Retrosheet Organizational Description

Modern baseball analysis has grown increasingly sophisticated in the past decade and a number of new statistical categories have come into common usage among announcers and writers. All of these new methods require detailed play by play data for current games and several statistical organizations actively collect this information. Many fans would like to compare modern player performances to those from earlier this century but have been unable to do so, since play by play accounts have never been collected or organized in a systematic way. Therefore, a new organization, called Retrosheet, was founded in 1989 for the purpose of computerizing play by play accounts of as many pre-1984 major league games as possible (data for games since 1984 have been collected by Project Scoresheet/Baseball Workshop and other organizations).

Retrosheet's work has three distinct aspects. First is the collection of the game accounts, which have been obtained from several sources. The bulk of the collection has come from the major league teams, who have allowed us to make copies of their play-by-play accounts. Several sportswriters (most of them retired) have allowed copies to be made of their daily scorebooks. In addition, individual fans have donated copies of games they scored at the park or on their own scoresheets at home. The second activity is the translation of these accounts to a unified, modern system which is essential since there are an extraordinary variety of scoring systems which have been used. The final activity is the entry of the translated accounts into the computer.

Retrosheet has been very successful in the collection of game accounts with more than 100,000 currently in hand. A group of some 100 volunteers is actively involved in the translation work, computer entry and proofing the results. However, the task ahead is enormous and we are always looking for more volunteers; any offers of help are greatly appreciated. Baseball fans interested in this historical effort are invited to volunteer their assistance in the translation and inputting efforts as well as to make available copies of game accounts they might have.

The ultimate objective of Retrosheet is to make this basic play by play information publicly available for all interested researchers. Distribution of play-by-play data will be done through this web site. Choose "Play-by-play files" under Data Downloads for more information on the current years available.

In order to volunteer or to obtain more information, contact David Smith at the address, telephone number, or e-mail shown below.

Retrosheet is an all-volunteer organization and the costs of daily operation are largely borne by individuals who generously cover their own expenses for postage, photocopying, etc. Retrosheet currently is in a strong financial position and is using its funds for data acquisition and digitizing. If you wish to make a donation, please make it to Retrosheet (not to David Smith) and send them to:

c/o David W. Smith
20 Sunset Rd.
Newark, DE 19711
(302) 731-1570

Retrosheet is a non-profit corporation, incorporated in the State of Delaware in 1994. In 2000 we received IRS approval as a 501(c)(3) charitable organization. That status means that donations are fully tax-deductible.

Pictures of the Retrosheet Board of Directors
Retrosheet and SABR: Although Retrosheet is an independent organization, it has close ties with SABR (the Society for American Baseball Research) and many Retrosheet volunteers are also SABR members. Both groups are non-profit organizations with strong interests in baseball history. Those who are unfamiliar with SABR may contact their web page by clicking on the link below. Their page also has links to many Internet sites of interest to baseball researchers and fans.
SABR Home Page

Page Updated: 7/25/09

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