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Re: 2006 Stats

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  • Sean Lahman
    ... The implication here, which has been made repeatedly, is that the baseball database that I published was simply copied/stolen from Palmer, and that just
    Message 1 of 9 , Dec 1, 2006
      --- "Rod Nelson" <rnelson@...> wrote:
      > Not to take anything from Sean L., but to give credit where it
      > is due about the origins of the database, I point you to this file:
      > http://sabr.org/cmsfiles/PalmerDatabaseHistory.pdf
      >
      > I think it is important for anyone that uses this historical
      > baseball data to understand its history. Further suggested
      > reading is "The Numbers Game:
      > Baseball's Lifelong Fascination with Statistics" by Alan Schwarz.
      > http://www.alanschwarz.com


      The implication here, which has been made repeatedly, is that the
      baseball database that I published was simply copied/stolen from
      Palmer, and that just isn't true. It's an old canard trotted out by my
      detractors and by those who are fundamentally opposed to the idea of
      making the data available in its raw form.

      Rod's sugestion that I have not given credit where it's due is, I
      think, completely unfair. Obviously the underlying statistical data
      benefits from the work of all of the researchers mentioned in that
      article at SABR.org as well as many others who it does not mention. I
      have credited those sources in the documentation at baseball1.com
      (http://baseball1.com/statistics/readme53.txt). The current readme
      file on my website acknowledges the work of not only Palmer but also
      Turkin, Thompson, Neft, Ruane, Spatz, Carle, Vincent, Dave Smith, and
      maybe 40 other names, as well as SABR and several of its committtes,
      the Baseball Hall of Fame, and Retrosheet. If there is anybody who I
      have failed to acknowledge, please let me know, but please don't accuse
      me of taking credit for other people's work.


      In his 1984 Baseball Abstracts, Bill James wrote a whole chapter
      lamenting the fact that researchers didn't have access to raw baseball
      statistics. Ten years later, I took the initiative to resolve that
      problem. I didn't conjur the batting statistics out of the air... I
      took them from existing sources. I didn't disceren the yearly voting
      totals for the various awards from my imagination... I culled them from
      guides and encyclopedias and microfilm. What I did was to collect all
      of this existing information, integrate it together in one central
      place, organize it in a way that would be useful, and make it
      avavailble in digital form for free.

      Most of the people involved in the Baseball Databank understand the
      value of that work. I know that the existence of the Database has
      inspired new researchers and help foster important new work, because I
      hear from researchers and I see the books and articles which cite the
      Database as a resource. Forman's baseball-reference website -- which I
      think might be the most significant advancement for baseball research
      in my lifetime -- uses that Database as its foundation. The existence
      of the Database has also been a boon for gamers, who now can easily
      simulate any major league season using import functions built in to
      most of the best selling baseball sims.

      I think these are all positive things. Some people, I suppose do not.
      Some people are opposed to my making the data available because it
      makes it harder for them to sell it. I understand that. Some people --
      like Allan Schwarz -- oppose the laws that make statistical data not
      protected by copyright. They believe in the sweat of the brow
      doctrine, and feel that re-using data somebody else has compiled is
      morally wrong. Others feel that they need to defend Palmer becuase I've
      wronged him. Look, Pete and I are on good terms. I count him as a
      personal friend. We've worked on six or eight books together,
      including the new ESPN Football Encyclopedia which came out this
      summer.

      If we need to rehash this old conversation again then let's do it. But
      please, at some point, can't we just move on?

      Regards,
      Sean Lahman
    • Brian Yonushonis
      Enough is enough already. This should be about the data and giving credit where credit is due, which has been done and that is that. No one has been wronged.
      Message 2 of 9 , Dec 1, 2006
        Enough is enough already. This should be about the data and giving credit where credit is due, which has been done and that is that. No one has been wronged. These other people need to get on with it already and quit beating a dead horse.
         
        There is plenty of REAL trauma all over the world - Iraq, Enron, Mississippi, and on and on, so in my personal opinion, they need to go somewhere else and let the baseball enthusiasts follow our passion ethically and mold our new 2006 statistics in easy to manage form.


        Sean Lahman <slahman@...> wrote:
        --- "Rod Nelson" <rnelson@... > wrote:
        > Not to take anything from Sean L., but to give credit where it
        > is due about the origins of the database, I point you to this file:
        > http://sabr. org/cmsfiles/ PalmerDatabaseHi story.pdf
        >
        > I think it is important for anyone that uses this historical
        > baseball data to understand its history. Further suggested
        > reading is "The Numbers Game:
        > Baseball's Lifelong Fascination with Statistics" by Alan Schwarz.
        > http://www.alanschw arz.com

        The implication here, which has been made repeatedly, is that the
        baseball database that I published was simply copied/stolen from
        Palmer, and that just isn't true. It's an old canard trotted out by my
        detractors and by those who are fundamentally opposed to the idea of
        making the data available in its raw form.

        Rod's sugestion that I have not given credit where it's due is, I
        think, completely unfair. Obviously the underlying statistical data
        benefits from the work of all of the researchers mentioned in that
        article at SABR.org as well as many others who it does not mention. I
        have credited those sources in the documentation at baseball1.com
        (http://baseball1. com/statistics/ readme53. txt). The current readme
        file on my website acknowledges the work of not only Palmer but also
        Turkin, Thompson, Neft, Ruane, Spatz, Carle, Vincent, Dave Smith, and
        maybe 40 other names, as well as SABR and several of its committtes,
        the Baseball Hall of Fame, and Retrosheet. If there is anybody who I
        have failed to acknowledge, please let me know, but please don't accuse
        me of taking credit for other people's work.

        In his 1984 Baseball Abstracts, Bill James wrote a whole chapter
        lamenting the fact that researchers didn't have access to raw baseball
        statistics. Ten years later, I took the initiative to resolve that
        problem. I didn't conjur the batting statistics out of the air... I
        took them from existing sources. I didn't disceren the yearly voting
        totals for the various awards from my imagination. .. I culled them from
        guides and encyclopedias and microfilm. What I did was to collect all
        of this existing information, integrate it together in one central
        place, organize it in a way that would be useful, and make it
        avavailble in digital form for free.

        Most of the people involved in the Baseball Databank understand the
        value of that work. I know that the existence of the Database has
        inspired new researchers and help foster important new work, because I
        hear from researchers and I see the books and articles which cite the
        Database as a resource. Forman's baseball-reference website -- which I
        think might be the most significant advancement for baseball research
        in my lifetime -- uses that Database as its foundation. The existence
        of the Database has also been a boon for gamers, who now can easily
        simulate any major league season using import functions built in to
        most of the best selling baseball sims.

        I think these are all positive things. Some people, I suppose do not.
        Some people are opposed to my making the data available because it
        makes it harder for them to sell it. I understand that. Some people --
        like Allan Schwarz -- oppose the laws that make statistical data not
        protected by copyright. They believe in the sweat of the brow
        doctrine, and feel that re-using data somebody else has compiled is
        morally wrong. Others feel that they need to defend Palmer becuase I've
        wronged him. Look, Pete and I are on good terms. I count him as a
        personal friend. We've worked on six or eight books together,
        including the new ESPN Football Encyclopedia which came out this
        summer.

        If we need to rehash this old conversation again then let's do it. But
        please, at some point, can't we just move on?

        Regards,
        Sean Lahman


      • Rod Nelson
        Sean - I was sincere in the intro to my post in saying I meant not to take anything from the valuable work that you ve done. And for the record, I absolutely
        Message 3 of 9 , Dec 1, 2006
          Sean - I was sincere in the intro to my post in saying I meant not to take
          anything from the valuable work that you've done. And for the record, I
          absolutely agree that Sean Forman (and David Smith's) contributions to the
          of baseball research community are monumental. I certainly did not mean to
          rehash any dialogue that anyone might view as antagonistic, I only wanted to
          point to Palmer's essay which I had hoped to be enlightening to many folks
          in this forum, because we all stand on the shoulders of the giants who came
          before us. I'm well aware that you've worked on Pete's team on numerous
          occasions and that there is no ill will and never has been. My reference to
          Alan's book was to recommend what I feel is the best documentation of the
          history of the metrics themselves, and tells the compelling people side of
          story. By my thinking, it's all need-to-know info although it is old news
          to those on this list who have lived it. Lord knows there those among us
          that the pioneering work of our forebearers for granted, ascribing all
          credit instead to Billy Beane.

          Rod Nelson
          Research Services Manager
          www.sabr.org
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