Retrosheet Newsletter, V3 #1 1996

About

The Retro Sheet

Official Publication of Retrosheet, Inc.

Volume 3, No. 1 March 1996


Table of Contents

Better Late Than Never
The Retrosheet Directory
Call for Agenda Items
View from the Vault
Game Account Acquisitions
Team Abbreviations and Franchise Definitions
Spying on Moe Berg
Projects
Completed Seasons, League-seasons, and Team-seasons
Post-Season Games
All-Star Games
Publicity
Strange and Unusual Plays Commentary from our Volunteers
AKA
The Scoreboard
Coming Attractions


Better Late Than Never

Welcome to the latest edition of The Retro Sheet. This edition, which was expected in January, has been delayed by health problems in both the Smith and Vincent families. David Vincent's father recently underwent major surgery twice and David's attention has been in the present more than the RetroEra. Similarly, Dave Smith's father has been ill recently. These events combined to cause the delay. However, you should find many items of interest that hopefully make The Sheet worth waiting for.

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The Retrosheet Directory

Our first listing of volunteers is enclosed; it includes only those people who sent entries to either David (should we be referred to as Dave2?) If you would like to be listed the next time, please send an entry along. The listing will not be sold to anyone.

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Call for Agenda Items

The annual meeting of the Retrosheet Board of Directors will take place in June at the SABR convention in KC. There are a number of exciting developments regarding this meeting. First, SABR's Convention Committee chair, Rick Salamon, has agreed to place a notice of the meeting time and place in the official SABR Convention agenda. Second, Salamon has offered us a room for the meeting. This closer affiliation with SABR is a wonderful development for Retrosheet and we should all be grateful to Rick for his considerations. The official announcement of the meeting will be in the next newsletter. Anyone with an item to place on the official agenda for that meeting should send it to Dave Smith.

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View from the Vault

David W. Smith, President

In this issue of The Retro Sheet, we finally have the systematic presentation of a significant portion of our holdings, so that we can all see where we stand in much more concrete terms. The results (see The Scoreboard below) are pretty astounding, and testify to the tremendous dedication of our group in tracking down and capturing these game accounts. Of course, in addition to marking our achievements, this compilation shows where we still have work to do.

I also wish to call to everyone's attention the excellent new publication of home run information based on the SABR home run log entitled SABR presents the Home Run Encyclopedia. This book is published by Macmillan and essentially all the analytical and preparatory work was done by none other than David Vincent, the Retrosheet Secretary as well as a member of the SABR Board. In the introduction to the book, David gives Retrosheet some very nice praise for the information we have contributed to this book. I recommend the book to all Retrosheetians, whether you are a SABR member or not. And if you are not a SABR member, then this would be a good time to join.

Final note: Alas, I have not been able to complete all the details necessary for the public release of our first data files. The job has proven to be larger than I had envisioned, and the rest of daily life managed to get in the way a bit. A related topic is the prospect that Retrosheet will hopefully have its own home page on the World Wide Web before too long. The plan is to have our data files there for anyone to download at their leisure. There are many details to be worked out on this topic as well, but stay tuned as Retrosheet hits the Net!

"The adulated heroes of today are the faceless nonentities of tomorrow."
from the Expos scoresheet of 7/25/69
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Game Account Acquisitions

After literally years of negotiations, we have finally had a breakthrough with the Detroit Tigers. Due largely to the intervention on our behalf by Cliff Kachline, the Tigers have granted us access to their scorebooks. The 1983 season was copied in the Tigers offices by Steve Lysogorski, a stringer for Gary Gillette's Baseball Workshop. However, for logistic reasons, the Tigers decided they would rather send the books to Dave Smith for him to copy. So far Dave has received and copied the 1981 and 1982 seasons. Although there are a few games missing from each season, the gaps are covered by other teams, giving us complete coverage of the AL back to 1980. It appears that the team has at least some scoresheets dating back to 1953 and hopefully the rest of them will be in our hands before too long.

Arrangements have also been finalized with the Chicago White Sox for Stuart Shea to go to their offices and copy the seven seasons we need to finish off what they have in their files.

Recently Paul White, editor of the USA Today's Baseball Weekly, sent us copies of his own personal scorecards dating back to 1971. There are several dozen games in this collection, all very clearly scored, six of which we did not have in the Vault. As Paul said in the note that accompanied copies: "I knew I could get this done before there's a labor agreement."

It isn't really a scoresheet acquisition, but it is a story worth reporting here. At the SABR convention in Pittsburgh, there was a vendor selling many baseball videotapes, most of them highlight reels from the World Series and the like. However, he also had what he billed as the oldest videotape of a complete regular season game, specifically the contest between the Phillies and the Cubs on July 12, 1969. This was an NBC Game of The Week broadcast and it was taped for later showing overseas as part of the Armed Forces Radio and Television System. Clem Comly purchased a copy of the tape and in mid-February drove to Delaware, where he and Dave Smith watched the game and entered the account into the computer, capturing full pitch by pitch and hit location information.

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Team Abbreviations and Franchise Definitions

A few of our volunteers have asked how our three letter team abbreviations are derived. The system used is in keeping with the one formalized by David Nichols and Gary Gillette for Project Scoresheet nearly 10 years ago. The basic rules are as follows:

  1. For city/locale names which are one word, use the first three letters of that name: BAL, CAL, MIN, FLO, etc.
  2. For city names which are two words, use the first letter of each word, followed by the one letter of that team's league: NYA, LAN, SLN, KCA.
  3. When conflicts arise, first try to resolve them by using the first two letters of the city, followed by the league letter: CHN, CHA.
This system worked well to provide identification for the 28 current teams. However, problems arose when Retrosheet needed to assign unique abbreviations for teams no longer in existence that would be as consistent with the same format as possible. The basic difficulty is that the current abbreviations were solidly established before Retrosheet was even thought of. As a result, there are some Retrosheet abbreviations that do not follow the above rules. A few new rules were necessary which can be best explained by some specific examples:

If one were to start from the beginning of Major League history and assign abbreviations to all teams at one time, then some of the team abbreviations would probably be different: PHA and PHN for the A's and Phillies, NY1 and NY2 for the Giants and Mets, BSA and BSN for the Red Sox and the Braves, among others. However, it is not worth the hassle at this point to change the abbreviations that have been used for the 12 years of Baseball Workshop data. There is also a serious point of principle in never changing an ID code of this type. For a different example at the level of an individual player, Guillermo Hernandez has the player ID code of hernw001, since he was known as Willie when the codes were assigned.

As a final point, note that we have not yet attempted to assign abbreviations to 19th century teams. There are several reasons for this decision, including the obvious fact that we have only a few hundred game accounts from last century, most generously donated to Retrosheet by Bob Tiemann. It is also true that the turn of the century is a convenient dividing line for our activities, at least for the foreseeable future. Therefore, we have not yet fixed a policy for dealing with the Union Association or the American Association or the Player's League. The Federal League presents a different question, and we do have a few dozen game accounts from their games. No abbreviations have been assigned to those teams, but it will probably be necessary to do so before too long.

A related but distinct topic is the matter of major league franchise definitions, especially as the definition will affect records. It is not clear if Major League baseball has a formal policy on this matter or not, but one example will illustrate the question. The Washington Senators were charter members of the American League and moved to Minnesota at the end of the 1960 season, with an expansion franchise appearing in Washington in 1961. Therefore, although the city had a continuous presence in the American League, there were clearly two different franchises. Of course, the second Senators left town for Texas after the 1971 season. It would seem that the easiest interpretation is that the Twins are a continuation of the original Senators franchise and the Rangers are a continuation of the second Senators franchise. However, the Twins do not see it this way. When Dave Smith was working on the Dave Winfield project for the Twins in 1993, it came up that their PR department counts their history as beginning in 1961. Therefore, although they agree that the franchise home run record belongs to Harmon Killebrew, they do not include in his total those that he hit for the original Senators.

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Spying On Moe Berg

You may have read about the mysterious comings and goings of Moe Berg following his time as a spy. In fact there is a relatively new book about him, The Catcher Was a Spy, which tracks him in great detail. One of Berg's quirks was that he would just show up unannounced and unexpected at all sorts of places, such as Major League games, and invite himself in (for free). Well, on the Cubs scoresheet of 7-9-65 (SLN at CHN), it says "Moe Berg" in the corner of the scoresheet, implying that this is one of those games that he dropped in on. If you run into any unusual markings on sheets please pass them on to either of the Daves.

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Projects

1960 - Ron Rakowski has finished the American League except for a handful of games involving the Red Sox and Athletics. There is a good chance that accounts for these games are available in Boston newspapers. Chris Long, who lives in Boston now, has volunteered to check out several of these needed games.

1959 - Additional progress has been made on the White Sox and Tigers for this season. The Dodgers will be started by Dave Smith shortly.

Willie Mays - Alan Boodman has essentially completed what we have for the career of Willie Mays. In the last few months he not only went through all the Willie Mays era Giants games in San Francisco, but also processed some scoresheets we received for the New York Giants. These accounts came from two sportswriters, the late Barney Kremenko (courtesy of his widow) and Leonard Koppett.

1971 - Alan Boodman has moved on from Mays to concentrate on the 1971 season in its entirety. His procedure is to do all games for a given day for all teams and then move on. He is nearing the end of April, having covered about 200 games already.

1962 Mets - Using several sources, Scott Fischthal finished the 1962 Mets, except for four games that we don't have at the end of the season.

1965 Mets - Since the 1963 and 1964 Mets are already input, Scott Fischthal has moved on to the 1965 crowd as he marches through the history of the Queens denizens.

1966 Mets - Another Mets fan in our midst is Mark Dobrow (that is not as sinister as it sounds!), who is currently working on the first Mets team not to finish in last place. They won a club record 66 games, finishing 9th, 28 and a half games behind the Dodgers and 7 and a half games in front of the last place Cubs.

1965 Cardinals - Steve Hamilton is proceeding with the Redbirds, with the current set he has taking him into the middle of July.

1957 Cardinals - Jim Wohlenhaus is working his way through this crop of St. Louis games, and he is currently working on games from June of that season.

Nolan Ryan - Several people have made contributions to this large project: Jim Wohlenhaus, Gary Robbins, Ron Fisher, and Bill Disney among others. Hopefully the Ryan games will be done in the next few months, in time to be part of the exhibition of the Nolan Ryan Center (see Publicity, above).

1981 - This strike-shortened season is more than 80% complete. Many different people have worked on this year, but in the last few months the bulk of the inputting has been done by Mark Dobrow, Jim Herdman, Bob Kapla, Doug Burks, Christopher Chestnut, and Marc Stephenson.

1965 Twins - As he finishes his work on the 1981 AL, Bob Kapla, a lifelong Twins fan, will begin to translate and input the games of the 1965 team, certainly a highlight for any Minnesota follower.

1944-1946 Dick Young - Tom Eckel has translated several dozen scoresheets from Dick Young for these years. The first two years he covered mainly the Giants, but switched to the Dodgers for 1946.

1945 Senators - Ron Fisher continues to expand his baseball horizons by translating and inputting games from the end of World War II. The scoresheets we have for those games were the first that we obtained from Burt Hawkins, the long time PR Director for the Senators (both versions) and the Rangers.

1979 NL - Major progress has been made by Clem Comly and Christopher Chestnut, with about 1000 games either completed or in progress.

Jackie Robinson - It is now clear that we will have the career of Jackie Robinson finished before the 50th anniversary of his Major League debut in April of 1997. Eight of his 10 seasons are completed, with the remaining 1954 games (about 130) in the hands of Gord Gladman and the last from 1956 (just under 120) games with Clem Comly. Others who have input hundreds of Dodgers games from 1947-1956 are Ron Fisher, Alan Boodman, and David Smith.

1964 - Luke Kraemer has finished the American League and currently needs 56 more games for the National, primarily involving the Pirates, Reds, and Braves.

1975 AL - Greg Beston has reached a place to pause in this season. He is waiting for the games from Detroit and Chicago before finishing the last 50 or so. In the meantime he has turned his attention to:

1980 AL - This season is the object of our next group focus, since the 1981-1983 games are nearly done. Greg likes to proceed one team at a time and is presently crunching the Cleveland games. Similarly, Rick Elliott is working on the 1980 Tigers.

1980 NL - Clem Comly translated all the games for this season and input about two thirds of them. The remaining games are being entered by other volunteers.

1962 AL - Dave Lamoureaux has finished all the games we have for the 1963 AL and is into mid-September for the 1962 AL. We are missing about 65 games for each season, involving the Tigers, Red Sox, and Athletics.

Big Red Machine - Bill Disney has finished the 1976 Reds and has begun work on the 1975 team. There is always an attraction to a focused effort on pennant winners, but these two teams are especially interesting.

George Brett - David Vincent is midway through the 1979 Kansas City Royals at this time, having input hundreds of George Brett games in the last four months. The games from 1981 on are done (or nearly so), so only about another 100 from 1980 will remain to complete this very large project. Stay tuned for details on what we will do with this information.

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Completed Seasons, League-seasons and Team-seasons

Full Seasons
Newly completed league-seasons
Newly completed team-seasons
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Post-season games

As mentioned in the last newsletter, John Booth did the primary input of World Series games and Dave Smith tracked down many of the problems John identified. David Vincent recently gave these files an additional thorough examination and made dozens of additional corrections. All LCS and Divisional series (remember 1981!) games have also been entered, almost all by David Vincent. When our data files are considered with those of the Baseball Workshop, all post-season games for all seasons are in the computer, a remarkable accomplishment.

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All-Star Games

The above discussion of post-season leads us to one glaring hole in the RetroVault. The annual All-Star games have not been translated or input; since these are such well-known events, perhaps Retrosheet should computerize them just as we now have the post-season completed. The first big job would be to create the roster files used by the input program. Each game's play-by-play account and box score is in the Baseball Guide, so all we need to do is create the rosters in the appropriate format. Any volunteers? Contact Dave Smith.

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Publicity

The organization received publicity from a few new sources since the last newsletter appeared. In addition to frequent references in the SABR Bulletin and the newsletter of the SABR Records Committee, Retrosheet also received a nice acknowledgment in the recently published SABR presents the Home Run Encyclopedia, to which we contributed a substantial amount of information.

Herm Krabbenhoft continues to publicize us in his Baseball Quarterly Reviews and John Benson gave us a full page in the book he published last fall on the greatest 100 individual player-seasons. In December The Cleveland Plain Dealer ran an article about SABR and Retrosheet was prominently featured in it.

A recent development is a contact made by the Nolan Ryan Center in Houston, Texas. This group is preparing an extensive display of Nolan Ryan material and contacted us for statistical information to present. One of their plans is to have interactive computer access for visitors to call up the play by play of specific games or other information. This collaboration is still in the early stages, but could get us a lot of attention.

In the 2/27/96 issue of USA Today Baseball Weekly, Paul White mentions Retrosheet in conjunction with Spike Lee's planned movie about Jackie Robinson. It's always nice to see the group name in such a prominent location. However, the striking aspect of this item is that Paul didn't go into great detail about Retrosheet, just mentioned us. That shows Retrosheet is growing in prominence because of the efforts on every one of our volunteers. Congratulations to us all!

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Strange and Unusual Plays Commentary from our Volunteers

With the large number of scoresheets that Retrosheet volunteers process each week, it is only natural that some very strange plays have come to light, along with some occasionally humorous remarks in the margins. Each issue, we will pass along plays or innings that fit into this category. Please submit them to David Vincent.

From Alan Boodman:


From Jim Wohlenhaus:

From Doug Burks:

From David Vincent:

From Dave Smith:

From Ron Fisher:

From Tom Eckel:

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AKA

No, this headline is not the sound of the RetroDog after eating something disgusting! While working on some games from 1927, Tim Cashion came across a player named Pete Appleton. Appleton is one of those players who played under a name other than his birth name and Tim thought that Retrosheetians could profit by having a list of these players, just in case confusion arose during translating or inputting activities. He therefore very nicely compiled the following list and sent it on for publication here.

Player                                          Record Listed Under
Bevens, E.P. (1871-72)                          E.P. Beavens
Costello (1912)                                 Ken Nash
Dudley, Ernest (1920-21)                        Dud Lee
Foley, Patrick (1902)                           Paddy Greene
Gonzalez (Uribe), Jose Altagracia (1984)        Jose Uribe
Holly, Samuel John (1872-73, 1875)              Holly Hollingshead
Hostetter, Arthur H. (1905-08)                  Art Hoelskoetter
Jablonowski                                     Pete Appleton
Johnson (1918)                                  Doc Bass
Joyce, Michael (1901)                           Mike O'Neill
Kiley, Frank (1915)                             Frank Kane
King, Frederick (1901)                          John Butler
Kwietniewski, Casimir Eugene (1943)             Cass Michaels
Morris, William G. (1915)                       John Fluhrer
Ryan, Lew (1915)                                Lew Malone
Schreck, Ossee (1897-99, 1901-08)               Ossee Schreckengost
Sheehan Daniel (1884)                           John Ryan
Sullivan, Edward T. (1906)                      Eddie Collins
Taggert, Robert John (1918)                     Jim Kelly
Thomas, W. (1871-73)                            Tommy Beals
West, Al (1883)                                 Al Hubbard
Whitehorn, Arthur Lee (1915)                    Harry Damrau
Williams,Frank C. (1871-75)                     Frank Selman
Zieber, Harry (1882-84, 1886)                   Ed Whiting
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The Scoreboard

Prepare to be stunned and amazed! The following numbers are not recommended for people with heart conditions. (Please note that all figures quoted are for regular season games only; as noted earlier, the post-season is 100% completed.)

Dave Smith has finally completed the cataloguing of our scoresheets back to 1946 and presents a detailed report of the last half century. By the next edition of The Retro Sheet he hopes to have incorporated all the details for the earlier games. There are relatively few of those (3000 perhaps), of which about 1600 have been input. These pre-1946 seasons are summarized in the following short table which simply lists the seasons for which we have entered games and how many have been entered for each.

Year Played Input 1911 1238 97 1917 1249 117 1920 1233 67 1924 1231 1 1925 1228 24 1926 1234 1 1927 1236 88 1928 1231 391 1929 1229 417 1930 1226 360 1945 1229 35
The seasons from 1946 to 1983 are presented next and in much greater detail, which will hopefully be interesting, but which definitely requires some explanation. For each season there are 12 columns of information, each of which has been numbered as well as having a possibly cryptic abbreviation. The column numbers and abbreviations are as follows:

  1. play - Total games played in the Major Leagues that season.

    Columns 2 through 5 summarize our holdings.

  2. acct - Total independent accounts we have for that season. For most seasons this number is larger than games played because we have multiple versions for so many.
  3. have - Games for which we have at least one account.
  4. need - Games for which we have no accounts.
  5. %have - Percentage of games for which we have at least one account (column 3 divided by column 1).

    Columns 6 through 11 indicate the status of each of the games we possess. The numbers in columns 6 through 11 add up to the total in column 3.

  6. no act - Games for which nothing has been done other than cataloguing that we have them.
  7. with tran - Games in the hands of a translator.
  8. with tran inp - These games are with a volunteer who is doing both the translation and inputting.
  9. tran wait - Translated games that are awaiting a volunteer to input them.
  10. tran with inp - Games that have been translated by one volunteer, but are with another volunteer for inputting.
  11. input - Completed games in the computer.
  12. %input - Percentage of games played that season which have been entered into the computer (column 11 divided by column 1).
year  play   acct  have  need  %have  no act  with tran  with tran inp  tran wait  tran with inp  input  %input
       (1)   (2)   (3)    (4)   (5)     (6)     (7)           (8)          (9)          (10)       (11)    (12)
1946  1242   201   201   1041   16.2    130      0             0            0             0         71     5.7
1947  1243   410   393    850   31.6    238      0             0            0             0        155    12.5
1948  1237   648   448    789   36.2    251      0             0            0             0        197    15.9
1949  1241   758   451    790   36.3    137      0             0            0             0        314    25.3
1950  1239   743   522    717   42.1    325      0             0            0             0        197    15.9
1951  1239   876   658    581   53.1    415      0             0            0             0        243    19.6
1952  1240   929   623    617   50.2    451      0             0            0             0        172    13.9
1953  1239  1022   688    551   55.6    508     10            15            0             0        156    12.6
1954  1236  1074   757    479   61.2    506      0           129            0             0        122     9.9
1955  1234  1167   737    497   59.7    545      0             0            0             0        192    15.6
1956  1238  1258   868    370   70.1    662      0           117            0             0         89     7.2
1957  1234  1401   970    264   78.6    730      0           115            0             0        125    10.1
1958  1235  1620  1066    169   86.3    837      0             0            0             0        229    18.5
1959  1238  1611  1094    144   88.4    514      0             0            0             0        580    46.8
1960  1236  1715  1054    182   85.3    351      0             0            0             0        703    56.9
1961  1430  2258  1430      0  100.0      0      0             0            0             0       1430   100.0
1962  1621  2641  1502    120   92.7    391      0            28            0             0       1083    66.8
1963  1619  2530  1496    123   92.4     85      0            21            0             0       1390    85.9
1964  1626  2937  1570     56   96.6     22      0             0            0             0       1548    95.2
1965  1623  2369  1509    114   93.0   1176      0            50            0             0        283    17.4
1966  1615  2695  1546     69   95.7   1173      0            12            0             0        361    22.4
1967  1620  2632  1540     80   95.1    478      0             0            0             0       1062    65.6
1968  1625  2811  1565     60   96.3   1157      0             0            0            21        387    23.8
1969  1946  3278  1860     86   95.6   1187      0           105            0             0        568    29.2
1970  1943  3208  1871     72   96.3   1626      0             0            0             0        245    12.6
1971  1938  3255  1840     98   94.9   1386      0            88            0             0        366    18.9
1972  1860  3348  1826     34   98.2   1610      0             0            0             0        216    11.6
1973  1943  3143  1844     99   94.9   1398      0             0            0             0        446    23.0
1974  1945  3337  1895     50   97.4   1567      0            63            0             0        265    13.6
1975  1934  3048  1869     65   96.6    963      0            50            0             0        856    44.3
1976  1939  3394  1927     12   99.4   1332      0           171            0             0        424    21.9
1977  2103  3486  2058     45   97.9   1569      0            41            0             0        448    21.3
1978  2102  3554  2039     63   97.0   1667      2            25           29             0        316    15.0
1979  2099  3612  2042     65   97.3    808      0           184          143             1        906    43.2
1980  2105  4093  2095     10   99.5    599     10           153            0           391        942    44.8
1981  1394  2761  1394      0  100.0     36     10           113           49            31       1155    82.9
1982  2107  3935  2104      3   99.9      0      0             0            0             0       2104    99.9
1983  2109  4259  2109      0  100.0      0      0             0            0             0       2109   100.0
The following table is a consolidation of the above information by decade. Of course, there are many ways this amalgamation could be accomplished, such as by era (for example, before and after the first expansion). Additionally, there is a reasonable dispute over the definition of a decade, but the conventional baseball usage appears to be of the form 1960-1969 rather than 1961-1970, and it is the former which is used here. I direct your attention to the decade values for percentage of games in hand, showing that we have greater than 94% of all games played since 1959. Following the decade summaries gives a grand 1946-1983 compilation in a single line. These totals are added to those of the Baseball Workshop to get the next line which has the combined values from 1946-1995, although many of the categories of importance for the Retrosheet holdings are not relevant for the post-1983 games. The final two lines present the total number of games that are in the computer files of the two organizations, all in the same format. The total of 48876 is nothing short of extraordinary and it is something that everyone should be very proud of.

year  play   acct  have  need  %have  no act  with tran  with tran inp  tran wait  tran with inp  input  %input
       (1)   (2)   (3)    (4)   (5)     (6)     (7)           (8)          (9)          (10)       (11)    (12)
46-49  4963  2017  1493  3470  30.1     756      0             0            0             0        737    14.8
50-59 12372 11702  7984  4388  64.5    5493     10           376            0             0       2105    17.0
60-69 15961 25866 15072   889  94.4    6020      0           216            0            21       8815    55.2
70-79 19806 33385 19211   595  97.0   13926      2           622          172             1       4488    22.7
80-83  7715 15048  7702    13  99.8     635     20           266           49           422       6310    81.8

46-83 60817 88018 51462 9355 84.6 26830 32 1480 221 444 22455 36.9

46-95 85640 -- 76285 9355 89.1 -- -- -- -- -- 47278 55.2 Games entered into computer: Retrosheet (all years) 24053 Baseball Workshop 24823 Grand Total 48876
There are precautions to be noted about the interpretation of these numbers. For example, the combined data bases of Retrosheet and the Baseball Workshop have 89.1% of all post-World War II games in hand, 55.2% of them in the computer. However, these games are definitely not distributed uniformly across all teams. Two examples, admittedly extreme, will demonstrate this point. From 1946 through 1995 the Brooklyn-Los Angeles Dodgers played 7868 games; we have accounts for all but 20 of that total (all 20 are for the Los Angeles version of the team). During the same 50 year period, the Boston-Milwaukee-Atlanta Braves played 7856 games, a very similar number to the Dodger total. However, we are missing 2095 of those Braves games (906 for BSN, 846 for MLN, 343 for ATL). For those of you who have a fondness for games played between the St. Louis Browns and the Philadelphia Athletics during the early years of this period (just to choose one of our worst cases), Retrosheet is currently of very little help. However, even with those thoughts in mind, 24,053 RetroGames in the computer is a staggering number!

You may have seen estimates Dave Smith made that we have 100,000 accounts covering 60,000 games, both of which now appear to be too high. The pre-1946 games will add some to the totals shown in columns 2 and 3 of the summary table above, but Smith has clearly been 10-15% too optimistic. Efforts continue to fill in the gaps in our collection that are apparent in this information. For example, the games that have been promised by the Tigers and White Sox will cover 373 of the missing 595 from the 1970s and 184 of the missing 889 from the 1960s. In addition, there are still thousands of pre-1950 games out there on microfilm archives of old newspapers and the time has come to consider seriously how we will organize our efforts to obtain copies of them. Volunteers are enthusiastically encouraged to help in collecting these accounts.

Some people prefer to see results such as these in graphical format rather than as long tables. The figure to the right presents two items for each season, 1946-1983, namely percentage of games played that we have in hand, and percentage that have been entered into the computer. There are lots of interesting features to this graph, but one of the most striking is that the games in hand follow a relatively smooth progression from greater than 90% back to 1960, then a fairly steady decline as we go backwards. On the other hand, the games entered is all over the place, indicating the highly varied preferences of our volunteers. The last three years are high because many people have been steered there when they had no other specific preference. The other peaks represent the intense activity of a small number of people. In particular the 1959-1964 bulge is driven by Ron Rakowski's tireless efforts, with many hundreds of games in this interval also input by Dave Lamoureaux, Ron Fisher, Luke Kraemer and Dave Smith.

No summary of our activity would be complete without a report on the number of games that have been completed since the last newsletter. The reporting period is from October 18, 1995 through February 17, 1996, a total of 123 days. Almost every week saw at least 100 games returned to the vault (low of 95, high of 562). As noted above, the total number of games that have now been entered is 24053. The count on October 17 was 20077, so we have completed 3976 in the last 17 plus weeks, for an average of 228 per week (the Fisher index) or 32.6 per day. These rates are a shade below those for the previous reporting period, but still reflect a huge amount of work by our volunteers. Just for entertainment, if we project this rate of activity forward, then the 26830 games from 1946-1983 that have currently received no attention will be completed in about 2.25 years! Time to start looking for more game accounts!

When Dave Smith told Baseball Workshop President Gary Gillette about the computerized totals, Gary's reaction was as follows:

"Your army of volunteer flat-tailed, furry rodents is gnawing down the vast forest of birch trees far faster than anyone could have imagined. As beaver-in-chief, you deserve a resounding, 21-tail, salute. I shall whack my posterior sharply upon the water forthwith in tribute."
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Coming Attractions

The next newsletter will have the official announcement of the annual meeting of Retrosheet.

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Page Updated: 8/6/96

Copyrighted: Retrosheet, 1996