fences defined him.
The baseball statistician and author was called “the Sultan of Swat Stats” because of his knowledge of home run history.
Vincent even hit a professional grand slam of his own in 2005: After scoring thousands of minor league and amateur games, he was hired as the Washington Nationals’ lead official scorer.
He died Sunday from stomach cancer. The Centreville, Virginia, resident was 67.
Vincent worked the Nationals’ first game at RFK Stadium, their first game at Nationals Park, Stephen Strasburg’s dazzling 2010 debut and Jordan Zimmermann’s 2014 no-hitter.
And in a game dominated by numbers, Vincent was a noted authority, one who was well respected among media professionals and baseball researchers alike.
“He was a good scorer, but an even better person,” said WTOP Sports’ J. Brooks. “David was the kind of guy who would always light up a sometimes-mundane day in the Nats’ press box, either with his infectious smile or bad pun.”
— SABR (@sabr) July 3, 2017
According to the Society for American Baseball Research, Vincent’s love of baseball began with Ted Williams and the Boston Red Sox, who captured his imagination as he grew up in nearby Waltham, Massachusetts.
By the time he was 8, he’d already learned how to keep score. By the time he was in high school, he was covering baseball and basketball games for the local paper.
Vincent found other pursuits through the years. He earned two degrees in music and even performed in the Miami Symphony Orchestra. He later became a computer systems engineer.
But baseball remained a passion.
Vincent was heavily active in the Society for American Baseball Research. He led efforts to digitize a record of every home run hit in the majors since 1871. He also helped with Retrosheet, an effort to digitize play-by-play accounts of major league games played before 1984.
He also authored or co-authored several books about the game, including “SABR Presents the Home Run Encyclopedia” and the upcoming “SABR Book of Umpires and Umpiring.”
Despite that encyclopedic knowledge, Brooks said, Vincent never took himself seriously.
“He would score a Nats game and a Potomac Nats game with the same passion and loved doing either one,” Brooks said.
Vincent is survived by his wife and son. Services are pending.
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