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Wilkin Ramirez makes MLB’s (unofficial) #5000000th appearance

Posted by admin on April 1, 2013

There have been about 203,500 games in major league history (at least if you count the National Association 1871-1875 which many baseball historians including us view to be a major league). In the course of preparing for this season, I noticed that we had 4,999,745 games played in our appearances table, which meant we'd hit 5m on Opening Day.

This includes all kinds of games played from Cal Ripken's consecutive innings streak to Larry Yount getting the starting nod and getting knocked out while warming up in the bullpen for his only "appearance". We love these corny milestones, so we decided to track it today and figure out just who was #5,000,000. We caught a bit of a break as the way the games were played today we hit #5m near the end of the 4:00 games and before the 7:00 game, so we didn't have to give a starting 18 all of the credit.

Well, it was close but by our measure Wilkin Ramirez edged out Matt Thornton for the 5 millionth appearance in an MLB game. Are we 100% sure this is correct? Yes given our count it was Ramirez, but our count is almost certainly off by dozens if not a hundred or more in either direction. From baseball's distant past recordkeeping especially about defensive subs was notoriously bad, so we are probably missing some games.

But regardless this is the best we can do and it's a fun milestone. Happy Opening Day.

6 Comments | Posted in Announcement, Baseball-Reference.com

Happy Opening Day!

Posted by admin on March 31, 2013

It's been a long cold winter here in Philadelphia. In honor of Sunday and Monday, the greatest days of the year, here are some Opening Day features we have here at B-R:

Give them a try, and enjoy baseball's return.

2 Comments | Posted in Announcement, Baseball-Reference.com

Subscribe to the Play Index!

Posted by Neil on March 29, 2013

Opening Night is Sunday, so be sure to make the Baseball-Reference Play Index a part of your baseball experience for the 2013 season!

What's the Play Index? It's a set of research tools that allow you to create customizable queries on our database, save the results, and share them with others. Using the PI, you can:

  • Search full-season or multi-year totals to find your own custom leaderboards - Look at the entire history of baseball from 1871-2012 with every year, team, and position available, or filter the results in a vast number of ways: by specific years, by age, by first six seasons or last ten seasons, by American League only, by Cubs only, by switch-hitters, by catchers, by outfielder or infielder, by year of debut, but active or retired, by Hall of Famer, by height and weight, by living or deceased, or by a range of common statistical categories. Then sort the results by any common statistic, by the teams with the most players matching that category, by players with the most seasons matching that category, or by most recent, youngest, oldest, final year, or year of debut, and others.
  • Search player game totals - Filtering on any of a dozen or more choices, search for games on a single player level, or on any batter from 1916-2012, or on any pitcher. The same can be done for Team Batting or Team Pitching Totals.
  • Search player games looking for the most consecutive games matching a particular set of criteria - This can be done either on a single player level or on any batter in the last 97 years or on any pitcher. The same can be done for Team Batting or Team Pitching Streaks.
  • Search the records of a specific player - Output a detailed summary and play-by-play list of all events of a specific type from a single year or an entire career. For example, you can see all of Harmon Killebrew's triples or even his outs to the second baseman.
  • Search Batter vs. Pitcher Matchups - This tool presents a complete sortable list of batter or pitcher with totals for every opponent they faced by career or by year. Clicking on the player's name will lead you to a detailed output of their head-to-head plate appearances.
  • ...And more!

Personal Subscriptions to the Play Index still cost just $36 for a year, $6 for a month, or $2 for 24 hours. Subscriptions may only be used by a single user, and there are discounts for users sponsoring at least $35 in pages.

Organizational Subscriptions can be set up for either an unlimited number of users ($600/year), or for up to five users ($125/year).

There are Two Steps to Subscribe to the Play Index:

  1. Login to or create a Sports-Reference.com account (the same account used to sponsor pages).
  2. Already logged in (or just created an account)? Go to our subscription page to sign up.

Our Always-Available Free Trial: Non-subscribers can use the PI's features as much as you like. However, your outputs will be restricted to a limited number of results.

The Play Index comes with a money back guarantee. We will gladly return the unused portion of any Play Index Subscription should you be dissatisfied with the Play Index.

So go ahead, give the Play Index a try -- we're confident that once you start using it, you'll wonder how you ever got along without it.

Comments Off | Posted in Announcement, Baseball-Reference.com, Features, Play Index

Adjustment to WAR Replacement Level

Posted by admin on March 29, 2013

In a move to 1) reduce the number of negative WAR long-time players and 2) create a bit more consistency between our version of WAR and that on FanGraphs.com, we have agreed with them (their article about this change) to move the replacement level to .294 or 1,000 Wins for current seasons (30 teams * 162 games * (.500 - .294) = 1000). Pre-30 teams leagues will likewise be adjusted. Our previous Replacement Level was .320 or 875 wins, so we are now giving out 125 more wins than we were before. FanGraphs previously had a .260 replacement level, so they are going from 1,166 wins to 1,000. The net result is that these adjustments are given to players in a manner proportional to their playing time regardless of their quality of play.

11 Comments | Posted in Announcement, Baseball-Reference.com

My Answer to “I Don’t Like How Complicated WAR Is and How It Is Constantly Changing.” “WAR is Like GDP for Baseball”

Posted by admin on March 29, 2013

Some of the common critiques of the Wins Above Replacement framework include: 1) Why do FanGraphs and Baseball-Reference.com have such different numbers, 2) How can we trust it when the numbers change, and 3) How can we trust it when I can't calculate it?

For the first question, our announcement today of a consistent replacement level between FanGraphs and Baseball-Reference.com has done a considerable amount to bring our two methodologies into alignment at least on the question of how big of a basket of WAR to hand out to players each year. Previously, FanGraphs allotted nearly 300 additional WAR due to a much lower replacement level. Our meeting in the middle has erased this difference to zero.

For the next two questions, I would point to a very widely quoted and very widely used statistic from economics, Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Here is the Wikipedia article on Gross Domestic Product. I'm going to argue that WAR is essentially GDP for baseball.

41 Comments | Posted in Announcement, Baseball-Reference.com, General, Stat Questions, WAR

Opening Day Lineups

Posted by Neil on March 28, 2013

With Opening Day quickly approaching, here's a reminder that you can view the historical progression of any team's Opening Day lineups by going to their franchise page and clicking on Opening Day Starters.

Comments Off | Posted in Announcement, Baseball-Reference.com

Best Teams in the History of Each Sweet 16 School

Posted by Neil on March 28, 2013

Since we have scanned stat sheets from thousands of historical NCAA team seasons going back to the 1940s, I thought it would be cool to post links to the best team in history for each school still active in the Sweet 16:

  • Indiana - Best Team: The undefeated 1975-76 Hoosiers, who went 32-0 and won the NCAA title behind Scott May's 23.5 PPG.
  • Syracuse - Best Team: It's hard to go against Carmelo Anthony's 2002-03 Orangemen here.
  • Miami-FL - Best Team: At a school known far more for its football than hoops, this year's Hurricanes are probably their best team ever.
  • Marquette - Best Team: The Golden Eagles have had some great teams over the years, but the best remains the 1976-77 version that won the national championship under coach Al McGuire.
  • Louisville - Best Team: Another school with multiple national champs to choose from, Louisville's best squad was probably the dominant 1985-86 Cardinals.
  • Oregon - Best Team: Setting aside the 1939 national champion Ducks, Oregon's top team belongs to either this year's model or the 2006-07 version that went all the way to a Regional Final before losing.
  • Duke - Best Team: Lots to pick from here, the best of which comes down to either 1991-92 or 2000-01. '92 lost only twice, but '01 had a dominant +32.2 SRS, which is why they're my choice.
  • Michigan St. - Best Team: The Jud Heathcote/Magic Johnson 1979 team was great, but I'm going with Tom Izzo & Mateen Cleaves in 1999-2000 as Sparty's best-ever showing.
  • Kansas - Best Team: In the storied history of KU basketball, the best team ever may very well have come in 2007-08, when the Jayhawks lost only 3 times en route to a national crown.
  • Michigan - Best Team: The Wolverines have enjoyed a renaissance season this year, but the 2013 version still probably ranks behind the 1988-89 national champs, led by Glen Rice.
  • Florida - Best Team: With the Gators, take your pick between the back-to-back champs of 2006 and 2007. My pick is '07, whose stars were a year older, with a better record and superior SRS.
  • Fla. Gulf Coast - Best Team: With only 3 seasons as a "major" school in our database, it's impossible to pick any team for the Eagles other than the 2013 Regional Semifinalists (or beyond?).
  • Ohio St. - Best Team: With a handful of near-misses in recent years, the best Buckeyes remain the 1960 national champs, still OSU's only titleists in basketball.
  • Arizona - Best Team: It's no surprise that the best team in Arizona history was the 1996-97 NCAA champion Wildcats, led by Lute Olsen, Miles Simon, and Mike Bibby.
  • Wichita St. - Best Team: Talk about Shockers! If this year's team isn't their best, then it's probably the 1980-81 version (led by Cliff Levingston & Antoine Carr) that went to a Regional Final.
  • La Salle - Best Team: In Explorers history, it's hard to go against the 1953-54 team starring Tom Gola.

Who would win in a tournament of these classic teams? Tell us in the comments!

6 Comments | Posted in Announcement, Basketball-Reference.com, CBB at Sports Reference, History, Playoffs

Odds & Ends

Posted by Justin Kubatko on March 28, 2013

Here are a few odds & ends as we near the end of the week:

That's all for now. Please let us know if you have any comments or questions regarding these items.

Comments Off | Posted in Announcement, Basketball-Reference.com

NFL Draft Tools Added to PI Player Season Finder

Posted by Neil on March 27, 2013

In conjunction with the NFL Draft features you can find on the P-F-R front page, we've also added Draft criteria to the Play Index Player Season Finder.

Click "[+] Show draft options" at the bottom of the form to call up a sub-menu that lets you narrow your season finder search down to the year a player was drafted, the round/pick in which he was selected, the drafting team, his college/conference, position out of college, and more.

Give it a try, and be sure to let us know if you have any questions or comments.

2 Comments | Posted in Announcement, Features, Play Index, Pro-Football-Reference.com

NBA Box Scores Back to 1964-65

Posted by Justin Kubatko on March 27, 2013

About 14 months ago we announced that we had posted copies of every box score in NBA history. However, since these box scores were scans we could not create player game logs, compute player splits, etc. As we said in that post, it is our goal to one day have all of these games in a database-friendly format.

On that note, I'm happy to announce that the work for the 1964-65 to 1975-76 NBA seasons has been completed. Please take some time to check out the box scores, player and team game logs, and player and team splits for those seasons. Keep in mind that almost all of the scanned box scores are abbreviated (i.e., they only contain field goals, free throws, and points for the players), so there will be many missing values for each game.

10 Comments | Posted in Announcement, Basketball-Reference.com

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