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Span of Games Searches Enhanced in Play Index Game Finders

Posted by Mike Lynch on September 12, 2014

Just a quick post to announce that we've rolled out an enhancement to the Play Index Game Finders (comprised of Player Batting, Playing Pitching, Team Batting & Team Pitching Game Finders).

Previously, subscribers could customize their searches by a team's first "x" games. Now, you can also select a player's first "x" career games or a span of career games from "x" to "y." Additionally, team games can also be searched using any span from "x" to "y" within a season.

If the above made little sense, here's a few concrete examples of searches that can now be completed:

We hope you enjoy these new tools as much as we do. If you're not already a subscriber, but are interested in the Play Index, you can subscribe here for less than a dime per day.

5 Comments | Posted in Announcement, Baseball-Reference.com, Data, Features, Play Index, Uncategorized

Your One-Stop Resource for 2014 College Football Data

Posted by Mike Lynch on August 29, 2014

With the 2014 college football season upon, just a few reminders on where to find info for this season:

If you have any questions about where to find something or if you encounter any issues, please let us know here.

2 Comments | Posted in Announcement, CFB at Sports Reference, Data, Play Index, Uncategorized

New Football Features for 2014

Posted by Mike Lynch on August 29, 2014

With football season once again upon us, we figured users that have been away from the sites in the offseason could use a refresher on some changes/updates. We remained hard at work in the offseason rolling out a series of new features & improvements for users to enjoy this season:

We hope everyone finds these new features useful this season.

 

15 Comments | Posted in Announcement, Data, Features, Pro-Football-Reference.com, Uncategorized

The Complicated History of RBI

Posted by Mike Lynch on August 6, 2014

If you have spent an extended amount of time on Baseball-Reference, you have likely noticed that some of our RBI totals do not match what you will see on some other sites. A notable example would be none other than George Herman Ruth. We list him with 2,214 career RBI, with a career high of 168 in 1921. Many sources, however, credit him with 2,213 career RBI and a season high of 171 in 1921.

How can there be any dispute over how many runs the most iconic player in the history of baseball drove in?

We're glad you asked.

It might come as a surprise to some, but RBI was not an official statistic until 1920, which was Ruth's first season with the Yankees. And even then, Rule 86, Section 8 was remarkably vague from 1920-30, instructing official scorers only that:

"The summary shall contain: The number of runs batted in by each batsman."

That left plenty of room for interpretation of the scoring rule. In the absence of a strict definition, official scorers across the league were inconsistent in what they considered an RBI. This inconsistency polluted numbers for a decade, despite the fact that the statistic was finally "official."

It wasn't until 1931, when Rule 70, Section 13 made the definition more explicit, that a uniform policy for counting RBI existed:

"Runs Batted In are runs scored on safe hits (including home runs), sacrifice hits, outfield put-outs, infield put-outs, and when the run is forced over by reason of the batsman becoming a base-runner. With less than two outs, if an error is made on a play on which a runner from third would ordinarily score, credit the batsman with a Run Batted In."

While this definition has seen some tweaks over time, for the first time official scorers had a clear definition of what should count as an RBI (though tabulation errors were still an issue in a pre-computerized era).

With RBI not tracked by official scorers, where do the pre-1920 RBI numbers come from? Here is a breakdown of the history of various RBI sources.

These RBI numbers have been used in various encyclopedias over the years and have served as the basis for further research done by SABR members. This research, where 5-7 newspaper accounts are looked at for each game in order to deduce RBI, often proves earlier reconstructions (and official totals) wrong. This leads to the volatile nature of early RBI numbers. A well-detailed account of this process by SABR's Herm Krabbenhoft can be found here, showing how he meticulously worked through Ruth's career RBI totals.

These thoroughly researched corrections eventually make their way to Baseball-Reference via Pete Palmer's data after they have been sufficiently vetted, which is why you will see discrepancies between our numbers and what you see in some other places. We have full confidence that when such alterations are made, that we are putting forward the best possible data generated by countless hours of expert research.

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

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.

37 Comments | 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).

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

Corrections to 1994 Pacers Playoff Statistics

Posted by Mike Lynch on June 20, 2014

It recently came to our attention that there are some conflicting scores listed by various sources for Game 6 of the 1994 Pacers/Hawks Eastern Conference Semifinals series. This prompted some digging here. As a result, we have changed our score, from 97-79, to a 98-79 final. The extra point has been awarded to Antonio Davis for making 1 of 2 FTA in the 4th quarter.

However, this also led to our discovery that some of the "official" playoff totals for the 1993-94 Pacers are not correct. They are "officially" credited with 1,444 points in the 1994 Playoffs, but if you add up all of their scores, you will get 1,445. Similarly, Antonio Davis is "officially" credited with 134 points in the 1994 Playoffs, but if you add up his game logs, you will get 135.

It is our belief that the 98th point we were missing from our Game 6 score has gone unaccounted for in NBA stat totals for the last 20 years. As such, we are adjusting the Playoff scoring totals for the 1994 Pacers. The team will now be credited with 1,445 Playoff points (rather than 1,444) and Antonio Davis with 135 Playoff points (rather than 134). Additionally, 1 FTM and 2 FTA have been added to the Pacers' total (all credited to Davis).

Thanks to this correction, Davis has moved past Larry Foust for sole possession of 219th place on our NBA all-time Playoff scoring list. Congratulations, Antonio!

 

2 Comments | Posted in Announcement, Basketball-Reference.com, Data, History, Playoffs, Statgeekery

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

Estimating Pace and Per-Possession Ratings, 1951-1973

Posted by Neil on December 6, 2013

Today, we added a new feature to Basketball-Reference: historical team Pace Factors and Offensive/Defensive Rating estimates.

As of yesterday, we only had Pace and ORtg/DRtg for NBA teams going back to 1973-74, the first season in which the league tracked team/opponent turnovers and offensive rebounds (which are, of course, necessary to the possessions formula). However, it is possible to estimate possessions for years prior to '74 -- an idea I developed casually at the old BBR Blog in 2010, and one which was expanded on in more detail by ElGee35 at his (now-defunct) blog in 2012.

5 Comments | Posted in Announcement, Basketball-Reference.com, Data, Features, History, Statgeekery

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