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Historical Franchise Nicknames Altered on Baseball Reference

29th August 2023

In SABR's Fall 2019 Baseball Research Journal Ed Coen produced some remarkable research on the history of franchise nicknames.

Coen wrote:

Of the major league teams that trace their history before 1960, most started out with several short-term unofficial nicknames or even no nickname at all. Although several reputable sources provide a history of these nicknames, there are numerous contradictions between the available sources, and sometimes even when these sources agree, they conflict with the original sources. In other words, they do not reflect what the team was actually known as at the time.

Coen then performed exhaustive research using local newspapers to find out what teams were actually most commonly referred to at the time in their home cities. Thanks to his research, we are now able to use the actual names these teams were mostly commonly known as locally at the time on Baseball Reference. In many cases, you'll see the teams had no nicknames at all and were just known for the city and league they played in. Below is a list of the changes we have made: Read the rest of this entry

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The Versus Finder is Now Available on Stathead Baseball!

27th July 2023

In April, May, and June, we launched the Versus Finder on Stathead for Hockey, Basketball, and Football. Last but not least, we’re excited to announce that we’ve launched the Versus Finder on Stathead Baseball!

The Baseball Versus Finder has many of the same powerful tools as the Versus Finders across our other Stathead sports, as well as a couple of new ones that are specific to baseball. Here’s a primer on what it offers and how to use it.

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Biographical Updates to Players on Baseball Reference

25th July 2023

Thanks to the tireless efforts of the fine folks over at the SABR Biographical Research Committee, we have recently made some biographical updates to players on Baseball Reference. Most of the changes are added birthplaces, birth locations and deaths. A few of the updates feature changes to player names and/or moving statistics from one player record to another. Some highlights:

  • A player who made one appearance for the 1889 Louisville Colonels of the American Association has been identified as Walter Fisher. He was previously listed as Charles Fisher due to some confusion in contemporary newspapers. Thank you to Justin McKinney for tracking down this correction.
  • A player who played two games for the 1884 Washington Nationals of the Union Association has been identified as George Pierce. He was previously believed to be Maurice Pierce.
  • A player who played six games for the 1884 St. Paul White Caps of the Union Association has been identified as Ed Brown, who previously played for the St. Louis Brown Stockings and the Toledo Blue Stockings of the American Association. This record has previously been associated with Jim Brown, who pitched for Altoona Mountain City (UA), New York Gothams (NL) and Philadelphia Athletics (AA).
  • A player for the 1875 Brooklyn Atlantics who was previously identified as Thomas N. Smith is now identified as D. Smith.

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Change to Major League Player Identification

19th May 2023

Thanks to some superb sleuthing by the SABR Biographical Research Committee we have moved eight plate appearances (as well as the associated fielding statistics) with the 1882 Philadelphia Athletics from one John Farrell to another (sort of).

Here's the explanation from SABR's Bill Carle:

Our Find of the Month concerns a couple of guys named Farrell who played back in the 1870s and 1880s. I had listed John Farrell (known as Hartford Jack) playing in 1874 with Hartford. There was also a player listed as John Farrell (sometimes known as Bill) who played in the American Association with Philadelphia in 1882 and Baltimore in 1883. Justin McKinney did some research on these players and concluded that the 1882 Philadelphia AA record should belong to Hartford Jack.

Notes from 1879 and 1880 show that the Hartford man was playing shortstop and catcher for Sacramento and San Francisco. When Farrell signed with Philadelphia in 1882, a note in the Philadelphia City Item said that Philadelphia had signed John Farrell of San Francisco as change catcher. It seems reasonable to assume that this is the same man who had previously played in Hartford.

That leaves the Farrell who played for Baltimore in 1883. The Baltimore paper just identified him as Farrell of Philadelphia, the new man. There was nothing to really identify him. He could also be Hartford Jack, but there is nothing to really prove that. So we will list him as Farrell, first name unknown, until we can get further clarification as to his identity.

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New Feature! How We Added the Last Five Games Table to Player Pages

16th May 2023

All our player pages recently received a big update. We added a new table showing every player's performances over their last five games. It looks like this:

Pretty cool! This is on all sites (except FBref, where it's still in development), but right now you can only see it on the sports that are currently in season.

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2023 MLB Rule Changes Page Live on Baseball Reference

20th April 2023

Exciting news! We've created a new page for 2023 on Baseball Reference to track the impact of the rule changes that MLB implemented for this season.

As a baseball fan, you're likely aware that every plate appearance now includes a pitch clock and limits on timeouts to keep things moving, the bases are slightly larger to encourage more base stealing, and the shift has been banned to create more balls in play.

But are these changes having the designed impact? That's what this new page is designed to show. For example, with pace of play, here's a look at some of the stats on game time, baserunning, and the shift ban, as of today. Read the rest of this entry

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Additional Baseball Reference Updates from Seamheads

13th April 2023

Last month we added updated coverage of Negro major leagues from Seamheads to Baseball Reference. A summary of those additions can be found here. We have recently added some other new data from Seamheads featuring competitions from outside of the seven established major Negro Leagues, which we will highlight below.

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Updated Play-By-Play Data on Baseball Reference

30th March 2023

We have run an update on our data from our friends at Retrosheet on Baseball Reference. Retrosheet, which provides box scores and play-by-play covering most of AL/NL history, has significantly expanded the availability of play-by-play for the 1921, 1922 and 1923 seasons, and, for the first time, added play-by-play for 1914 season. Thanks to their efforts, we now have play-by-play for 65.41% of 1914 games (53% in the AL and 79% in the NL), 97.72% of 1921 games, 97.35% of 1922 games and 93.35% of 1923 games. Additionally, 38 other seasons between 1917 and 1971 have seen smaller improvements in play-by-play coverage. This is our first play-by-play for the 1914 season, so many of our statistical tables that need play-by-play in order to be calculated (win probability, situational batting/pitching, base-running/miscellaneous, batting against, etc) will now have rows for 1914 for the first time. The 1921-23 seasons previously had ~80% coverage and are now very nearly complete.

Check out our full play-by-play data coverage map.

The additional play-by-play is also available in Stathead. For example, we now have 9 walk-off home runs from 1914. Two of those were hit by Gavvy Cravath of the Philadelphia Phillies. On Cravath’s Home Run Log, you can see we now have play-by-play data (and therefore win probability added) for 18 of his league-leading 19 home runs. The most important of these 18 home runs (by WPA) was his walk-off home run on June 11 against the Reds. In the bottom of the ninth with two outs and the bases empty, he ended the game with a deep blast to center off Earl Yingling. It had a WPA of .468.

The one Cravath home run from 1914 that we’re missing (August 4) was also a walk-off home run. We know this thanks to the Tattersall/McConnell Home Run Log, a database of all homers hit in the major leagues since 1876. This third walk-off home run is not in the Event Finder because we do not have any other events for that game.

Cravath’s season WPA is 4.3, tops in the NL and second in the majors to Eddie Collins’ 4.7. On the pitching side, Jeff Pfeffer of the Brooklyn Robins leads the way at 6.4. You can check out the complete WPA stats for the AL and NL. These are subject to change as play-by-play for more games is added.

This new data, along with our recent Seamheads update, will also allow us to re-run our WAR numbers, so keep an eye out for that update this week.

Posted in Announcement,, Data | 1 Comment »

Updated Negro Leagues Data on Baseball Reference

28th March 2023

Thanks to our partnership with the Seamheads Negro League database, we have released our second annual update of the dataset. Our last update, in April of 2022, was covered in this blog post. Like last year, this update includes thousands of incremental improvements. The most significant new data revolves around expanded statistics for the 1940 and 1941 seasons in the Negro American League and the Negro National League II. Additionally, lots of new biographical data has been added. Here's a rundown of some of the improvements Baseball Reference users will now see:

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Changes to OBP, OPS in 1920s & 1930s

31st January 2023

From time to time Baseball-Reference receives updates to the historical record from trusted sources. These are transmitted to us via the Chadwick Baseball Bureau, which obtains updates from the legendary sports researcher Pete Palmer.

Generally these sorts of updates are most numerous when our friends at Retrosheet release new seasons worth of data. However, earlier this month we loaded a smaller update that deserves a mention and some further reflection on our part on how to best proceed.
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