Sports Reference Blog

Archive for December, 2023

Why a Major League Player Disappeared from Our Count

19th December 2023

You may have noticed that, as of the end of the 2023 MLB season, the counter on the front page of Baseball-Reference indicated that there had been 23,115 players in major league history and that that number now says 23,114.

This change is due to the hard work and dedication of the SABR Biographical Research Committee, which continually makes new discoveries about players in the early days of the game, in particular. In this case, a mistaken identity involving a player who caught one inning for the 1900 St. Louis Cardinals has been resolved. Previously, it was thought that this catching appearance was made by Henry Edward Stein. However, it has been discovered via the Sporting News archives (which all SABR members get complementary access to as a membership perk) that the appearance was actually made by Tom Stanton. Stanton also appeared in one game for the 1904 Chicago Cubs, and thus already had a player record. This is why we now show 23,114 all-time major league players instead of 23,115.

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Quarterly Scoring Added For Most Pre-Shot Clock NBA/BAA Games

14th December 2023

If you peruse the NBA Guide (the name of the NBA's official record book produced before every season) you'll notice that most team scoring records for quarters are restricted to 'since 1954-55', which is when the NBA first introduced the shot clock. Before that, games tended to be lower scoring, particularly in late and close situations as teams held out for possession of the ball at the end of the game. It is also often hard to find record of how much was scored in a given quarter before the shot clock as the league was generally less popular and recaps, let alone box scores, were less thorough. However, at Basketball-Reference we view it as important to attempt to preserve as many recordable facts about these games as possible. We are frequently making minor improvements to our box scores in the 40s, 50s, 60s, 70s and 80s. Thanks to some help from NBA research ace Todd Spehr, we have recently added quarter-by-quarter scoring to the vast majority of the BAA and NBA games from 1946-47 through 1953-54 that were previously missing these details. Before this recent work, we were missing these details on 709 games. We were able to add complete data for 569 of them and partial data for 62 of them. This leaves fewer than 100 games completely lacking scoring breakdowns. For instance, what the NBA considers the first game in the history of the league (though it was actually a BAA game) between the Knicks and Huskies on November 1, 1946 now has a complete scoring breakdown, with the Knicks winning despite coming up with just six points in the third quarter. Chicago Stags home games in this era might be particularly fun to look at because, as a marketing tactic, they decided to play 15-minute quarters in several home games such as this, this and this. Minutes played were not yet an official statistic, so it's unclear if any Stags were averaging over 50 MPG for some home games. We hope you enjoy these new additions.

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Coverage of Match-by-Match Premier League Assists Greatly Expanded

14th December 2023

We have recently greatly expanded our coverage of match-by-match player assists in Premier League play on FBref. Until a few months ago we only had coverage back through the 2014-15 season. Last week we completed an effort to compile assists for all matches all the way back to the first season of the Premier League in 1992-93. This has also allowed us to make corrections to season totals, which should now match the sums of the match-level statistics. For instance, here you can see the 1999-00 Premier League Match Logs for David Beckham have all of the assists filled in. These assists are also searchable in our brand new product, Stathead FBref.

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