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Explaining the Honus Wagner Career Hits Discrepancy

Posted by Mike Lynch on July 29, 2014

As Derek Jeter continues his climb up baseball's all-time hits list, we have received several inquiries about Honus Wagner's career hit total. We list 3,420, while MLB lists him with 3,430 career hits. While the similarity of the numbers may imply a simple typo, it turns out that the reasons for the one-digit difference are not simple at all.

For an explanation of the history of this deviation, we spoke with Pete Palmer (the source for many of the statistics appearing on this site). Palmer explained that the 1969 Macmillan Baseball Encyclopedia was the genesis of the difference. At the time, official NL statistics only went back to 1903. The encyclopedia created new statistics for years prior to that and the changes were approved by an MLB committee set up to rule on various statistics for inclusion in the encyclopedia. However, the Elias Sports Bureau, which is the official statistician for Major League Baseball, never accepted the committee ruling, which leads to some differing numbers between what you see on Baseball-Reference and what you see in official MLB records. Elias, instead, has always used data from the old Spalding Guides.

Pete Palmer (and by extension Baseball-Reference) has preferred to use the Macmillan data*, because daily figures exist to back the numbers up, which allows for the statistics to be proofed for greater accuracy. Here is a year-by-year look at the difference between our totals and the Spalding totals. These are all from Wagner's pre-1903 seasons (Baseball-Reference total listed first):

  • 1897: 81, 83
  • 1898: 176, 180
  • 1899: 196, 197
  • 1900: 201, 201
  • 1901: 194, 196
  • 1902: 176, 177

Another discrepancy that some of you may notice soon is that Baseball-Reference has Cap Anson with 3,435 career hits, while MLB has him with 3,011. While many discrepancies exist with that data, the bulk of the difference is the fact that we count Anson's 423 hits in the National Association, which we believe was clearly a major league.

TL;DR version: Our hit total for Honus Wagner is not a typo. We recognize it does not align with the official total, but we believe it is the most accurate number.

For further reading on some of the issues with official totals in baseball statistics, please read this excellent 2011 post by Retrosheet's Dave Smith.

*The Macmillan data excluded a few games that were protested and replayed in the 1890s. These statistics were included in the NL stats of the day (save for the wins and losses) and Palmer has added these statistics back into the Macmillan data to reflect this.

1 Comment | Posted in Announcement, Baseball-Reference.com, Data, History, Leaders, Uncategorized

New Awards Added to Baseball-Reference

Posted by Mike Lynch on July 22, 2014

We have rolled out a couple of new additions to our Awards Page:

The Edgar Martinez Award, recognizing the AL's top DH since 1973 & the Delivery Man of the Year, which recognized MLB's top reliever from 2005-13.

Beginning in 2014, the Delivery Man of the Year will be replaced by a pair of honors named for Mariano Rivera (AL) & Trevor Hoffman (NL).

5 Comments | Posted in Announcement, Awards, Baseball-Reference.com, Data, History

1901-02 Orioles Removed from Yankees History

Posted by Mike Lynch on July 21, 2014

Baseball-Reference has made the move to dissociate the New York Yankees franchise from the 1901 & 1902 Baltimore Orioles (not connected to the current Baltimore Orioles franchise). This adjustment allows us to fall in line with the Yankees franchise itself and most references including Total Baseball, edited by MLB's official historian, John Thorn, who authored an interesting history of the move. Additionally, Pete Palmer & Gary Gillette, the men behind the ESPN Baseball Encyclopedia, consider them separate franchises. A few years back, Gillette kindly shared his reasoning with us:

"We discussed this at length when we did the first edition of our new encyclopedia in 2004. IIRC, the deciding factor was that the Baltimore franchise went bust during the season and was turned over to the league. After the season, the league then sold a new franchise to investors in New York City. We felt that wasn't really a relocation or a transfer; it was simply filling the gap in the league that was opened when the Orioles' franchise disintegrated.

Of the 39 players who appeared for Baltimore in 1902, only five appeared for New York in 1903. Jimmy Williams was the regular second baseman for both clubs. Herm McFarland, a utility player in '02, became a regular outfielder in '03. Ernie Courtney played one game for Balto. in 1902, then 25 for NY in 1903. Harry Howell was the only pitcher of consequence to make the transition. Snake Wiltse (4 G in '03) also appeared for both."

 

This move was precipitated by the BAL/NYY joint record approaching the milestone of 10,000 wins, which caused a reassessment of how we approach this move. Some of the results in the play index may still reflect the two franchises as being one, but we will be working to fix that in the near future.

106 Comments | Posted in Announcement, Baseball-Reference.com, History

All-Star Features on Baseball-Reference

Posted by Mike Lynch on July 14, 2014

Prepare for Tuesday's 2014 All-Star Game at Target Field with Baseball-Reference's All-Star features:

2 Comments | Posted in All-Star, Announcement, Baseball-Reference.com, expire21d, Features

Roster Status Added to 2014 Team Pages – Baseball-Reference.com

Posted by sean on June 19, 2014

Per a user suggestion (keep the good ideas coming), we added some roster denotations to the current season team pages. Take a quick scan of this screen capture of the 2014 A's batting stats.

Screenshot 2014-06-19 09.26.59

We've always had this data on the 40-man roster pages, but this brings it to the main team pages. Bold players are on the current active roster (should be 25 per team), then for the inactive, we list whether they are on the DL or if not on the DL, we list if they are still on this team's 40-man roster. If they aren't DL'ed (by the team shown) or on the 40-man, they have nothing listed. This likely means that they've been released, waived or traded, or as in Daric Barton's case, they've been DFA'ed and sent to the minors.

2014 Oakland Athletics Batting, Pitching, & Fielding Statistics - Baseball-Reference.com.

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

Game Lengths Added to Team Game Finder – Baseball-Reference.com

Posted by sean on June 18, 2014

On the Play Index Team Game finders you can now search on game lengths in minutes. For instance, the Red Sox and Diamondbacks both played 13 four hour games last year.

And Here are the four hour games by season

Team Batting Game Finder -- - Baseball-Reference.com.

Team Pitching Game Finder -- - Baseball-Reference.com.

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

Surf Sports Reference Faster – Buy Ad-Free Access on all sites

Posted by sean on June 17, 2014

We like to keep our sites really, really fast and obsess over as many performance details as we can. Unfortunately one area where we have little control is in the performance of our advertisements as companies of our size typically outsource this task. We rely on ads for 85% of our revenue, but we are aware that some of these ads degrade our service.

We have decided to launch a new ad-free service. It's available on all of our sites and for $20 you can surf all of our sites ad-free. To sign up see the "AD FREE" link that now appears at the top of every page.

adfree

Using this service will make your surfing experience much faster and will continue to support our site.

Sign up via Baseball-Reference.com

9 Comments | Posted in Announcement, Baseball-Reference.com, Basketball-Reference.com, CBB at Sports Reference, CFB at Sports Reference, Hockey-Reference.com, Olympics at S-R, Pro-Football-Reference.com

2014 MLB Draft Tools

Posted by Mike Lynch on June 3, 2014

The 2014 MLB Draft begins Thursday, June 5, so here are some tools to get you ready:

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

Player/Pitcher/Rookie of the Month Awards Added to Baseball-Reference.com

Posted by Mike Lynch on June 3, 2014

We're happy to announce some additions to our MLB Awards page.

You can now sort through Players of the Month, Pitchers of the Month and Rookies of the Month.

Included in each listing is a snapshot of the winner's stats for that month, as well as a link to their game log.

As a walk down memory lane (or perhaps a visit to ancient history for our younger users), check out Jeff Ballard's remarkable April of 1989, resulting in an AL Pitcher of the month award:

Screen Shot 2014-06-03 at 11.41.23 AM

That's right: 9 strikeouts in 5 games (all wins).

We hope you enjoy this new addition. Stay tuned for Players of the Week in the future

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

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