Sports Reference Blog

WNBA Writers: Use Our Linker Tool to Provide Links to WNBA Player Stats

Posted by sean on April 18, 2019

Our linker now matches up with our WNBA pages, so if you are someone who writes about the WNBA, you can now link directly to our player pages from your articles. In return, we'll link back to you from the player pages, providing a valuable service to our users who want more WNBA content.

View the Linker page for details on how to install the linker bookmarklet and how to include your articles on our site, and enjoy all of the WNBA action from Breanna Stewart, Sue Bird, Brittney Griner, Kelsey Plum and more.

Posted in Announcement, | No Comments »

Finnish Veikkausliiga Stats Now on FBref

Posted by Alex Bonilla on April 18, 2019

The next domestic league we've added to our extensive coverage on FBref is Finland's top men's league, the Veikkausliiga. We are tracking the beginning of the league's 2019 season, and we have data back to its 2003 season.

One player that gets a big addition to his player history is Minnesota United midfielder Rasmus Schüller, as we now have his Veikkausliiga statistics from 2008 to 2017, including his 4 championship seasons with HJK Helsinki. Another Finnish player with added statistics is long-time Chievo midfielder Përparim Hetemaj, who now has his first 2 professional seasons with HJK reflected on his page.

You can keep up with the latest additions of country coverage and new features here on the Sports Reference Blog, or by signing up for our FBref Stathead Newsletter. Feel free to send us any questions or suggestions through our feedback form or FBref's official Twitter account.

Posted in Announcement, Data, FBref | No Comments »

Yards Per Target Added to PFR Player Pages

Posted by Alex Bonilla on April 17, 2019

Yards per target is a statistic commonly cited by fantasy football players and can be a useful piece for people interpreting a receiver's role in a team's offense. Yards per target can also be seen as a complementary blending of yards per reception, which often favors deep threats without much regard for inefficiency, with catch percentage which favors possession receivers. With that in mind, we had this as a searchable statistic in our Play Index and we are now announcing the addition of yards per target to the receiving tables on player pages.

Taking a look at field stretcher DeSean Jackson's receiving table now makes more apparent that he finished with over 10 yards per target in 6 different seasons, including his 2018 Tampa campaign. On the other side of the coin you can more clearly see Michael Crabtree's transition into a shorter-targeted receiver with 5 consecutive seasons below 7 yards per target through 2018. Looking at an earlier player, we can examine Alvin Harper through the yards per target lens. For example, consider his 1994 season where he finished with a league-leading 24.9 yards per reception, a 9-yard lead on his teammate Michael Irvin. However, when looking at yards per target, due to Harper's much lower catch rate he finished with 10.4 yards per target, compared to Irvin's 10.3 yards per target.

If you have any questions or suggestions, feel free to contact us through our feedback form.

Posted in Announcement, | No Comments »

FBref Now Available in French, German and Portuguese

Posted by Alex Bonilla on April 16, 2019

We are continuing efforts to make FBref a site where soccer fans all over the globe can turn to, and that's why we have now launched FBref in French, German and Portuguese! Including our previously announced Spanish translation, FBref is now available in 5 languages. We had volunteers test these translations before rolling them out, and we'd like to thank them for their time donated to this project.

We will continue to expand FBref into other languages in the future, on top of other major expansions done recently on the site, such as the addition of women's World Cup and domestic club data, as well as the men's domestic leagues of Norway and Sweden. All new additions to FBref will be announced on our Sports Reference Blog and our FBref Twitter account. If you want to let us know if there are other features or languages you'd like to see, or if you'd like to volunteer for future tests of translations of FBref to other languages, you can contact us through our feedback form.

Posted in Announcement, FBref, Features | 2 Comments »

Basketball-Reference Adds Visual Standings By Date

Posted by Alex Bonilla on April 16, 2019

Basketball-Reference has added a new section to its season pages that present a more visual display of how conference and division standings changed from day to day within a season. Using the 2018-19 Eastern Conference standings by date as an example, you can see how the ordering of teams shifted from day to day, such as the struggle between Toronto and Milwaukee for the top spot in the conference in January, or how Brooklyn, Orlando and Detroit landed in the 6-8 spots in the final weeks of the seasons.

There is a table to indicate how many days a team spent in first place in the conference or division being displayed. There is also a function to highlight a specific team to better keep track of them on the table. For example, try going to the 2004-05 Western Conference standings, go to the Highlight a Team dropdown above the table and select the Denver Nuggets. That will highlight them on the table and you can track their meandering route to the 7th spot in the Western Conference that season.

If you have any questions or suggestions, feel free to contact us through our feedback form.

Posted in Announcement,, Features | 2 Comments » Adds Comprehensive Women’s World Cup and Women’s Club Data

Posted by sean on April 11, 2019

We are pleased to release what we believe is one of the most complete sources for women's soccer data on the internet.

Women's World Cup

FBref now has pages for every player and team in Women's World Cup history. From the 1991 World Cup in China to the 2015 World Cup in Canada.

Every player from Carli Lloyd to Homare Sawa to Marta has complete World Cup results.

This work was done in partnership with the Grinnell College Data Analysis and Social Inquiry Lab (thank you especially to LaAnna Farnelli, Jarren Santos, Katherine Walden, and Dr. Xavi Escandell) and soccer researcher Aaron Nielsen. Thanks also to members of our staff who helped with this project: Jaclyn Mahoney, Jay Hutchinson, Alex Bonilla, and Dan Hirsch.

As part of this initial foray into international football data, we also have 2016 Olympic Women's Soccer results.

Women's Club Soccer

Our coverage of women's soccer does not start and stop just with the Women's World Cup every four years. We are covering women's soccer for the other three years and eleven months as well. We intend to be your first choice for women's club data, so we are also launching extensive club data for over 20 league seasons. Partnering with our data provider, Data Sports Group, we have added coverage for eight national women's leagues along with data for up to three seasons. These leagues are:

We also have statistics for the last three seasons of the UEFA Women's Champions League.

Daily Updates and Match Reports

The best part is that we'll be updating club and World Cup results on a daily basis during the World Cup, and also every day of the club season. We want you to rely on us for your women's football needs.

In the next three to four weeks, we will also be launching our match reports, fixture lists, and much more across all of the leagues and competitions we cover.

World Cup Newsletter

Beginning this spring, our Stathead News arm will publish a daily newsletter leading up to and during the Women's World Cup. We'll include the schedules, match results, and interesting news and tidbits relating to each day's matches. Sign up now and don't miss an issue. No obligation and we promise it is easy to unsubscribe.

Using our Data

If you are a writer, blogger, or podcaster, we would love to talk with you about ways you might use our data in stories, visualizations or reporting around this summer's matches in France. Also feel free to let us know if you have questions, comments, suggestions, or find errors or issues with the site. We promise to get better every day and your feedback helps immensely with that.

Promoting Your Work

Also, you can promote your writing on our site for free using our Linker program. With one click of a bookmarklet you add to your browser, the first incidence of a player name will be linked to her page on If you alert us that you intend to use the linker, we will monitor your RSS feed daily, and we will then link back to your article from the player's page driving traffic to your site.

Do You Have Data?

We would love to talk with you about ways we might incorporate your data into our site. Our goal is to become a public repository of all things world football. It's a big world out there, so help is always appreciated. We take the public and freely available presentation of data very seriously.


Our site is not just available in English. We also have versions in:

We look forward to supporting and following women's soccer with you, and we hope you visit us often to check in on your favorite athletes and teams.

Posted in Announcement, FBref, Features, General, History | 1 Comment »

Norwegian Eliteserien Stats Now on FBref

Posted by Alex Bonilla on April 11, 2019

One of our newest additions to domestic men's league coverage on FBref is the tracking of Norway's Eliteserien. The league's 2019 season has just kicked off, and we also have historical data for the league back to its 2000 season, when the league was called Tippeligaen.

In the German Bundesliga, Hertha BSC currently boasts a pair of Norwegian veterans, Rune Jarstein at goalkeeper and Per Ciljan Skjelbred at midfield. With this league addition, you can take a look at Jarstein's rise through the Eliteserien ranks with Odd, Rosenborg and Viking, as well as Skjelbred's 4 championship seasons with Rosenborg. Other players that get their earlier careers filled out include Mohamed Elyounoussi, currently with Premier League side Southampton after coming up in the Tippeligaen with Sarpsborg 08 and Molde, and LA Galaxy's Jørgen Skjelvik, who went to MLS after 3 consecutive championships with Rosenborg.

You can keep up with the latest additions of country coverage and new features here on the Sports Reference Blog, or by signing up for FBref's mailing list. Feel free to send us any questions or suggestions through our feedback form or FBref's official Twitter account.

Posted in Announcement, Data, FBref | No Comments »

Swedish League Stats Now on FBref

Posted by Alex Bonilla on April 10, 2019

Our latest addition to FBref domestic league coverage is Sweden, as we now have the country's top tier men's league, Allsvenskan, covered back to the 2001 season, as well as its second-tier Superettan back to 2006. Of course, we will also be covering those leagues for their 2019 seasons.

Zlatan Ibrahimović is busy still being among the top goal scorers in MLS after a storied career in Europe, and with this addition we can now add his 2001 season with Malmö, his final one in Allsvenskan before moving on to the Dutch Eredivisie. Other players with added history include Watford's Ken Sema, who is in his first Premier League season after 5 years with Ljungskile and Östersund, and Jakob Johansson of Rennes in Ligue 1, who played the first 8 years of his career with Göteborg.

You can keep up with the latest additions of country coverage and new features here on the Sports Reference Blog, or by signing up for FBref's mailing list. Feel free to send us any questions or suggestions through our feedback form or FBref's official Twitter account.

Posted in Announcement, Data, FBref | No Comments »

Old Hoss Radbourn: 59 or 60 Wins?

Posted by Alex Bonilla on April 10, 2019

Keen-eyed Baseball-Reference users have written us asking about an update made to the statistics of Hall of Fame pitcher Old Hoss Radbourn. In the past, we had displayed Radbourn with 59 wins in his 1884 season with Providence. However, in a recent update, Radbourn has been bumped up to 60 wins.

Before we delve into what the correct number is, let's zoom out a bit, first. It will probably surprise most baseball fans to discover that there was no league-mandated rule in place for assigning wins and losses before 1950. Wins were awarded, but they were entirely up to the discretion of the official scorer. Compounding this issue is the fact that while the leagues tracked pitcher wins for much of the Deadball Era, they made many errors, and even briefly stopped officially counting pitcher wins and losses for a few years in the 1910s as ERA was first gaining popularity. A SABR member named Frank Williams meticulously corrected the record, and his research formed the basis for the accepted totals you see today.

Williams unveiled his groundbreaking work in 1982 with the article All the Record Books Are Wrong. I'd encourage you to read the article at that link (and thank you to John Thorn for re-posting it in its entirety).

Williams was the original source for the 59 wins attributed to Radbourn in 1884. He arrived at this number by determining what practices were used at the time to determine pitcher wins and losses. Earlier record books had retroactively applied the 1950 rule to Radbourn's era and given him 60 wins as a result. However, it was discovered by Frederick Ivor-Campbell that this was done in error and that one of his 1884 wins (on July 28) should have actually been credited to his teammate Cyclone Miller.

Miller was indeed the correct winner if you applied the 1950 rule, since he pitched 5 innings and left with a lead. However, Radbourn pitched 4 shutout innings and was more effective. Practice in the 1880s allowed for the more effective pitcher to be deemed the winning pitcher, per Pete Palmer. While Williams originally concluded that Miller was the correct winner of this game (giving him 59 wins on the season), he has recently concluded that using practices of the time Radbourn is the correct winner, and therefore has 60 wins in 1884.

Ironically, we end up back at the original 60 wins attributed to Radbourn's 1884 season all the way back in 1920, but hopefully we've learned a good deal along this path. We hope this serves as a reminder how valuable the research done by SABR members is.

In conclusion, we are now showing that Old Hoss Radbourn was credited with 60 wins in his 1884 season.

Posted in, History, Statgeekery | 9 Comments »

2019 WAR Update

Posted by Alex Bonilla on March 21, 2019

As we approach the beginning of the 2019 season, we have made some updates to our Wins Above Replacement calculations.  You may notice some small changes to figures as you browse the site. As always, you can find full details on how we calculate WAR here.


Last season, the Tampa Bay Rays popularized the concept of the opener, where the first pitcher of the game is expected to pitch considerably less than a typical starting pitcher.  The opener is followed by a “headliner” or “bulk guy,” who enters the game after the opener but takes on responsibilities similar to a traditional starting pitcher. The Rays found success with this approach, and several other teams followed suit.

Our Wins Above Replacement calculation treats starting pitchers and relief pitchers differently, since relief pitchers have much lower ERAs than starters.  The opener strategy throws a wrinkle into this, since the opener is not expected to go deep into the game and the headliner is, so we have a starting pitcher who is behaving more like a relief pitcher and vice versa.

Tom Tango posted some thoughts on this last year, and the discussion in the comments of that post produced a working definition for the opener:

  1. Determine if we have an opener.  This pitcher must start the game and have either at most 2 innings pitched (6 outs), or at most 9 batters faced.
  2. Determine if we have a headliner. This pitcher must meet two criteria:
  3. Length of appearanceAt least 4 innings pitched (12 outs), or at least 18 batters faced
  4. Order of appearanceThey are the first reliever, OR they are the second reliever, but the first reliever entered mid-inning, and the second reliever started the following inning


If both these pitchers exist, then we have a game with an opener and a headliner.  Both pitchers must exist; you cannot have an opener without a headliner, and vice versa.

Using this definition, we have updated our WAR calculation to treat openers like relievers and headliners like starters.  This change has been applied to all seasons since 1960, the first year we apply a starter/reliever adjustment.

Ryan Yarbrough, the Rays’ most frequent headliner, is an instructive case.  He pitched 38 games and 147.1 innings, but started just 6 times.  By the above definition, 16 of his relief appearances were as a headliner.  Prior to this adjustment, the Rays’ rookie had 0.9 WAR for 2018. After the adjustment, Yarbrough has 1.5 WAR.  The new calculation recognizes that Yarbrough is behaving more like a traditional starting pitcher, and holds his performance to the same standard it would if Yarbrough had started those games.

Park Factors

Park factors for recent seasons have been re-computed to be three-year rolling averages. For instance, 2017 Park Factors now encompass 2016-2018. This is something that needs to be done each year when the season ends.

Catcher Defense Prior to 1953

With help from Sean Smith of (and of an unnamed team front office) and baserunning statistics from Pete Palmer, we now have incorporated catcher defense for the years 1890 through 1952 based on stolen bases, caught stealing, errors, passed balls, and, from 1925 on, wild pitches.  Prior to this update, these players’ defensive abilities were judged only based on errors and passed balls.

Duke Farrell is a particularly noteworthy beneficiary of this change.  His career WAR rises by nearly 8 wins, because he played in an era (1888-1905) with a lot of stolen base attempts and did a better job of throwing out runners than his contemporaries.

This change also impacts pitchers’ WAR figures, since we have more information about the quality of defenses to take into account.  For instance, Jack Taylor and Kid Nichols of the 1904 Cardinals see their WAR numbers rise by more than a win each after accounting for the fact that their catchers threw out fewer runners than the rest of the league.  Indeed, the Cardinals’ primary backstop Mike Grady saw his WAR drop by two wins with this update.

On the flipside, legendary pitcher Cy Young loses more than 4 wins over his career after accounting for the above-average work his teammates did behind the plate throughout his career.

We’ve highlighted some of the more extreme changes here, but to see full lists of the largest changes to season and career WAR totals, please see the spreadsheet here.


Posted in Advanced Stats, Announcement,, Data, Statgeekery, WAR | 12 Comments »