#Hot Corner

Presenting a century of box scores

You know all about Baseball-Reference.com.

Well, not all about it. I've been relying on Baseball-Reference.com for at least a decade, and there are still many, many things I don't know about it. Too many things. Roughly all of the time, if there's anything you need to know about baseball and numbers are involved, it's there. You just gotta know where to find it.

But you know that already.

I do sometimes worry that you don't all know about Retrosheet.

Retrosheet, founded by David Smith, has been around for nearly 25 years. Smith's goal? Simple: Find and digitize play-by-play accounts for every game in major-league history. Smith and his crew have made incredible progress, and it's that data that fuels large chunks of Baseball-Reference.com.

I bring this up today because Retrosheet has just completed its latest data release. This one's relatively modest, with play-by-play events for 363 games for the American League in 1922; those join 463 National League games for the same season, which adds up 826 of the 1,238 games played in the majors that year.

But wait, there's more. Box scores and lots of 'em! From David Smith's announcement on SABR's listserve:

As regular users of our site are aware, for the past several years we have added box scores to the "front end" of our collection, moving steadily backwards in proper retro fashion. All box scores are balanced and checked against the official daily totals for all players.  Thousands of discrepancies with the official records have been discoverd in the process.

These box scores cover all games, whether we have play by play data or not. With this release, we reach a major milestone in the publication of the box scores. With the completion of 1914 season (the Federal League games were the last addition) plus the addition of the games from 2013, we now have the last 100 consecutive years of box scores on our site.  I like to think of it as the RetroCentury, a total of 169,462 games.  Of course, the main driving force in all of this is Tom Ruane.  Many volunteers helped to digitize the official daily records and to collect lineups from newspapers, but it has been Tom's relentless drive that brought everything together.  Everyone who uses the Retrosheet site should give thanks to Tom and his selfless donation of thousands of hours in bringing this collection to life.

I regularly offer silent thanks to Tom Ruane and Dave Smith, along with other Retrosheet stalwarts like David Vincent, Clem Conly, Dick Cramer, Cliff Blau, Mark Pankin, Walter LeConte, Dave Stilwell, Dave Lamoureaux, and Federal League devotee Jim Herdman. Plus a whole bunch of other fine people who do this work solely for the love of the thing.

Which is, of course, a love that I share. It's been far too long since I've done anything for Retrosheet except write a small check. But that doesn't mean I'm not incredibly grateful for everything they've done, and keep doing.

P.S. Granted, I don't believe the Federal League should be listed as a major league. But that's a whole other story.

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