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Baseball Hacks by Joseph Adler

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Get Historical Play-by-Play Data

Get data on every play in MLB games from Retrosheet.

Retrosheet is a nonprofit organization dedicated to collecting and computerizing statistics on Major League Baseball games. David W. Smith started Retrosheet in 1994, and it has become the best source for historical baseball information. (David W. Smith won the prestigious 2005 SABR Bob Davids Award for his work.) Retrosheet provides lots of information on its web site, including old box scores, play-by-play game descriptions, and game summaries. Best of all, you can download datafiles that you can use for your own analysis.

Retrosheet supplies some tools for reading these files (see “Make Box Scores or Database Tables from Play-by-Play Data with Retrosheet Tools” [Hack #15] for more information), but this hack explains how to read these files. This can be very useful if you find the tools hard to run, or if you want to look for information that’s not available through the standard tools.

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