Great Brassball Career Statistics Project
By Andy Wiesner
Quite sometime ago, I took
an interest in trying to fill in some of the holes that had developed in the
Brassball League's history. This
probably began as I was looking at the single season leaders that Vaughn Nuest
puts together. Vaughn clearly put in
a lot of time on that project, and I'm sure that we are all grateful for his
efforts. It's fantastic to know
that Tony Gwynn had 294 hits in 1995 and that Mariano Rivera had 65 saves in
1997. This led me to wonder,
however, who had the most career hits and saves in Brassball history?
Finding the answer to those
two questions would not be an easy thing. Not
only were the career leaders not tabulated, but it took me months to simply find
the raw statistics from each of the seasons that would be used to calculate
them. I contacted all of the usual
suspects looking for the stats: League Directors, present and past, the former
website coordinator and veteran league members.
Several people were able to help, and gave me big chunks of the league
history all at once. Brian Budzyn was particularly helpful, as I still have
hundreds of pages of old newsletters that he has loaned me. Kevin Kolb, Vaughn Nuest, Lenny Luchtefeld and Mark Lentz
were also able to provide some of the information I was looking for.
Once I was able to get my
hands on as much information as I could find, I realized just how big this
project would be. Throughout this
process, I had been discussing the project with Joal Kjarsgaard, partially
because he had the same desire to uncover the league history, and partially
because I knew that I would need some help in entering the pages of statistics I
had collected. From early on, Joal
and I agreed that we'd work on this, but neither of us really knew how to
For months after getting
copies of the statistics, Joal and I struggled with creating the right format
for the stats. Originally, the plan
was to manually enter all of the stats into the Strat-O-Matic program itself,
and then use the Encyclopedia feature to compile them for us.
Joal started working on that, and soon learned that the program wouldn't
work as we had wanted it to. That
meant that we needed to find another method.
The obvious choice was to build a huge Excel file and use Access to
manipulate the data. It probably
took us six months to get to the point where we were ready to begin the data
entry, mostly because we were unsure of how to proceed.
For a few more months the project stalled, as we turned our attention to
Then, Joal came to my house
for the March, 2002 Brassball Draft, and we found ourselves once again thinking
about the career stats we had talked about off and on for so long.
Finally, we decided that we just needed to start entering the data, and
we'd figure out later how to manipulate it.
We broke up the project, and I entered the 1995, 97, 99 seasons, and Joal
taking 1996 and 1998. The 2000 and 2001 seasons would be somewhat easier, but still
required substantial manipulation to get them into the format we needed.
The data entry took the two
of us at least 20 hours. I know
that I worked for a dozen hours myself, and probably many more.
Once we had the data entered and proofread, we realized we still had a
long way to go.
First, we were missing six
teams from the 1999 season. I'm
still extremely disappointed that we don't have full statistics, especially
considering the stats we're missing are only two years old.
I hold out hope that we will one day fill in this last hole, but we
decided to go ahead with the project despite the missing teams.
For the record, the 1999 teams we still are missing are all in the
American League: Box City Parcelmen, Cook County Maulers, Iowa Rubes,
Monroeville Garys and Plaza Lions. If
you think you might have stats for any of these teams, please let me know, as
we'll happily spend the few hours it will take to reproduce all of the
information and tables we have here.
Unfortunately, these six
missing teams have some of the best players in league history on them, meaning
that these players career totals will be incomplete. Among the more notable players with missing stats are Barry
Bonds, Vladimir Guerrero, Mike Piazza and Kevin Brown.
I'm sure you'll notice many more. We
wish that weren't the case, but there is nothing we can do about it without
additional help from the league.
In addition to the missing
teams, we found many inconsistencies in the stats, most likely due to the manual
production of the stats in the early years of the league.
Some teams season totals are off in games started, wins and losses or
other stats. We've made educated
guesses where possible, but some of these cases are impossible to solve.
I am confident that the stats we have produced are no less accurate than
the paper copies we received, and are, in most cases, much more accurate.
Once the stats were entered,
Joal and I knew that we needed help to manipulate the data as we wanted.
Luckily, a college friend of ours, Ed Wallander, was willing to lend his
professional expertise to us in this project.
Ed works for Third Wave Research
Group and crunches data for a living, so some
of the things that would take us hours take him only moments to complete.
In addition to the hours Joal and I spent, Ed has put in at least a dozen
hours of his own time, even though he's not even a part of Brassball.
You don't know Ed, but if you're at all interested in the results you
see, you owe him a big thank you.
Once Ed got his hands on our
excel files, he combined them and set up the queries and formulas that we'd need
to combine the thousands of entries into usable form.
He has spent hours reworking the format to make it more user friendly for
Joal and myself, as we don't understand the programs as fully as he does.
Without his help, this project would have taken much longer than it
already has, and the final result would be much less useful.
Finally, Joal and I are
still uncovering slight errors. If
you see something that looks odd, or out of place, please feel free to let us
know. We know this will be an
evolving product, and we're sure it will only get better with time, and more
people looking at it.
As you can see, this project was quite an undertaking. The only reason we started this was because we thought it would be both interesting and valuable to the league. We hope you agree.