Baseball Digest was created by Herbert F. Simons, a sportswriter for the Chicago Daily Times, and first published the magazine in August 1942. In 1969, the magazine was bought by current Publisher Emeritus Norman Jacobs. ProScouts LLC, led by entrepreneur David Fagley, acquired significant interest in 2012 and the company running it today was formed: Grandstand Publishing LLC. In May 2021, ProScouts LLC purchased all remaining interests. Award-winning Baseball Digest is the oldest and longest-running baseball magazine in the world.
Mr. Jacobs was interviewed by national magazine consultant Samir Husni in 2012. Part of that interview, as well as a video, is below:
Samir Husni: Baseball Digest is a legend. It’s going to be 70-years-old this coming September. Tell us a little bit about the history of the magazine, and what the plan for the future is. What do you tell folks who say, “Baseball Digest, is it still being published?”
Norm Jacobs: Well, back in 1969 I had sold my publishing company, at that time we were publishing business and trade magazines. I looked around to find some kind of publishing property to buy and develop. Lo and behold, I found in my hometown of Highland Park, not more than a mile from me, Baseball Digest Magazine published in someone’s home. I, personally, had not been to a baseball game in twenty years. But it did excite me that this magazine was for sale because the publisher had passed away. It excited me because it only had about 10,000 in circulation and even I figured with all the millions of baseball fans in the country, this title should be much more than that. So I went ahead and purchased it, and working for the first time with the agents and direct mail, we quickly got the circulation up to over 200,000…
Samir Husni: Someone once said that you can’t know America without knowing baseball. Do you think you can re-create a magazine that will help people fall in love again with baseball? Do you think that people have lost their first love, and football is now everywhere and everybody talks about football; do you think there is hope for baseball?
Norm Jacobs: Well, I certainly do, because as we all know, baseball attendance is zooming. And the baseball fan has always been thirsty for information and knowledge, particularly for statistics and the kind of information that may not be in other publications. Now, with Baseball Digest as practically the only frequency-type of publication available, mostly the other titles are annuals. But I do think, yes, that because it has been around for so many years and so many people that I’ve talked to say, “Oh, I remember. I read Baseball Digest when I was five, seven, or ten-years-old.” I think that if we develop the product, bring it up-to-date and have a magazine that has some nostalgia to it, as it always has, but new and current ideas, and articles and features, plus getting involved in the digital era with all kinds of websites and iPads, iPhones and databases and everything like that. So, I’m very hopeful for the future of the title.