Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Another Project I'll Never Complete

Back in November, I had an idea to create a database of statistics for General Managers, linking win shares data to transactions data to general manager tenure data to help evaluate the performance of GMs based on whom they signed, traded for and traded away. Despite the helpful tips from folks like Simon Oliver Lockwood, that project never got off the ground, given that I have a full-time job and three young kids.

Yesterday, I thought of another project that I'll never have time for when I stumbled on Retrosheet's Umpire Data. While Retrosheet tells you how many games the umpire worked at each base, they do not relate the umpire's presence to the result of the game. You can get the daily game log for each umpire, but it would be better if we got each umpire's "record" per team. For example, from this page you can tell that the Nats were 2-4 when Paul Schreiber worked their games. Some interesting stats to run would be (1) the home team's record when the ump worked the game; (2) whether teams fared better or worse when an umpire was behind the plate or in the field; and (3) number of strikeouts and walks in games when the umpire was behind the plate. Wouldn't it be interesting to find out that some teams performed better with certain umps? In the early 1990s, Barry Jacobs's Fans' Guide to the ACC use to publish data like this for all ACC referees -- it showed this Duke fan that we actually performed better with the villified Dick Paparo or Lenny Wirtz working the game.

I poked around Retrosheet but could not find data presented in this fashion. It does not seem like a difficult task to create a database from which these questions could be answered. If anyone knows of a place where this data can be found, I'd love to hear about it.


At 6:23 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I believe the umpires statistics, especially with regard to game length, strikeouts and walks should be included as part of the official release. I work in an industry where it is believed disclosure is a better regulator than actual governmental intervention. So if umpire statistics are released that's something more for the bloggers, sports talk radio and the mainstream sports media to cover. If an umpire is extremely far from the norm, according to the statistics, the media will pounce on it and that will bring him into line more effectively than Questec.


At 10:38 PM, Blogger Chris Needham said...

Prospectus does run some basic umpire reports (mostly in terms of whether they're hitters' or pitchers' umps) on their website. They probably have records a few years back, at least -- although you'd have to pay for a subscription, most likely.

You can bet that Vegas has this information. There's a good chance that some of those hardcore gambling sites would have that kind of information, too.

Maybe google a few umpires names and some gambling terms and see what pops up?


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