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Archive for the 'Insane ideas' Category

How Many Players Would Have 95 RBI in Ryan Howard’s Opportunities?

16th August 2011


Here's a fun exercise to follow up on Sean's NYT piece about Ryan Howard (and his radio interview today)...

It seems to me that the core question in the Howard debate is this: how many RBIs would other players have if they got to hit behind players who got on base as frequently as Howard's teammates do?

Well, a quick and dirty way to answer that is to look at how many RBIs a player has relative to the number of baserunners (BR) aboard when he's at the plate. Based on their 2011 rates of RBI per BR (and min. 350 PA), here are players who would also have 95 RBI if afforded Howard's 375 BR:

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Posted in Insane ideas, Sabermetrics | 112 Comments »

Linker Now Lets You Pick your Ryan Braun of Choice

3rd June 2011

Francisco Rodriguez, Ryan Braun and Carlos Pena have always been difficult cases for our linker. We've now come upon a solution for that.

Previously we would link Ryan Braun's name with the following.

This is now updated to:,braunry02

The id's in the results parameter are for the Pitcher Ryan Braun (Braun the lesser, braunry01) and the Brewers' Ryan Braun (Braun the greater, braunry02). Someone like Francisco Rodriguez has 8 results or so. The results are ordered by last_year played descending and length of career descending (I figure I would weight it towards active guys who have played awhile).

If you do nothing, these links will auto-forward your readers to the most popular player (as measured by all-time page views as a major leaguer) among the players with id's in that list. If there are only minor leaguers or just one player listed in results it will send you to the player page for the first id listed (which is ordered as above).

Now if you want to link directly to Ryan Braun the lesser, just delete the other Ryan Braun's id (braunry02) from the link.

And now the link sends you to the other Ryan Braun the lesser (braunry01). This will require a bit of memorization of id's, but really you will only need to do that for cases where you are linking to the lesser player with that name.

This has been rolled out already. I also added an html comment at the beginning that states the above more succinctly. The comment can remain in the post as it won't show up when published.

Sometime later today or next week, I will start using these in the page feeds, so Ryan Braun will finally have his own page feed. This may cause some players to show incorrect page feeds (mismatches of Ryan Braun news, etc), but short of artificial intelligence scanning of writer intent, I don't see a way around that.

Apologies to Braun the Lesser. I'm sure he is a better guy than the other one in every way except baseball ability. 🙂

Posted in Announcements, Insane ideas, Power Users | 1 Comment »

Help B-R with Projections: User AQ Ratings are the Final Piece

1st April 2011

Help Determine a Player's Attractiveness Quotient

UPDATE: Just a note that we launched this April 1, 2011

At B-R we are always trying to acquire new data to give you a fuller picture of the players and of team personnel. For example, a recent deal we signed with team equipment personnel will allow us to soon add shoe size, hat size, and glove and bat models for all current major league players (still working on the minor leagues).
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Posted in Announcements, Awards, Bloops, Insane ideas, Uncategorized | 24 Comments »

1919 Box Scores, Splits & More

28th March 2011

August 2, 1919 Philadelphia Phillies at Chicago Cubs Box Score and Play by Play -

Thanks to the phenomenal work of RetroSheet, we now have 1919 box scores, gamelogs and splits on the site.  The play index has also been updated with 1919 data where appropriate.

In addition, a couple dozen previously undiscovered play-by-play accounts have been added for more recent  seasons and numerous bugs have been fixed both in our scripts and in the retrosheet data.

Please let us know if you come across any bugs or things that need to be fixed.

Posted in Announcements, Box Scores, Game Finders, Gamelogs, Innings Summary, Insane ideas, Minor Leagues, Pitcher vs. Batter, Play Index, Season Finders, Stats, Streak Finders | 18 Comments »

MLB EloRater: Who Are the Best Players in MLB History?

11th March 2011

MLB EloRater / Live Ratings

Over at, the Player Elo Rater has been up and running for several weeks, and I'm now pleased that we have it up and running on as well.

Justin Kubatko put together the guts for the system and I don't have much to add beyond his introduction to the method. Please let me know if you have any suggestions.

I have also just added the player's current rank to their player pages where they appear just below the player newsfeed. I'll be rolling out rankings to franchise, year and the front page, next week probably.

Posted in Announcements, Insane ideas, Power Users, Sabermetrics | 50 Comments »

Bill Simmons, Malcolm Gladwell, And The Dirty Secret Of The MIT Sports Analytics Conference

11th March 2011

And the idea is taking hold elsewhere: The Wharton School at UPenn is holding its first annual Sports Innovation Conference in April. Among the guests: Caps/Wiz owner Ted Leonsis, former Hawks and Braves president Stan Kasten, and Baseball-Reference founder Sean Forman. In other words, it's the Sloan JV team.

via Bill Simmons, Malcolm Gladwell, And The Dirty Secret Of The MIT Sports Analytics Conference.

I just wanted to say how flattered I am that Deadspin saw fit to lump me in with Stan Kasten and Ted Leonsis as the Sloan JV team.  I've been working out daily and hope to get the call to varsity sometime in the not too distant future.   Info on the Wharton conference is here:

Posted in Announcements, Insane ideas, Media Mentions | 5 Comments »

Have a Blog? Add your Posts to our Player Newsfeeds

27th April 2010

Automatic Player Linker / Statistical Sharing / Add your Blog/Site to our Newsfeeds

It has been a few weeks since the season started and I've found the time to return to our 10 for 10 anniversary celebration. We've added Newsfeeds to our active player pages. We've also added a linking tool that makes it very straightforward for you to add links to a player's Baseball Reference page from your blog posts or news stories.
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Posted in 10 for 10, Announcements, Insane ideas, Power Users, Site Features | 4 Comments »

Free Baseball Stats for your E-Reader

12th January 2010

Baseball-Reference Blog » The Baseball Reference Player Folio on your E-Reader

Teaming with John Burnson of Heater Magazine we've produced a set of Encyclopedia files specifically formatted for the Kindle. The files are plain pdf files, so they should work in other settings as well. We hope you enjoy the downloads.

Posted in Announcements, Insane ideas, Power Users | 4 Comments »

Volunteer with RetroSheet and learn some baseball history

7th January 2010

Tom Ruane sent out this note to the RetroSheet mailing list. Sometime this winter we'll have boxscores for every game from 1920-1939, and we are really close to having a complete run of box scores from 1920-2010. This will mean complete career game logs for Gehrig, Grove, Ott, Greenberg, Foxx, Dickey, DiMaggio, Williams. We'll be able to compute Williams' longest on base streaks or Gehrig's best RBI games, or Foxx's home/road splits.

As we wrap up the 1930s and turn our attention to the 1940s, I would like to mention that we are always looking for volunteers to help digitize the Hall of Fame player dailies. Depending upon your skill with a spreadsheet, a team's worth of batting dailies should take you anywhere from 5 to 20 hours of work. I won't lie to you - it can be pretty tedious stuff, but the end product (box scores, player dailies/splits, top performance pages, and so on) hopefully makes it all worthwhile.

If this sounds like something you might be interested in, please let me know (off-list at tjruane who has email at

Tom Ruane

Posted in Announcements, Insane ideas, Power Users | 7 Comments »

What Can Each Team Afford to Spend?

29th November 2009

I don't need to tell you that ever since the Yankees won the World Series earlier this month, there's been a lot of renewed discussion about whether or not New York's payroll advantage finally "bought" them a championship, and if a salary cap is needed to restore competitive balance to baseball. That topic has really been talked about to death over the past few weeks, but I feel like a salary cap -- ostensibly designed to prevent the Yankees from spending $50 million more than the next highest-payrolled team -- is only half of the discussion. If all you do is put a cap on team payrolls, you're still going to have cheapskate owners who take their revenue-sharing money and fail to invest it in their teams, owners who have learned to game the system and are content to put a poor product on the field if it means they can keep more cash for themselves.

So, obviously, you need to talk about a salary floor every bit as much as a salary cap. Discussing salary floors, though, leads to the question of whether you should force owners to spend a certain amount of money on their players, whether they have it or not. Opinions on the profitability of MLB teams vary wildly depending on who you talk to -- Bud Selig routinely claims teams are operating at a loss, while Forbes magazine routinely disagrees -- so it's an open question at this point in terms of how high of a floor you can impose on some of the more (allegedly) cash-strapped teams. But here's a fun exercise we can engage in, as long as we're pretending that a salary cap/floor is even a remote possibility...

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Posted in Insane ideas | 17 Comments »