Chronology:Statistics

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1853.16 Kelly Deserves Credit for Originating Shorthand Scoring System

Game:

Base Ball

Credit for the shorthand scoring system belongs not to Chadwick but to Michael J. Kelly of the Herald. The box score — beyond the recording of outs and runs—may be Kelly's invention as well, but cricket had supplied the model."

Sources:

John Thorn, "Pots and Pans and Bats and Balls," posted January 23, 2008 at

http://thornpricks.blogspot.com/2008/01/pots-pans-and-bats-balls.html

Year
1853
Item
1853.16
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1859.59 Clear Score

Game:

Base Ball

Age of Players:

Adult

"Leggett batted beautifully throughout, his score being the highest and only clear one of the match."

Sources:

New York Clipper, Aug.13, 1859

Comment:

Henry Chadwick, the father of baseball statistics, primarily measured runs and outs in his early work. One of his few additions was the clear score, which counted the number of games where a batter made his base every time he batted, and made no outs, either as a batter or a base runner.

Year
1859
Item
1859.59
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1860.19 Second Annual Chadwick Guide Prints Season Stats for the Year

Game:

Base Ball

Age of Players:

Adult

This second annual guide printed 1860 statistics for players and teams and contains rule revisions.

Sources:

Chadwick, Henry, Beadle's Dime Base-Ball Player for 1861 [New York, Ross and Tousey],  per David Block, Baseball Before We Knew It, page 222. 

Year
1860
Item
1860.19
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1860.22 Educatin' the Readers

Game:

Base Ball

Age of Players:

Adult

[A] "BALL PLAY. A CORRECT SCORE OF A BASE BALL MATCH.-- We give the following score of the contest between the Atlantic and Star Club, as a sample of how the scores of all first-class matches should be kept, in order that a complete analysis of the player's play may be obtained at the close of the year...We trust that the National Association will present to the next convention some plan of scoring that can be generally adopted, like that of the cricket clubs, which is a complete system...Next season we shall give more space to base ball...In the meantime, we shall present to our readers many interesting articles in reference to the game..."

[B] Between February and April, 1860, the Clipper followed uo with a series of six articles on various aspects of the game, from starting a club to playing the positions.

[C] Later in the year: "NEW SCORE BOOK.-- We have recently been shown an improved score book for the game of base ball, just published by Messrs. Richardson and McLeod, 106 Maiden-lane. It is a vast improvement on the old score book, and must commend itself to general adoption by base ball clubs, as it contains the rules and regulations of the game as adopted by the National Association of Base Ball Clubs (sic), with admirably arranged columns . The score book is sufficient for one hundred games, at the low price of two dollars."

 

Sources:

[A] New York Clipper, Jan. 14, 1860

[B] New York Clipper, Feb. 18, 1860 - April 7, 1860

[C] Wilkes' Spirit of the Times, June 9, 1860.

Comment:

The Clipper's effort was part of Henry Chadwick's push to encourage the formation of clubs and make base ball a more "scientific" game, by publishing instructions and collecting statistics. 

Richardson and McLeod ran a restaurant at 106 Maiden Lane that catered to base ballists. See 1859.66

The instructional material mirrored the "X" Letters published in Porter's Spirit of the Times in 1857-1858. See 1857.42

Year
1860
Item
1860.22
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1866.8 Earned Runs Concept Advanced

Game:

Base Ball

Age of Players:

Adult

"Taking a fair average of the Eureka pitching, by deducting the additional runs in the first inning from the four miscatches, and allowing the one run only which the Athletics first earned in that inning, we find a total of 17 runs in three innings charged to Ford’s pitching, to offset which there was but one miscatch, and but 16 runs charged to Faitoute in six innings, an average of over two to one in his favor.  These figures tell the story.  We refer to this matter in order to do justice to Faitoute; many laying the defeats sustained in the two matches mainly to his pitching, whereas the fault lay in the errors in the field and in the lack of skill displayed at the bat, the superior of play on the part of their adversaries of course having a great deal to do with the result."

Sources:

New York Sunday Mercury, September 2, 1866, per 19cbb post by Richard Hershberger, Sep. 4, 2012

Comment:

This is remarkably advanced analysis.  It doesn't take the final step of calculating the earned run average per nine innings, but it is otherwise identical to the modern ERA stat.  It then argues that the true abilities of the players are better shown through statistical analysis than by superficial judgments.  Gentlemen, we have a sabermetrician here!

Year
1866
Item
1866.8
Edit

1871.11 Pros' Leading Averages Reported In Buffalo Newspaper

Game:

Base Ball

Age of Players:

Adult

" BASE BALL.  The Best Averages -- Names of Leading Players -- "

"All the leading professional clubs of the country have published their averages, and below we give the names of the players who occupy first, second, and third  positions in the averages of first-base hits . . . ." 

[For the Atlantic (Brooklyn), the Athletic (Philadelphia), Chicago, Cincinnati, Haymakers (Troy), Forest City (Cleveland) and other clubs, leading hitters' batting success per game was reflected in this format:]

"CINCINNATI

George Wright 4.27

Waterman 3.87

McVey 3.63"

 

Sources:

Buffalo Commercial, February 6, 1871.

Comment:

Richard Hershberger, 2/8/2021 (FB posting):

"150 years ago in baseball: batting averages. The idea of batting averages was borrowed from cricket, and at this point is not at all new to baseball. The details, however, have not yet taken their modern form.

The numerator mostly is the same. One might reasonably think that "First-Base Hits" means singles, but they actually are simply base hits, the later shortened form. The point of the "first-base" part is that the runner gets safely to at least first base, as contrasted with his hitting the ball but being put out before reaching first. Baseball vocabulary had not yet arrived at the contradiction of the batter hitting the ball without getting a hit. On the other hand, the concept of what was and was not an error, and how to account for it, was not yet fully developed.
It is the denominator that makes these averages look wacky. These are hits per game, not per at bat. Some scorers were starting to track plate appearances, but this was not yet universal. The problem with using games played is that not every player gets the same number of chances. There were, in theory, no substitutions at this time, so that wasn't the problem. In the modern game you typically figure that the top half will get about five plate appearances, and the bottom half about four. The high scores of the 1860s minimized this difference. Players saw more plate appearances, so the difference between the top and the bottom of the lineup wasn't as important. By the 1870s, however, scores are starting to drop to modern levels. The better scorers will soon start to use at bats as the denominator."
 
Protoball, 2/9/2021: "How were errors treated?"
 
Richard Hershberger, 2/9/2021:  "Inconsistently. There were discussions of what were and were not errors and how this related to scoring base hits and earned runs, but not yet any consensus (stipulating that such a consensus exists even today). Probably the key is that these stats are from the clubs' own scorers. There was not yet a single official scorer. Each club had its own, resulting in two scores for the game. Since these season averages from from the individual clubs, I would assume homerism ran rampant."
 
See also 1871.4 for an earlier account of proper batting measures.
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

Query:

Have charts like this appeared before? Have writers been referring to such averages in plumbing the relative merits of batsmen?

Did each club send its data to interested news outlets?

Year
1871
Item
1871.11
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1871.13 The Beginning of Base Ball Trivia?

Location:

Philadelphia

Game:

Base Ball

Age of Players:

Adult

"Sports and Pastimes.  Base Ball Matters. . . .  The Athletics made twenty-five clean home runs in a game with the Nationals, of Jersey City, New Jersey, on the 30th of September 1865."

Sources:

Philadelphia Sunday Mercury, March 12, 1871.

Comment:

Richard Hershberger, FB Posting '150 Years Ago',  3/21/2021:

"[B]aseball history trivia! Baseball had ample history by this time to support the endeavor. For those scoring at home, the final outcome of the game was Athletics 114, Nationals 2. But it wasn't as close as that makes it look."

Asked if such newspaper features were common, Richard replied, 3/12/2021: "This one is pretty typical. The big New York papers in earlier years had often had rules-related questions, but these were drying up by the 1870s."

Query:

Was this one of the first known uses of past base ball feats as fun trivia in base ball reportage?

Year
1871
Item
1871.13
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