Retrosheet Newsletter, V3 #2 May 1996

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The Retro Sheet

Official Publication of Retrosheet, Inc.

Volume 3, No. 2 May 1996



Table of Contents

Convention Edition
View from the Vault
Scoresheet Acquisitions
All-Star Games
Completed Seasons, League-seasons and Team-seasons
Agenda for Annual Meeting
Syntax Preferences
The Scoreboard
Web Page
Publicity
Jackie Robinson Tidbits
Projects
Newspaper Survey

Convention Edition

This edition of the Retro Sheet will be a bit abbreviated. Although we are a bit behind the planned schedule for publication, it is important that this issue be distributed before our annual meeting in Kansas City. Our bylaws stipulate that our annual meeting be in conjunction with The SABR convention, which runs this year from June 6 to June 9. The annual Retrosheet meeting, which is open to all interested parties, will take place on Sunday morning, June 9 in Lester Young Room A (3rd floor of the Marriott). You will find elsewhere in this newsletter a brief summary of the proposed agenda for our annual meeting. Any reader of this newsletter who wishes to place additional items on that agenda should contact Dave Smith as soon as possible; all requests will receive careful consideration. By the way, due to our time constraints, this edition is being prepared by Dave Smith.

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The View from the Vault

Retrosheet has always been correctly characterized as an enormously ambitious effort, but one consideration which makes the ultimate goal seem more attainable is the celebration of as many meaningful milestones as possible, thereby subdividing the work into bite-sized chunks. We have just completed a major one of these milestones by copying the scorebooks of the Tigers. We have now, therefore, received cooperation in obtaining copies of the complete holdings of all 26 Major League franchises that existed in 1983. There are, of course, thousands of games out there for which we do not yet have accounts and there is still a huge amount of work to do in processing the games we have in hand. Nonetheless, I believe we should all be very proud of the collection we have assembled. Many thanks to the large number of volunteers who have donated their time, money, and power of persuasion to completing the circle of acquisition from Major League teams.

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Scoresheet Acquisitions

There are three major additions since the last newsletter and some smaller ones as well. The biggest news is that the Tigers sent Dave Smith all their pre-1980 scorebooks in batches of four seasons at a time (the 1980-1983 books were copied earlier). These scorebooks, which were kept by Hal Middlesworth (sportswriter for the Detroit Free Press and later PR Director for the Tigers), go back to the 1953 season and are nearly complete, missing only two games from early in 1953. Fortunately for us, those missing two games were against Cleveland and Chicago and we have the scoresheets from those opponents. In addition these Tigers scoresheets give us the complete play by play for the careers of two more Hall of Famers, Al Kaline and Jim Bunning. Once again we must thank Cliff Kachline for his generous help in getting us started with the Tigers. The next large set of games came from the White Sox. We have had good relations with the South-siders for several years, but for a variety of reasons there was still a gap of several seasons (from 1973 to 1980) that remained to be copied. Stuart Shea went to Comiskey Park a few times late this winter and got the job finished, giving us all White Sox games back to 1952 plus their home games from 1951. Ron Rakowski has been pursuing Jim Ferguson and his scorebooks for several years. Jim began his sports career as a writer in the Cincinnati area covering the Reds. He was later the PR Director for the Padres and is currently the Secretary for the National Association, which is headquartered in Florida. Ron made arrangements with a Tampa resident who is a SABR member to borrow Jim's Cincinnati scorebooks and make copies. The first of the copied books, from 1959 and 1960, have arrived and are excellent copies. Since the Reds team appears to have no books prior to the 1968 season, these accounts from Jim Ferguson are extremely valuable. Hopefully in the next few months the remainder of Ferguson's books up through the 1967 season will be copied as well. The minor (in terms of number of games, not importance) acquisitions are some newspaper accounts that Luke Kraemer (1956 and 1964), Ron Rakowski (1951, 1955, 1959 and 1960), Dave Smith (1951 and 1954), Lyle Spatz (1916) and Joe Dittmar (many World Series games; more in a moment) copied. All but the World Series games from Joe came from microfilm (let's hear it for interlibrary loan!). Joe borrowed a scrapbook from a coworker that contained not only play by play but pitch by pitch accounts of several World Series from 1907 into the 1920s. The source of these accounts was a Pittsburgh newspaper. Clearly this find must be explored further in the hope that such detail was available for regular season games as well.

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All-Star Games

In the last newsletter there was a call for volunteers to help with All-Star games, the only category of 20th century games for which we have done no computer entry. One reason for this gap is the need to construct the appropriate rosters for each season so that DWENTRY can be used to enter the games. This daunting task has been completed by Tim Cashion, who already possessed the rosters for each All-Star team for each year. Tim took our yearly rosters for individual teams and did the necessary cutting and pasting to construct All-Star rosters for all seasons, 1933-1995, including 1945, the year that rosters were chosen but no game was played due to wartime travel restrictions. Narrative accounts of all the All-Star games are readily available and the next stage will be the entry of these games into the computer; Tim will take the lead on this phase of the activity.

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Completed Seasons, League­seasons and Team­seasons

Following sets of games are in the computer.

Full Seasons (both leagues)
	1983
	1982	Missing 3 games NYN @ SDN (April 27th ­ 29th)
	1961

League­seasons
	AL	1981, 1975 (missing 1), 1967, 1964, 1963 (missing 25),
		1962 (missing 30), 1960

"Completed" league­season
	NL 	1980	Translated ­ 100%; Input ­ 70%

Team­seasons
	BRO	1957, 1956, 1955, 1954, 1953, 1952, 1951, 1950, 1949, 1948, 1947
	CIN 	1976
	LAN	1964, 1963, 1962, 1960
	NYN 	1973, 1964, 1963, 1962 (minus four games)
	PHI	1973, 1972, 1964
	SFN	1971, 1970, 1969, 1968 (missing 3 games), 1967, 1966, 1965, 1964,
		1963, 1962, 1960, 1959 (missing 2 games), 1958
	SLN	1963

	BAL	1981, 1980, 1979, 1978, 1977, 1976, 1966
	CLE	1949
	DET	1968, 1959 (minus 3 games)
	KCA	1980, 1979, 1978, 1977, 1976, 1974
	MIN	1977
	NYA	1963, 1962, 1960, 1959
In addition, all post­season games (World Series and LCS) are completed, as are all "playoff" games, such as the 1951 series between BRO and NY1 (you remember, the Giants won on Bobby Thompson's homer).

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Agenda for Annual Meeting

Below is the tentative agenda for the meeting in Kansas City.

  1. Call to Order
  2. Approval of Minutes from 1995
  3. Amendment of By-Laws
  4. Election of Board Members
  5. Election of Secretary
  6. Report from Secretary
  7. Report from Treasurer
  8. Report from President

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Syntax Preferences

From time to time this space is used to describe specific situations which arise during inputting where the instructions for DWENTRY don't necessarily give the needed answer. The July, 1995 issue of the newsletter covered several such examples; the single topic for today is missing plays. Happily enough there aren't too many times that a scoresheet has a blank for a play or is illegible, but on those occasions it is important to indicate clearly that there is missing information. In this way these missing plays will be distinctly flagged and it will be easier to find them later on when subsequent research will hopefully fill in the blanks. There are three different styles in common use:

  1. ?.2-3
  2. MP.BX1
  3. 99
The request is that choice 3 be used. The literal meaning of a "99" play would be "ground ball from right fielder to right fielder" which is obviously ridiculous, but will certainly be easy to flag. The inclusion of the # sign at the end of the play is optional.

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The Scoreboard

The long version of the scoreboard which details the status of each season will return in the next issue of the newsletter. The short version summary is as follows:

	Total Games in Computer (All Years before 1984)       26918
	Games Entered since last Report                        2865
	Days since last Report (2-18-96 to 5-25-96)              98
	Games Entered per Week (14 weeks)                     204.6
	Games Entered per Day                                  29.2
The smallest number of games in a single week during this period was 118 and the highest was 379. As exciting as these numbers are, they fail to highlight one other point which is really remarkable. With the acquisition of the Detroit and the remaining Chicago White Sox scoresheets, we are now missing a total of two AL games from 1966 to 1983 (9-27-75 DET at MIL and 7-04-78 OAK at SEA). The sobering counterpoint to this wonderful news is that in the NL for the same interval we are missing 630 games, 343 of which involve the Atlanta Braves and 420 of which were played before 1972.

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Web Page

In the last newsletter the call went out for help in setting up a Retrosheet page on the World Wide Web. Four Retrosheetians responded to that call: Mark Pankin, Sean Lahman, Tim Cashion, and Leanna Bush. As a result a demo web page has been set up and sample files are being posted at the present time. If all goes well, we should be able to access the page at our Kansas City meeting. There are still many details to work out, but it is very exciting that we are making this step, which should not only greatly increase our visibility, but also make it easier for everyone to have access to our data.

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Publicity

There are four items to recount in this area, one of which is complete while the other three are in various stages of preparation.

  1. Paul Dickson has recently published his new book "The Joy of Keeping Score", which is a delightful history of scorecards through the ages. The bulk of the book is a series of chapters presented in the alphabetical format of a primer, but with a clever twist in most cases. For example, "E is for the Eisenhower-Coolidge continuum". The chapter "H is for Hindsight" is a very nice description of Retrosheet.

  2. As mentioned briefly in the last newsletter, the Nolan Ryan Center in Houston is putting together materials for a museum celebrating Ryan's career. The preparers of the exhibition, which is scheduled to open in January, 1997, contacted us for detailed game information they could display. David Vincent has prepared some interactive software for them to use. We'll keep you posted as more develops.

  3. Rich Westcott, editor of the Phillies Report, and Allen Lewis, retired sportswriter for the Philadelphia Inquirer, are putting together a book about no-hitters. We have provided them with the play by play details of about 30 games that they are using in their writing. The book promises to be very good and should get us some nice publicity.

  4. The Dodgers are putting together a large number of items in the form of a "press kit" that they will distribute to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Jackie Robinson's debut in the Major Leagues. Since we have now completed the computer entry of Robinson's entire career, we were able to give them a lot of situational information that has been unavailable until now. Gord Gladman did the computer entry for the majority of the Robinson games, although Alan Boodman, Clem Comly, Ron Fisher and Dave Smith did a number of games as well. Gord was instrumental in the proofing and editing of the files so that we could be sure we were sending accurate information to the Dodgers.

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Jackie Robinson Tidbits

Some of the information that was sent to the Dodgers about Jackie Robinson is especially interesting and a few highlights are worth noting here.

  1. The most common batting order position occupied by Robinson during his career was 4th, which is surely a surprise to many people. He had 2483 at bats in the 4th slot, batting .329 and slugging .514. His next most frequent spot in the order was 2nd, where he had 999 at bats, batting .288 and slugging .433.

  2. In his 10 year career, Robinson faced 288 different pitchers, which is an astonishingly low total. His most frequent opponent was Robin Roberts, against whom he had 160 at bats, batting .281 and slugging .481 with 9 homers. He had over 100 at bats against five other pitchers, including Warren Spahn and Sal Maglie.

  3. It may not be terribly surprising to learn that Jackie was removed for a pinch-hitter on six occasions, but what is much less expected is that he was removed for a pinch-runner 33 times! Dick Williams ran for him in both ends of a double-header on July 22, 1953 and also pinch hit for him on June 2, 1954. Rocky Bridges is the only other player to both bat and run for Robinson. Some of the pinch-runners seem reasonable enough, including Charlie Neal, Jim Gilliam, and Sandy Amoros. However, the list also includes Gil Hodges, Don Hoak, Carl Erskine, and Joe Black.

  4. After very careful checking and research, our best evidence is the official totals for Robinson contain four mistakes in his daily record which combine for three discrepancies in his career totals:
    		Category	Retrosheet   Official
    
    		   SB		   196         197
    		   BB		   742         740
    		   SO		   290         291
    
    There are two separate differences in the bases on balls category, both in 1948. In addition we found 46 caught stealings for him in the first years of his career when this was not an official category. Total Baseball shows him with 30, with which we agree for the years they cover, but our work makes it clear that he was caught 76 times.

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Projects

Several distinct efforts have been completed and others initiated.

  1. David Vincent has finished the inputting of George Brett's career, which is a remarkable accomplishment that was completed in just one year.

  2. The 1981 AL is done and the last few games of the 1981 NL are in the hands of inputters.

  3. Jim Herdman, who has the best details anywhere on the various "firsts" in different parks, has begun a systematic attack on the 1954 Senators. Not only is this a season that stirs childhood memories for Jim, it also is an opportunity to use the Washington scoresheets of Bert Hawkins, which are so very good.

  4. Rick Elliott is a longtime Tiger fan who has begun inputting the 1953 team (their record was similar to that of the 1996 Bengals!).

  5. Clem Comly finished the 1956 and 1957 Dodgers, which were the final seasons for Jackie Robinson and Roy Campanella, respectively. We, therefore, have now completely input the careers of three Hall of Famers; Sandy Koufax was done first, in December of 1994.

  6. Clem Comly has now turned his sights on the 1973 NL and is well into May of that season.

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Newspaper Survey

In past newsletters it has been pointed out that game accounts from old newspapers will become increasingly important to us. We have completed the acquisitions from teams, as summarized above, and there are several efforts underway to obtain scorebooks from retired sportswriters or the families of deceased writers. However, all of those "modern" sources represent an ever-dwindling resource. There is, fortunately, another type of source for game accounts and that is the newspapers which carried play by play for many years, some into the 1960s (Boston, Chicago), but most of which stopped in the 1950s. Most of the needed newspapers are preserved on microfilm and it is a tedious job to plod through them, making copies of the play by play. We have about 3000 game accounts in this format so far, 80% of which were copied by Dave Smith from the New York Evening World microfilm obtained on interlibrary loan. Most of the remainder are Cleveland games from 1917 to 1927 copied by Jim Weigand. It is crucial that we organize our efforts as we approach the microfilmed accounts, so that we use the time and money of our volunteers in the most efficient way possible. As a preliminary to the actual copying, it is a good idea to have as thorough a survey as possible of what is available from newspapers in various cities. Joe Dittmar, who is an exceptionally thorough and careful newspaper researcher, has devised a form to carry out this cataloguing. The next two pages have the codes that Joe established for doing this analysis and his results from analyzing the Philadelphia newspapers in 1901. One could certainly argue that there are other ways to present this information, but Joe's method is excellent and it seems reasonable for us to follow it. The next step is to solicit volunteers to at least compile the survey and hopefully begin making copies. However, prudence dictates that no one launch a large scale copying effort before checking with Dave Smith to be sure we are duplicating previous effort. One of the appealing features of this newspaper activity is that it can be done by many different people, whereas the processing of scoresheets is still very much localized to RetroCentral where everything is stored. The microfilm work is tedious, but it is very important to our ultimate goal; help in this effort is fervently sought.

BASEBALL - RATING THE NEWSPAPERS

N - Narrative: Did the newspaper cover the game and to what depth?
3 = details of virtually all the run scoring, great plays, fan Interaction, etc. whether home or road games
2 = limited descriptions of some run scoring home and/or away
1 = very little coverage of game details
0 = practically no verbal description of most games

P - Play-by-play: Does this newspaper regularly Include play-by-play description?
3 = usually the full game
2 = usually the first few innings then stops to go to press
1 = P-B-P infrequent
0 = never carries P-B-P

B - Boxscore: Does the newspaper carry a boxscore for every game?
3 = boxscores ahead of their time-carrying offensive and defensive stats, stolen bases, batter strikeouts and walks for both home and road games
2 = good boxscores but may omit some items such as which batters walked or struck out
1 = abbreviated or no boxscores for home or away
0 = boxscores rare or nonexistent

I - images (Photos): Does the newspaper usually Incorporate photos with its game accounts?
3 = always carries one or more photos for every game (player or action)
2 = photos accompany game descriptions at least 50% of the time
1 = infrequent game photos
0 = rarely or never carries photos of baseball

C - Cartoons: Are cartoons/illustrations used to show highlights of the game's action?
3 = almost always
2 = frequently
1 = rarely
0 = never

T - Trivia: Does the coverage Include a separate section of non-game notes describing such
things as injuries, upcoming pitching assignments, travel schedules, umpire feuds, etc.
3 = almost always
2 = frequently
1 = rarely
0 = never

1901 Philadelphia Newspaper Baseball Coverage

1901 Newspaper          N  P  B  I  C  T   Notes

Daily News              0  0  0  0  0  0   No baseball coverage
Evening Telegraph       1  2  1  0  0  0   PBP for part of home-team (Phils or A's)
                                                 games in "Night Edition"
Evening Times           2  0  2  0  0  3   Road coverage comparable including boxscores
North American          1  0  3  0  0  0   Road coverage comparable including boxscores
Northwest Record        0  0  0  0  0  0   Local neighborhood news only
Phila. Bulletin         0  0  0  0  0  1   Gives merely a short summary of previous
                                           day's game
Phila. Gommercial       0  0  0  0  0  0   Business only
Phila. Item             0  0  0  0  0  1   Don't waste your time
Phila. Inquirer         1  0  3  0  1  1   Road coverage comparable including boxscores
Phila. Press            2  0  2  0  0  0   Road coverage comparable including boxscores
Phila. Record           2  0  3  0  0  0   Road games have comparable boxscores but get
                                           "0" for narrative
Public Ledger           2  0  3  0  1  0   Road coverage comparable including bosxcores

N=narrative: P=play-bv-play: B=boxscores; I=images(photos); C=cartoons; T=trivia

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Page Updated: 9/6/96

Copyrighted: Retrosheet, 1996