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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.

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

Active Leaderboards

Posted by Neil on May 17, 2013

Ever want to know who the active leader is in a given stat? Go to Leaders, find the stat you want, and click the Active link.

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

Best NBA Scoring Duos in One Game (Mailbag)

Posted by Neil on March 5, 2013

We get asked this question a lot, and unfortunately it's not currently possible to find the answer via the Play Index, so I decided to put up a leaderboard once and for all. The most recent version of the question comes from BBR user Reggie:

I’ve seen references on here to games where two teammates scored 40 or more in the same game. But which teammates combined to score the most points in any game? [...]

One game that I remember very well as a Mavericks fan, which is often overlooked, was the overtime game they won at Chicago on November 13, 1994. That was the game where Jamal Mashburn hit for 50 and Jim Jackson went for 38, the two scoring 88 of the 124 points that night in the four point Mavs victory.

Since we have complete box scores (1985-86), here are the 200 most potent scoring duos in a single NBA game:

5 Comments | Posted in Announcement, Basketball-Reference.com, FAQ, Leaders, Trivia

Minimum Stat Requirements for College Basketball Leaderboards

Posted by Neil on November 29, 2012

Several users have asked about how players qualify for the national, conference, and career leaderboards, so we've added a page to explain the minimum requirements needed to show up on those lists. Currently, they are as follows:

4 Comments | Posted in Announcement, Basketball-Reference.com, CBB at Sports Reference, General, Leaders

Postseason Leaderboards

Posted by Neil on October 18, 2012

Did you know that B-R has all-time leaderboards for the playoffs? We currently have:

  • Batting and Pitching Leaders for the World Series (Career and Single-Series)
  • Batting and Pitching Leaders for the League Championship Series (Career and Single-Series)
  • Batting and Pitching Leaders for the Division Series (Career and Single-Series)
  • Batting and Pitching Leaders for the entire Playoffs (Career and Single-Year)

 

8 Comments | Posted in Announcement, Baseball-Reference.com, Leaders, Playoffs

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