I just happened to be at ESPN and they have a new feature: All Time player stats. I looked up Roger Maris and a neat little screen popped up. All of Maris’s stats were there.
Down at the bottom there is also a credit: Powered by Baseball1.
Baseball1.com used to be Sean Lahman’s site. Maybe it still is. Last I looked there hadn’t been any activity since last year. The coolest thing baseball1.com had was a database file containing all baseball stats, up to 1999. Now they’ve released a new upgrade, with 2000 stats and supposedly all sorts of fielding records. All of which are still cool.
Except that a lot of the stats are wrong. I’ve worked with the database exhaustively, we licensed it for the Rotonews Fantasy Baseball Guide 2000, and it is riddled with errors. The clearest example? Click this link and note that Mark Guthrie is listed as a righty.
Mark Guthrie Statistics – Baseball-Reference
Go to the Mark Guthrie page in ESPN’s historical database (Powered by Baseball1) and it says Mark Guthrie is a righty.
Go to the Online Database at Baseball1.com and call up Mark Guthrie and it will say he is a righty.
I’ve sent corrections to Sean Lahmans (baseball1) and Sean Forman (baseball-reference.com). I think what they’ve done, nearly, is fantastic, and I hope they figure out a way to make money with it. When the baseball-reference.com servers were overloaded and Forman’s web hosting service shut him down, I sent a little money to help.
But boys, the Guthrie example is just one of many. You’ve got to fix these errors right away.
Some are the errors in the database are biographical details. Some involve mixups between guys with similar names. Maintaining a database of this size and fluidity in any given season is clearly a huge job. I’m working with MLB right now on their new database and there are errors there, too. But they have Mark Guthrie throwing left-handed.