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The idea for this website grew out of several conversations I had with Paul Reeths during the summer of 2012. We wanted to help promote open access to sports data, and we had two goals in mind.
First, we wanted to bring a collection of sports databases under one roof that anyone could download and use. That includes the Lahman Baseball Database, first released in 1995 and updated through the end of the 2012 season. It includes a comprehensive hockey database, assembled by Doug Reynolds. We will soon have professional basketball databases for men and women, which Paul and I pulled together with significant assistance from researchers such as John Grasso. And it will also house a long-coveted pro football database, covering not just the NFL but alternative leagues such as the USFL and WFL as well.
Paul has an expertise in these “other” leagues, whether they’re active minor leagues or defunct leagues. He’s the founder of a website that focuses on minor leagues in every sport — OurSportsCentral.com — and one of the leading researchers on the history of the USFL. He and several other researchers will find and build data sets whose coverage stretches beyond the Big Four.
Which brings me to the second goal, which is to help build a community of researchers, tapping into existing efforts to document the history of sports leagues. We already have pretty robust message boards at Yahoo Groups for the Baseball and Hockey databases, with many active participants helping to maintain and expand those offerings. We’re hoping to build similar communities around our football and basketball databases, and we’ll seek out opportunities to help provide databases for soccer, auto racing, boxing, the Olympics, and other sports.
Whether you just want to download data for your own use or whether you’d like to roll up your sleeves and help us build, I’m glad you’ve found our site. Welcome, please help spread the word, and send me an email if you have any questions, suggestions, or comments.