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RetroSheet Call for Volunteers

Posted by Sean Forman on August 25, 2010

The note below is a call for volunteers from RetroSheet President Dave Smith. If you like box scores, gamelogs, and splits from baseball's history on this site, you have Dave and his crew of volunteers to thank as their research has provided most of the information for that work. RetroSheet is a completely non-profit volunteer organization, and if you have some free time and love baseball history they have some ways you can help. You can e-mail Dave with an offer to help at

Retrosheet’s need for volunteer help
by Dave Smith

As we have accumulated more data, Retrosheet’s needs for volunteers have shifted.  At the present time our most critical need is for help obtaining scans of newspaper stories from newspapers that are not available on-line. There certainly are many internet resources with newspapers and the good news is that these should continue to increase.  However, there are some excellent newspapers from the 20th century that to this point are only available via microfilm. That means going to a library, sitting at the microfilm reader, finding the relevant story (we occasionally find some play by play accounts this way as well) and making a scan.  In many cases it is necessary to get the paper via interlibrary loan.

Until now, our primary mode of operation was for me to collect information and distribute it to volunteers for processing (game entry, deducing game accounts, digitizing of official records, etc).  Volunteers then donated huge amounts of their time to complete the tasks.  However, we are rapidly approaching the point that this model needs to change.  In the past several years, we have relied more and more on newspaper stories, especially for deducing play by play accounts.  The problem is that I have become the bottleneck in this process, since almost all the scanning has been done by me.  I have access to a great library and excellent interlibrary loan services, but the task is just too large for me to keep up with alone.  Others have provided substantial help, especially Bob Kistler in Boston, Jim Herdman in Seattle, Cliff Blau in New York and Walter LeConte in Kansas City, just to name the four most active.  However, the job before us is huge and it would be extremely valuable if others could help us collect the newspaper information.  I realize this is a much more demanding task than our “traditional” pattern of volunteer work at home.

I am therefore asking for help from anyone who can help with scanning from the following newspapers, mostly prior to 1950:

New York Daily News
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
St. Louis Globe-Democrat
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Pittsburgh Press
Boston Globe
Boston Record-American
Cincinnati Enquirer
Detroit Free Press
Detroit Times
Washington Times
Philadelphia Evening Bulletin

Over the years, I have worked on these papers in a rather disjointed way to address specific projects.  Therefore, we need selected dates from selected years and not just blanket copying of all issues of the Globe-Democrat from 1928, as an example.  If you can help with this difficult, but absolutely vital effort, let me know which papers you can access and I will provide you with exact dates that we need.

Dave Smith

4 Responses to “RetroSheet Call for Volunteers”

  1. Devon & His 1982 Topps blog Says:

    A lot issues of Pittsburgh Post-Gazette & Pittsburgh Press are available for free via Google's newspaper search. Maybe we could all help a bit with that one.

  2. kevin warren Says:

    actually, there were three papers in pittsburgh until 1960, including the sun-telegraph.
    kevin warren

  3. Jeff Zimmerman Says:

    Any word on when the Negro League data will be added? It was stated that it would be available last April.

  4. Mitch Tolson Says:

    You listed Washington Times as a source. Are you referring to Washington state or the District of Columbia?