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Sports Reference Purchases the Databases of Pete Palmer, Ken Pullis, and Gary Gillette

24th February 2021

February 25, 2021

Sports Reference LLC is pleased to announce that they have purchased the historical, statistical databases of Pete Palmer, Ken Pullis and Gary Gillette. This includes full historical databases for

Major League Baseball,
the National Basketball Association,
the National Hockey League, and
the National Football League.

Since their launch in 2000, the Sports Reference sites have presented and relied upon the groundbreaking and painstaking work of Palmer, Pullis and Gillette. Palmer’s pioneering work in baseball statistics has made his database the gold standard in the field, and his work with John Thorn on the Hidden Game of Baseball and Total Baseball is legendary. Pullis’s award-winning work in the field of pro football statistics formed the basis for the ESPN Pro Football Encyclopedia--the last pro football encyclopedia ever printed. Gillette created and edited the ESPN Baseball and Pro Football Encyclopedias and compiled a set of unique MLB databases for subjects like the Disabled/Injured List that previously had never been covered.

We are excited that we will now be the stewards of these databases. We intend to build upon Ken, Pete and Gary's extraordinary work. At Sports Reference, our purpose is to answer questions, so our users can grow their appreciation, understanding, and love of the game. Owning these databases will allow us to continue doing that, but also open up potential new opportunities such as making free databases available for researchers and publishing new products incorporating these datasets.

We are honored that Pete Palmer and Ken Pullis will continue the work on their databases as consultants to Sports Reference and look forward to expanding the scope of what is known about the history of North American sports. We will also be working with Gary Gillette on several special baseball projects in the future.

Sports Reference LLC is based in Philadelphia, PA and serves millions of users a month through its websites: Baseball-Reference.com, Basketball-Reference.com, Pro-Football-Reference.com, Hockey-Reference.com and others.

Pete Palmer is a titan in the field of baseball research and history and has been one of the foremost chroniclers of the National Pastime for the past five decades. He has edited or contributed to virtually every baseball encyclopedia that has been published in the last 50 years. Along with John Thorn, Palmer served as co-editor for seven editions of Total Baseball. Along with Gary Gillette, Palmer served as co-editor for five editions of the ESPN Baseball Encyclopedia. Palmer was also the co-author with Thorn of the seminal 1984 analytics book The Hidden Game of Baseball—a landmark work republished by the University of Chicago Press in 2015. Along with Gillette and Pullis, he served as co-editor of the ESPN Pro Football Encyclopedia. Palmer is also known as co-author of The Hidden Game of Pro Football and as a contributor to Total Football. He lives in Hollis, New Hampshire.

Gary Gillette is the founder and current chair of the Friends of Historic Hamtramck Stadium, a nonprofit that is working to restore the former Negro League ballpark near his home in Detroit. Gillette also served for a decade on the Tiger Stadium Conservancy’s board of directors. He has four decades of baseball research, writing, and editing experience, beginning with his work with Bill James and Project Scoresheet in the mid-1980s. A contributor to six editions of Total Baseball, Gillette later designed and co-edited with Pete Palmer the five editions of the ESPN Baseball Encyclopedia. Gillette also designed the ESPN Pro Football Encyclopedia and served as executive editor for both editions of that reference work. A former member of the Society for American Baseball Research’s (SABR) board of directors, Gillette is a past co-chair of two of SABR’s major research committees—the Business of Baseball Committee and the Ballparks Committee. He was the founder and president of SABR’s Detroit Chapter and is now the chair of SABR’s new Southern Michigan Chapter.

Ken Pullis is a retired air traffic controller and former US Air Force pilot. He has had a lifelong interest in pro football statistics and began doing original research in the late 1980s. Pullis is the 2002 PFRA Ralph Hay Award winner for Pro Football Research and Historiography and was co-editor with Gillette and Palmer of the ESPN Pro Football Encyclopedia, volumes 1 and 2. He currently resides in Vermilion, Ohio.

Posted in Announcement, Baseball-Reference.com, Basketball-Reference.com, Expire30d, Hockey-Reference.com, Pro-Football-Reference.com, Statgeekery, Stathead | 3 Comments »

Stathead Football Adds Player Split Finder

12th January 2021

Following the introduction of the Team Split Finder last November, we are now proud to announce the addition of another new tool for Stathead Football subscribers: the Player Split Finder.

This powerful tool allows users to search through our splits database to compare players across various situations, with most stats going back to the 1994 season. Here's a quick look at the different splits available and some examples to help you get started.

QUARTER: Most 4th Quarter TD Passes Thrown This Season

LOCATION: Highest Passer Rating on the Road in a Single Season (min. 100 attempts)

DOWN: Most Times Sacked on Third Down This Season

YARDS TO GO: Most Rushing First Downs on Plays with 10+ Yards To Go This Season

DOWN & YARDS TO GO: Best Completion Percentage on 3rd Down and 10+ Yards to Go in 2017

FIELD POSITION: Most Red Zone Targets This Season

SCORE DIFFERENTIAL: Most Pass Attempts When Trailing in 2019

GAME SITUATION: Most Passes Intercepted While Tied with Less Than 4 Minutes Remaining Since 1994

SNAP TYPE & HUDDLE (since 1998): Most Passes Completed Under Center This Season

PASS RUSH TYPE (since 2018): Best Passer Rating Against the Blitz This Season

We hope you enjoy this addition to Stathead. If you're interested in a subscription to the service, you can sign up for a free trial here. We built this tool thanks to feedback from users like you. Should you have any questions or other feedback, please reach out to us.

Posted in Announcement, Features, Pro-Football-Reference.com, Stathead | 5 Comments »

Provisional 2020 Approximate Value Now on PFR

7th January 2021

With the season concluded, we're pleased to report that we've added 2020 Approximate Value (AV) numbers to the site for all NFL players. Note that these numbers are just provisional right now; the final numbers will be released after the All-Pro teams are announced.

As of now, Josh Allen, Aaron Rodgers and Russell Wilson are tied for the league AV lead at 18, with Derrick Henry and Aaron Donald the two non-QBs to make the top 10. You can see the top players in this Stathead.com Player Season Finder search. Washington rookie Chase Young had an especially strong year, finishing at 13 AV. Only Ndamukong Suh and Jevon Kearse had as high an AV among rookie defensive linemen in the post-merger era.

Not sure what AV is? To learn more about PFR's attempt to put a single number on each player-season since 1960 (for the purposes of comparing players across position and era), check out this link. Feel free to send us feedback via our site's form.

Posted in Announcement, Features, History, Pro-Football-Reference.com | 1 Comment »

Katie Sharp joins Sports Reference

7th January 2021

Katie Sharp has joined Sports Reference and will be working both on social media and customer success for our Stathead subscription service. Katie spent seven years as a researcher with ESPN's Stats and Info Group, and since then has worked as a writer, editor and researcher on dozens of articles and books. Most recently, she has been a recurring guest on Jomboy Media's Talkin' Yanks podcast. Katie graduated from Williams College and also has an MBA from the University of Oregon. She's on twitter at @ktsharp.

Posted in Announcement, Baseball-Reference.com, Basketball-Reference.com, FBref, Hockey-Reference.com, Play Index, Play Index 101, Pro-Football-Reference.com, Stathead, Uncategorized | Comments Off on Katie Sharp joins Sports Reference

Stathead Football Adds Team Split Finder

24th November 2020

We've been listening to requests for new features from our users and we're happy to announce that we have launched a new tool for Stathead Football subscribers: The Team Split Finder

The Team Split Finder allows users to unleash the power of our splits database to run searches to compare how teams have fared in various situations. The splits are built off of our play-by-play data, which dates back to 1994.

Read the rest of this entry

Posted in Announcement, Features, Pro-Football-Reference.com, Stathead | Comments Off on Stathead Football Adds Team Split Finder

Sports Reference adds a DevOps Engineer

10th November 2020

Nick Pazoles has joined Sports Reference as a DevOps engineer. Nick previously worked for Cleo in the Chicagoland area and is the first White Sox and University of Michigan football fan on staff.

Posted in Announcement, Baseball-Reference.com, Basketball-Reference.com, CBB at Sports Reference, CFB at Sports Reference, Expire30d, FBref, Hockey-Reference.com, Pro-Football-Reference.com | Comments Off on Sports Reference adds a DevOps Engineer

Annual Stathead Subscriptions Now Available!

29th October 2020

By popular demand, we're thrilled to announce that annual Stathead subscriptions are now available at Stathead.com. Stathead is the premier set of sports research tools available to the public and is available for Baseball, Basketball, Football & Hockey. Monthly subscriptions, which are $8/month for a single sport and $16/month for all sports also remain available. The new annual subscriptions are priced to give users who choose them two months for free: $80/year for a single sport or $160/year for all sports. If you're a current subscriber and wish to change from monthly to annual, you may do so here. To learn more about Stathead, please visit here.

Posted in Announcement, Baseball-Reference.com, Basketball-Reference.com, Features, Hockey-Reference.com, Pro-Football-Reference.com, Stathead | 2 Comments »

Introducing Football’s Premier Research Tool: Stathead Football

15th September 2020

In previous months, we have launched Stathead Baseball, Stathead Hockey and Stathead Basketball. Today, we're thrilled to announce that Stathead Football has joined our suite of Stathead tools, the most powerful set of sports research tools available to the public. In fact, they're so good that the pros (whether they're running teams or covering them) also swear by them.

Read the rest of this entry

Posted in Announcement, Data, Features, Pro-Football-Reference.com, Stathead | 3 Comments »

Play Index Tools are Moving to Stathead.com

13th May 2020

The Play Index first launched on Baseball-Reference.com over thirteen years ago and has been one of the most used research tools for baseball ever since. Many of these tools have been recreated on our Basketball, Football, Hockey and College sites over the last twelve years, and, likewise, they have earned a dedicated user base of their own. Our Baseball Play Index was always a subscription product, but we never applied that model to the other sports' tools. It was always our intention to charge for these products, but for a variety of reasons that never happened.

The Sports Reference sites have continued to grow in traffic and advertising revenue over that time to the extent that the Play Index and our ad-free options are a very, very small portion of our revenue. Most of that is on us, as we have not done a great job of promoting and marketing tools that are highly valued by a dedicated group of users. The Basketball, Football, Hockey, and College Play Indexes represent well under 1% of our revenue. In addition, the Play Index tools are complicated to maintain and manage, and quite frankly are a money-loser for us at this time. It's well past time for us to re-think how these tools are positioned within our constellation of sites.

While Sports Reference is doing well overall, I'm not comfortable with having so much of our revenue dependent on advertising. We are very beholden to search engines continuing to send us traffic, and likewise the ad market can be fickle and difficult for a small to medium size operator to navigate. With the economic downturn currently taking place, our ad revenue is down significantly as well.

In addition, advertising on the sites does not make it easier for you to answer the questions you have. This is our primary mission. We maintain a relatively low level of advertising on the sites (at least compared to your regional newspaper), and we are loathe to add additional advertising units or more intrusive units. Some of you may use an ad blocker, in which case we are making no money from your use of the site at all, and the audience for our ad-free product has proven to be very small as well.

A subscription model aligns our interests much better with our users' interests as well. I realize that users are being asked to sign up for lots of subscriptions these days, but we feel the tools within the Play Index are so specialized and useful that they warrant a paywall.

So we are making some changes. The Play Index for each site will be moving to Stathead.com. Stathead.com will become the center for all of our subscription products. We expect these products to include tools and information beyond just a redesigned set of Play Index tools. This won't happen all at once, but we've started with baseball and are proceeding through the remainder of our sports over the next two months. Also, we have ended our dedicated ad-free product and instead Stathead memberships will have ad-free built-in. There just aren't enough users to justify a separate ad-free product. These changes will began in April for baseball and will be followed by Hockey in May, Basketball and probably Football in June and then College over the summer.

You can try out Stathead Baseball now. If you do a little digging, you will see that we are charging $8/month for a single sport and subscribing to all sports will cost $16/month. We realize moving from free to $8/month is a big ask, but we feel the tools provide a great deal of value and also believe that we can't continue to support the products without a viable revenue stream.

During the deployment of these changes, the existing Play Indexes will remain free.

--sean forman

Posted in Baseball-Reference.com, Basketball-Reference.com, CBB at Sports Reference, CFB at Sports Reference, Hockey-Reference.com, Play Index, Pro-Football-Reference.com, Uncategorized | 20 Comments »

2010s All-Decade Team + HOF Monitor Updates

12th May 2020

The Pro Football Hall of Fame 2010s All-Decade Team was announced a while back, and Pro Football Reference now lists the team in its Awards section, as well as in the Awards table on player pages for those who were selected. This year's All-Decade team had the peculiarity of being released without a first-team/second-team distinction, the first time that's happened since the 1960s All-Decade team. With that, our Hall of Fame Monitor also made a small change to its methodology to accommodate this; you can read the formula used for that here.

Here's a look at some of the more interesting impacts All-Decade selections might have on Hall of Fame cases:

Running Backs: Adrian Peterson and Frank Gore were already on their way to Canton, but All-Decade selections greatly help LeSean McCoy, Marshawn Lynch and Darren Sproles' future cases. McCoy's HOFm score is now at 80.76, moving him ahead of current top eligible RB Roger Craig. Lynch's score is now 68.94, which puts him just below the lowest-scoring HOFers who played in the 1980s or later. Sproles took a major jump to 64.4 thanks to making the All-Decade team on offense and special teams, and now finds himself in the range of borderliners Ricky Watters and Shaun Alexander.

Wide Receiver: This position is a little more scattered in terms of predicting who ends up making it in, but Calvin Johnson, Julio Jones and Antonio Brown will appreciate having their names in here. Considering his off-the-field meltdown, Brown is the strangest HOF case, but on paper his HOFm score is now at 89.12, which puts him right next to HOFer Art Monk and within sniffing distance of Michael Irvin.

Offensive Line: Jason Peters gets a healthy boost as he approaches the end of his career, his new HOFm score putting him inbetween HOFers Rayfield Wright and Orlando Pace, as well as right next to perennial finalist Tony Boselli. Jahri Evans and Marshal Yanda also got elevated into the mix of HOF guards with this selection.

Defensive Line: Calais Campbell gets some help for his HOF case with this selection, putting himself in the range of the highest borderline defensive ends like L.C. Greenwood and Neil Smith.

We hope you enjoy this addition and use it as a reference in friendly debates to come. Please let us know if you have any comments, questions or concerns.

Posted in Announcement, Awards, Features, Hall of Fame, History, Pro-Football-Reference.com | Comments Off on 2010s All-Decade Team + HOF Monitor Updates